In a little over one week, on October 10, 2019, the NC State Board of Dental Examiners is holding a public hearing, at their office: 2000 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 160, Morrisville, NC, to discuss proposed rule changes that will address the overwhelming need for access to care.

The proposed rule changes will allow public health dental hygienists to provide dental hygiene services without a prior examination by a dentist! We encourage you to attend the upcoming hearing and submit written comments in support of these changes. It only takes a few minutes to provide a supportive comment!

All comments are due by November 15th! 


The Board is proposing amendments to Rule 21 NCAC 16W, .0101, which defines the direction of public health dental hygienists in North Carolina. The proposed amendments to this rule include:

Section (b) The specific clinical procedures delegated to the hygienist shall be completed in accordance with a written order from the dentist, within 120 270 days of the dentist’s in-person evaluation of the patient. 

Section (d) A public health hygienist may provide educational information, such as instruction in brushing and flossing, without the Direction direction of a licensed dentist is not required for public health hygienists who provide only educational information, such as instruction in brushing and 

The Board is also considering a new rule for adoption that addresses dental access to underserved areas. Proposed Rule 21 NCAC 16W .0104 reads as follows:

(a) Public health hygienists who are practicing under Rule .0101(a) of this Section and who perform procedures in 6 public schools, nursing homes, rest homes, long-term care facilities, and rural and community clinics operated by federal, State, county, or local governments in areas identified by the Office of Rural Health in the Department of Health and Human Services as dental access shortage areas may: 

(1) perform clinical hygiene procedures as described in G.S. 90-221 under the direction of a dentist 10 based on a written standing order, rather than an in-person evaluation by the dentist as set forth in Rule .0101(c) of this Section; and

(2) supervise a Dental Assistant who assists the public health hygienists in the procedures described in 13 Subparagraph (a)(1) of this Rule.

(b) Public health hygienists working under supervision of a dentist in accordance with G.S. 90-233(a) and providing services at facilities identified in Paragraph (a) of this Rule who are performing services pursuant to a written order from the dentist must complete the procedures ordered within 270 days.

(c) Dentists providing services at facilities pursuant to Paragraph (a) of this Rule are providing public health services and may supervise more than two public health hygienists at the same time who are performing dental hygiene functions.

We encourage you to read all the information related to these proposed rule changes and proposed amendments and support your profession by attending the public hearing, providing written testimonies and verbal testimonies at the hearing.

Written testimonies should be e-mailed to Mr. Bobby White  by November 15, 2019. 

Brigette Easter
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