Michigan Passes Dental Therapist Legislation
A bill authorizing the licensing of dental therapists in the state of Michigan—Senate Bill 541—passed the House of Representatives in December 2018.
A bill authorizing the licensing of dental therapists in the state of Michigan—Senate Bill 541—passed the House of Representatives in December 2018, following the bill’s approval by the Senate in November 2017. SB 541 was signed into law on December 28, 2018, by Governor Rick Snyder.
SB 541 allows graduates of an accredited dental therapy education program who have completed 500 hours of clinical practice (under the supervision of a dentist) to provide preventive and specific restorative dental services to patients. Dental therapists will work under general supervision of a dentist and through a written practice agreement.
Ann Lynch, director of advocacy and education for the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), notes that the ADHA applauds the creation of dental therapy in Michigan. “This bill provides three key tenets: allows patients direct access to care; dental therapists will be graduates of accredited dental therapy education programs; and provides licensure for this new provider,” Lynch explains.
The initiation of dental therapy in Michigan also offers career opportunities for dental hygienists who will be able to enter dental therapy education programs with advanced standing, per Commission on Dental Accreditation standards.
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. January 2019;17(1):11.