New law improves access to dental care at daycares and nursing homes

Friday, August 25th, 2017
By Amber Luckett,  WSAW-7 TV

MARATHON, Wis. (WSAW) — Wisconsin lawmakers are hoping a slight change in legislation regarding dental care will help improve the overall health of residents in the state.

A new bill signed into law in June, has expanded the list of locations dental hygienists can provide basic care to patients without a dentists supervision.

The list now includes medical clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, daycare centers, group homes, correctional facilities and home care agencies.

Rep. Kathleen Bernier, the author of the bill, said this slight change will hopefully give more Wisconsin residents to health care which is the key to good overall health.

Before the bill was signed into law it received a lot of support from state legislatures as well as dentists around the state.

Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, the president of Central Wisconsin Dental Society, said the law is especially important for youth living in rural areas and will allow them to have access to dental care in their schools.

“It’s really important that we establish them in a dental home at an early age so we can prevent any future problems and sometimes that doesn’t happen, ” explained Dr. Hoffman.

While the new law is good for basic care it does not help low income residents in need of long term treatment.

“Hygienist have great skills preventive services and education services for patients. But does it fix cavities- no, it does it fix too tooth aches-┬áno unfortunately it doesn’t,” explained Dr. Hoffman.

Rep. Bernier said she will continue to look into the benefits of this bill with the hopes of improving it in the future.

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