In Indiana, legislation is currently under review to grant authorization to dental hygienists to perform dental care without the direct supervision of a dentist. If House Bill 1061 is approved, hygienists will have 90 days from the date of examination by a dentist to perform oral care procedures.
Hygienists have been vying for the ability to do more in the office, particularly, to aid the understaffed dental practices in getting patients cared for. Currently, if the dentist is not in the office, the patients cannot receive care.
However, the director of the Indiana Dental Association has expressed that the bill cannot be supported in its current form, and modifications must be made. As this offers more freedom to hygienists, there is concern that patients may not receive the level of care required. Additionally, it has been suggested that 90 days is too long of a window for treatment in some cases such as children, elders, and the disabled who can see significant changes in condition in a short time frame.
There is a recognized concern regarding the availability of qualified dental professionals to manage the patient case load. But, is it the right decision to grant these abilities to dental hygienists?