An RDHAP is a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice. An RDHAP has specialized training and an additional license that allows them to have their own independent business and work in settings other than a dental office and without the supervision of a dentist.
The California Legislature created the RDHAP to deliver quality preventive dental hygiene services to those who do not have easy access to a traditional dental office. The legislature authorized a Health Manpower Pilot Project to review the work of dental hygienists practicing independently and determined the care they provide is equal to that received in a traditional dental office.
Their services can always be provided in schools, institutions, residence and skilled nursing facilities and private homes of home-bound persons. In areas where there is a shortage of dentists, the RDHAP can open their own dental hygiene office.
Prevention is the key to avoiding extensive dental treatment and the toll it takes on the resident and skilled nursing facility staff. Staff and families will appreciate the one-on-one care and time given to each resident by the RDHAP.
The RDHAP can be a link between residential home administration and staff, families and community dental providers, and they can be a conduit between the dentist and the consumer.
They can provide Oral Evaluations & Oral Care Plans
Customized direct care staff in-service training for providing resident oral care in-residence and bed-side dental hygiene care which may include:
- Oral Prophylaxis (cleaning of debris, bacteria and deposits from the gum line)
- Non-surgical periodontal therapies (scaling and root planing below the gum line which may require topical anesthetic)
- Therapies for dry mouth
- Fluoride treatments
- Denture and partial cleaning
- Strategies for prevention of cavities and gum disease
In my experience I have found that the special need patient has specific needs. In a traditional dental office setting, patients are given the same amount of time per appointment no matter what their needs are. With this kind of restrictive schedule, often times, the offices do what they can so we can to stay on time.
Every appointment I make is scheduled to allow adequate time to treat the patient, talk with caregiver and give them all the special care they need. I will work with the patient, the caregiver and the family to develop individual daily care plans to promote oral health and possibly reduce painful and costly dental emergencies. A typical appointment is 1 hour to 2 hours. It may be longer if the patient needs more time or it may be shorter depending on the patients tolerance level.
- Review and update the medical/health history.
- Review with patient any concerns they may currently be having with their teeth.
- Do an intra/extra oral cancer screening
- Take any intra-oral camera pictures to document any findings
- Do periodontal evaluation ie: measure and record pocket depths, evaluate tissue health, determine if patient needs a simple prophylaxis (cleaning) or non-surgical periodontal therapy (deep cleaning) and evaluate patient’s level of comfort. (Do they need topical anesthetic to make them more comfortable?)
- Do a general assessment of restorations to determine if the patient may need a referral to a general dentist or specialist.
- Remove and clean any removable appliances
- Provide treatment with hand scale and/or Ultrasonic cleaning
- Apply Sodium Fluoride to all tooth surfaces to strengthen enamel, prevent decay and reduce any tooth sensitivity.
- Discuss daily oral care with patient and develop a plan to make effective daily care more achievable. Review with caregiver or family.
- Distribute dental aides specific to the patients needs.
- Make available copy of the Treatment forms for Nursing or family records.
- Schedule for their next dental hygiene appointment.
Our fees are similar to those in a traditional dental office. If there is any dental insurance involved, we can help with the billing. With exception, Medi-cal/ Denti-cal.
All fees will be due and payable to Go Dental Hygiene at the time of service.
Please call at any time if you have questions regarding how dental insurance works or about our billing practices.
At Go Dental Hygiene, we take cleanliness seriously and want to make sure you leave healthier than you came. We make sure we meet or exceed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Go Dental Hygiene will meet or exceed all guidelines of professional organizations and government regulations.
Everything that goes into your mouth goes through one of two basic processes with no exceptions. Disposable instruments (suction straws, prophy angles, etc.) are thrown away. Everything else goes through an elaborate process to ensure sterilization:
- The instruments are first scrubbed with soap and water, then they are put into a device called an ultrasonic bath which contains disinfectant.
- After the ultrasonic bath, instruments are rinsed with water again, then dried, and run through a dry heat sterilization, which completely sterilizes the instruments.
- Sterilization of non-disposable plastic instruments by immersion in hospital grade sterilizing fluid for 15 hours. (exceeding the methods used in hospitals for surgical instrument).
Some of the techniques routinely used include:
- The extensive use of disposable supplies, used once and discarded.
Any surfaces that were touched are sprayed or wiped with ADA-approved disinfectants.
- All surfaces, such as the dental chair, portable, and dental light have been cleaned and decontaminated after each client.
- We use gloves, gowns, masks, eye protection, and barrier covers for each procedure.
- Periodic Monitoring and testing of sterilization and disinfection systems is part of my routine. This includes microbial spore testing of sterilizing equipment, constant monitoring of sterilization temperatures and times, replacing disinfecting solutions.
- Every patient had their own set of heat sterilized instruments.
- All surfaces and equipment are cleaned and disinfected between patients.