Senate to vote on “General Supervision” Clause for Dental Hygienists

I love having my teeth cleaned. It’s actually probably more of an obsession for me. I can’t help it. I was born to a dentist and dental hygiene ranked right up there with making my bed.

As the kid of a dentist, I am well aware of the rules that exists for dental hygienists. If we were the first patient after lunch and Dad wasn’t in the building yet, we couldn’t start our cleaning until he got back. There are policies and checks and balances that help to keep everyone safe. And I am ok with that.

However, while good dental hygiene is important to me and my family, as well as being easily accessible, that is not the case for everyone. 1 in 4 children in the state of Georgia do not receive preventative dental care. According to SB 12:

…nearly one-third of older adults have untreated tooth decay and nearly 25% of older adults 65 to 74 have severe gum disease. Statistics also show that significant percentage of lower income children in Georgia do not have adequate access to dental care, putting them at significant risk of developing tooth decay and other oral health issues.

The bill would allow dental hygienists can clean teeth and apply flouride and sealants without the dentist present in the office.  This is already the case in 47 states. It would add approved safety net settings for charity care clinics, federally qualified health centers, long-term care facilities (nursing homes), school-based health centers, and would add private practice settings to the list of places where dental hygienists can perform their duties with only “general supervision” from a dentist.

It sounds cheesy, but a confident smile goes a long way, no matter who you are. Basic preventative dental care allows for dental hygiene education to occur, which not only provides a foundation for the importance of life long dental care, but can save lives.


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