Washington State House Democrats


Riccelli Dental Health Care Bills Pass House

OLYMPIA – Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), chair of the Health Care & Wellness Committee, saw two of his dental care bills pass out of the House prior to the crucial cutoff deadline on Wednesday. As Washington state faces a severe oral health crisis, with over two million people living in an area with a dental provider shortage, Riccelli championed two polices to increase workforce and access to care, critical for Washington’s rural and underserved populations.

“All health starts with oral health, and I am pleased the House agreed that we can do more to get people care they need. Access to appropriate dental health care is a top priority for me and as chair of the Health Care & Wellness Committee, I am making sure we move the ball forward every chance we get so families can access dental services no matter where they live,” said Riccelli.

HB 1678 allows dental therapy in Washington state in certain limited settings. A dental therapist is supervised by a dentist and can provide fillings, preventive services, and emergency services such as adult teeth extraction if a dentist authorizes that course of action. Educational requirements for dental therapists is a two-year educational and clinical program with at least 400 hours of supervision with a licensed dentist. Currently, Washington state only allows dental therapists on tribal lands.

HB 1466 as amended renames the existing “limited dental hygiene license” to a temporary license and extends the license expiration from 18 months to five years, allowing more time for hygienists to acquire their license while working in their field.

Riccelli has consistently led both policy initiatives and infrastructure investments to expand oral health access to the people and areas that need it most. Both bills now head to the Senate for consideration.