On March 20th, representatives of your professional association, the Nevada Dental Hygienists’ Association (NDHA), met with the Committee on Dental Hygiene of the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners (NSBDE) to propose changes to the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 631.210. Changes proposed by the NDHA would make it permissible for hygienists to, 1) expose radiographs, 2) assess the oral health of patients through medical and dental histories, radiographs, risk assessments and intraoral and extraoral procedures that analyze and identify the oral health needs and problems of patients, 3) develop a dental hygiene care plan to address the oral health needs and problems of patients described in subparagraph (I), and 4) take impressions for the preparation of diagnostic models prior to examination by a dentist. Other changes proposed by the NDHA would affect the amount of supervision required by dental hygienists for the administration of local anesthesia and nitrous oxide. After discussion, the Committee on Dental Hygiene voted to take the proposed changes forward to the full NSBDE for consideration.
On May 22nd, the Committee on Dental Hygiene recommended the proposed changes to the full board, and after discussion, the NSBDE agreed that there was sufficient merit to the recommendations to schedule a public workshop. The public workshop has been scheduled for Friday, September 18th, at 9:00 AM at the NSBDE office in Las Vegas, and videoconferenced to the Medical Board office in Reno. The purpose of the workshop is to receive comments (positive or negative) from all interested persons and to consider the review of Nevada Administrative Code Chapter 631 and regulation changes and amendments. The NSBDE has posted public notice of the workshop scheduled for September 18th which includes current wording of NAC 631.210 as well as the proposed changes, and detailed instructions for submitting written comment. Click here to download the section pertaining to proposed changes to duties delegable to dental hygienists. The complete public notice is posted on the NSBDE website at http://dental.nv.gov/Public_Info/Meetings/2015/2015_Meetings/.
It is the position of the Nevada Dental Hygienists’ Association that the proposed changes will afford greater efficiency in the use of dental practice resources while maintaining the highest level of patient safety. The proposed changes also mimic medical practice models where trained and educated personnel gather data and perform assessments on patients prior to the physician’s examination of the patient for the purpose of aiding the physician in the diagnostic process. Further, NDHA believes the proposed changes will improve delivery of dental hygiene services to the public and afford greater public access with full patient protection.
The NDHA strongly encourages all interested parties (hygienists, dentists, dental assistants, and patients) to attend the public workshop and offer verbal comments in person. Comments may also be submitted in writing on or prior to the deadline of September 11th. (Click here to download a sample letter.) The more input and public comment the NSBDE receives on these changes the stronger the argument for change becomes. I encourage you all to solicit your employers to submit comment as well. This is an opportunity for dentists and hygienists to work together to improve the delivery of dental care. I hope you will all join me in submitting comments to the NSBDE regarding these important changes. You can fax to NSBDE: (702) 486-7046 or email to
Annette Lincicome, BS, RDH