Dr. Burris is a licensed orthodontic specialist. He also founded one of the largest philanthropic orthodontic organizations through S4L in an effort to ensure that there is no two-tiered system in North America. He believes everyone deserves a great smile.
In his Northeast Arkansas dental practices, Dr. Burris supervises orthodontic hygienists who perform basic hygiene screening. Access to care is the ultimate issue here. He has been offering dental exams at a reduced rate to his patients, many of whom who have no dental home. The final outcome of this case will determine whether orthodontic practices will be allowed to do basic dental hygiene appointments under the supervision of an orthodontist.
I spoke with Bonnie Hixson, publisher of The Progressive Orthodontist magazine about the need to improve access to care. “It's just common sense that a patient who comes in seeking orthodontic treatment should be able to have their teeth cleaned first. Particularly when they don't have a primary care dentist. It's a perfect opportunity for the orthodontist or hygienist to then refer the patient to a dentist for routine dental care going forward."
As Hixson says, “This is not a general dentist or a specialist debate. It's about doing what's best for the patient in every situation."