Bill to expand dental hygienists' roles approved

TOPEKA (AP) — A bill designed to help overworked dentists in urban and rural clinics is on its way to Gov. Sam Brownback's desk.

Under the bill approved unanimously Monday by the Kansas House, specially trained dental hygienists will be allowed to do temporary fillings, pull baby teeth and perform other basic dental services.

The bill creates a new class of "Level III" hygienists who would receive more training than regular hygienists.

The Senate approved the bill last week.

A separate bill that would have allowed non-dentists to provide even more services failed after opposition from dentists.

The Wichita Eagle reports Level III hygienists will be able to work with prisons, indigent health care clinics, low-income seniors and the developmentally disabled. They could also serve children in state custody.

Tagged: Kansas legislature, dental hygienists


sad_lawrencian 5 years, 11 months ago

This is a bad idea. Dentistry isn't the same as medicine, where a medical assistant, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner can do some of the services that were once reserved for physicians. This is a slippery slope, and I can't imagine DDSs and DMDs are happy about it. Filings and pullings need to be left to those who are best able to successfully perform these procedures--properly trained and licensed dentists. Message to the state: this is not how you deal with a shortage of providers. You don't create a new "class" of hygienists. You train and certify new dentists, you create incentives to retain the dentists now practicing, and you create incentives to bring licensed dentists to under-served areas of the state. Tort reform isn't a bad idea, either.

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