When you become a licensed dental hygienist you join the ranks of other licensed health care professionals such as nurses, physical therapists, dentists, physicians and dieticians. Licensure is the strongest form of regulation used today. In accordance with state law, licensed individuals are the only persons who meet the minimum qualifications necessary to practice their profession.
Foreign-trained professionals must obtain a license to practice in the U.S. To obtain your license you must be a graduate of an accredited U.S. dental hygiene program, take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and pass a state or regional clinical licensure exam.
Licensure is a means of protecting the public from unqualified individuals and unsafe practice. In fact, in addition to initial graduation and testing, states require dental hygienists to complete continuing education courses to renew their license.
Licensure is granted by each individual state. Dental hygienists practice in accordance with requirements of individual state dental practice acts.
In virtually every state, several steps are required before a license can be granted:
Graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program
Successful completion of the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
Successful completion of a regional or state clinical board examination
As licensing requirements vary from state to state, it is necessary to contact each licensing authority in a given state for its specific application requirements and procedures.
Typically state boards have the authority to deny a license to an applicant who has committed an act for which the board could revoke a license. Persons convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor may be refused licensure, as well as those disciplined on the license application about prior convictions, discipline, etc. Most states conduct background checks on a case-by-case basis and may take into consideration the seriousness of the offense and other factors in making the decision to grant or withhold licensure.
Important Licensure Renewal Information from the GDHA
2021 is a licensure renewal year. Dental and dental hygiene licenses must be renewed by December 31st. GDHA would like to provide you tips to make this renewal cycle a cinch! Click on the following links to:
Don't forget, Proof of Citizenship is needed for License Renewal!
General Information about Licensure
A dental hygienist is a licensed healthcare professional. Licensure is designed to protect the public from unqualified individuals and unsafe practice. Licensure is the strongest form of regulation used today. In accordance with state law, licensed individuals are the only persons meeting the minimum qualifications necessary to practice their profession.
The Georgia Board of Dentistry has been moved to the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), effective July 1, 2013.
In October 2018, the Coalition For Modernizing Dental Licensure was founded. The Coalition is advocating for licensure reform to:
Eliminate single encounter, procedure-based patient examinations and replace them with clinical assessments that have stronger validity and reliability evidence!
Increase initial licensure portability to allow for professional mobility and improve access to care.
GDHA supports the elimination of the patient single encounter clinical examination for all candidates who are:
•Graduates of CODA accredited dental hygiene programs
•And are eligible to take the DH National Board Examination
ALL dental hygiene programs in GA are CODA accredited!
Current Information about Dental Hygienist Licensure may be
obtained from the Georgia Board of Dentistry Web Site:
The Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS for short) is a testing service made up of seventeen State Boards of Dentistry who have joined forces to develop and administer fair, valid and reliable examinations of competency to practice dentistry and dental hygiene.
To contact CRDTS:
Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc.
1725 SW Gage Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66604-3333
Ph: (785) 273-0380
Fax: (785) 273-5015
Web Site: www.crdts.org
Notice: The purpose of the GDHA web site is to provide a quick reference for hygienists. The information presented here is not all-inclusive and does not replace official information from the Georgia Board of Dentistry or the Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. GDHA does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of this information. For the most current and accurate information, contact the Georgia Board of Dentistry as shown above.