The PDHA Government Relations Committee is responsible for helping dental hygienists in PA stay apprised of current regulations in dental hygiene, as well as work towards our goals of furthering the profession. Our committee chair, Carolynn Wahl, is working with the committee members as well as our GR consultant, Morgan Plant, to ensure dental hygiene is kept at the forefront of healthcare in government.
Current Applications of the PA Dental Hygiene Regulations
General Supervision (In the private dental office) – The ASA classifications will no longer be used but the definitions remain. Dental hygiene services will be permitted when the patient is free of systemic disease or suffers from mild systemic disease, as determined by the dentist with input from the RDH and upon review of the patient’s medical history. In addition, dental hygiene services may be performed within 1 yearof the examination (previously 90 days). Taking of radiographs will also be permitted in any setting.
Continuing Education – Communication skill courses of no more than 3 of the required 20 hours will be accepted. A PHDHP must complete 5 of the required 20 hours in public health-related courses. A school RDH who is a PHDHP may submit evidence of completed education courses approved for certification by the school district to meet the 20 hour requirement. An RDH holding a local anesthesia permit must complete 3 of the required 20 hours relating to administering local anesthesia, including pharmacology related courses. Act 31 now requires all licensed dental professionals in the state to have 2 hours of continuing education in mandated reporter training (child abuse course) for each license renewal period.
PHDHP – To be a certified PHDHP (Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner), an RDH must apply for a permit ($20 fee) and renew biennially ($40 fee). Requirements to apply will include a dental hygiene license in good standing, a statement from a licensed dentist that 3,600 hours of clinical practice has been completed under supervision, and proof of appropriate liability insurance. While practicing as a PHDHP, the hygienist will be required to refer each patient to a dentist on an annual basis, though the failure of a patient to comply does not prevent the PHDHP from seeing the patient. If a radiograph is taken on the patient, the patient must be referred to their regular dentist for review of the film. A list of public health practice settings are listed in the regulations, as well as rules on recordkeeping. Five hours of continuing education on public health must be completed for each license renewal period.
Local Anesthesia – This term includes local infiltration and intraoral nerve block limited to the maxillary and mandibular areas of the trigeminal nerve. A permit fee of $20 and renewal fee of $40 will be required. Qualifications include holding a current license in good standing, holding a current certification in Basic Life Support, and providing the SBOD verification that the RDH successfully completed a 30 hour didactic and clinical course in administering local anesthesia sponsored by an accredited dental or dental hygiene program. Other qualifications are included for dental hygienists transferring to PA from other states or territories. Three hours of continuing education credits must be completed for each license renewal period.