The Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry voted to proceed with the rule making process to expand the role of dental hygienists. The Law Center previously submitted a letter to the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry supporting this proposal to expand the settings in which public health dental hygiene practitioners (PHDHP) can provide dental services.
People with disabilities and people with low incomes often face logistical and financial barriers that prevent them from going to the dentist and for many these barriers mean dental health problems go untreated. The PA Department of Human Services estimated that 33% of low income children have untreated tooth decay. Allowing PHDHPs to practice in a wider variety of circumstances, such as home visits, would allow a greater number of Pennsylvanians to receive dental care services.