Skip to content

MDA Statement on Access to Care

The Michigan Dental Association strongly believes that Michigan’s dental workforce will be the most effective solution to access to dental care challenges, not a new provider.

“The reasons that some Michigan residents may not receive adequate dental care have nothing to do with a shortage of dental providers,” said MDA President Dr. Michele Tulak-Gorecki. “The true barriers to care include the public’s lack of oral health education, a very low Medicaid reimbursement rate, and a maldistribution of dentists. A new provider that does not address these issues will have no meaningful impact.”

With more than 7,500 licensed dentists in the state, more than 10,000 registered dental hygienists, and more than 1,200 registered dental assistants, Michigan has the capacity to deliver dental care that is going untapped. The MDA supports access to care solutions that use the existing dental workforce, rather than allowing individuals with a lesser level of education than dentists to perform dental surgical procedures.

These solutions include expansion of the successful PA 161 hygiene program, which would allow greater outreach by dental hygienists within their current scope of practice, more effective use of registered dental assistants, increases in the adult Medicaid reimbursement rate, and more resources devoted to recruitment of dentists into remote areas. These solutions would help more Michigan residents receive the care they need, without creating a new provider.

“We all agree that Michigan’s residents deserve dental care, because oral health is an integral part of overall health,” Dr. Tulak-Gorecki noted, “and the MDA is committed to ensuring equitable access to care for all.”