Colorado, Washington aim to increase dental therapy access

Colorado and Washington have made moves to increase access to dental therapy in their respective states.

Dental therapists are currently allowed to practice in some capacity in Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Vermont.

Here are two dental therapy legislation updates:


In 2022, Colorado passed a law authorizing dental therapists to practice in the state. The law goes into effect May 1, allowing licenses to be granted to those who have earned dental therapy degrees, practiced as a dental therapist in the military or are licensed in the 13 states where dental therapists are legal.

However, Colorado does not offer dental therapy degrees or licensing exams, meaning trainees must receive their education in Alaska, Minnesota or Washington — the only states with dental therapy programs.


Washington bill HB 1678, which recently passed in the state's House, aims to allow dental therapy to be practiced in federally qualified health centers and similar facilities.

Washington currently only allows dental therapists on tribal lands.

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