The PDHA Government Relations Committee, in conjunction with the Government Relations consultant, is responsible for:

  • ensuring dental hygiene is kept at the forefront of healthcare in government.
  • safeguarding the scope of dental hygiene practice.
  • increasing practice settings and scope of practice through legislation.
  • advancing the art and science of dental hygiene.
  • assisting dental hygienists in Pennsylvania to stay apprised of current regulations in dental hygiene.
  • working towards our goals of furthering the profession.

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 year of the examination (previously 90 days).  Exposing radiographs will also be permitted in any setting.

Continuing Education – 

  • A Registered Dental Hygienist is required to complete 20 hours of continuing education per licensure period.
    • 10 hours of which may be obtained through self-study.
  • All licensed dental professionals in the state must have 2 hours of continuing education in mandated reporter training (child abuse course) that is Act 31 approved for each license renewal period.
  • Communication skill courses of no more than 3 of the required 20 hours will be accepted.
  • An RDH holding a local anesthesia permit must complete 3 of the required 20 hours relating to administering local anesthesia, including pharmacology related courses.
  • A PHDHP must complete 5 of the required 20 hours in public health-related courses.  A Certified School Dental Hygienist who is a PHDHP must submit evidence of completed education courses approved for certification by the school district to meet the 20 hour requirement. 
  • Current Basic Life Support certification is required for all licensed dental professionals.
  • DEP approved radiation safety ‘refresher’ course must be completed at least every four years for all licensed dental professionals.

PHDHP – To be a certified PHDHP (Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner) an RDH must apply for a permit ($20 fee) and renew biennially ($42 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.
    • proof of appropriate liability insurance ($1 million per occurrence and $3 million per annual aggregate)  
  • A PHDHP will be required to refer each patient to a dentist for examination on an annual basis.
    • failure of a patient to comply does not prevent the PHDHP from seeing the patient. 
  • If any radiographs are exposed on the patient, the patient must be referred to a dentist for review of the film. 
  • A list of public health practice settings are listed in the regulations, as well as rules on recordkeeping.

Local Anesthesia – This term includes local infiltration and intraoral nerve block limited to the maxillary and mandibular areas of the trigeminal nerve.  An RDH must apply for a permit ($20 fee) and renew biennially ($42 fee).

  • Qualifications include:
    • holding a current license in good standing
    • provide the State Board of Dentistry 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.

Get Involved and Make a Difference

As dental professionals working in an ever-changing and evolving field, we need to take responsibility for the direction of that field.  Every hygienist CAN make a difference in the direction of healthcare by contacting their state representatives and senators and educating them on why oral healthcare is so important to overall health.  Click here to look up elected officials for your district.

As a member of the PDHA, your dues dollars are used to further our profession and educate many of the legislators in PA on oral healthcare.  Every member counts, and together we can accomplish more!

For more information please contact PDHA at [email protected] or visit