The American Dental Association is reporting that states nationwide are considering joining the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact, which supports licensure portability for dental professionals through the development of an interstate licensure compact.

Under the compact, each state retains the authority to regulate the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene within its boundaries. Practitioners utilizing the compact must abide by all laws and rules of the state in which they are practicing and comply with that state’s scope of practice.

The compact would set up a legal agreement among states. Dentists and dental hygienists who are licensed in one compact member state could then practice in other participating states through a compact privilege, barriers to licensure portability thus being reduced.  The AAO Advocacy Annual Survey conducted November 23 through December 31, 2022 showed 64% of AAO member survey respondents support licensure portability, 23% were neutral, 11% opposed, and 1 % unsure (margin of error +/- 4).

Orthodontists are Included in the Compact
Orthodontists are included in the definition of dentist within the compact but additional standards will need to be met for states also requiring a specialty license, certification, or permit to limit the practice to a specialty and advertisements to specialty services.

The AAO collaborated with the ADA, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Association of Dental Support Organizations and the Department of Defense to States in providing input to the Council of State Governments (CSG). The CSG, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that serves all three branches of state government, developed the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact language.

The AAO provided public comment on the language last fall, provided a letter of support this spring and has helped advise the CSG during the process.

View the AAO’s public commentary on the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact

View the AAO’s letter for support for the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact

A state must enact the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact model legislation to join. Thus far, the states of Washington and Iowa have passed the compact and it is in process in two additional states.

Learn More in the ADA News

View the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact