According to a 2000 Surgeon General’s report, the United States faces an epidemic of unmet oral health needs, the result of both the high cost of care and geographic maldistribution of providers. This article assesses the extent of this unmet health care needs in Michigan, and examines one possible solution: the introduction of a mid-level dental provider (MDP) who could provide preventive and basic restorative care, under the supervision of a Michigan dentist. MDPs in various forms currently practice in over 50 countries including Canada and the U.K. The evidence suggests that a large and rigorous pilot of mid-level dental providers should be undertaken in Michigan, to inform policymakers about the structure’s potential for improving access to oral health care for vulnerable populations in the state.

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