I am a registered dental hygienist in Weber County. Currently our state organization, the Utah Dental Hygiene Association, is taking a bill to the senate.
We are concerned about the unmet dental needs of citizens in our state. Currently our license doesn't allow us to work in a rest home, a hospital, or other health care institutions without supervision of a dentist. We realize that the dentist's have their own practices to run, and thankfully many dentists do take time to volunteer hours of dental work, yet the unmet need continues.
Due to the link of oral inflammation and systemic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, preterm delivery and low birth weight newborns, it is critical to manage oral inflammation not only for oral health, but also to maintain the general health of patients, especially those in institutions.
We as registered dental hygienists are asking that the senate allow us to care for those in health care settings without a dentist on the premises, but still in contact with us so that we may refer the patients with dental needs, such as cavities or abscesses, to a dentist or set up a day at the institution when a dentist can come to do the necessary work.
We realize that it will take alot of volunteer hours and monetary grants to get started, but at least we will be able to sleep better at night knowing that we are trying to make a difference to those who can't or don't make it to a dentist regularly.