On October 14, the Michigan Board of Dentistry approved proposed rule changes that would allow unregistered dental assistants in the state to perform certain orthodontic tasks under direct supervision.

Since unregistered dental assistants have a shorter pathway to become eligible to work in a dental office, allowing dental assistants – with the required training – to perform certain orthodontic tasks under direct supervision is not only practical, but it is one solution to help address workforce issues currently faced by Michigan orthodontists.

The Michigan Board of Dentistry actively proposed changes to its Dentistry General Rules this past summer, which include delegable tasks to dental auxiliaries.  In August, Michigan Association of Orthodontists leaders and nearly 60 MAO members joined forces with the AAO on a grassroots effort to submit public comments to the Michigan Board of Dentistry. The Michigan orthodontists’ input addressed their workforce shortage challenges and recommended specific updates to the Dentistry General Rules in Michigan.

Similar to orthodontists in many other states, Michigan dentists and orthodontists are feeling the effects of a shortage of workforce, and specifically, are having a difficult time finding and hiring dental assistants, and more specifically, orthodontic assistants.

“These modifications to the current Dentistry General Rules will help address workforce challenges while also enhancing access of patient care to specialty services,” says Dr. Nathan Thomas, MAO President.

Special thanks to Dr. John Monticello, Dr. Nathan Thomas, Dr. Fatima Ahmed, Dr. Brandon Shoukri, MAO Executive Director Matt Solak, and MAO members for their important contributions to this advocacy priority focused on workforce issues.  Grassroots advocacy outreach makes a difference, and this Michigan example demonstrates the power of AAO advocacy working with AAO members locally to help advance our policy priorities.

Our AAOPAC helps fuel advocacy success not only in Washington, DC but in states across the country as well. Consider sharing your support now by contributing at AAOPAC.org.