Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Dentistry


Not Listed

Committee Chair

Christina DeBiase.


The issue of oral health in individuals has emerged as an immediate concern for many states to address, especially West Virginia. Current statistics show dental caries to be the most common chronic disease of children which has led to the development of such programs as The West Virginia Oral health Plan for 2010--2015. Plans such as this aim to develop techniques to provide improved oral care for all populations.;The purpose of the study is to examine if dental hygienists in West Virginia are utilizing their general supervision permits and dental hygiene public health permits to provide treatment to patients in public health settings. Surveys were sent to all dental hygienists licensed in West Virginia. Two separate mailings were utilized to distribute the surveys. A response rate of 32% was achieved. A statistician was utilized to analyze the data received.;The results revealed that the majority of the responding dental hygienists (67.7%) have obtained the general supervision permit and less than 15% of licensed dental hygienists in West Virginia have not obtained the public health dental hygiene permit. There was not a wide variation on the practice settings where dental hygienists with both permits are currently working, because most are working in private dental offices and schools. Also, there was a common opinion apparent that revolved around the thought that if two new dental hygiene permits were available then there must also be an increase in access to care. Results also showed barriers such a lack of job opportunities that prohibit dental hygienists from providing treatment in the public health arena.