Lawmakers file bills to expand access to dental care

The Public Health Committee will review public testimony on the bills

BOSTON (WWLP) – Dozens of health care advocates gathered together in support of oral health legislation before the state’s Public Health Committee at the State House on Wednesday.

Lenox State Representative Smitty Pignatelli and Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler are leading the push to expand access to dental care. They filed bills that would authorize dental therapists, similar to nurse practitioners, to provide oral health services under a dentist’s supervision.

Pignatelli told 22News the bill could help bring services to people in places where access to oral health is a problem, including the Berkshires.

“In the rural areas with lack of transportation, people don’t own cars, who could live 25 miles from the nearest community or the nearest dentist, how do you get there?” Pignatelli asked.

Similar legislation previously made it through committee but failed to become law.

The Public Health Committee will review public testimony on the bill before making recommendations to the state.