Should doctors learn to become dentists?

There’s such a shortage of dentists in Maine that primary care doctors are the ones pulling teeth.

Not only does the state have a severe shortage of dentists, poorer patients have trouble seeing one, since few accept those without insurance or with Medicaid.

So that leaves the primary care doctors to pick up the slack and learn to pull teeth, screen for tooth decay, or lance oral boils.

As more mid-level providers perform more primary care, generalist physicians need to branch out and learn skills previously confined to specialists, or now, dentists.

We can only be indispensable by adding value, and in a procedure-dominated payment environment, learning to pull a few teeth shouldn’t be seen as such a bad thing for primary care.

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