Message From the President:

Becky Comstedt, RDH, BS
CODHA President




Annual Session Photo Review

Council on Regulation and Practice

Written by: Deb Astroth


2020 is starting off with a lot of activity for the Council on Regulation and Practice (CRP). The bill to reorganize the Dental Practice Act, HB 20-1056, sponsored by Representatives  Lois Landgraff and Crisanta Duran and Senator Joann Ginal has been introduced and is scheduled to be heard by the Health and Insurance Committee on January 22, at 1:30.  The Colorado Dental Hygienists’ Association and the Colorado Dental Association created a joint work group to reorganize the Dental Practice Act(DPA) so that it is more reader friendly and sections are grouped together.  All of the sections pertaining to dental hygiene will be together.  This bill reorders sections of the DPA, however, no substantive changes to the DPA are made in this bill.

The CRP and the Sunset Task Force are working to prepare for the Sunsetting of two sections of the DPA in 2021. Both the section on Interim Therapeutic Restorations and the section on Silver Diamine Fluoride will be terminated.  We are working with other community stakeholders to modify the current language and requirements to maintain these procedures within the dental hygiene scope of practice.  The Special Interest Survey Committee is developing a survey to address changes needed not only in these two sections but also other changes in the DPA which will go through the Sunset process in 2025.  Please respond with your input when you receive the survey.

CODHA is also supporting HB 20-102, concerning required disclosures to patients regarding formal actions based on sexual misconduct.  This bill is sponsored by Senators Joann Ginal and John Cooke and Representatives Yadira Caraveo and Matt Soper.  The bill requires certain healthcare providers to disclose to patients if the provider has been convicted of a sex offense or has been subject to final disciplinary action resulting in probation or a limitation on practice when the discipline is based in whole or in part on the provider’s sexual misconduct. The bill specifies the form, manner, content of the disclosures and requires the provider to obtain the patient’s signed agreement to treatment and acknowledgement of receipt of the disclosure before rendering services to the patient.  Failure to comply with the requirements of the bill constitutes unprofessional conduct or grounds for discipline under the practice act that regulates the provider’s profession.

The Colorado Dental Board is holding a Stakeholder meeting on Friday, February 7, 2020 at 9:00 to receive public input on the Anesthesia Rule to streamline the process for dentists and dental hygienists to obtain a permit to administer anesthesia.  Stakeholder input will be limited to discussions on “how” and “what” should be considered, to make the process efficient and effective.  You may participate in person at Civic Center Plaza, 1560 Broadway, Room 110D, Denver; or by Webinar; or you may submit written comments by Tuesday, February 4th to CODHA will be represented by Council Chair Meghan Crow.





Written by: Macquel Martin, BS, RDH


An e-mail with this subject line wouldn’t have appeared to a Registered Dental Hygienist before 2018. During the 2014 state legislative session, the Colorado Dental Practice Act was reviewed and updated and one of the key changes in this bill was the addition of a new requirement that dental hygienists complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) per two-year license renewal cycle. Prior to this, continuing education for an RDH was highly encouraged but never required for licensure.

I received an email with this subject line for the very first audit cycle to ever hit hygienists in the state of Colorado in 2018. With this change to the practice act, I had in fact completed all the new required continuing education courses in the appointed time frame, but I still had fear and a pit in my stomach because I had never heard of anyone else going through it and I didn’t know what to expect. If you, as a fellow dental hygienist registered in the state of Colorado, ever get audited, here is what you can expect!

The audit cycle ended 2/28/2018, however I did not receive the notice of audit until 11/27/2018 via the e-mail that I have saved in my profile on the DORA website.

“********** Notice of Audit *********Your documentation is due in 30 days, Please acknowledge receipt of this email within 10 days of this email.” I needed to let them know that I received the e-mail within 10 days, and I needed to provide all documentation within 30 days of the time stamp on that email.

In the e-mail, they quoted the entire portion of the Practice Act pertinent to continuing education (Section 12-35-139(1), C.R.S), and then stated, “If you met the CE requirements: Within 30 days of the date of this letter, you must provide documentation of the completion of all CE activities completed during the previous license cycle. “If you DID NOT meet the CE requirements: Within 30 days of the date of this letter, you may submit a letter addressing the Board, explaining any circumstances that prevented you from completing the CE.” Along with this came a warning that failure to provide timely and/or adequate documentation may result in disciplinary action.

The preferred method of submission was by e-mail, at an email address they provided along with a help desk phone number that you could call if needed.  I had all of my CE documentation saved in a file on my computer and was able to e-mail it all to them the same morning they sent me the notice of audit on 11/27/2018. Once I sent the information (in .pdf, .jpeg formats), I received a reply within a day saying that documentation had been received and was under review. I did not hear anything again from them until 6/14/19 where they sent me the follow up e-mail stating that it was determined I was in compliance with the CE requirements for the 2016-2018 renewal period and no further action was required regarding the audit. Quite honestly, I had forgotten about it in that 7-month span, but had a huge sense of relief to receive the agreeable notice.

Each CE course you take gives a certificate of completion with you name and the date of the course on it. It is imperative to save these as these are what will be required as proof of completion for the audit. Save them/scan them and keep a file on your computer that is easy to access when needed. There are also websites like CEZoom where you can save your documentation if you choose. I also have a personal Excel spreadsheet where I store all of my CE information including class title, amount of credits, the date it was taken, whether it was live or self-study. While not required, I did include this spreadsheet with the documents I sent to DORA for the audit.

I never in a million years thought I would be one to get audited, as really just a small percentage are from what I gather. But I was- and so can you! So, just keep calm, do your classes as the practice act states, keep organized, and all will be well! Next audit cycle will be for license renewal dates 3/1/2018-2/29/2020, please check now to make sure you have completed the mandatory CE as outlined in the Practice Act (Section 12-35-139(1), C.R.S), before 2/29/2020!

Macquel Martin, BS, RDH




Message From the President-Elect:

Lisa Westhoff, RDH

CODHA President-Elect






February is National Children’s Dental Health Month  

Written by: Teresa Ramirez, RDH




There are thousands of dental hygienists across the nation treating children and hopefully educating them and their families on the benefits of good oral health. Some of these hygienists are privileged to work in school settings on a daily basis. There are terrific programs out there in Colorado who serve these young people. We have hygienists placing sealants, fluoride, performing hygiene treatment, x-rays, screenings and more!

Frequently, these hygienists are the first person in the dental world that a child or student may meet. Often, these providers are serving children and teens who have been unable to visit a dental office at any time in their lives. Without the service of our non-profit, volunteer and for profit hygienists, we would not be able to meet the needs of what is still one of the most underserved populations in our country.

Make a plan for next year in your dental or hygiene office to join Give Kids A Smile, an annual non-profit event for kids! See details at American Dental Association’s


Program Highlight

Denver Public Schools has a Restoration Program that can help DPS enrolled students that qualify, without insurance, to receive services. These students are either served by Kids In Need of Dentistry (KIND) hygienists and dentists or Denver Health and Hospitals Dental Clinics. DPS has tried to be on the forefront these past several years by having Denver Health School Based Dental Clinics scattered throughout the district. These school based dental clinics or SBDC, are staffed by dental hygienists, and one site has a dentist 2 days per month.

Please tell us about your program for serving children and other underserved populations in our communities. We would love to feature these special programs in the Explorer to get the word out on the great works happening in Colorado! Send info to Teresa,

CODHA thanks you for serving these groups and advocates for volunteerism in your community with these populations across our state who are in desperate need of care.


2019 Annual Session Photos



Participate in the 9Health Fairs This Spring!

Terri Tilliss RDH, MS, MA, PhD


The 9 Health Fair has been chosen as a volunteer project by the Colorado Dental Hygienists’ Association this year!  What a wonderful decision—thank you CODHA!  The are many ways for dental hygienists and others to volunteer for this important community service program.  You can both volunteer AND be a participant to receive health care services.

For 40 years, 9Health has brought communities together to provide preventive health education and the most comprehensive screenings at 9Health Fairs across the state. Participants can count on 9Health for science-based effective health information, access to health professionals and health screenings, health education from local medical experts, digital health eTools and support year-round from the 9Healh Community.  Many people who you will provide care for have NO OTHER way to receive healthcare services.  Thanks to you they can!


  • There are 9Health Fairs throughout the state of Colorado on different dates this spring. You can find one close to where you live or work; some are on weekends and some on weekdays.
  • Some Fairs are full day and some are ½ day. You can sign up to help with more than one or just one!
  • Not all Fair sites have provided oral health care screenings in the past, but knowing you are volunteering and available to do so—they may decide to offer this important service.
  • No clinical dental hygiene services provided; instead there is oral cancer screening and ‘cursory’ dental exams.
  • If you volunteer to perform oral health screenings, bring your lighted loupes (if you have them). If not, it would be helpful to bring a small high-intensity flashlight (can buy for under $5 at Office Depot, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart etc). Sites provide needed equipment, but they may not have this for you AND YOU WILL NEED IT.  If they have never had oral health screenings at their site—they may not have these flashlights for you.  If you are feeling especially generous, buy a few and donate them to the site to use in future years!  If you have lots of sample toothbrushes—bring those too as these are not usually provided for participants.
  • If you would like to volunteer, and the 9Health Fair site near you does not provide oral screenings, you can volunteer in other capacities at the Fair (i.e. check-in/check out, nutrition stations, guiding participants through the fair etc.)
  • You can also RECEIVE healthcare services at the Fair as a participant. OR you can volunteer AND be a participant.


  • Simply go online and check the appropriate category
    • To volunteer, click on VOLUNTEER heading at the top of the screen and follow the prompts to specify which Fair you want to volunteer at and what kind of services you can provide. Fill in appropriate registration information.  You can generally sign up for a shift or for a half-day.
    • To RECEIVE services, click on 9Health Fair and select from the drop-down menu the Fair at which you would like to receive services. Fill in appropriate registration information.
    • You can also RECEIVE services as a drop-in but can avoid long lines by pre-registering online.


I am a site coordinator along with my husband for a Fair to be held on April 26th at Temple Sinai, 3509 South Glencoe Street in Denver.  We usually have 600-700 participants in our half-day fair and about 40-50 volunteers.  Traditionally I recruit dental students to provide oral health screenings, but if you would like to do so, simply sign up to volunteer by following the instructions above.  It is easy and fun!

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if I can answer questions you may have about volunteering or participating.


Terri Tilliss RDH, MS, MA, PhD


Cell phone:  303-246-6363




Under One Roof


Membership matters! Check out the cover of RDH Magazine featuring 11 Colorado hygienists that are blazing trails.


NOW is a great time to join us!

Effective Monday, January 20, 2020.  The first 100 CODHA members to register for the 20th Anniversary of RDH Under One Roof, in Denver Colorado will receive a $50 discount from the registration fee.

Please use the following code: CDH2020



ADHA – Institute for Oral Health

Liaison Report

Howard M Notgarnie RDH EdD


Hello, fellow Colorado dental hygienists. I am happy to report Colorado is one of 20 states whose 2019 fundraising ($1,365) for the ADHA – IOH surpassed 2018 ($865). For the Autumn Giving Campaign, ADHA – IOH raised $32,457. Colorado’s contributions to the Institute for the 2020 fiscal year (started 1 July 2019) was $760, most of which was through your donations you opted to give while registering for our Constituent’s Annual Session. We are more than halfway to our goal of $1,502.

ADHA Institute for Oral Health

Your donations may seem to have a toned-down effect in the legislative arena, but they are an important part of the decisions our legislators must make. The funds that contribute to research help scientists discover facts that inform our profession, lobbyists, and ultimately our legislators who pass the Dental Practice Act and other Acts that regulate professions. Traditionally, scientists have been disseminating facts while remaining in the background on the political front. Lately, science-based organizations like American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Union of Concerned Scientists have become vocal proponents of evidence-based decision making in legislation and policy. Cobban et al (2008) emphasized the importance of research in the professionalization of the dental hygiene profession. Walsh et al (2016) identified research findings as the basis of theories that explain how the dental hygiene process of care fosters change to individuals and the community. Rogo (2018) demonstrated that scientific findings can inform dental hygienists, making them better activists for social change that improves access and quality of care, and thereby the stakeholders we influence.

The National Dental Hygiene Research Agenda poses the type of information dental hygienists require for the advancement of our profession. Researchers who submit their articles to the Journal of Dental Hygiene for publication apply their research efforts to criteria of the Agenda. ADHA – IOH supports some of that research through grants, research that meets at least one of the Agenda’s criteria. By donating to ADHA – IOH, you support that research, too. Likewise, by helping to create valid evidence, you support our efforts to steer legislation and policy to create a regulatory environment that fosters our continued professionalization and service to our clientele.


Cobban SJ, Edgington EM, Myrick F, Keenan L. A discourse on the nature of dental hygiene knowledge and knowing. International journal of dental hygiene, 7 10-16, 2008.

Rogo EJ. Synergy in social action: A dental hygiene theory. Journal of dental hygiene, 92(4), 6-17, 2018.

Walsh M, Ortega E, Heckman B. The dental hygiene scholarly identity and roadblocks to achieving it. Journal of dental hygiene 90(2), 79-87, 2016.



February ADHA Leadership Visit


Colorado was honored to be one of 10 states chosen by ADHA for a leadership visit, and the only state this year to be visit by Matt Crespin, ADHA current president! Due to increasing membership ADHA leadership spent time with local leaders on board training, membership brainstorming, advocacy planning, and further leadership development. Big thanks from CODHA fro a greta visit!





Calendar Upcoming Events

February 27th, 2020

Capitol Day, 11 am-2 pm

April 4th, 2020

CODHA Board of Trustees Meeting

April 17-18, 2020

Wine CE Retreat, Grand Junction

June 12-14, 2020

ADHA Annual Conference, New Orleans

July 25th, 2020

CODHA Board of Trustees Meeting

November 5th-8th, 2020

97th Annual Session

Marriott Denver South at Park Meadows

Two Full Days of CE, CODHA House of Delegates, Exhibit Hall, Networking Opportunities, Legislative Updates and More!

Visit for up-to-date information.

Publication Policies

” All rights to The Explorer are reserved. Any reproduction is strictly prohibited without prior permission of the editor and specific author. Neither the Editor nor CODHA are in any way responsible for articles of views published in The Explorer. A portion of your dues supports efforts to further protect, promote, and advance dental hygiene practice in the state of Colorado. This portion may not be tax deductible and is indicated as an assessment. CODHA does not endorse any specific products or services including those provided by exhibitors or advertisers used to promote an association activity or event.”