Pathway to Dental Therapy

Currently, there are two major educational pathways for dental therapy (DT) programs:  the direct pathway and dental hygiene-based models.

The direct pathway model was the first type of DT program implemented in the United States. Initiated by Alaska Native/American Indian leaders, it was developed to address a critical shortage of oral healthcare providers, and is often called the “tribal” or “community-based model.” It delivers a tailor-made, community need-driven program that builds a more representative workforce that shares the language and culture of the population receiving treatment.

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