Dental Hygiene in Community Settings: Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice

Today’s dental hygienist is no longer limited to providing care in a traditional dental setting. This toolkit provides guidance regarding collaborative dental hygiene practice and how you can become part of a "community dental team".    

Toolkit: Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice (CDHP) in Community Settings

A Collaborative Agreement Template and Creating Your Collaborative Agreement tutorial can be found in the next section.

Click HERE to register (or dissolve) a collaborative agreement with the Minnesota Board of Dentistry 

Click HERE  for Collaborative Agreement Needed or Not Needed: That is the question

Click HERE for Frequently Asked Questions re: Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice   

Click HERE to access the Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) Dental Provider Manual/Dental Services pages (Minnesota Department of Human Services) 

OSAP Infection Control Dental Programs Using Mobile Vans and Portable Dental Equipment: toolkit: factsheets, site assessment, checklists.  Click HERE

Ohio Safety Net Dental Clinics (Ohio Department of Health): an online portal of tools and information relating to safety net clinic operations. Click HERE

Featuring: A Day in the Life of...

Forging Change as a Collaborative Practice Dental Hygienist (video 14:15)
Eva Romero -  Whittier Clinic and Hennepin Healthcare

Eva Romero video link


Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice: Making a Difference in Oral Health Care in a Twin Cities Homeless Shelter (audio file 2:33) 

Click Minnesota Community Care, St. Paul (formerly West Side Community Health Services)   

        Lynn Anderson   Lynn Anderson, RDH   




Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice: Providing Oral Health Services for People in a Twin Cities Day Center (audio file 2:46)

Click Sharing and Caring Hands Dental Clinic, Minneapolis
Melissa Cozart, RDH 


      Minnesota Oral Health Coalition Infomars



                             Click HERE to access the Infomar video

                             Click HERE to access the Infomar slides (pdf) 

                             June 23, 20202 (51:14)


                            Click HERE to access the Infomar video 

                            June 2, 2020 (1:00)

Silver Diamine Fluoride: Adding Caries Arrest to Your Clinical Practice
Minnesota Dental Hygienists’ Association CE Meeting
Presentation on January 17, 2020
Heather Luebben, ADT, LDH and Deborah Jacobi, RDH, MA from Apple Tree Dental introduced Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), shared Apple Tree’s experience adding SDF as a treatment option including educating staff, patients, and partners about this still relatively new caries arresting medicament, application tips, clinical cases, and SDF’s implications for dental hygienists as educators and clinicians. Links to resources are included.
Click HERE for a handout of the presentation. (Note: large file)

Video Tutorials   
             Nancy Franke Wilson, Executive Director, Minnesota Oral Health Coalition

Grant Basics  May 18, 2018   

Click HERE to download the video (1:02:18)
Click HERE to download the companion PowerPoint handout 
Click HERE to download a Handy Links Resource Page                                                                              
Starting a Non-Profit 101  
Nancy Franke Wilson 
Click HERE to download the video (29:03)
  • To define and give an understanding of what it means to be a non-profit 
  • Review the types of non-profits
  • Give an overview of the steps to gaining non-profit status
  • Answer the question: "Do I really need to start a non-profit organization to meet my goals?"
     Closed Captioning (CC) is available within this video.

Assessing the State of Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice in Minnesota: Report on the Survey of Licensed Dental Hygienists Click HERE January 2020; Normandale Community College.  (Note: large file) 

Issue Brief: Collaborative Practice as a Strategy for Increasing Access to Oral Health Care in Minnesota
May 31, 2019 The Network for Public Health Law Click HERE
This Issue Brief focuses on collaborative practice models as a strategy to increase access to oral health care for underserved communities in Minnesota. Part I of this Issue Brief outlines new workforce data from the Minnesota Department of Health to help put the oral health workforce landscape in perspective. Part II then describes how collaborative practice models utilizing dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental therapists can improve access to care for those who need it most.

Collaborative Agreement Template and Tutorial

*Reviewed by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, Minnesota Dental Hygienists'
Association and Minnesota Dental Association 


Click: Creating Your Collaborative Agreement

How to navigate the voice-over PowerPoint tutorial: (17 minutes)

* Large file: download time is dependent on your Internet speed.
The video contains audio--turn up your volume.
* T
he video auto-advances. 
Happy learning! 

Statutes (Laws), Rules and Regulations

Click HERE to find Minnesota Statutes 150A.10, subd. 1a (law) that authorizes Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice in Community Settings and describes the community settings in which collaborative practice dental hygienists may provide care.     


Click HERE to find Minnesota Administrative Rules 3100.8700 that lists/describes dental hygiene scope of practice/procedures that may be provided by a collaborative practice dental hygienist under general supervision and as outlined in a written collaborative agreement. 


Click HERE for: Understanding the complexity of employment law and worker rights

Coffee Talk Videos: How to Get Started (earn CE credit)

  Are you thinking about collaborative dental hygiene practice as a professional option? This is a great place to start...  

                                Coffee Talk Screen Shot

Dental Hygienists and Dentists: learn how YOU can: 

*Expand the number of dental hygienists who provide more people with access to preventive and therapeutic services and help in finding a dental home.  

*Create a collaborative agreement between a licensed dental hygienist and dentist authorizing provision of dental hygiene services in settings such as schools, Head Start centers, long term care settings, mobile dental units, etc. as specified by law and when a dentist need not be on site. 

* Obtain 2 no-cost 'fundamental' continuing dental education credits* 
View all five Coffee Talk videos (50 minutes, total)   
   - Print out the objectives/presenter biographies page
   - Print out and answer the questions related to each video (45 minutes, total). Answer key is 
       provided with each set of questions. 

Note: A printout of the objectives and completed questions will serve as documentation for your professional portfolio. Continuing Dental Education (CE) credit has been approved by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry.     

Closed Captioning (CC) is available within each video.                         


Objectives/Presenter Biographies for CE Credit HERE

Coffee Talk 1   State of the Union (7:47)
                         Download video HERE 
Download CE questions HERE

Coffee Talk 2   Unraveling the Mysteries - Part I 
Download video HERE  
                        Download CE questions HERE 

Coffee Talk 3   Unraveling the Mysteries - Part II 
Download video HERE 
Download CE questions HERE 

Coffee Talk 4   Good News and Addressing Challenges 
Download video HERE 
Download CE questions HERE

Coffee Talk 5   Looking to the Future (10:41) 
Download video HERE
Download CE questions HERE

Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice: A Professional Option (CDHP)

Collaborative dental hygiene practice in community settings results in more people with access to preventive and therapeutic services and in finding a dental home. 

April 16, 2020

Creating a Dentist-Dental Hygienist Collaborative Relationship

Tell me about the Let's Smile story, and how you found your collaborative dentist.
I was a sub at a dental practice in my hometown, covering for a hygienist who was on medical leave. Being in that position provided a wonderful opportunity to develop a professional relationship with the dentist owner. I noticed that he participates in Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) and sponsors local children’s park and rec teams. In 2013, I approached him with the idea of becoming a collaborative dentist for me. I explained my plan to provide dental hygiene services to low income children and adolescents through non-traditional practice based in school-based clinics. He was hesitant at first since he had not heard of this concept. I provided him with
information found on the Normandale Community College “21st Century Dental Team” website regarding Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice in Community Settings. These are fantastic resources!

The dentist was under the impression that he would have to take all the referrals of the children seen by Let’s Smile. He was a current provider for Delta Dental Civic Smiles, Medicaid/Medical Assistance (MA) and UCare, however, the number of patients in his office on MA is limited and only to existing patients. I found three local offices that would accept Let’s Smile’s MA patients and assured him that I would only use his office as a referral source for GKAS.

What were some of the more difficult things you had to figure out when first practicing as a Collaborative Practice Dental Hygienist?
One thing we worked on was how referrals would work, because the dental practice couldn't handle all of them. To solve for this, I needed to find offices that I could refer to.

How did you accomplish that?
I called around and found other dental offices in the area that would
accept MA and referrals. I send most of my referrals to a dental office in a neighboring city. We have a really special relationship and model that makes it a win-win-win for everybody! Let’s Smile contracts with one of their collaborative hygienists for each school-based dental clinic day.  Then, we refer the patients to that dental practice (as well as 2 other locations) for follow up care. Dental therapists in the dental practice see the kids for follow up care when needed. This makes for continuation of care and an ongoing relationship to a dental home. This model is how we make our program sustainable.

You mentioned you have had 2 collaborative dentists, right?
Yes, after three years my collaborative dentist had some growing concerns over liability issues and chose to no longer participate as Let’s Smile’s collaborative dentist.  

I then researched dentists that were active in my community. I became aware of another dentist who also participates in GKAS and sponsors local sports teams.  He was and still is on the board of the Children’s Remedial Fund. He was and still is an active member of the Minnesota Dental Association. When I approached asked him to be my collaborative dentist, he already had knowledge of how a collaborative agreement works. He very graciously said yes! He wanted to use this model to reach and impact underserved families. He is a current provider for MA and had limited his practice to patients of record. I reassured him that Let’s Smile had a strong referral arrangement already with a dental practice which helped with his decision to participate.  He attends the Let’s Smile board meetings, offers me advice, and is a true advocate for oral health care.

Do you have any other tips for hygienists looking to partner with a dentist in a collaborative agreement?
Begin by researching the dentists in your area. How involved are they in 
the community? What are they doing for the kids (or the populations that you serve)? Do they volunteer? Look for dentists that want to make a difference, and brainstorm together about how it can be done.

What would you say to dental hygienists hesitant about asking a dentist to form a collaborative agreement?
I would just say get curious about why you are hesitant. Perhaps, you don't 
fully understand the power you could have together! Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice has the potential to make a HUGE impact in your community and the communities around you. In the end, the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. Then, just continue to ask around until you hear YES! Believe me, there ARE dentists out there who want to support new and non-traditional ways of delivering care-- especially during these trying times.

Holly Jorgenson, RDH
Let's Smile, Inc.
Owatonna, MN



Advisory Committee/Advocates For Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice

The Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice (CDHP) Advisory Committee first met in 2012 and was reactivated in 2016.  The best way to ensure adequate dental care for Minnesota's underserved populations is to get dental hygienists more involved.  The purpose of the committee is to discuss the current status of collaborative practice and identify factors that may hinder dental hygienists from providing oral health care in community settings.  Collaborative practice laws can broaden the reach of oral health care into underserved populations. Collectively, the advisory members reviewed the existing statute and recommended revised language which was brought to the Minnesota Legislature in 2017. 
Hear the voices of members of the collaborative dental hygiene practice advisory committee (additional practitioners not represented here include Bridgett Anderson, Priscilla Flynn, Colleen Brickle and Jenny Berge): 


Jeanne Anderson

Jeanne Anderson Video

Nancy Franke Wilson

Nancy Franke Wilson Video

Majda Hodzic

Majda Hodzic Video

Deborah Jacobi

Deborah Jacobi Video

Rachel Kashani Legler

Rachel Kashani Legler Video

Lynette Koehl

Lynette Koehl Video

Clare Larkin

Clare Larkin Video

Linda Maytan

Linda Maytan Video

Laura McLain

Laura McLain Video

Sharon Oswald

Sharon Oswald Video

Eva Romero

Eva Romero Video

Debra Sidd

Debra Sidd Video

 Sarah Wovcha

Sarah Wovcha Video


Stakeholder groups include representatives from the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, Minnesota Dental Assistants Association, Minnesota Dental Hygienists' Association, Minnesota Dental Association, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota Oral Health Coalition, Normandale Community College Dental Hygiene Faculty, Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, Hennepin County Medical Center, Apple Tree Dental, Children's Dental Services, Park Dental, Herzing University, and the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.


Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice Advisory Subcommittees:
Radiation Rule Subcommittee: Three members of the radiation rule subcommittee are participants in the Minnesota Department of Health X-ray Unit Dental Focus Group rule-revision process. Alignment of the Minnesota Board of Dentistry rules with the MDH X-ray Unit rules language regarding protocols for dental hygienists ordering radiographs will result in a more accurate reflection of the number of dental hygienists with collaborative agreements.  Subcommittee Members- Bridgett Anderson, Merry Jo Thoele, Clare Larkin, Lynette Koehl, and Colleen Brickle.
Advocacy/Policy Subcommittee: The group led the charge on identifying proposed changes to the collaborative practice statute that would reduce barriers to implementation. The subcommittee felt strongly that meeting to draft statutory changes should begin this year, allowing time for introduction to the 2017 legislative session. A major accomplishment was development of a survey of proposed changes that was completed by statewide information session participants.  Results showed overwhelming support for the proposed statutory changes.  Subcommittee Members- Colleen Brickle, Jeanne Anderson, Rachel Kashani-Legler, Priscilla Flynn, Deb Jacobi, Majda Hodzic, and Laura McLain.
Education/Prevention Subcommittee: "The Oral Health Summit II: Toward Access for All -- The 21st Century Dental Team, Bridging goals... to strategies... to implementation" has been scheduled for August 3, 2017.  The Education/Prevention subcommittee has been working with summit planning and future continuing education sessions. If statutory changes pass in the legislature this spring, professional development will need to jump-start with course offerings identified at the statewide information sessions.  Subcommittee Members- Deb Sidd, Colleen Brickle, Rachel Kashani-Legler, Priscilla Flynn, Eva Romero, and Lynette Koehl.                              
Communication Subcommittee: This subcommittee has been meeting at minimum twice per month to continue development of the new collaborative practice website.  The website launching page will highlight the "Minnesota 21st Century Dental Team" that contains a branding logo for the website and all grant initiatives. On the landing page, visitors are directed to four focus areas: Community Dental Team; Education Today and Tomorrow; Collective Impact; and Coordinated Care. The subcommittee continues to work with partner subject matter experts and Normandale's Marketing and Communications Department to ensure a launch date of April 2017.  Subcommittee Members- Clare Larkin, Deb Jacobi, Colleen Brickle, Nancy Franke Wilson, Sharon Oswald, and Deb Sidd. 

Becoming a "21st Century" Dental Team Member

Oral Health Summit II- August 3, 2017

Minnesota 21st Century Dental Team: Toward Access for All

Normandale Community College, as a result of HRSA and Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation funding,
hosted an event on August 3, 2017 intended to move thinking about provision of oral health care in an interprofessional direction. Speakers described their vision and experiences in development of a "Minnesota 21st Century Dental Team" to improve access to care and reduce health disparities.  

Click HERE to see video of the event
Click HERE for Summit II Agenda

Summit II speakers featured in the video:
Keynote Speaker:
The Big Picture -Bob Russell, DDS, MPH; Video (21:19) Click HERE  

Legal Strategies to Advance Oral Health - Jill Krueger, JD

Collective Impact Panel- Key Stakeholder Groups

Collective Impact to Address Access to Care - Joseph P. Lally, JD; Video (17:36) Click HERE
Minnesota Health Equity Lens - Commissioner Ed Ehlinger, MD

MN Older Adults Basic Screening Survey -Megan Clare Craig-Kuhn, BA and Peggy Running, BSDH, GDH

Moving Towards Value Based Care - Margaret Langelier, MSHSA; Video (50:15) Click HERE 

21st Century Dental Team - HealthFinders Collaborative


School-Based Oral Health Programs

Oral Health Summit I- August 4, 2016
Smiles@School Summit: Interconnecting Children's Oral Health and Learning 
The Minnesota Department of Health Oral Health Program, in collaboration with Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation and Normandale Community College (host site) brought together local and national experts to speak about supporting children's oral health and relating oral health to overall health and academic success. Policies and practices for incorporating or expanding oral health and dental sealant programs were discussed, to include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model and the national Sealant Workgroup Recommendations (2017). 

Lynn Bethel Short, RDH MPH - Oral Health Meets the Whole School, Community, Child Model (WSCC) Video  (43:01)  Click HERE   

Click HERE for the Summit I Agenda

The Minnesota Department of Health held SEAL Minnesota: Minnesota's Comprehensive, Coordinated School Sealant Program Approach forum on June 22, 2018.

This forum introduced participants to SEAL Minnesota, a state-wide systematic approach to school-based dental sealant programs. The morning session included content experts who discussed opportunities and challenges and addressed how collaborative practice dental hygienists reduce health disparities and increase access to oral health care through school-based dental sealant programs.
The afternoon session was a sealant calibration hands-on lab simulation that included dental hygienists, dental assistants and dentists who either were or were soon to be part of a school-based dental sealant program. 

For further information, contact the Minnesota Department of Health Oral Health Program.

SEAL Minnesota video

SEAL Minnesota School Sealant Programs/Evidence-Based and Best Practices Forum
Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health | Oral Health Program
Click HERE to access the SEAL Minnesota Forum video 

Seal America: The Prevention Invention (2016), a step-wise approach manual for planning and implementing school-based dental sealant programs. Click HERE

School-Based Dental Sealant Programs: Recommendations
(2017)- Children's Dental Health Project. 
The national Sealant Workgroup's (SWG) report and recommendations for states and school sealant programs.  Click HERE

School-Based Dental Sealant Programs
 Ohio Safety Net Dental Clinics modules describing the history, operations, and underlying principles of dental sealant programs.  Click HERE

Ohio Safety Net Dental Clinics
(Ohio Department of Health): an online portal of tools and information relating to safety net clinic operations. Click HERE

OSAP Infection Control Dental Programs Using Mobile Vans and Portable Dental Equipment
: toolkit: factsheets, site assessment, checklists.  Click HERE

Long-Term Care; Elderly; Dementia/Alzheimer's Disease

April 6, 2021

Click HERE  State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018-2023 Road Map

Alzheimer’s Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Brain Initiative, State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018-2023 Road Map. Chicago, IL: Alzheimer’s Association; 2018.


July 2019

Delta Dental and Ecumen Awakenings presents: Oral Care Series: 

Click HERE to access education videos focusing on oral care for people living with dementia. 

  • Introduction (1:05) 
  • Oral changes and risks (5:24) 
  • Basic oral care for people living with Alzheimer's disease (3:11) 
  • Providing care for an independent person (2:52) 
  • Providing care for a dependent person (2:43) 
  • Techniques and atmosphere (2:02) 

Teaching Oral Health Care for Older Adults  

In a significant expansion of the NLN's signature Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors (ACE.S) program, four new teaching strategies in the critical area of oral health have been added to an array of free resources for nurse faculty. Created in partnership with the Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice (OHNEP) program at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University, they include:

  • Importance of Oral-Systemic Health in Older Adults
  • Oral Health for the Older Adult Living in the Community
  • Developing Inter-professional Education and Practice in Oral Health
  • Performing Oral Health Assessments

Click HERE for National League for Nursing teaching strategies  

Growing Old With a Smile: Oral Care for Older Adults in Long-Term Care

Click HERE to access the video series (Minnesota Dental Association site) 

This video series and workbook helps long-term care facilities improve the quality of oral care provided to residents and to assist in compliance with federal and state nursing home regulations.  Developed by the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.

Special Care Dentistry

Center for Persons with Disabilities Presentation Series   
CE Opportunity (online; no cost)

One segment titled Therapeutic Oral Care Considerations for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities  is presented by Apple Tree Dental dentists Lyubov Slashcheva, DDS, MS, FABSCD and Christine Foulkes, DDS.   

Special Olympics Releases New Oral Health Resources with The Smile Generation


New Special Dentistry CE Podcast Series
The Colgate Oral Health Network is proud to partner with the distinguished faculty at the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, A.T. Still University (ATSU), to provide you with this 8 part- CE podcast series: TIPS FOR IMPLEMENTING SPECIAL CARE DENTISTRY INTO DAILY PRACTICE. Hosted by Dr. Ann Eshenaur Spolarich an internationally recognized author and speaker on the care of medically complex patients, this series covers a variety of topics including, but not limited to:
  • A broad overview of individuals who present with special needs
  • Risk reduction strategies to improve safety
  • Tips for staff training and skills and communication

Listen to each episode and complete the short CE quiz at the end of each to earn .25 CE credits per episode.

  • Click HERE to access the Colgate Oral Health Network Dental Podcast Series 


Special Care: An Oral Health Professional's Guide to Serving Children with Special Health Care Needs (2nd ed.) is a series of five modules that provide oral health professionals with information about children with special health care needs and oral health, oral health supervision, prevention of oral disease, and behavior guidance. Free continuing education credits offered.or guidance. Free continuing education credits offered.  Click HERE 

Oral Health Services for Children and Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs: A Resource Guide (3rd ed.) provides information to health professionals to assist them in planning, developing, and implementing efforts to ensure that children and adolescents with special health care needs receive optimal oral health care. Click HERE


Click HERE for Gender identity and the role of the dental hygienist

Suzanne Hubbard, RDH; in RDH magazine. January 7, 2020

Suzanne Hubbard, RDH, has several patients who are undergoing gender transitions. She has been respectful of their choices and has learned much about the process. How does the process affect oral health? 

Early Childhood; Head Start; Early Head Start

What is Head Start and how can a collaborative practice dental hygienist become involved? 

Head Start programs prepare America’s most vulnerable young children to succeed in school and in life beyond school. To achieve this, Head Start programs deliver services to children age birth to 5 and their families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being.

Dental Hygienist Liaison Project 
Explore this tip sheet to find out about the Dental Hygienist Liaison (DHL)
 project. Learn about the purpose, scope, and role of DHLs.

Under the DHL project, DHLs promote oral health in Head Start programs. One dental hygienist from each state volunteers to help promote oral health for pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start.

Find examples of the types of activities DHLs engage in to improve the oral health of pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start.


Contact Minnesota's Dental Hygienist Liaison (DHL):
Cathy Jo Gunvalson

Click HERE to access the guidance document titled 
Understanding the Dental Periodicity Schedule and Oral Exam: A Guide for Head Start Staff


The Minnesota Department of Health/Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, the Division responsible for the collection of data about health professions, has published two new documents:

  • Understanding Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice in Minnesota (May 2021): a report highlighting successes/challenges/opportunities in providing care in community settings. 
  • Click HERE

  • An interactive Health Care Workforce Data Portal pertaining to over 20 different Minnesota licensed health care providers. Available data include provider demographics, geographic distribution, education, career plans, and practice characteristics.  Click HERE

Project Firstline

CDC’s National Training Collaborative for Healthcare Infection Prevention & Control

Every frontline healthcare worker deserves to understand infection control principles and protocols and feel they can confidently apply them to protect themselves, their facility, their family, and their community. CDC’s new infection control training collaborative, Project Firstline, is designed to help every frontline healthcare worker gain that knowledge and confidence.

COVID-19 Infection Control Protocols and Procedures Webinar
(8:38 minutes)

On March 20, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) teamed up with leading infection control experts from the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) to provide the dental community with practical guidance and education as we navigate the challenges COVID-19 is presenting to our profession.

The complete webinar is available to watch and earn 1 free CE credit. Included also are short clips from the discussion for quick answers to your questions. Click HERE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published infection control guidelines for dental healthcare settings in 2003. Although the 2003 recommendations are applicable to all settings in which dental treatment is provided, the recommendations focus mainly on dental settings that use traditional, fixed equipment (e.g., private practice dental settings). In contrast, a variety of non-traditional dental settings, such as school-based dental programs, use portable dental equipment. These programs often operate in challenging settings. For example, hallways, gymnasiums, or other high-traffic locations may be the only space available for dental screenings or treatment.

To address these issues, stakeholders in academia and public health worked together to identify some of these challenges and to provide strategies and suggestions for implementing CDC recommendations.

Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings (2016) Click HERE 

OSAP Infection Control for Dental Programs Using Mobile Vans and Portable Dental Equipment: toolkit; factsheets; site assessments; checklists. Uploaded 1-16-21  
Click HERE

Helpdesk: Contact us with questions about Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice

Welcome to the Helpdesk.  
We welcome questions regarding collaborative dental hygiene practice, e.g. collaborative agreements, working in community settings, etc.
Refer to the above "Toolkit: Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice (CDHP) in Community Settings dropdown tab for Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice FAQs and Collaborative Agreement: Needed or Not Needed scenarios to get you thinking deeper about practice options. 

Send your question(s) to Clare Larkin, RDH MSEd at      


                          Larkin photo (3)


Help Desk FAQ

March 2021

Q: As a Collaborative Agreement RDH how often do we need to take a Medical Emergencies Continuing Ed [course]? 

A: The continuing education cycle for all dental hygienists follows a two-year license renewal timeframe, no matter the type of oral health setting/program in which the DH practices. 

The medical emergencies continuing education requirement is specifically spelled out for dental hygienists working in a community setting. The lanuguage is found in MN Statutes 150A.10, sub. 1a.

Subd. 1a.Collaborative practice authorization for dental hygienists in community settings.

(a) Notwithstanding subdivision 1, a dental hygienist licensed under this chapter may be employed or retained by a health care facility, program, or nonprofit organization to perform the dental hygiene services listed in Minnesota Rules, part 3100.8700, subpart 1, without the patient first being examined by a licensed dentist if the dental hygienist:

(1) has entered into a collaborative agreement with a licensed dentist that designates authorization for the services provided by the dental hygienist; and

(2) has documented completion of a course on medical emergencies within each continuing education cycle.



Q: What strategies can you suggest when seeking a collaborative dentist? My long-standing dentist stepped down.

A: Refer to the dropdown menu titled Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice: A Professional Option (see black sidebar on left side of this page) to learn of a dental hygienist's experience when seeking a new collaborative dentist.



Q: What are the benefits (tangible and intangible) to a dentist in signing on as a collaborative practice dentist?

A: In addition to increasing access to dental care, entering into a collaborative agreement provides an opportunity to innovate with other dental professionals in order to create a more sustainable dental delivery system. With collaborative dental hygiene practice models, dental professionals can meet patients where they're at - whether it's in a school, a nursing home, a memory care facility, hospital, etc. As a result, more people will get the care they need. CDHP allows a dentist and dental team to provide services to the community and extend the reach of their work. The tangible benefits to entering into a collaborative agreement will vary depending on organizational structure, but could include increased revenue for the dental practice if it is structured that way. The intangible benefits may include increased job satisfaction, brand awareness, and customer/patient loyalty. Dental practices that engage in CDHP with their existing staff could also see intangible benefits in increased employee morale and retention. Utilizing collaborative practice provides a unique opportunity for dental teams to come together with a common purpose and passion to create innovative paths inside dentistry. 



Q: What is the liability to the dentist in signing on as a collaborative practice dentist?

A: The following response was transcribed from this website's video Coffee Talk 3: Unravelling the Challenges: Part II; time stamp 4:15...

Liability for Services Provided by the Collaborative Practice Dental Hygienist:
"Another thing that comes up often on the business side of collaborative dental hygiene practice is the issue of liability. The law doesn’t speak directly to this. There is nothing in the language that states who is liable for the patient outcomes. But as with any clinical situation, we assume that it’s both the dentist who’s collaborating with the dental hygienist, as well as the dental hygienist who is responsible for patient outcomes.

[In Minnesota], there really is no mandate for a dentist or a dental hygienist to carry liability insurance. And often dental hygienists are covered under their employer's plans. But we highly recommend that a dental hygienist carry their own liability insurance, even if they are covered under their employer. There are good reasons for that."



Q: Is a collaborative practice dental hygienists' work limited to a certain target population?

A: The opportunity for dental hygienists to provide care in community settings was developed in 2001 with the intention to serve uninsured and underinsured Minnesotans, in particular those persons enrolled in Minnesota Health Care Programs, who experience(d) barriers/difficulty in accessing oral health care services. 



Q: As a collaborative practice dental hygienist, I have a written agreement with a dentist who will be away from work for a period of time.  If a collaborating dentist is, for example, on maternity or medical leave, can I continue as usual with services in the schools or do I need to find a different dentist to sign a collaborative agreement?

A: If the collaborative dentist is willing to remain in the relationship and communicate with you during their leave, there doesn’t seem to be a reason why they couldn't continue as the collaborative dentist with your program. Consider meeting with the dentist before they go on leave to discuss that they will be available by phone for questions/collaboration if needed during this time. Immediately following the discussion, you may want to add a note to your collaborative agreement document describing what you and the dentist talked about. To plan in advance if a chart review or urgent answer is needed during the extended leave, the dentist may consider naming a colleague for this purpose, although not required by MN Statute 150A.10.



Q: Am I required by the Board of Dentistry to register my collaborative agreement?

A: Response to this question can be found on the above-mentioned document Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice FAQs.