The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) represents the professional interests of dental hygienists in the United States. Access to oral health care is one of the highest priorities of the ADHA. Direct access allows a dental hygienist the right to initiate treatment based on his or her 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 the 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.