It is only through membership and volunteerism that our profession has come so far.
On March 28, 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law HB308, establishing dental therapy. It was the culmination of many years of working with legislators, coalitions groups, the dental association and many others too numerous to mention. Special thanks to our lobbyist Debbie Maestas Traynor, hygienists throughout the state, and our bill sponsors Doreen Gallegos, Gail Armstrong, Benny Shendo and previously, Dennis Roch.
How soon will dental therapists be practicing in New Mexico? First, the rules need to be promulgated to support the statute. A subcommittee of the Board of Dental Health Care is in the process of drafting the rules. They may be viewed on the board website; comments are welcome. A public hearing is planned April 24, 2020 at which time additional comments can be submitted prior to the board making its final decision and adopting the rules.
The statute requires dental therapy educational programs in New Mexico to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Any institution of higher education can apply for the CODA accreditation. According to CODA, the curriculum must include at least three academic years of full time instruction or its equivalent with consideration given to dental hygienists for advanced standing; thus, the length of a dental therapy program could vary depending on how the institution structures its educational program. Dental therapists in New Mexico are required to be dental hygienists.
In order for a dental therapist to perform restorations under general supervision, he or she must complete additional education of 2000 hours, or 1500 hours for a dental hygienist who has five years of experience.
Legislative Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org