Which States Allow Dental Hygienists to Own Their Own Practice

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In the evolving landscape of dental healthcare, an intriguing development has been the push for dental hygienists to own their own practices.

This movement isn’t just about professional growth; it’s a potential game-changer in how dental services are delivered, particularly in underserved communities.

This article delves into the varied state laws governing dental hygienist practice ownership, providing insights into where and how these healthcare professionals can operate independently.

USA States Allow Dental Hygienists to Own Their Own Practice

Pioneering States for Hygienist Practice Ownership

  • Exploring the Trailblazers

In the forefront of this revolution are states like Colorado and Washington. Colorado, for instance, has allowed dental hygienists to own their practices since 1986.

These states have set a precedent, demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of such models.

  • Impact Data

Statistics from these pioneering states are telling. In Colorado, over 30% of dental hygienist-owned practices cater to rural or under-served populations, a significant contribution to public health.

States with Progressive Dental Laws

  • The Reform Leaders

States like New Mexico and Maine have recently updated their laws, allowing greater autonomy for dental hygienists. These changes often come after persistent advocacy and are driven by a need to expand dental care access.

  • Visuals/Anecdotes

An infographic illustrating Maine’s legislative journey from restrictive to progressive dental laws vividly shows the shift towards more inclusive healthcare models.

States with Restrictive Practices

  • The Tight Grip

Conversely, states like Alabama and Mississippi maintain stringent laws. In these regions, dental hygienists face significant barriers to practice ownership, tethering them firmly to dentist-led models.

  • Comparative Analysis

A side-by-side comparison with progressive states underscores the disparities in healthcare delivery models and their potential impact on public health.

States on the Cusp of Change

  • Almost There

Texas and Florida are currently reviewing their dental practice laws. Proposals under consideration could open new opportunities for dental hygienists in these populous states.

  • Insider Quotes

Quotes from lawmakers and healthcare advocates in these states provide a window into the ongoing debates and the potential for future change.

The Economic Impact of Hygienist-Owned Practices

  • Financial Perspective

Economically, hygienist-owned practices often operate with lower overheads, making dental care more affordable. This model can stimulate local economies and provide cost-effective care.

  • Case Studies

Success stories, like a hygienist-owned clinic in rural Oregon that significantly reduced cavity rates in the community, illustrate the tangible benefits of this model.

Patient Care and Community Impact

  • Healthcare Benefits

These practices often prioritize preventive care, leading to better overall oral health in the communities they serve.

  • Patient Testimonials

Stories from patients who’ve received care in these settings highlight the personalized attention and increased accessibility that these practices offer.


This exploration into state laws governing dental hygienist practice ownership reveals a complex but evolving landscape.

From pioneering states setting a precedent to those on the cusp of legislative change, the movement towards hygienist-owned practices is gaining momentum.

These models hold the promise of more accessible, affordable, and community-focused dental care. As laws continue to evolve, they will undoubtedly shape the future of dental healthcare delivery, with potential ripple effects on broader public health outcomes.

This shift not only empowers dental hygienists but also paves the way for a more inclusive healthcare system where quality care is within reach of every community.

Dr. Mary G. Trice

About Dr. Mary

Dr. Mary G. Trice is a renowned pedodontist based in Queens, NY. With an unwavering dedication to children's dental health. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Trice is the writer and manager behind the informative platform pediatricdentistinqueensny.com. Through this site, she offers valuable insights, tips, and resources for parents and guardians, aiming to bridge the gap between professional dental care and everyday oral hygiene practices at home.