The Alaska Dental Society supports HB-319 & SB-239 -- Dental Assistants’ Expanded Duties
What bills do:
- Creates two-tier system for dental assistants.
- Uncertified assistants would continue to perform duties currently authorized by present Dental Practice Law.
- Certified (expanded) dental assistants would be authorized to:
- place restorative materials in tooth prepared by dentist. This is commonly referred to as “packing and carving.”
- perform coronal polishing (use of rubber cup to clean teeth above the gums). This should not be confused with an adult “prophy” performed by dental hygienists.
- Certification for the restorative function would be equal to training and testing established for dental hygienists in HB-136/SB-98.
- Certification for coronal polishing would be done under regulations established by the Board of Dental Examiners
How it can improve access to care:
- Restorative function and coronal polishing by assistants will help community health centers and itinerate dental teams in remote areas provide cost effective treatment.
- Coronal polishing by assistants will encourage dental offices to accept more Medicaid/EPSDT and more Denali Kid Care eligible patients.
- Retaining the existing “uncertified” dental assistant position will ensure that dentists in rural communities can continue to hire and train assistants in their office.
- Supported by Alaska Dental Society, Alaska Board of Dental Examiners, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
- Meets the goals of the preliminary report for the Governor’s Health Care Strategies Planning Council.