Dental Health Aide

At a Glance

Years in School (after high school graduation):

2 years or less

Hourly Wage:

$13.80-$29.64 (Mean $20.94)
*Based on 2016 Alaska DOL data for Community Health Workers

One-page Description (PDF):

Dental Health Aide

Professional Activities

Like Community Health Aides/Practitioners, Dental Health Aides (DHAs) are unique to Alaska, and provide care to individuals in remote communities without regular access to dentists. DHAs live in rural Alaskan villages and deliver dental disease prevention and education services. The Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs), one type of DHA, can perform minor irreversible procedures such as cavity removal, fillings and simple extractions.  DHA’s assist dentists and other dental health care providers during their trips to their communities.  DHAs are supervised by a dentist or other dental providers.  DHAs generally live and work in remote areas, communicating regularly with their supervisor by telemedicine, telephone, e-mail, or radio. Some DHAs practice in the regional hub facilities with dental support provided locally.

Dental Health Aides are generally employed by a tribal health organization or, less often, by their tribal councils. Tribal health organizations usually make the selection for employment and training.  Some DHAs work as itinerants, working in a number of different villages each year.

Educational Requirements

  • There are currently 6 levels of dental health aides, each with their own educational requirements and scope of work and standards. Primary Dental Health Aide I & II, Expanded Function Dental Health Aide I & II, Dental Health Aide Therapist, and Dental Health Aide Hygienist.
  • A high school diploma or GED certificate are standard requirements for admission to DHA training (exception: DHA Hygienist, see below)
  • While not a requirement for admission, college level coursework is recommended for students considering DHAT
  • The Dental Health Aide Hygienist requires a license to practice as a dental hygienist and completion of approved classes in local anesthesia.
  • All DHAs may obtain certification at their level of training by meeting program requirements determined by the CHA Program Certification Board.

Academic Programs

Dental Health Aide educational sessions are organized by the Tribal Regional Health Organizations such as Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Juneau or the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel, and are usually held at a hub dental program. The DHAT Educational Program is held in Anchorage and Bethel. Contact your local dental program or tribal health program for more information.

More information can also be found at the following websites:
Website: http://www.dentexak.washington.edu
Website: http://www.akchap.org/html/calendar/dha-training-sessions.html
Website: http://anthcoralhealth.org/

Contacts

State Contact:

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Dr. Mary Williard
Phone: (907) 729-5600
Email: mewilliard@anmc.org

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