Regulation of Dental Hygiene in Oregon

Dental hygiene practice in Oregon is regulated by both the Oregon State Legislature and the Oregon Board of Dentistry. The Oregon State Legislature creates and amends statutes (laws), including the Oregon Dental Practice Act, that regulate the dental hygiene profession in Oregon. The Oregon Board of Dentistry enforces the Oregon Dental Practice Act and adopts administrative rules to further interpret the Oregon Dental Practice Act.

Oregon State Legislature

The Oregon State Legislature enacts new laws and revises existing laws relating to the health, education and general welfare of Oregonians, and makes decisions that keep the state in good economic and environmental condition. For general information about the Oregon State Legislature, click here

Statutes (Laws) – A statute is designated by the initials ORS which stands for Oregon Revised Statutes. The statutes regarding dental hygienists are ORS 680.010 to 680.205 and 680.990.  To view these statutes, click here.

Composition – The Oregon State Legislature is comprised of the Senate with 30 members elected to serve four-year terms; and the House of Representatives with 60 members elected to two-year terms. Each Oregonian is represented by one State Representative and one State Senator. To find your district and your legislators, click on Find Your Legislator.

Meetings – The Oregon State Legislature meets each year starting in February. In odd years the legislature meets for no more than 160 days. In even years the legislature meets for no more than 35 days. Click on the following links to see How an Idea Becomes Law and A Guide to Reading a Legislative Measure.

Legislative Committees – After a bill (measure) for new legislation is introduced, it is referred to a committee. Bills related to dentistry are usually referred to the Senate Health Care Committee or the House Health Care Committee. Committees are made up of small groups of legislators from both political parties. Committees may hold public hearings about proposed bills where citizens, lobbyists and other concerned parties may present testimony. Click on the following link to see How to Testify to a Committee.  The committee can vote to move the bill to the full House or Senate, to table the bill or take no action on the bill. 

Initiative Process – A proposed statute can be placed on the ballot so that citizens, rather than the state legislature, can vote to adopt or reject it. In 1978 denturism became legal in Oregon through Ballot Measure 5, a statewide initiative that was placed on the ballot and voted on by the citizens of Oregon. For more information click here.

Oregon Board of Dentistry

The Oregon Board of Dentistry enforces the Oregon Dental Practice Act (law) and adopts administrative rules to further interpret the Oregon Dental Practice Act. For general information about the Oregon Board of Dentistry, click here.

Rules – An administrative rule is designated by the initials OAR which stands for Oregon Administrative Rule. The rules regarding dental hygienists are OAR 818-035-0010 through OAR 818-035-0100.  To view these rules, click here.  

OAR’s are written as a set of three numbers; Chapter number, Division number, Rule number. The Chapter number is unique for each board; 818 indicates the Oregon Board of Dentistry. The Division number represents the subject; 035 indicates Dental Hygiene. 

Rulemaking Process - Rules are adopted through a formal rulemaking process that includes public hearings where citizens, lobbyists and other concerned parties may present testimony. Rules can further interpret the law, but rules cannot conflict with the law. 

Composition – The Oregon Board of Dentistry (OBD) consists of 10 members who are appointed by the governor of Oregon. Six members are dentists licensed in Oregon one of which must be a specialist, two members are dental hygienists licensed in Oregon and two are public members.  

Meetings – The OBD meets six times each year usually in February, April, June, August, October and December. Meetings are held at the OBD Office which is located at 1500 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 770, Portland, OR  97201. The Open Session of these meetings are usually held 7:30-9:30 AM and again in the afternoon. Anyone may attend this portion of an OBD meeting. You can access the agenda and public packet for these meetings through the OBD website here.  

Standing Committees – ODHA has one representative on each of the following standing committees of the OBD: Communications; Dental Hygiene; Enforcement & Discipline; Licensing, Standards & Competency; Rules Oversight. Standing committees of the Oregon Board of Dentistry meet to discuss issues that are referred to them and then make recommendations to the board. Standing committees may or may not meet throughout the year. 

Mailing List – The OBD will email you information about their upcoming meetings and public hearings if you subscribe to their mailing list. Licensees do not automatically receive these messages. You must go to the OBD website and subscribe to receive these messages. To subscribe to receive these messages, click here. Select Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Agendas for all Board and Committee Meetings.