Professor Cyril Thomas – Former SA Prosthodontist - Comment posted on 07/07/2007 on our previous Visitors' comment “As my experience and career in denture prosthodontics has progressed and I have had contacts with Denturists (Dental Prosthetists) and prosthetics in Australia and South Africa I have come to the realisation that Denturism has an important place as a Para-dental arm of Dentistry and its implementation should be supported wherever there is a need for it. My rationale is quite simple and is based on the changing nature of the dental curriculum both here in Australia and indeed worldwide, also in South Africa. Dental curricula have slowly but inexorably contained a de-emphasis on the technical component in favour of the biological basis of dentistry and there is no doubt that dental trainees are qualifying with fewer technical skills than was the case in the past and in fact are needed to meet the routine requirements of general practice. These do inevitably slowly build up but nowhere is it felt more strongly than in the training in denture prosthodontics where technical and clinical skills can only be acquired after many hours of laboratory and clinical hands-on time. The fact that denture prosthodontics is a science and an art and is in fact one of the most challenging branches of dental practice in which to succeed, brings the need into sharp focus. In my view therefore, a course devoted to specialising in denture prosthodontics must lead to a superior clinician in the Denturist than in the Dental graduate. There are of course limitations to the clinical scope of the Denturist, but an important aspect of the training would be to be aware of those limitations. When they are exceeded, the place of referral should be the specialist Prosthodontist who then does have the required skills, or to a GP Dentist known to have the relevant skills and these would be among the older and more experienced practitioners. I therefore fully support the introduction of Denturism in South Africa, not only because of the generally more satisfactory denture service it will provide at a basic level but also because it is more affordable for lower income clients and indeed for the state health budget from where the service may be funded or subsidised”.

Professor Thomas is the former Head of Dental Prosthetics, University of Stellenbosch, and former Deputy Dean & Head of Prosthetic Dentistry, of Sydney University and Director of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sydney, Australia.

Dr Edward Clark, President of the Wyoming Dental Association commenting in the Casper Star Tribune on December 26, 2007
You don't come out of Technical School with the knowledge to work in someone's mouth," said Dr Clark, a Cheyenne Dentist. The Association will continue to oppose Denturists because according to him, they are required to have only a high school education. If they have education beyond high school, he said, it is usually from a two-year Technical College. In comparison, Dentists have at least eight years of College and Medical school education. There is not a Denturist program in the country that is accredited by the United States Department of Education, Clark added. The American Dental Association "vigorously opposes denturism." Clark said Denturists compromise the safety of the public. He said taking an impression of the mouth, what a Denturist does to make a mould for dentures, can be very dangerous if a person doesn't know what he is doing. "You are filling a mouth full of impression material," Clark said. "If some were aspirated, if the Denturist isn't prepared, it endangers that person." He also worries about mouth diseases going undetected if a person is seeing a Denturist.

Dr Kenneth Kais, DDS USA - Comment on  2007-06-25
I cannot speak for the dental curriculum in South Africa, but I would imagine they would tend to mirror the US in content. Our neighbour up North, the University of Washington, requires its Dentistry graduates to have completed 5 arches of removable prosthetics to graduate. At least one arch must be a metal framework partial, one arch a complete denture and, at least one arch of an immediate denture. This means a newly graduating senior could possibly only have seen 3 removal patients during their entire training. The complete course of removable prosthetics, including lectures, runs about 80 hours. This seems about the norm for US Dental Schools. The Denturism graduates at Bates TC are required to complete 10 patients in removable, not arches, so at a minimum, they are completing 2-3 times the clinical cases compared to our dental school. When a Denturist student, who must be a qualified Dental Technician with experience before enrolment, externs in their second year, they may do 5-10 times that of Univ. of Washington. In addition to the clinical cases, Removable Prosthetics covers about 1000-1200 hours of our 2000+ hours of study. I have had very little negative comments about our graduates from local Dentists and in fact, most of them refer their patients to Denturists because they either don't want to be bothered by them and can make much more, cutting crown preps all day, or they realize their patients will be getting a better result from a provider with more experience. It's hard to flat the maths!”  Dr Ken Kais is Senior Denturist program Instructor at Bates Technical College, Tacoma Campus, Washington.

Dr Geoffrey Berg, DDS from Oregon, USA interviewed at the 2004 Oregon State Denturist Association Conference
There are a lot of parallels in the history of the development of Dentistry and Denturism as professionals. If you go back 50 or 60 years, there was a very strong enmity between Dentistry and the medical field …. I think that first and foremost, my message to Dentists is that they should get to know Denturists – what they are doing and how they are doing it, and learn to trust them by getting to know them …. For me it’s been very rewarding working with Denturists and like I said before, I think the standard of care for my patients have been raised, my professional enjoyment have increased and it’s been a very good situation for me.”

Dr Carl Ebert, Denturist advocator, Minnesota, USA - 2007-06-06 on our previous Visitor’s Comment.
From my perspective as a Dentist, I see dental services in general in Minnesota and the U.S. moving even further out of reach for those without health insurance or the financial resources to afford care. Dentistry is perhaps moving even more in the direction of discretionary services such as cosmetic care, implants, etc. For these reasons, I have long been an advocate of increasing the clinical responsibilities of dental auxiliaries and to explore how we might bring in mid-level practitioners to target oral health care for persons on public programs and those that are poor. The opposition to Denturism by organized dentistry in many states of the U.S. was brutally misleading and, ultimately devastating to the passage of any policy to allow Denturism. They have a lot to protect and fear losing any small portion of the business to which they have been granted exclusive rights. Organized Dentistry sees Denturism as a threat and a turf war, but should understand the necessity to find solutions for those not served by the dental profession. South African Dentists would probably feed me to the sharks for my comments. I became involved in advocating the passing of a Denturism Bill in Minnesota and am interested in Denturism as a new level of dental professional for at least two reasons. First, poor people have a much higher incidence of needed partial or full dentures and have less access to those services. Denturism could help reduce the gap between need and provision of care. Secondly, Denturists have gone through far more rigorous programs to become competent in making dentures than the vast majority of Dentists in their training programs. I now limit my practice to mostly making dentures in a community clinic setting and am painfully aware of how my dental education left me with, at best, a sketchy sense of how to fabricate dentures. I have had to learn most on my own and have also found that the resources for continuing education in removable prosthodontics are extremely limited. Further, my experiences in working with Denturists when I was an exchange dental student in Denmark were remarkably rewarding and inspiring — they clearly were competent and caring professionals”.

Dr Peter Stepney DDS, B.C. Canada – Visitor’s Comment on 2007-10-31
I am a Dentist practicing in Langley, British Columbia. The standard of care that can be offered by a qualified Denturist is at least the same level that a Dentist provides when dealing second-hand with a dental laboratory. Given the time involved in creating a partial denture compared with many other dental procedures, making partial- or other dentures in a Dentist's surgery is not an efficient use of a Dentist's time. They can be more efficiently provided in a Denturist's clinic. Dentists end up delegating the vast majority of the work to a laboratory and though we attempt to communicate as clearly as possible the individual needs and problems of the patient, it is almost impossible for them to produce exactly what is required without them seeing the patient themselves. Denturists are expertly qualified to pinpoint and correct all prosthetic complications simply because they have the skill set to do both ends of this job”.

Dr Marianna Klimek, DMD, participating in Expo 2003, organized by the American Denturist Society
For the last 20 years I have been practicing Dentistry in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We went through this regulating process many years ago and today Denturists and Dentists work together with mutual respect and cooperation …. Our country had a great need for prosthetic treatment and better service for the public in the provinces where there were not enough Dentists …. Nowadays, the general public is much more aware of the importance of dental health and seeks dental treatment more frequently.  Modern Dentistry has advanced in the past few years. Through continuing education, general Dentists are able to provide additional treatment in the areas of Orthodontics, Endodontics, Periodontics and Cosmetic Dentistry. Denturists as health professionals cooperate with Dentists on a daily basis. They refer their patients for regular check-ups and dental treatment that is required before fabricating new partial dentures. As a Dentist, I am fully confident that citizens would be better served by a regulated Denturist profession, wherever there is a need for their services”.

Dr Konstantinos Dimtsis DDS, Ontario, Canada – Comment posted on 2007-10-31
I have been practicing Dentistry for years now and in that time have worked with various Denturists. I have found this relationship to be a very valuable one. Any effort aimed at introducing Denturism, will get my vote. Dentistry has many aspects to it, and with this there are many specialties and specialists. A Denturist is precisely that, a specialist in fabricating all types of patient removable prosthetics. All day long they fabricate dentures, as opposed to myself who would maybe have one case a week. There is no comparison in who has the greater knowledge and experience. I consider my colleague Denturist an asset and necessity to my dental team practice”.

Dr Noel Elmowy BDS from Bondi, Australia - Interview article published in the SADTJ September 2012
Central to the issue of the Cape Flats Smile is unethical exploitation by some professional health practitioners for selfish financial gain. This abuse is an embarrassment for all of us involved in the Oral Health Professions. The authorities urgently need to take a fresh look at the monopoly of clinical denture treatment in favour of Dentists, currently abused by some. Dentists would be more committed to conserve natural dentition, if another category were providing the dentures and if there were no personal financial gain to be made from dentures as an incentive to extract healthy teeth. For that reason, and my own experience of the category in Australia, I would not hesitate to strongly recommend the introduction of Denturism in your country.
There was a time when Dentists regarded Denturism as professional encroachment. It was a territory-issue. Some Dentists with insecurity-issues made it their business in the old days to try and entrap and prosecute them for illegal practice. There was so much work and not enough trained hands to deal with basic dental needs, prosthetic needs aside. Dental Prosthetist practice was legalised because it was popular custom; they are experts in their field – the public knew that from direct experience. Dentists’ training in Prosthetics is superficial and very limited, even more so today than back then.
Nowadays, Australian Dentists generally regard denture-work as the domain of Dental Prosthetists, who are perceived as efficient service providers and appreciated associates in group practice. Having a Dental Prosthetist present at the practice released me from that task (burden). We recognise them as vital caretakers of oral health, who promptly refer pathology for diagnosis and treatment. Since Dentists and Dental Prosthetists started working as a team and refer patients to each other, Dentists’ practices have grown and resulted in a much greater sense of teamwork in serving the consumer. It is a win-win situation! Perhaps a delegation from SA should make a study tour to Australia to come and observe the professional interaction between Dentist and Dental Prosthetist. We are both an integral part of the Dental Team. There is no conflict between the two.

Professor Rien Van Waas, DDS, PhD on retiring from ACTA, Amsterdam in 2008
"Dentists should leave Dental prosthetics to the Denturist. Along with an Implantologist or Oral Surgeon placing the implants, they can do that job perfectly. Furthermore, the general dental practitioner is nowadays hardly schooled in this field and has almost no experience with prosthetic work." This was said by ACTA-professor of the Dental Faculty Rien Van Waas on Friday 16 January, in his yearend speech. He has seen the Denturist become a professional, who could deliver a perfect (partial) prosthesis

Dr Peter Cooney, Chief Dental Officer, Canada - Interview article in the Canadian Denturism Journal Winter 2009
In public Health, you tend to look at communities in a much bigger sense, and you tend to look at population based approaches, rather than trying to deal individually with people.” Cooney works closely with Denturists on a regular basis, and has a good working relationship with the Denturist Association of Canada (DAC). I have attended a number of their meetings. I was the keynote speaker at the DAC annual general meeting in Banff in 2006. Through their work together, Cooney believes that his office has helped to promote Denturism as a profession, “I think that our office has shown that government agencies or government departments can work very well with Denturists and actually achieve some interesting results from that work.” He says. Cooney is adamant about the importance of all oral healthcare providers working together to educate the public. “The key is for the public in general to understand the importance of oral health and the importance of oral and general health linkages.” Cooney’s basic philosophy is easy for him to sum up. “If your mouth is not healthy, the chances are your body won’t be healthy either