Launched in 2007 as a collaborative effort between the Alaska Native Tribal Health Center and the University of Washington, DENTEX was developed to meet the oral health needs of native Alaskan people across 200 remote villages. Students enter a 24-month program as Dental Health Aide Therapists to learn prevention services, fillings, and uncomplicated extractions while working under supervising dentists. Year 1 is classroom instruction in Anchorage. In year 2 the trainees transfer to Bethel Alaska for supervised hands-on clinical experience with local patients. Currently, nearly 40,000 Alaska Native people living in rural Alaska now have improved access to regular dental care by more than two dozen federally certified DHATs.
Gracie NelsonBethel, AK
“I’ve been coming to the Bethel Clinic for two months now. It didn’t take long for me to get an appointment in Bethel, like the same day. Growing up in the village we always had to travel to Bethel to get our dental work done. Back then they didn’t have enough providers. Today the DHATs are able to go into the village and do that work there.”