5 dental workforce updates to know

Two states are considering legislation that would expand the scope of practice for dental professionals, and the American Dental Association is calling for more attention to workforce shortages and oral health disparities. 

Five updates:

1. A study published in the February issue of the Journal of Dental Hygiene shows that less than half of dental hygienists who left employment early in the pandemic returned to the workforce as of August 2021.

2. The Alaska House of Representatives passed a bill Feb. 18 that would allow dental hygienists to apply for permits to work independently.

3. The American Dental Association called on federal authorities Feb. 17 to prioritize the handling of dental workforce shortages and oral health disparities in a letter to Carole Johnson, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

4. A bill was introduced to the California Legislature on Feb. 16 that would expand treatments dental assistants are authorized to perform under the supervision of a dentist.

5. A January poll from the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute showed that the majority of dentists who own a practice consider recruiting dental hygienists and dental assistants "extremely challenging."

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