• Local Anesthesia Administration by New York State Dental Hygienists: Potential Barriers

      Attanasi, Kim; Manski, Marion (2011)
      There are 10,000 licensed dental hygienists in New York State. There are currently 7,500 dental hygienists in New York State who are not certified in local anesthesia administration. Since local anesthesia was passed into law in 2003, there have been no studies examining the reasons why New York State dental hygienists have not returned for local anesthesia certification training courses to add to their scope of practice. As there have been no studies investigating why dental hygienists choose not to become certified in local anesthesia administration in New York State, examining the potential barriers to certification may be useful for non-certified dental hygienists, educators and legislators. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential barriers to local anesthesia certification including cost, training time, anxiety, and the perceived benefits of local anesthesia certification by dental hygienists in New York State. METHODS: A random sample was drawn from the 10,000 dental hygienists who held a license, and practiced in New York. This study used both survey and interview methods to better understand the concerns of dental hygienists in New York State. The researchers contacted 500 respondents that were local anesthesia certified and 500 respondents that were not certified. The mailing of 1000 surveys included a brief introduction and cover letter that explained the study, provided proper assurances of confidentiality, the survey instrument, and a stamped return envelope. Included in the survey was a question that asked the respondents if they would be willingly to participate in a telephone interview. The telephone interview was conducted and the researchers were able to gather enough qualitative data to confirm the hypotheses with the respondents' responses. RESULTS: Independent t-tests and ANOVA (? =.05) indicate; cost, length of training, anxiety, and perceived benefits of local anesthesia certification, are statistically significant factors in making the decision to receive training when comparing certified dental hygienists and non-certified dental hygienists. CONCLUSION: There should be an effort made to educate dental hygienists that are practicing without local anesthesia certification on its' many benefits. Advancing ones scope of practice should be made a priority for non-certified dental hygienists. The benefits of this include better pain management, continuity of care, increased production, and a higher quality of dental hygiene services.