Can Dental Therapists Practice Outside of Traditional Dental Offices?
Dental therapists have been typically limited to operating within an office setting. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased interest in operating outside of the usual dental hygienist and dental assistant in-office parameters to better accommodate for social distancing and the general current effort to slow the spread of the virus. With many dentists moving to the gig economy of freelancing work, many are wondering if they can actually legally practice outside of a traditional dental office. Let’s take a look at the legality and see if we can help you better understand your options.
Currently, there are many states in the US that do allow dental professionals to work outside of their dental office. According to the Human Resources and Services Administration, there are around five hundred localities within the US that are short on dental hygienists. In these areas, having dental hygienists and dental assistants able to work outside of the normal offices can make a massive difference in the availability of services.
That being said, there are a lot of places that do not allow dental therapists to work outside of their offices. Currently, you can work outside of the offices in Alaska, Minnesota, Maine, Vermont, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, and Connecticut. Within these states, you can serve your community through means alternative to a brick and mortar traditional office setup.
In Wisconsin, North Dakota, Kansas, Florida, and Massachusetts, you cannot currently operate outside of traditional dental practices, but they are considering passing laws to grant this ability. If you are in these areas, contacting your representatives and local government is the first step in helping to gain access to the ability to work independently of a dental office.
The other states currently do not have any known laws in discussion to allow for dental practice outside of clinical office settings. Contacting legislators could also help to impact the lawmaking process and speed up the availability of this type of industry approach.
Impact on the Freelancing Realm
If able to work outside of a clinical setting, freelancers can better serve their community and expand their services greatly. While dental professionals can work as freelancers in most places within the country, they are still tied to in-office work. If given the opportunity to work independently, they could bring better services to a wider range of people, getting help to those in need much sooner than typically thought possible, which could prove to be life changing for those in need.
If you are interested in learning more about freelancing within the dental industry, check out Stynt! You can either sign up through the Stynt website’s information collection form or by downloading the Stynt app. Taking control of your career and helping those around you has never been easier!