There has been ongoing debate for the last couple of years (maybe longer) about the need or not of some type of "midlevel" dental provider.
The ADA has done a study on this and is now releasing its findings. Here is a press release from the ADA with links:
A report published today in the Journal of the American Dental Association details a nearly year-long systematic review of scientific papers about the use of midlevel dental providers to perform such irreversible surgical procedures as restorations and extractions.
In addition to the report, entitled "A systematic review of oral health outcomes produced by dental teams incorporating mid-level providers," JADA also published commentaries by ADA President Dr. Robert Faiella and the study's principal author, Dr. J. Timothy Wright. The report and commentaries are available at the following links:
The analysis shows that the use of mid-level providers who provide surgical treatment does not result in reduced rates of dental caries in the population and that oral health disparities exist regardless of the provider workforce model.
The study's researchers followed the ADA systematic review process, adhering strictly to the Association's criteria for evidence-based dentistry. The workgroup called for "well-designed prospective cohort studies" to better evaluate the impact of midlevel providers on incidence and treatment of dental caries.