New law expands role of Kan. hygienists

The governor of Kansas has signed a new law that expands the scope of duties for dental hygienists, according to an article in the Kansas City Star.

Under HB 2631, signed by Gov. Sam Brownback on May 9, Level III hygienists would be allowed to work in prisons and indigent health care clinics, as well as with low-income seniors and the developmentally disabled. The law does not, however, create a midlevel provider position or registered dental therapist, which another proposal called for.

HB 2631 allows Level III hygienists to:

  • Identify and remove decay and place a temporary filling
  • Adjust dentures and check for sore spots
  • Extract loose baby teeth
  • Smooth sharp edges on teeth with power drills
  • Use local dental anesthesia within limits

The bill also requires the University of Missouri-Kansas City to create more openings for residents of Kansas at the dental school and enables retired dentists to donate their time to treat low-income patients or those in areas that lack access to care with a special license.

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