SARTELL — Kassie Scott has been a dental therapist at HealthPartners for a little more than a year.
She works in the St. Cloud dental clinic, having graduated from the University of Minnesota in the fifth class of dental therapists in 2015.
"I wanted to do something where I was helping people, making a difference in patients' lives, but I still wanted to incorporate that creative aspect," Scott said.
She originally graduated with a degree in graphic design, so this was a major change for her. She was thinking about dentistry, but the shorter time in school required for a dental therapist degree appealed to her.
On a typical day, she spends much of her time doing fillings on adults and kids. Patients often ask what a dental therapist is but after she explains what she does, they're very accepting.
She also does sealants and tooth extraction for kids, as well as inserting stainless steel crowns for kids.
The majority of her patients are low-income, underserved populations.
"They're very appreciative. I get a lot of patients with very expensive decay who are in pain. They don't want to smile," Scott said. "At the end of treatment I talk about changes in diet and oral hygiene. There's a reduction in fear of going to the dentist and an increase in self confidence."
Her addition to the clinic gave patients flexibility.
"If I have an opening, I do same-day treatment," Scott said. "It reduces their trips to the dentist."
It took a while for the office to adjust to having a dental therapist. But her schedule is filling up.
"If I can do it, I'll get it done for them," Scott said.