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Expanding Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice

On Friday, April 30, 2021, the ODHA’s President, Laurie Humphrey, was invited to speak to Oklahoma Health Coalition (OOHC). The event was centered around solutions to limited access to care for underserved Oklahomans.
Laurie’s topic was “Expanding the Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice”. Laurie shared the survey results that the ODHA received regarding expanded functions in dental hygiene. Her message was warmly received.
Susan Rogers, the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry’s Executive Director, mentioned the ODHA very favorably during her time speaking. She has asked the ODHA to have a meeting with other key organizations to start a conversation about additional procedures we can add to the dental hygiene scope of practice. The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry currently has a committee looking at increased scope of practice for dental assistants, registered dental hygienists, and related topics.

At this time, Laurie suggests we do four things:
1) Familiarize yourself with the survey results and other ODHA governing documents. Also the OK BOD’s Rules and Regulations and OK’s Practice Act.
2) Share the information from ODHA’s survey on social media to inform other Oklahoma hygienists of the survey results.
3) Ask the hygienists you know what they want moving forward
4) Make a list and send your ideas to Laurie Humphrey, ODHA President via email:

ODHA wanted to start a conversation with Oklahoma’s Hygienists to see how they wanted the Dental Hygiene profession to progress in the future.

78% support licensing Dental Hygiene based Therapists to offer additional career opportunities for Dental Hygienists to care for underserved populations.
65% if Dental Therapy Licensure was available in Oklahoma, Dental Hygienists would be interested in completing the required education. Of this group 78% had been in practice for less than 10 years, meaning younger Hygienists want this opportunity.

85% of Dental Hygienists are interested in obtaining a restorative advanced procedure certification.

80% believe Teledentistry is effective to communicate findings regarding a dental patient.
82% believe Dental Hygienists should be authorized to utilize Teledentistry when providing care.
86% believe Teledentistry can be effective in Oklahoma to reach rural and other underserved populations and increase access to oral health care.

94% want to provide additional services under general supervision.
General supervision is the supervision of dental procedures based on instructions given by a licensed Oklahoma Dentist but not requiring the physical presence of the supervising Dentist during the performance of those procedures.

-Oklahoma Dental Hygienists are highly educated, well trained dental professionals who are eager to be utilized to provide oral healthcare for underserved Oklahomans.

-The Oklahoma Dental Hygienists’ Association is excited to work alongside our Dentists, the Oklahoma Dental Association and the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry to expand the Dental Hygienists’ scope of practice as a solution to limited access.

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