15+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2002
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I get the ADA news out of my mailbox yesterday to read this on the front page. Obviously independent hygiene has been so successful in rural Colorado (note sarcasm), Maine had to jump on the bandwagon. The ADA News is making me angry lately. Don't worry, 3 full pages were devoted to GKAS stories about dentists who volunteer 1 day out of the whole year. Seriously, they collect our e-mail addresses, why don't they tell us about these issues ahead of time informing us on how to flood politicians with our disproval (or support if you believe the legislaton to be good) of such programs.

Augusta, Maine—In July, Maine will become the second state in the nation to allow the unsupervised practice of dental hygiene.

The bill, LD 2277, passed both houses and was signed by the governor April 15.

Currently, Colorado is the only state with unlimited unsupervised dental hygiene practice. Another 18 states allow hygienists to practice with limited supervision, though state laws restrict the setting, the hygiene services or the duration of time over which hygiene care may be provided.

John Bastey, the Maine Dental Association's director of governmental affairs, said the outcome is one of several unfavorable proposals referred last year to the state's Department of Professional and Financial Regulation for sunrise review.

Three other approaches to addressing access needs were proposed in the most recent session.

"Creation of a separate licensing board for denturists and hygienists was a nonstarter for MDA, as were the concepts of licensing graduates from non-CODA accredited dental schools and an advanced practice dental hygienist who could perform restorative care and extractions," said Mr. Bastey.

"The MDA executive board thoroughly discussed the idea of independent hygiene practice," said Mr. Bastey. "It was obvious that the legislature was determined to act on the access issue, so the board decided they would not oppose it since it seemed to be the least-worst option."

An MDA-proposed amendment to the bill requiring independent practicing hygienists to have collaborative agreements with a dentist was not approved.

However, MDA was successful in its opposition to another aspect of the bill. After LD 2277 was written, the state's denturists submitted an amendment calling for a separate subcommittee that would have enabled denturists to write their own rules separate from the state's board of dental examiners.

"That changed the Maine Dental Association's position to 'against,' " said Mr. Bastey. "We lobbied hard against that portion of the bill and were successful."

The MDA achieved a significant victory in this past legislative session through passage of an MDA-originated bill to give new dentists to the state a $15,000 tax credit for five years starting Jan. 1, 2009. The pilot program of two years' duration will be limited to five dentists each year and the dentists will have to practice in underserved areas.

"After the pilot runs its course, a report to the taxation committee will guide what happens next," said Mr. Bastey. "If it is successful, as we think it will be, we will ask for a larger number of dentists to be covered. Our original bill was much larger in scope, but in a very tight budget year we were pleased to get anything through the legislature that had a cost attached to it. Ours was one of only a few that made it through."

The MDA was also able to exempt amalgam from inclusion in a child safety bill and support a provision that allows retired military dentists to reduce their tax burden by taking a credit against their military retirement pensions, said Mr. Bastey.

The ADA is supporting the Maine Dental Association advocacy efforts through its State Public Affairs program.


10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2006
West of MLK
Dental Student
Agreed :thumbup:

My roommates and I got that publication days ago and share the same sentiments.



10+ Year Member
Jan 6, 2008
When I first graduated, the ADA had some nice publications for young dentists about starting out in practice. Now that I've been out a few years I need a reminder as to what exactly my dues go towards!?! They claim to fight the good fight but I sure as hell don't see it. The part that really bothers me is that the leadership there is BS... where the heck do they pull these numnutz out of to run them. God knows we sure don't vote for them. In all the years ADA has been around you'd think at a minimum they could at least get a national flouridation bill passed!


Senior Member
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2000
Brooklyn, ct
In all the years ADA has been around you'd think at a minimum they could at least get a national flouridation bill passed!
The problem with that is that there's what 250,000 or so dentists in the U.S., most of whom could care less about their local politicans, who would LOVE the concept of national fluoridation. There's alot more "internet scare tatic anti-fluoridation psychos" who do a better job at mobilizing their troops to the legislators attention than we do.

If you want to get a politicians ear, very often you need to either make alot of noise or host a fund raiser for them.

In terms of our involvement in the ADA as dentists, big pictre the ADA does a decent job on most areas, especially given the typically far less than 50% membership turnout that happens at most constituent society meetings, and getting members more involved is a priority for the ADA (trust me as president elect of my local component society I get a number of flyers/mailings/e-mails about ways that I can try and increase involvement amongst my societies members).

The big battle we as dentists will have with most any type of mid-level provider (independent hygenist, advanced dental health practictioner, dental health aid therapist, etc) is that our medical colleagues have a relatively successful mid-level provider in the form of the nurse practitioner, and to a woefully dentally uninformed politician, the quick assumption that they'll make is that if it works for medicine it must be able to work for dentistry, and in a more cost effective way. There lies the problem, our apathy combined with politicians ignorance. :scared: