Ore. law supports dental therapist pilot projects

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed into law a bill that will allow the Oregon Health Authority to establish pilot projects for dental therapists and community dental health educators.

SB 738, known as the Oral Health Coalition bill, also establishes the Dental Pilot Projects Fund. The pilot programs are intended to encourage the development of innovative practices in oral healthcare and deliver care to underserved and uninsured populations.

The bill also expands the scope of practice for dental hygienists who have a limited access permit (LAP) that allows them to provide the same services a dentist can provide, under the supervision of a dentist. It also renames the LAP permit holders to expanded practice dental hygienists.

To receive the permit, dental hygienists would have to complete further training and coursework.

The Oregon Dental Association, the Oregon Oral Health Coalition, and the Oregon Dental Hygienists' Association all supported the bill and were involved in crafting its language.

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