The Connecticut Dental Hygienists' Association strives to provide opportunities for professional growth for registered dental hygienists in the state of Connecticut. In order to do this, it is important to stay aware of employment trends occurring nationally through communication with ADHA, and then apply those trends to the economy and client needs of our state. Your Association and lobbyists are doing that on your behalf on a daily basis!

Dental Therapist in CT! What is the Dental Therapist (DT)? Stay Tuned for More Details!

     The Dental Therapist (DT), formerly known as the Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner, is a mid level dental hygiene provider who can meet the needs of the underserved. They will practice in collaboration with a dentist.  The scope of practice between that of a Registered Dental Hygienist and a Dentist. Since the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) has published accreditation standards, the more acceptable term nationally for this provider is Dental Therapist.  Therefore, Connecticut is following that national trend.

Is access to dental care a problem in the State of Connecticut?

  • According to community-based healthcare needs assessments, almost every town and city in CT cites a shortage of dental care, especially for children, elderly, and low and middle-income adults.

  • In addition, minority populations are reported to have more difficulty getting access to dental care; creating racial and ethnic disparities.

  •  According to the Department of Public Health (DPH), as of April, 2010, Connecticut currently has 98 Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations representing all or parts of 32 towns in each of Connecticut’s 8 counties.

  • Forty percent (40%) of the state’s low-income children still do not receive preventive services and only 33 percent receive treatment services.

What is happening in other States?

  • In addition to what has already occurred in Alaska, Maine, Vermont, and Minnesota, regarding the mid level dental hygiene provider, 6 other states currently have legislation in place.

  • This is a position that is clearly not going away, as it has the potential to meet an established healthcare need.

  • More than 50 organizations including community clinics, colleges and universities, hospitals, nursing homes, medical providers, and leading nonprofits have supported the establishment of the DT.

Will the DT detract from an existing workforce?


  • The reality is that the DT will enhance and expand dental treatment to meet the needs of areas and communities that dentists are not currently addressing

  • The DT will generate revenue for the site even when primarily serving underserved or lower-paying patients

  • Study after study and nearly a century of evidence proves that dental therapists provide quality, cost-effective care.