Conn. legislators mull advanced dental hygienist model

Connecticut continues to consider creating an advanced dental hygiene practitioner program in the state as a way to increase access to dental care for underserved populations.

HB 5616, An Act Concerning Licensure of Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioners, was presented to the Connecticut General Assembly on February 4. The bill, which is now before the Human Services Committee and the Public Health Committee, seeks to create a program in which graduates of an advanced dental hygiene master's program could provide direct patient care in public health facilities.

A similar bill, HB 5355, was introduced in the Connecticut House of Representatives last year. That bill sought to launch a one-year advanced dental hygiene practitioner pilot program in Hartford, CT, and to allow hygienists with a master's degree in advanced dental hygiene practice to prepare and restore teeth and to "perform nonsurgical extractions on mobile, exfoliating, primary, and permanent teeth."

On March 23, 2010, HB 5355 passed the Connecticut Legislature's Human Services Committee by a vote of 14-5 and was sent to the House floor. This year's HB 5616 is a continuum of that effort, according to the Connecticut Dental Hygienists' Association.

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