Health
10:11 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Oklahoma Dental Groups Split On Oral Surgery Legislation

Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature dealing with training requirements for oral surgery dental assistants.

Credit Andrew Fresh / Flickr Creative Commons

But the head of the state dental board says the language in the bill has been misunderstood.

The Tulsa World reports the bill would set forth the training required to obtain a permit as an oral surgery dental assistant.

Bonnie Flannigan, president of the Oklahoma Dental Hygienists Association, says she believes the bill would allow assistants to perform intravenous sedation on patients.

But Susan Rogers, executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, says the measure is being misinterpreted.

Dr. W. Scott Harrington, the Tulsa oral surgeon who may have exposed at least 5,000 patients to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C last year, was found to be allowing his assistants to perform IV sedation and was cited by the state Board of Dentistry.

Rogers said the bill does not determine what assistants are allowed to do. They would still not be allowed to practice dentistry, and many of their tasks would require direct visual supervision.

Part of the confusion lies in defining the word "administer," as in administering drugs, she said.

-------------------------

KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.