Registered Dental Hygienists in Alternative Practice: Increasing Access to Dental Care in California

May 2008

In 1998, California officially recognized a new dental health profession: the Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP). RDHAPs may practice unsupervised in homes, schools, residential facilities and other institutions, and in Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas. Recent RDHAP licensees (over two hundred in the last few years) have been able to set up practices successfully. This study examines the process of development and implementation of the RDHAP in California and the impact this new provider is having on access to dental care.