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Montana Expands Reach of SDF

The Montana Board of Dentistry voted on Friday, March 8, to broaden the scope of practice for dental hygienists by allowing those with advanced training to apply silver diamine fluoride (SDF) in public health settings.

Teeth with caries
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The Montana Board of Dentistry voted on Friday, March 8, to broaden the scope of practice for dental hygienists by allowing those with advanced training to apply silver diamine fluoride (SDF) in public health settings. Under the ruling, dental hygienists with limited access permits (LAP) will be able to apply the topical agent without a prior screening by a dentist.

The Montana Dental Hygienists’ Association initially brought the idea to allow LAP dental hygienists to apply SDF before the board in 2018. The board ultimately approved the motion that 38% SDF be included on the list of topical agents LAP dental hygienists be allowed to use.

According to Ann Lynch, director of advocacy and education for the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, nearly all states allow dental hygienists to apply SDF. Some states set stipulations, such as additional training, supervision requirements, and limitations on settings where SDF can be provided.

In Montana, dental hygienists with LAPs may provide preventive services in public health settings without the presence or prior authorization of a licensed dentist. They are also required to refer patients to see a licensed Montana dentist once a year. Prior to seeing a LAP dental hygienist, patients must obtain a physician’s approval that they are healthy enough to receive treatment.

The Montana Legislature approved the LAP permit in 2003 with the passage of SB 190 to allow dental hygienists to improve access to care for the state’s most vulnerable populations.

 

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. April 2019;17(4):13.

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