Dental Therapy Alaska Dental Therapy Educational Program

Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs) have changed the course of oral health for Alaska Native people. More than 40,000 rural Alaskans now have regular access to dental care from a DHAT. Many rural Alaskans have never had this kind of access or continuity of care before.

In 2004, a group of Alaska Native students returned from the the University of Otago in New Zealand to become the first Dental Health Aide Therapists in the United States. In response to a need for regular and preventive oral health care in the Alaska Tribal Health System, DHATs were pioneers in providing access to basic restorative dental care and prevention services for Alaska Native people living in rural communities across the state.

Alaska’s DHAT’s and the Alaska Dental Therapy Educational Program are recognized as the model of success for improving oral health and access to care for rural populations around the world.


Alaska Dental Therapy Educational Program

In August 2020, the Alaska Dental Therapy Educational Program became the first dental therapy program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United Stated Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611. The Commission’s web address is:

ADTEP educates Dental Health Aide Therapists through a partnership between the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and Ilisagvik College. Students earn and Associate’s of Applied Science Degree in Dental Therapy.