Colorado state Sen. Dominick Moreno and the Polis administration expressed interest Monday in the licensure of dental therapists in Colorado to improve access to oral healthcare.

“With most Colorado counties designated as dental health professional shortage areas, we decided we must take action,” Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera said. “We must acknowledge that 53 million Americans are struggling to afford dental care and we need to address the cost.”

At a discussion organized by The Pew Charitable Trusts and attended largely by dental industry professionals and lobbyists, Danae Seyffer, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, described her state’s experience as the first to legislatively permit dental therapy as a profession.