Senate votes to study oral health needs in NH

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's dental hygienists will have to wait a while longer for state permission to expand their skills so they can fill and pull teeth.

The Senate voted Thursday not to allow the hygienists to provide some care now reserved to dentists under a dentist's oversight. The Senate instead voted to create a commission to study oral health

Sen. Peggy Gilmour, a Hollis Democrat, sponsored the bill to create a new type of dental provider called a dental hygiene practitioner. She said the idea was similar to the role a nurse practitioner plays in doctor's offices.

Maine lawmakers just endorsed the same idea.

Gilmour said the study is a step toward improving access and lowering costs.

Two dozen groups supported Gilmour's bill, but the New Hampshire Dental Society opposed it.

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