WHO DENTURISTS ARE
A denturist is a licensed professional dedicated solely to providing removable full and partial dentures to their patients. Denturists are an important part of the community of dental care providers, and have been serving the public in Oregon since 1979. While you can go directly to a denturist for treatment without a referral from another health care practitioner, most denturists make every effort to develop close working relationships with dentists and oral surgeons to ensure that their patients receive the best oral health care possible.
Denturists are recognized health professionals who construct, insert and adjust removable dentures as well as over dentures and implants. A full denture is one that replaces all of the patient’s natural teeth. A partial denture is one that replaces one or more teeth but not all of them. A removable implant retained denture is a denture that is supported by an abutment (made of titanium), which is integrated into the bony tissue.
Becoming a licensed denturist in Oregon is not an easy task. Before obtaining a license candidates must pass a comprehensive practical and written examination administered by the State of Oregon Health Licensing Agency. The written examination challenges candidates to show their clinical knowledge of oral health issues, including microbiology, physiology, oral pathology, head and neck anatomy and more. The practical examination requires that candidates demonstrate their ability to take oral impressions, design a denture from the impression, create a denture from the design, and fit the denture in the patient’s mouth so that it works well and is comfortable to wear.
When you seek the care of a denturist you will find that patients play an active role in the discussion of the creation of a new denture. Remember, you are in the hands of a professional who specializes only in the making of removable prosthodontics. Your denturist will involve you in the steps necessary to ensure your dentures fit properly and meet your full expectations.
Denturists provide a cost and time effective service. Unlike other health care practitioners who provide dentures, most denturists’ laboratory work is done in-house by the denturist who sees the patient chair side.
Denturists in the state of Oregon are required by law to have a license to practice denturism posted in their clinic for public viewing. If you are ever in doubt that the person you are seeing is practicing legally, ask to see his or her license. If they are not able to provide a license, they may not have one, and this is not acceptable. It is important to report someone who is not licensed to the State of Oregon Health Licensing Agency at 503.378.8667.
The Oregon State Denturist Association was formed to promote unity and to maintain standards of professional ethics among denturists in our state. The OSDA represents the interests of members of the association to all levels of government and to the public. The organization provides continuing education for its members, and member denturists work together to keep abreast on the latest developments in the denture field.
WHAT DENTURISTS DO
In Oregon, denturists provide removable dentures directly to patients. In providing their services, denturists engage in the following activities:
- Perform a complete visual/oral examination and evaluation of the patient: this includes obtaining a complete medical and dental history of the patient.
- Makes impressions, makes necessary jaw relation records, selects the artificial teeth, designs the dentures (see The Secrets of a Well Made Denture).
- Fabricates and inserts dentures in the mouths of patients.
- Performs any adjunctive services such as denture repair, relines or adjustment.
- Supervises auxiliary personnel in the performance of their delegated duties.
DENTURISM IN OREGON, A BRIEF HISTORY
Denturists have made a difference for consumers. They are fully trained and qualified to design, create and fit patients with full or partial dentures. Licensed denturists are independent practitioners who can deal directly with the public, and have helped thousands of seniors and low-income people gain access to dentures who otherwise could not afford this important dental appliance.
Since its origin around 1860, dentistry has grown and diversified into many branches and specialties. This evolution led to the eventual creation of the field of denturism – made up of professionals (denturists) who specialize in the field of removable oral prostheses. Initially, denturists learned their skills through on the job practical experience in dental laboratories and specialized educational programs. Now, as more states institute state licensing for denturists (e.g. Washington State, Idaho, Montana), there are colleges and other academic programs in the United States and Canada that provide training to denturists.
Denturist students must study for a minimum of two years of college level training and participate in 1000 hours of field practicum focusing on the clinical and laboratory skills necessary to fabricate removable oral prostheses. Denturists are thoroughly educated in the theoretical and practical aspects of both intra-oral and laboratory procedures. They must then pass a state written and practical licensing examination.
The profession of denturism began in Oregon in 1978. Oregon was the first state to recognize the denturist profession. In 1980, Oregon’s first denturists were licensed to practice in the state. Senior groups including the Gray Panthers, the United Seniors of Oregon and Oregon State Council of Senior Citizens have strongly supported the denturist movement since its inception.
In 1979, the Oregon State Denturist Association was established to represent the interests of Oregon denturists and their consumers. The OSDA continues to represent and advocate for denturism in Oregon; most recently coordinating the victory of Ballot Measure 24 and defending adjacent attacks on the denturist profession and their consumers through both the legislative and legal systems.
In the 1990’s legislation was passed giving Oregon denturists a greater voice in setting state policy for their profession This legislation rewrote state statutes to elevate denturism from a certified to a licensed profession. It also created the Board of Denture Technology, a body comprised of denturists, consumers and a dentist appointed by the governor to monitor licensee activities and regulate the profession.
In 2002, Oregon denturists and consumers celebrated another victory when the Oregon Consumer Denture Care Act passed by a 3 to 1 margin of victory, allowing denturists to produce partial as well as full dentures and giving denturists and dentists the ability to enter into mutually beneficial business associations.
DENTURISTS AND YOU
Any loss of natural teeth is a regrettable occurrence. Fortunately, it is one that can be remedied with excellent results. Today’s denturists apply their skill and knowledge to provide you with a substitute that perfectly suits both the shape of your mouth and your smile – one that, with proper care, you will learn to live with quite comfortably.
Your dentures will be crafted of quality dental materials to fit well and function within the high standards set forth by the denturist profession.
Should any problems develop in regard to fit and function; or should any breakage or premature wear on either teeth or denture base occur due to any defect or lack of integrity in materials under normal wearing conditions, your denturist will frequently replace or repair the defect at no charge. Ask your denturist about their workmanship guarantees.
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