Alaska’s New Dental Teams


This article was produced and provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Americans are familiar with dental teams consisting of dentists, hygienists and assistants, who work under the leadership of the dentist to care for patients. Alaska’s Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs) bring additional skills and strengths to the team. The DHATs maintain close communication with the supervising dentist and other team members through phone calls, email, advanced teledentistry equipment and shared charting software. 

Alaska Dental Health Aide
Educates patients
Conducts evaluations
Routine care
Simple extractions

Manages clinical work
Authorizes therapist procedures
Continually evaluates therapist competency
Stays available for real time consultation
Performs complex or advanced procedures
Makes required observations for recertification

DHAT Training
Intensive 2-year program with 3,000 hours of training
More clinical training on routine procedures than dental students
4 to 6-month preceptorship with supervising dentist

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