Dental Hygiene Bill brings new opportunities to graduates

by Jordana Newman  |   

Governor Dunleavy signing Bill
UAA assistant professor Jessica Ross (left) and associate professor Tammy Sanderson (second left) watch as Governor Dunleavy signs dental hygiene Bill. (Photo by State of Alaska/Office of the Governor)

On August 10, Governor Dunleavy signed a Bill to allow advanced dental hygiene permits. Dental Hygiene associate professor Tammy Sanderson and assistant professor Jessica Ross were there to witness the signing and say this is exciting for the dental hygiene profession as it will allow dental hygienists to serve vulnerable populations and rural communities without the supervision of a dentist, which will ultimately improve access to oral health care. 

“As a member of the Alaska Dental Hygiene Association (AKDHA) and a tribal health board member, I was honored to bear witness to a historical day for the dental hygiene profession,” says Ross.

Ross works with Sanderson, who serves as a delegate for the state of Alaska for the American Dental Hygienists’ Association House of Delegates. Sanderson says the association will need to work with the dental board to develop regulations on traveling to those that need dental hygiene care and that this Bill could open up additional practice options for students after graduation, as well as lead to more externship opportunities and community outreach.

“I am proud of the work that the (AKDHA) has done over the years to see this Bill to fruition,” says Sanderson. “We join many other states that have similar access to care legislation. Our hope is that this Bill will provide access to oral health care for Alaska residents who have difficulty accessing dental treatment.”

To read more about the Bill, visit the Alaska State Legislature website.