President’s Message


Anyone else feel like you’ve been playing a sadistic version of the game “red light green light?” The version with multiple people yelling instructions, participants not sure who to listen to while also yelling at each other and running into each other. Also, the game has been moved from a lovely field, to rocky terrain and they’ve taken away our shoes. It’s about this point in the game that players think… I’m out! 


Last week I saw an elderly patient with no known pre-existing health conditions, she complained of a loose tooth and “generalized oral infection.” After seeing an endodontist in December when the problem was isolated to #31, she then saw a periodontist in February who advised her to have all of her mandibular teeth removed. She just wanted to treat the active infection so she could eat more than soup and jell-o, and then address the bigger picture. 


And then COVID hit and all of her providers “went dark.” 


She was on my hygiene schedule for her 6 month prophy. One look at her and I saw red flags everywhere. Swelling around #11, 22 and 31 with exudate extruding with a gentle touch of my finger. Probe depths at least 7mm (it was her wincing in pain rather than reaching the depth of the pocket that stopped my probe). So much bleeding. And for her loose tooth, #22 was barely hanging in there, with severe bone loss. She was in tears from frustration and feeling like she had been abandoned by the specialists.


We referred her to her physician to rule out underlying medical conditions that could have contributed to her rapid decline in oral health. I also performed OralDNA and discovered that she had very high levels of red and orange complex pathogens. I had my doctor prescribe the recommended antibiotic which she excitedly started right away and I treatment planned SRP. I became her advocate and she became a reminder of the importance of returning to our office. 


As dental hygienists’, our role is unique. What other health care provider spends 45-60 minutes listening and caring for patients, like the dental hygienist? What other health care provider can read the gingiva and notice the early warning signs of disease, like the dental hygienist? Who else can calm the anxious patient and build his/her confidence to begin preventive or therapeutic treatment, like the dental hygienist? Our patients need us to advocate for them and be there for them. And yes, it can be done safely. 


Our patients rely on us to adhere to the rules and guidelines to keep them safe.


Our employers rely on us to adhere to the rules and regulations to keep ourselves and our co-workers safe and protect our licenses. 


So, whose rules and regulations must we follow? 

The CDC, DORA, Public Health Orders, ADA, etc.? The short answer… The executive orders, Public Health orders and DORA.


Here is information to help you better understand who we have to follow. 

REQUIREMENTS // LAWLinks to the most 

current updates

Who provides recommendations?
Executive Order D 2020 080 “Extending executive order D 2020 045 Permitting the Limited Recommencement of Voluntary or Elective Surgeries and procedures in Colorado”

(Provides broad guidelines) CDC, OSHA, ADA, ADHA

CDA, CODHA, Dentists’, Hygienists, etc

Second Amended Public Health Order 20-29

Can NOT be superseded by county orders,

expires 6/24/20 at 11:59 PM.

(Provides more specifics)

(Provides the most specific instructions, their interpretation of EO/PHO must be followed).


CODHA is here to support a safe return to the office so we can resume care for our patients. Please read the above documents that you are required to follow. If you have questions, please reach out to us!


We have been advocating behind the scenes for proper PPE, use of all the instruments necessary to provide top quality care while maintaining a strong relationship between CDA and CODHA. Dental providers are all on the same team! 


This biggest hurdle that we currently have is access to legitimate PPE. It is this hurdle that seems to be causing the most tension between employees and employers right now. Many offices are working together to find solutions, but we are aware that some offices are not. If you find yourself in this position, feel free to reach out to CODHA for support. We are here to support you, and we want to see you succeed!


Here’s to a safe return to our patients!


Becky Comstedt, RDH, BS

President, CODHA






Upcoming Webinars
Did you know that hygienists in CO must take a 1 hour live and interactive course on silver diamine fluoride (SDF) before being able to use it?
Register for one of two upcoming LIVE webinars – Monday, June 22 at 7:30pm OR Saturday, July 18 at 9:00am. Join CODHA Executive Administrator, Alyssa Aberle and learn about SDF and how it can help our patients! $15 for ADHA Members, $35 for Non-Members.
Don’t miss out! Registration link available at
*This course is AGD/PACE approved and meets the Colorado Dental Board requirements for dental hygienists to be able to apply silver diamine fluoride.

ADHA Institute for Oral Health Liaison Report

Howard M Notgarnie RDH EdD

June 8, 2020

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association cancelled the in-person aspect of the conference we had scheduled for New Orleans; however, the conference will still proceed in a virtual format for educational opportunities and the House of Delegates. If you registered early for the 2020 ADHA Conference, you should have already received the options for the change in your registration to get a refund, virtual attendance, or transfer of the fee to next year’s conference.



Although the walking challenge scheduled in New Orleans is cancelled, the National Fundraiser is still active and has raised more than $13,000 of its $80,000 goal. You can contribute to the friendly competition for the biggest donations through your favorite participant, constituent, or district’s fundraising page. Our District’s fundraising page name is ADHA District X Rocky Mountain Squad. You can recognize the district from the participants’ logo.

The ADHA Institute for Oral Health is the charitable wing of American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Funds raised by the Institute support education, research, and community health. For the current fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, Colorado has raised $760 and has a goal of $1502. Please ensure our profession continues to grow by contributing through the national fundraiser mentioned above, or directly through the ADHA – IOH fundraising web page. This fundraising web page also has information should you need to document that your donation is tax-deductible. All three areas in which ADHA – IOH could contribute may benefit humanity in ways that COVID-19 has disrupted. Dental hygiene students could use a boost after the interruption of their education. We know that some systemic diseases put people at higher risk of morbidity and mortality from this novel virus. Dental hygiene research may show how we can help mitigate that risk. Our profession’s participation in community health supports consumers’ access to all aspects of health care.




2019 Photos (When We Could All Meet in Person) 



Meet Jennifer Geiselhofer RDH!



Jennifer Geiselhofer, a Colorado dental hygienist, is one of four 2020 Sunstar RDH Award of Distinction recipients! She is an Independent Direct Access RDH – owner of Dental at Your Door where she currently employs four dental hygienists and 3 assistants/administrative team members.

Sunstar and RDH magazine, since 2002, have recognized dental hygienists who have made a difference on a broad scale and embrace change. Each year the recipients are recognized and presented with the Award of Distinction at the RDH Under One Roof conference, which will be held this year in Colorado at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, October 9-11. RDH Under One Roof began 20 years ago in Denver, CO and returns to Colorado this year to celebrate this anniversary!

As a 2018 Award of Distinction recipient, I am honored to tell you about my remarkable friend Jennifer and give you a brief glimpse of why she exemplifies what this award is about and was selected as a recipient this year.

Jennifer has been a practicing dental hygienist for 23 years and began her career in private practice, she says her current business started organically while working in private practice. It was during that time a patient of the practice asked if someone could come to her home to clean her husband’s teeth. Her husband was faced with multiple health issues, confined to their home, on a ventilator, therefore unable to come to the dental office to have his teeth cleaned. This loving wife saw the need and wanted her husband to receive this important care. Jennifer gladly went to their home to clean his teeth and provide dental hygiene services. It was during this time that word spread about Jennifer’s service to this family and others began requesting her to provide dental hygiene services to their loved ones who were unable to get to a dental office. Providing this important care, her business flourished and as the saying goes… “Now you know the rest of the story” and how Dental at Your Door got its start.

Through Dental at Your Door, Jennifer and her team currently provide dental hygiene services and treatment to over 20 facilities which include: homeless shelters, correctional facilities, battered women shelters, human trafficking rescue centers, runaway youth shelters, residential substance abuse treatment facilities, assisted living facilities, she continues with home visits, and has recently added 12 Head Start facilities.

Last year Jennifer started her non-profit Deserving Dental. She became aware of a significant number of the homeless population living in shelters who are hardworking individuals and families, yet they were not receiving dental services offered because they did not qualify for state or federal assistance. While they were hardworking, they still lived below poverty level, yet made too much to qualify for assistance. She founded Deserving Dental to close the gap and provide free dental health care and education to these patients.

If that isn’t enough, on a recent vacation to the Grenadine Islands, Jennifer brought her piezo, silver diamine fluoride, and other supplies, and spent two days providing dental hygiene services on the small island of Mayreau which has a total population of approximately 300 people. Jennifer discovered that for the residents of this island to receive dental and dental hygiene care they must take a 4-hour ferry ride to another island and spend the night. All of which is impossible for the residents, for a myriad of reasons.

As Colorado dental hygienists, let’s all be sure to attend the morning, general session, on Saturday October 10th at RDH Under One Roof where Jennifer, along with the three other recipients of the 2020 Award of Distinction will be recognized, celebrated, and receive their awards for their amazing work.

Susan Cotten BSDH, RDH, OMT


Sjögren’s Gallery





We as registered dental hygienists are the face of prevention and guidance for individuals who suffer from dental pain, oral problems, xerostomia, and other related symptoms. Sjögren’s syndrome is a disorder of the immune system and presents by way of dry mouth and dry eyes in those afflicted. The 17th annual Walk for Sjögren’s happened on Saturday May 30th. CODHA was a sponsor of the event organized by our Public Affairs committee. The walk has been conducted for 17 years now and this year, given the pandemic, was conducted virtually! Over $13,000 was raised, with still more funding coming in as these walks are happening across the nation. A Zoom kick-off event started the morning before we all went off individually in our neighborhoods to Walk for Sjögren’s. Teresa Ramirez represented CODHA and spoke to the dangers of dry mouth, how patients can talk to their dental professional about Sjögren’s, products that can ease xerostomia, and how to reduce risk of adding to existing dry mouth. It is a privilege to be able to partner with organizations such as these and be able to learn from one another. Please follow our Facebook and Instagram for future opportunities to participate and be part of our team!



CODHA wishes to extend a sincere “CONGRATULATIONS” to all the RDH students at Concorde Career College, Community College of Denver, Colorado Northwestern Community College, and Pueblo Community College that are graduating! We can imagine that the challenges at the end of your school year must have been extremely trying, but you will certainly be stronger for it! Way to go! You should be receiving, if not already, a gift from us at CODHA. Please take this as a reminder that CODHA is always here to support and advocate for you as you enter into your professional career. Transitioning your membership or becoming a member of CODHA after graduation is easy and invaluable. Reach out with any questions regarding membership in YOUR professional association! GOOD LUCK!



Add Some Pepper to That! (Or Imagine What 4000 people could do) by Teresa Ramirez, RDH


As some of you may know, I’ve stepped down as a Liaison and as Public Affairs Chairperson position with CODHA this spring. I wanted to let you know with the interesting and enlightening set of roles I have taken over the past 10 years as an “Active” ADHA/CODHA Member, some of my thoughts and experiences. 


In 2010 then “CDHA” President Laura Jacobs, an educator that I had learned from at Community College of Denver’s RDH Program, appointed me to the position of Chair of Public Affairs. I had never held a role like this in such a large organization, and boy was I gung-ho….and intimidated! I had served as Co-President or Vice President of SADHA at CCD (so long ago, I don’t recall), but considering the other Co-President was such a strong leader, and had a wonderful head on her shoulders, I took a back burner to the role! 


I wasn’t certain what was expected of me initially as CPA, and I was given a sheet with my “duties” in this role. This position had not held a live person in many years, so there wasn’t a Mentor to turn to. I took a tiny blog “class” on Public Affairs and was surprised by how much PA entailed! I was also directed to find some “statements” or “punch-lines” that CDHA could use to find ways to “advertise” our expertise to the public at large. It was interesting research, and thankfully I had a good friend who taught adults, who I was able to enlist in coming up with many punch-lines and statements with me over a few Chocolate Martini’s! As it turns out, traditional advertising was beyond the budget of CDHA at the time, and there were many areas that I didn’t have experience in accessing as a resource–thank goodness for the internet of today!! 


Fast forward through the years, and I look back with pride at the 7+ roles I have volunteered for in Leadership. Not that I was the best or most knowledgeable on the team, but I stepped into roles that took much more gumption than I thought I had. However, because I felt pride in our growth as an association, pride that the folks who kept stepping up were excellent at what they did, and NOT just for Colorado dental hygienists, but for dental hygiene as a whole!! Pride that we could advocate for the profession with such a small group of dedicated individuals working overtime, while trying to seek others that would help us take up the cause.


One of the first things I recall learning in school was that Colorado had the most advanced practice act in the nation due to some strong dental hygiene leadership. Dental hygienist’s willing to step up to our state capitol with lobbyists, over several decades! When I was appointed all those years ago to CPA, I didn’t realize that I would actually meet those people!! And not just people–LEGENDS, of not only Colorado dental hygiene, but nationwide legends of dental hygiene!! And the most surprising thing of all?? They were human, welcoming, friendly, open, willing to take in new ideas from a newer grad, loved imparting their knowledge and were always supportive of me with the challenges I personally faced as a dental hygienist! And, it wasn’t just me and my challenges, they were willing to listen to all dental hygienist’s and their needs, fears and desires, and help in any way they could. 


It has been my pleasure to know and befriend some of the most intelligent, and dynamic women and men in our profession and in our professional history! People who have MADE the Colorado scope of practice for dental hygienists the pride and joy of the nation! People who believed in using our full education and potential to serve the populace, and pushed legislative efforts to the point of that education and beyond!! 


So,10 years later, I want to challenge the 4000+ CO RDH’s to Add Some Pepper to this association, become more involved, be active in leadership–it’s not as difficult as you might think, recruit members, and continue to advance the practice of the Registered Dental Hygienist, both in our state and throughout the USA and world! With you, this small leadership group can continue to grow in this new decade. With more members we can push beyond our current limits, we can go where no hygienist has gone before (yes, I’m a Star Trek fan)! Imagine dental hygiene in 10 years, 20, 50—will we be practicing in space? With your help we just might be! 


Recent Podcast Featuring Teresa Ramirez, RDH:

  Denver Public Schools EDUCA Podcast (Click to Listen)




There are a number of ways to give back, get involved, and empower your career by becoming a part of CODHA in an active way! Through a number of committees and specialized task forces, as well as regional and state leadership positions, there is something for everyone! At Annual Session each fall a new board falls into place. CODHA’s leaders are chosen by YOU as members when you volunteer to be a delegate. It is easy, informative, and fun to be a delegate. To find out more specifics about what the committees do, what leadership positions are available for nomination this fall, or to become a delegate, email and we will guide you along the way. Ask not what your association can do for you, but what YOU can do for your association!




CODHA has begun a historical project documenting the progression of dental hygiene here in Colorado. WE NEED YOUR HELP! We want to hear your stories from school and the beginning years of your career (new AND matured RDHs)! Please email to be placed on the roster. We look forward to hearing from you!




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.”