About Dental Therapy

Dental Therapy Summary

House Bill 308-signed into law March 2019

PURPOSE: to improve oral health and access to dental care services for rural, tribal and underserved urban New Mexicans.

1. Establishes the profession of DENTAL THERAPIST (midlevel provider):


Graduation from a dental therapy program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Completion of a post-graduate clinical experience of 1500-2000 hours for certain procedures under general supervision.

Licensure Requirements

RDH license, jurisprudence exam, graduation from accredited program, clinical board exam

Supervision and Scope of Practice

A Dental Therapist Practice Agreement with a dentist is required to establish parameters and protocols. A supervising dentist is limited to supervising up to 3 DT's (1:3 ratio)

General supervision (off -site supervision by a dentist) fabrication/placement of temporary crowns, re-cementation of permanent crowns, adjustments/repairs to partials/dentures, administration of analgesics and antibiotics per dentist's orders, placement of temporary restorations, and palliative treatment.

Indirect Supervision (dentist is in facility) or General Supervision after completion of a dental therapy post-graduate clinical experience: Cavity preparation/restoration of primary and permanent teeth; preliminary fitting/ shaping of stainless steel crowns.

Limited Practice Settings

  • Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and FQHC “look-alike” facilities
  • Indian Health Service (IHS) facility
  • 638 tribally operated facility
  • non-profit community clinics
  • dental therapy educational institutions
  • long term care/homebound

Other components of HB308:

2. Requires an annual report from the Department of Health, in consultation with the Board of Dental Health Care, to the Legislative Finance Committee and Legislative Health and Human Services Committee to review and make recommendations regarding:

  • Medicaid reimbursement and administrative process;
  • availability of loan repayment for students serving in rural and underserved areas;
  • facilitating a BA/DDS program;
  • a biennial report regarding the status of dental therapy implementation.

3. Requires students to obtain or opt-out of a DENTAL EXAM prior to school enrollment.

4. Requires the DIRECTOR of the Office of Oral Health be a DENTAL PROFESSIONAL.

5. Requires an OUTCOME REPORT 5 yrs after licensure of first Dental Therapy class.