Scope of Practice for Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists

June 01, 2017|11:13 a.m.| Andy Baker-White

Throughout the first half of 2017, several states enacted legislation impacting the scope of practice for dental hygienists and dental therapists. In Colorado, HB 1010 adds emergency drugs and reversal agents to the list of items that an unsupervised dental hygienist may prescribe and administer. Nebraska established the position of an expanded function dental hygienist, who, under the indirect supervision of a licensed dentist, may perform certain restorative procedures (L 18). In Iowa, SF 479 allows dental hygienists to provide unsupervised educational services (e.g., planning and conducting oral health education programs and workshops). Dental hygienists in Georgia will now be allowed to provide certain services (e.g., fluoride treatments, oral hygiene instruction, etc.) under the general supervision of a licensed dentist (HB 154). In Arizona, SB 1362 allows an affiliated practice dental hygienist to provide services without the presence of a dentist. Finally, Washington state now allows dental health aide therapists in tribal settings (SB 5079).

To learn more about dental hygienist and dental therapist scope of practice policy issues, please visit the Scope of Practice Policy website, a collaborative effort by ASTHO and the National Conference of State Legislatures that informs policymakers about scope of practice issues related to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental hygienists, and dental therapists. The site provides nonpartisan, unbiased, objective policy information about the scope of practice laws in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories.