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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 January 1, 2023, the bill 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 bill, and proof of completion of the examinations required for licensure as a dental hygienist.

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;
  • 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 bill.

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


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