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Regulate Dental Therapists

Concerning the regulation of dental therapists, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2022 Regular Session
Professions & Occupations
Bill Summary

On and after May 1, 2023, the act prohibits a person from practicing dental therapy in the state unless licensed by the Colorado dental board (board). A licensed dental therapist is authorized to deliver routine and preventive dental care.

A person who desires to qualify for practice as a dental therapist must file with the board a written application for a license, proof of graduation from a school of dental therapy or a dental therapy program that meets the requirements of the act, and proof of completion of a clinical examination for dental therapy that:

  • Is designed to test the applicant's clinical dental therapy skills and knowledge;
  • Includes dental therapy restorative and dental hygiene clinical skill evaluation; and
  • Is administered by a regional testing agency composed of at least 4 states or an examination of another state.

A dental therapist is allowed to practice only under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist until the dental therapist practices for 1,000 hours. After reaching 1,000 hours, the dental therapist may practice under the indirect supervision of a licensed dentist pursuant to a written articulated plan. The articulated plan must include:

  • Methods of dentist supervision, consultation, and approval;
  • Protocols for informed consent, record keeping, quality assurance, and dispensing or administering medications;
  • Policies for handling referrals when a patient needs services the dental therapist is not authorized or qualified to provide;
  • Protocols for assessment of dental disease and the formulation of an individualized treatment plan authorized by the supervising dentist;
  • Policies for handling medical emergencies; and
  • Policies for supervising dental assistants and working with dental hygienists and other dental practitioners and staff.

A licensed dental therapist must maintain professional liability insurance in an amount not less than $500,000 per incident and $1.5 million annual aggregate per year; except that this requirement is not applicable to a dental therapist who is a public employee under the "Colorado Governmental Immunity Act".

A state institution of higher education offering an accredited dental therapy training program may grant advanced standing toward completion of an accredited dental therapy program if a student meets the conditions specified in the act.

Effective July 1, 2031, the act modifies the composition of the board by replacing 2 members, one dental hygienist and one member representing the public at large, with 2 dental therapists.

To implement the act, for the 2022-23 state fiscal year, $14,786 is appropriated to the department of regulatory agencies from the division of professions and occupations cash fund for reappropriation to the department of law.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details