BOSTON (AP) — Backers of expanded access to dental care in Massachusetts are planning to gather at the Statehouse to push legislation they say will close a gap in care.

Supporters say the burden of dental disease disproportionately affects low-income residents, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, seniors in long-term care, and those living in rural areas and inner cities.

Sen. Harriette Chandler, of Worcester and fellow Democrat, Lenox Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli say the legislation they’re pushing will help close that gap in Massachusetts by authorizing dental hygiene practitioners, a midlevel professional similar to physician assistants.

They say dental hygiene practitioners will help increase dental access for vulnerable populations and make health care spending more efficient.

The two are planning to outline their effort at a Tuesday press conference at the Statehouse.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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