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From the President

Amy Grant
It's hard to believe it has been six months since I took office as your president; time does fly!

I spent last weekend working at IMOM. There were MANY hygienists there lending their time and talents to help the citizens of Iowa, Missouri, and even as far away as Tennessee. The needs of the underserved were overwhelming. Adults as well as children presented with toothaches, pain, and swelling that have been ongoingly affecting their everyday life, keeping them from work and school. Hygienists make a difference! Suppose some of these folks had been seeing a hygienist regularly. In that case, prevention could have been key with SDF or regular fluoride, nutritional counseling, and basic OHI.

This event demonstrates the need for access to care for Iowans, particularly those economically challenged and rurally located who do not have access to dental care. Hygienists in Iowa need to become Medicaid providers and elevate their education to become dental therapists. While neither of these is available in Iowa, we hope to change that, and we need YOU! Iowans deserve access to care, they deserve to be treated for all ailments, and they deserve to be able to find providers who are easily accessible. Hygienists can fulfill that role! Currently, 29 states allow direct reimbursement to Dental Hygienists. The data speaks for itself when asking, "does it really work?" In an article published by Carequest, an analysis of Medicare beneficiary data states that "researchers find that including periodontal treatment in Medicare has the potential to save up to $14.5 billion annually for patients with diabetes and up to $27.8 billion annually for patients with heart disease."

Arming the dental profession with Dental therapists is a cost-effective way to increase access to critically-needed dental care. Once educated, dental therapists can provide preventive and routine restorative care, including filling cavities, placing temporary crowns, and extracting badly diseased or loose teeth. Dental therapists can work in traditional dental offices and clinics or community settings, such as schools or nursing homes, depending on the rules and statutes of the state. Using dental therapists reduces costly emergency room visits, creates good jobs, and helps dentists expand their small businesses at no additional cost to the state. Filling a gap, providing cost-effective access to care, and saving lives are the pillars of dental hygiene and therapy. Dental therapists have been authorized to work in 13 states where they can help increase access to dental care for underserved communities.

We are less than a week out from elections, where Iowans have chosen their new leaders who could also impact our future in the profession. I encourage you to reach out and let the newly elected leaders know who you are and what you do as a professional. Tell them you are a content expert who will be happy to answer their questions. I would even urge you to turn it into a meeting-meet for coffee short and sweet but let them put a name to a face! Don’t know who your legislator is? Here is the link to make that happen: www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find. Templates for emails and letters are available on the website.  https://www.iowadha.com/

I also encourage you to begin speaking with people anywhere you have the opportunity. Everyone knows someone who has difficulty accessing care or who has a passion for helping. Now is the time to act! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me: at donnellaiardh@gmail.com I'm looking forward to an excellent year for dental hygienists and the citizens of Iowa!

I also encourage you to begin speaking with people. Everyone knows someone who has difficulty accessing care or who has a passion for helping. Now is the time to act! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me: donnellaiardh@gmail.com I'm looking forward to a great year for dental hygienists and the citizens of Iowa!

Sincerely,
Donnella Miller, RDH, BS, MPS
President, Iowa Dental Hygienists Association

Upcoming Events

Iowa Dental Hygiene Association and 21st Century Dentistry Presents Laser Certification Training

Enrich Your Professional Reputation and Increase Patient Treatment Acceptance
Incorporate Laser Assisted Hygiene into
Your Patient Health and Wellness Model of Care

February 24, 2023

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