A retired dentist plans to ask the state next week to change its rules as to what procedures dental hygienists are allowed to perform.
John Echternach, who has spent 40 years in dentistry with a practice in Henniker, New Hampshire, and 20 years involved with the New Hampshire Dental Society, said on Tuesday that he’ll be before the Vermont Board of Dental Examiners next week to make his pitch, which is that registered dental hygienists should be allowed to do the same procedures they’re currently allowed to do in 22 other states.
“Dental hygienists are very highly trained, very knowledgeable people, so much more so than what most people understand,” said Echternach. “At this point, in Vermont, they are not really allowed to provide clinical care at the top of their game.”
He said he wants the board to allow dental hygienists in Vermont to perform what he calls “no drill” fillings.
“We have available to us today chemotherapeutic agents that can arrest, stop, decay, and then we can cover the decay, we can fill the decayed areas with a biocompatible material, and we don’t have to drill the tooth,” he said.