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Say ah: Minn. preps 1st class of dental therapists

MINNEAPOLIS - MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has started a program to train people to be dental therapists in an effort to improve access to care.

Dental therapists will do some simple procedures that are currently done by dentists, such as drilling cavities. Dentists will supervise them and still do the most complex procedures.

Dental therapists are common in Canada, Great Britain and 50 other countries, but Minnesota is the first U.S. state to license them widely.

In Minnesota, as in many other states, people in rural areas, urban cores and those with subsidized government insurance have trouble finding dentists who will treat them.

The first class of would-be dental therapists has wrapped up its first semester. The students will graduate in 2011.

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