Access to care and the allied oral health care workforce in Kansas: perceptions of Kansas dental hygienists and scaling dental assistants

J Dent Educ. 2006 Mar;70(3):263-78.


Access to oral health care continues to be a problem in the United States. Research has called for innovative approaches to improve access to oral health care and reduce oral health care disparities. Successful alternate approaches have been reported. In 1998 the Kansas Legislature passed a proposal to enhance access to care and manpower needs by allowing dental assistants to provide supragingival scaling, a service traditionally assigned to dental hygienists. In 2000, Mitchell et al. investigated the perceptions of Kansas dental hygienists and scaling dental assistants in relation to House Bill 2724 (HB 2724), which allows dental assistants to perform coronal scaling. The intent of the study was to collect baseline data in relation to HB 2724. The purpose of the present study was to follow up on the impact of HB 2724 six years after legislation. Both groups report satisfaction with their professions: scaling dental assistants believe the delivery of care in Kansas has changed, and areas of Kansas previously noted as dental health professional shortage areas are now served by either a registered dental hygienist or scaling dental assistant.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Dental Assistants / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Dental Assistants / psychology
  • Dental Assistants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Hygienists / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Dental Hygienists / psychology*
  • Dental Prophylaxis*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Kansas
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce