New NH law expands dental hygienists' duties

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has signed a new law that expands the scope of services that dental hygienists can perform.

SB 284 allows certified public health dental hygienists who work in schools, hospitals, and other public settings or who deliver care to homebound patients to perform dental x-rays, offer nutritional counseling, and place temporary fillings in teeth.

The Pew Center on the States provided research and other support for the New Hampshire stakeholders who led the campaign for the law's passage.

The state's access problem is fueled by a shortage of dentists. A 2010 report by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies noted that four out of 10 dentists were at or near retirement age.

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