Innovative Workforce Models

In response to the access crisis, state policymakers, consumer advocates and oral health coalitions are pioneering innovations to extend the reach of the oral health care delivery system and improve oral health access. Among these innovations is the creation of a mid-level oral health practitioner to provide much needed preventive and limited restorative dental care to underserved populations.

The ADHA defines a mid-level oral health practitioner as a licensed dental hygienist who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program and who provides primary oral health care directly to patients to promote and restore oral health through assessment, diagnosis, treatment, evaluation and referral services. The mid-level oral health practitioner has met the educational requirements to provide services within an expanded scope of care, and practices under regulations set forth by the appropriate licensing agency (ADHA Policy, 2-10).

ADHA policy supports oral health care workforce models that culminate in (ADHA Policy, 4S-09):

  • Graduation from an accredited institution
  • Professional licensure
  • Direct Access to patient care

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