NM House passes dental therapist bill

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill on March 17 that would create a new category of dental therapists in the state, according to an article in the Albuquerque Journal.

However, whether the bill will be considered by the full state Senate before the legislative session ends on Saturday is unknown. The bill is currently with the state Senate's Public Affairs Committee.

HB 349, which would create a licensing procedure and practice framework for a new category of oral healthcare midlevel providers (MLPs), passed by a vote of 34 to 25. Two amendments were made to the bill before it passed the House.

Several other states are considering similar measures. Currently, Minnesota and Alaska allow MLPs, and Maine approved a similar bill last year. Dental hygiene therapists have been practicing for decades in 53 other countries.

The ADA and most state dental associations have opposed allowing MLPs to do restorations and extractions due to concerns about nondentists performing surgical/irreversible procedures.

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