Law passes on dental therapists in Ore.

2021 03 16 23 12 8964 Dental Exam Woman Hygienist 400

Oregon lawmakers passed a bill on June 23 that would allow a new class of dental therapists working under the supervision of dentists. If it is signed by Gov. Kate Brown, dental therapists in the state could perform numerous procedures, including simple extractions, direct restorations, and some crowns.

The bill, HB 2528, passed the Oregon House of Representatives by a 45-11 vote and the Senate by a 20-9 vote. Dental therapists would undergo special training to perform the basics of dental care, such as exams, fillings, and simple extractions of teeth.

The new bill isn't Oregon's first foray into the use of dental therapists. In 2016, the state approved a pilot program that allowed dental therapists to provide dental care in tribal areas.

Under HB 2528, dental therapists would be able to practice more broadly in Oregon. Under a dentist's general supervision, these types of midlevel providers would be able to prepare and place direct restorations as well as single-tooth temporary crowns on primary and permanent teeth. For primary teeth, dental therapists can also prepare and place preformed crowns.

Other functions of dental therapists in the state would include charting the oral cavity, evaluating x-rays, pulp vitality testing, and fabricating athletic mouthguards. They will also have the ability to administer nonopioid analgesics, anti-inflammatory medications, and antibiotics.

Additionally, the state would allow dental therapists to perform some procedures with the indirect supervision of a dentist. These include placing temporary restorations, fabricating soft occlusal guards, and performing simple extractions.

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