1998 the California Legislature created a new license category of Oral Health Professionals, the Registered Dental Hygienist
in Alternative Practice, abbreviated as RDHAP. The purpose of this new license category was to deliver dental
hygiene care and preventive services to special populations in alternative settings where people live or frequent, rather
than the traditional dental office or clinic.
An RDHAP may be able to meet many of the needs
of residents of residential care facilities. More importantly, the RDHAP can help develop critical prevention
strategies. Preventing or minimizing oral problems can be achievable for many residents, saving staff time
and reducing pain, suffering, and loss of self esteem.
The RDAHP can be a critical bridge between residential facility
staff and dental office providers. They are able to:
» Participate in oral health planning
simple and complex teeth cleaning
therapies for dry mouth
to prevent dental disease
» Identify referrals
» Customize staff in-service programs
In the long run, prevention is the key
to avoiding extensive dental treatment and the toll it takes on the resident and staff. Staff will appreciate
the one-on-one care and time given to each resident.
The RDHAP license was created in 1998 by the
California Legislature after a 12 year safety study. To receive this license the recipient must be a Registered
Dental Hygienist with two years pre-requisites in General Education and Science and have graduated from an accredited program
of biomedical sciences, dental and dental hygiene science and passed the State examination. In addition
the recipient must have a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent, verification of practice experience, a certificate of completion
of an accredited post-graduate training program specific for this license; and must pass a State examination.
law, RDHAPs are able to practice in residences of people who are homebound, schools, residential facilities, institutions
and in dental health shortage areas.