What’s an “ADHP?” Where did this idea come from? Does it have support in Minnesota and, if so, from whom? What does this proposed new type of dental health professional mean for Minnesota dentistry and for our patients?
These are some of the many questions we have as we try to comprehend this proposal. The MDA is opposed to the Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner (ADHP) concept as we currently understand it and have placed it at the top of our 2008 legislative agenda. The MDA House of Delegates resolved in 2001 to oppose the creation of a midlevel practitioner. At our 2007 House of Delegates, that resolution was reaffirmed and further clarified that the MDA opposes a mid-level dental practitioner who would work unsupervised or perform surgical procedures.
We’d like to use this e-newsletter to provide you with information about the ADHP, and to learn about YOUR views before the 2008 legislative session begins on February 12th!
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association has been developing the ADHP concept for the last few years as a way to address the dental access problem. They propose to expand the scope of practice for dental hygienists to include surgical procedures. These procedures would include tooth preparation (drilling teeth), pulpotomies, and “simple” extractions, perhaps without a dentist’s supervision. It’s these aspects of the proposed ADHP that make it controversial.
As an organization, the Minnesota Dental Hygienists’ Association supports the concept, but it is unknown how many individual Minnesota dental hygienists are aware of the effort, much less understand and support it.
Most recently, two Minnesota educational institutions - Normandale Community College in Bloomington and Metropolitan State University in St. Paul - have partnered to establish a masters-level dental hygiene program scheduled to begin in 2009. Masters-level programs in dental hygiene are not new, but this particular program would train dental hygienists for “advanced dental hygiene practice.”
There are many definitions of “dental access” and there is no “magic bullet” that will provide oral health care to all who want and need it. It will take local solutions – many different ideas – to make that happen. The Minnesota Dental Association continues to inform legislators that we oppose the ADHP, and we have solutions that are comprehensive and sustainable long term.
Tell us what you think!