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Community-Based Dental Care: An Alternative Approach to Improve Access to Dental Providers

Course Number: 552

Training and Workforce Regulations

Specific training and workforce regulations should be taken into consideration right from the beginning. All providers must have full knowledge of the dental practice act for the specific state in which the project will be delivered. The best source of information for projects that are outside the mainstream is the state dental board. This agency can provide a thorough analysis of the intentions of the project and use of personnel and deliver advice on staying within the law. Some states have specific permits that must be secured by the dental hygienist before working in public health settings.55,56 Additional education may be required for the dental hygienist to secure these permits.55,56

In addition to following the dental practice act, one must be compliant with other state, county and city regulations. The use of portable radiograph equipment may require supplemental training and permits. This information can be obtained through the state’s department of health. Also, do not neglect the need for city or county permits for construction and remodeling that may be necessary at your site.

Specific continuing education courses may be required. These are often courses related to the special permit for care in public health settings. Even if such courses are not required, knowledge in the field of public health can be valuable. Advancing education by enrolling in a degree completion or graduate program is a possible avenue, specifically with the focus on dental and/or public health. Often colleges and universities offer a certificate in public health. This certificate typically involves 12 credit hours in courses which may lead to a master’s degree in public health. Often, such certificate programs are offered in an online format.57,58 National and state associations offer continuing education courses annually that relate to the delivery of care to special population groups.