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Coalition pushes for dental therapists in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. - The push is on for the Wisconsin Legislature to create a dental therapist license as part of an effort to address a dentist shortage, particularly in rural areas.

A coalition of more than 50 groups is urging the Legislature to join with other states and countries facing similar shortages and pass a bill licensing dental therapists. The position is a step below a dentist.

Wisconsin's bipartisan measure was introduced in March and is scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday before the Senate's health committee.

But it faces stiff opposition from the Wisconsin Dental Association and Marquette University, which houses the state's only dental school.

Wisconsin Dental Association lobbyist Matt Rossetto says the bill won't solve the problem it intends to address because it doesn't require dental therapists to work in underserved areas.

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