Bill would allow dental hygienists to administer topical pain relievers

By Lucas Wiseman
The Columbian/Murrow News Service

Dental hygienists may be able to help alleviate the pain of a dentist visit if legislation passes in the House of Representatives this session.

House Bill 1330, proposed by Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver,would allow dental hygienists to administer topical pain-relieving medication to a patient, under supervision of a dentist.

The bill specifies that the dentist does not need to be present for the dental hygienist to administer the medicine, but they must have made a patient diagnosis beforehand.

Moeller said the purpose behind the bill is twofold. The bill would correct an outdated department of health statement and give dental hygienists permission to administer topical anesthetics, and it would also allow dental hygienists to care for patients that cannot leave their home because of a disability.

Moeller said the bill was brought to him by dental hygienists. The proposal received unanimous support in the House, excluding the three lawmakers who did not vote that day.

The bill received a public hearing today in the Senate Health Care Committee.

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