Dental therapists are a new, master's degree level professional who mostly work in low-income areas. The only state that I am familiar with which has dental therapists is Minnesota. The Univerity of Minnesota School of Dentistry in Minneapolis offers the master's program in dental therapy and is the only U.S. dental school to award a degree in the field, according to the school's Web site. In some classes, dental therapy students, dental hygiene students, and dental students take some of the same classes and work side-by-side. In that state, there are two types of dental therapy licenses, Dental Therapist and Advanced Dental Therapist. The only difference is the degree of supervision by a dentist that is required. Dental therapists provide both preventative and restoration services and can do some of what dentists routinely do. They provide services to both children and adult patients. They can clean teeth, apply sealants, extract teeth, and fill cavities. They may be able to take impressions of teeth and perhaps even fit partials, but of that I am not sure. My state, like most states, does not allow dental therapists to become licensed and to practice. The state dental societies along with the American Dental Association are quite protective of the territory of dentists. This would be a practical way to bring dental care to low-income people. Needless to say, dental therapists cost less than do dentists, who, in my opinion, are overpaid. There still has to be a dentist present to supervise the dental therapist(s).
One additional point is that there are some kinds of oral surgery which I have discovered are not covered by dental surgery, because the procedures are considered to be medical, not dental. These are operations on the tissue inside of the mouth, not involving teeth, and other procedures, such as facial surgery. Most oral surgeons have the D.D.S. (or D.M.D.) degree, but a small number also graduated from medical school and have a medical degree. Even the surgeons who have both a dental and medical degree can only have medical insurance coverage that is out-of-network, and even then, even though they are trained physicians in addition to being dental graduates, you probably would have to get a letter from your personal physician saying that the procedure is medically necessary, and the oral surgeon would have to include it with the documentation of the procedure in billing medical insurance. Most oral surgeons are do not have a medical degree and therefore, only certain procedures, such as extracting an impacted wisdom tooth or putting in implants for replacement, artificial teeth would be covered, and like usual, there would usually be a co-payment or deductible. This is a field that most people don't pay any attention to unless they have a problem that needs the skill of an oral surgeon. In the old days, there were reports of the surgeon grabbing hold of an impacted tooth and yanking on it. Sometimes, a tooth will shatter, and they have to surgical remove the individual pieces. No doubt, it can be expensive.
Bernie Sanders had a bill at one time to add dental coverage to Medicare, but I am not sure how much such coverage would have cost. For those who are not eligible for Medicaid and who do not have dental insurance, which has co-payments and deductibles which can be expensive, lots of luck making payments to the dentist or oral surgeon.