Resources for Public Health Dental Hygienists

Information and resources for dental hygienists interested in working in a public health setting

Table of Contents

About Public Health Dental Hygienists

A Public Health Dental Hygienist (PHDH), established in M.G.L. c. 530, is a registered dental hygienist that provides preventive oral health care in schools and other public health settings. To become a PHDH, a registered dental hygienist must:

  • Have three years of equivalent full-time experience practicing as a dental hygienist.
  • Complete required hands-on experience in a public health setting and continuing education courses on CDC Infection Control Guidelines, Risk Management, and Management of Medical Emergencies. 
  • Have a written collaborative agreement with a licensed dentist, local state agency, or institution with the appropriate level of communication and consultation to support them. 

PHDHs aim to provide evidence-based preventive oral health services to folks facing challenges accessing care within the traditional health system. Examples of these settings include, but are not limited to: 

  • Schools  
  • Nursing homes 
  • Long-term care facilities  
  • Clinics  
  • Hospitals  
  • Medical facilities  
  • Community health centers  
  • Head Start programs
  • Mobile and portable dental programs licensed or certified by the Department of Public Health 
  • Residences of patients medically unable to leave home  
  • Other facilities or programs deemed appropriate by the Department of Public Health 

Additional Resources

Public Health Dental Hygienist Toolkit

The information and resources within this toolkit will help a registered dental hygienist take advantage of professional opportunities to provide preventive oral health services in public health settings. All dental providers are advised to read and understand the rules and regulations governing dentistry practice in Massachusetts before providing dental care in a public health setting.

Reporting Requirements

REDCap® is an online database and survey tool used for reporting purposes for all PHDHs who provide services. All new PHDHs must request a username and password from the Office of Oral Health administrator to access the survey by emailing 

Each public health dental hygienist shall maintain data to be reported on REDCap®. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Office of Oral Health will manage all survey data [234 CMR 5.08(7)].

Reporting requirements through the REDCap® survey system must be submitted every month on the 10th day following the reporting month.

  • For example - January surveys are due February 10th

An individual PHDH or a PHDH group or representative must complete the Redcap survey each month services are provided. For reporting purposes, a PHDH group is defined as an established entity comprised of one or more PHDH providers. A PHDH providing any service in the reporting month must be listed on the reporting form with the PHDH's name and license number. 

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