Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2298
By: Thompson
Public Health


Current law provides that to qualify for a license to practice dental
hygiene, an applicant must be a graduate of a recognized school of
dentistry or dental hygiene. Often, such schools require a commitment of
two years or more for a person to graduate. The number of dental hygienists
as a proportion of the state's population has declined during the past
decade and the shortage of hygienists is an obstacle to providing oral
hygiene services to citizens of the state, including underserved inner city
and rural populations. Offering substantially equivalent, alternate
training could increase the supply of hygienists and expand the
availability of oral hygiene services in the state. House Bill 2298
establishes dental hygiene equivalency training programs.  


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 2298 amends the Occupations Code to establish dental hygiene
equivalency training programs (programs). The bill provides that to qualify
for a license to practice dental hygiene, an applicant may substitute
evidence satisfactory to the State Board of Dental Examiners (board) that
the applicant has completed a program approved by the board for graduation
from a recognized school of dentistry or dental hygiene.  

The bill provides that a program must require hygiene students to complete
four semesters of didactic education offered by an institution accredited
by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental
Association, which includes instruction in anatomy, pharmacology, x-ray,
ethics, jurisprudence, and hygiene. The bill sets forth requirements for
not less than 1,000 hours of clinical training under the direct supervision
of a dentist during a 12-month period.  

Prior to commencing clinical training, the bill requires that a hygiene
student must have completed no less than two years of full-time employment
in a position involving clinical duties with dental patients. The bill
authorizes clinical training to occur simultaneously with didactic
education. The bill provides that a hygiene student who completes the
requirements of a program must satisfactorily pass the examination required
for all applicants for a dental hygienist license. The bill sets forth the
qualifications for a  dentist and dental hygienist who train a hygiene
student. The bill provides that a dentist who supervises a dental hygienist
in training has the same liability for acts performed by the hygienist as
if the hygienist were trained in a different manner. The bill requires the
board to implement a dental hygiene training equivalency program no later
than January 1, 2002.  


September 1, 2001.