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J Evid Based Dent Pract. 2016 Jun;16 Suppl:113-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jebdp.2016.02.002. Epub 2016 Feb 17.

Complexities of Providing Dental Hygiene Services in Community Care Settings.

Author information

1
BSDH, MPH, JD, Department of Patient Management, School of Dentistry, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, USA. Electronic address: zarkowp1@udmercy.edu.
2
DDS, JD, MHSA, Department of Patient Management, School of Dentistry, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, USA.

Abstract

Direct access care provided by dental hygienists can reduce oral health disparities for the underserved, yet legal, regulatory, and ethical considerations create complexities and limits.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Individual state dental practice acts regulate the scope of practice and level of supervision required when dental hygienists deliver care. Yet, inconsistent state practice act regulations contribute to ethical and legal limitations and dilemmas for practitioners. The dental hygienist is positioned to assume an increasingly larger role in the management of oral health disparities. However, there are several legal and ethical considerations that impact both dental hygienists and dentists providing care in complex community settings. This article informs dental hygienists and other related constituencies about conundrums that are encountered when providing care 'beyond the operatory.'

METHODS:

An evidence-based view of ways in which dental hygienists are reducing oral health disparities illustrates the complex issues involved in providing such care. Potential scenarios that can occur during care provision in underserved settings provide the basis for a discussion of legal and other associated issues impacting dental hygiene practice.

KEYWORDS:

Access to care; Ethical; Legal; Scope of practice

PMID:
27237004
DOI:
10.1016/j.jebdp.2016.02.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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