Access to oral health care is one of the highest priorities of ADHA. Direct Access refers to the ability of a dental hygienist to initiate treatment based on their assessment of a patient’s needs without the specific authorization of a dentist, treat the patient without the presence of a dentist, and maintain a provider-patient relationship.
It is the position of ADHA that oral health care—a fundamental component of total health care—is the right of all people. Lack of access to oral health care is a critical issue in the United States due to disparities in the health care delivery system. Dental hygienists must play a vital role in the solution to eliminate these disparities and assure quality oral health care for all.
The Progression of Direct Access
Direct Access 2008
Direct Access 2011
Direct Access 2017
Direct Access 2021
States that permit direct access to dental hygienists