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Highlights

Making better use of expanded function dental auxiliary (EFDA) personnel is one way to increase the efficiency of dental health care delivery and the availability of care. EFDA's are dental assistants or dental hygienists who have obtained additional education or training to perform a wide range of expanded clinical functions and patient care procedures under dentists' supervision. Using an EFDA to complete restorations (fillings) enables a dentist to concentrate on more complex dental tasks and treat additional patients. This increased productivity can help alleviate dental shortages and, to the extent dentists are willing to pass on savings realized from productivity gains, can also help contain dental care costs. Because experts believe and Congress has recognized that EFDA's are most productive when used to complete restorations, the study focused on this area. Questionnaires were sent to dentists in private practice in both States that allow the use of EFDA's in this manner and those that legally preclude the use of EFDA's to complete restorations. City public health department administrators in various cities in both types of States were contacted, and public health dental clinics in both types of States were visited.

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