Medical and Dental Professionals
The ADH has developed a number of new statewide dental initiatives through various partnerships. Read our latest Arkansas Oral Health Surveillance Plan, which outlines our initiatives to promote oral health in Arkansas. A few are highlighted below.
Many Arkansans have limited access to routine preventive care, which can lead to untreated decay. In 2011, Arkansas passed important legislation to combat this issue, Act 89 and Act 90.
Act 89: Dental Hygiene Collaborative Care
- In 2011, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 89 which lead to the development of the Dental Hygienist Collaborative Care Program (DHCC). This allows registered dental hygienists who work under collaborative care permits with licensed dentists to deliver preventive dental services in a public setting to underserved children and older adults.
- To participate in Dental Hygiene Collaborative Care, you must fill out an ADH Office of Oral Health Application and an Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners permit application.
Arkansas has a total of 75 counties, 54 of which are rural. Sixty percent of the state’s dentists practice in just eight of the state’s 75 counties, although these eight counties have only 40 percent of the state’s population. Nineteen Arkansas counties are designated whole or in part Dental Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSA). Five counties have no dentists at all.
Arkansas Dental Health Professional Shortage Area Map
- Consulting dentists and collaborative care dental hygienists must apply with the Office of Oral Health in the Arkansas Department of Health for permission to practice collaborative care in qualifying underserved areas. That permission must be confirmed annually.
- The Office of Oral Health is required to develop and maintain a list of communities and/or rural areas prioritized as the need for dental services so that collaborative services can be directed to those areas in greatest need.
Making It Happen
Those hygienists wishing to practice Dental Hygiene Collaborative Care in conjunction with their consulting dentist must apply for permits from both the ADH’s Office of Oral Health and the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners.
- Arkansas Department of Health/Office of Oral Health Application for Collaborative Practice
- Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners DHCC permit application
- Arkansas State Board of Health Rules & Regulations for Dental Hygiene Collaborative Care
- Collaborative Practice Report-School Tiers
- Dental Practice Act: Article XIX Dental Hygienist Collaborative Care Program
Act 90: Fluoride Varnish Provider Expansion
Despite advancements in water fluoridation, patient education and the dental workforce, an increase in childhood tooth decay still exists. In response, the United States Preventive Services Task Force proposed the application of fluoride varnish by medical providers. In 2011, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 90 allowing Arkansas physicians, nurses, and other licensed health care professionals in addition to dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants to apply and get reimbursed for fluoride varnish. Medical providers can serve as the first line of defense against cavities since they tend to see children more often and sooner than dentists. Here’s a video on how fluoride varnish is applied at a well-child visit.
Paint A Smile
The Office of Oral Health has developed a program called Paint A Smile to introduce fluoride varnishes to medical personnel in Arkansas. This is an ideal time for medical personnel to perform oral risk assessments, apply fluoride varnish, and encourage the caregivers to connect with a dental home for routine dental care.
- Close the gaps that exist for children who do not have regular access to comprehensive dental care
- Reduce the risk of dental caries
- Initiate a referral to a dental home
- Educate caregivers about tooth decay and prevention
Fluoride Varnish Training
To start applying fluoride varnish in your office please contact us HERE to schedule a free, on-site training with one of our knowledgeable Smile Ambassadors. This training will provide your office with:
- More personalized information
- Fluoride Varnish Starter Kit
- State-specific billing codes
- Lessons learned from other offices
You can also become certified to apply fluoride varnish through Arkansas Train, an online training network. Please review these instructions and go to https://ar.train.org/ to complete the required course.
- Course Title: Caries Risk Assessment, Fluoride Varnish and Counseling
- Course ID: 1040373