Senator Ling Ling Chang announced today key legislation to expand dental hygiene care was approved by the State Senate. SB 653 will improve access to preventive dental hygiene care by allowing Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs) to work in more public health settings. Registered Dental Hygienists and Registered Dental Hygienists in Alternative Practice (RDHAPs) make up a workforce that is underutilized, yet stand ready to provide more care to more people in more places.
"Too often dental care gets overshadowed in our health care system but the reality is California has the highest rate of emergency department use in the nation for preventable dental conditions," said Senator Chang. " Emergency room use is extremely problematic due to the high cost and the long wait times. We need to use every tool we have to prevent this from happening."
SB 653 will significantly improve patients' access to preventive dental hygiene care by allowing RDHs to work in more public health settings, apply fluoride varnish without supervision, partner with dentists and physicians in medical settings; and offer local anesthetic services they already provide in more settings with safety protocols.
The legislation is supported by the California Dental Hygienists' Association, California Dental Association, and Children Now an advocacy organization dedicated to the wellbeing of kids.
SB 653 now goes to the State Assembly for consideration.