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About Our Association

Lets Begin with a Brief History

In the earlier years of our association, five charter members: Carolyn Smart Keith, Winifred Brewer Burns, Maxine Bowman, Mary Louise Tuttle and Nancy Horton Pappas created NCDHA’S Constitution and Bylaws and were adopted in 1949, at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Dental Society, in Pinehurst, NC. Over the next decade, dental hygienists slowly transitioned from public programs into the private practice setting by educating dentists and the public about the advantages of the preventive therapies provided by dental hygienists. Dental hygiene education in North Carolina began in 1953 at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, accepting 11 students who graduated in 1955. Dental hygiene education programs were implemented at the community college level beginning in 1965.

Who We are Today 

The North Carolina Dental Hygienists’ Association is part of the tripartite structure of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), making all ADHA members a member of NCDHA as well as members of one of our 12 components. We proudly represent over 7,000 dental hygienists and we are your resource for current information impacting dental hygienists in North Carolina and throughout the nation!

Happening Now

A Letter to the Governor

March 23, 2020 

The Honorable Roy Cooper Governor
North Carolina 20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301 

Dear Governor Cooper, 

It is with pride and great privilege that I write to you today on behalf of the North Carolina Dental Hygienists’ Association. As president, I represent the more than 7,000 licensed Dental Hygienists in this state, and their interest in the ongoing public health crisis COVID-19. We would like to offer our most sincere thanks for your dedication and exhaustive work for the people of North Carolina. We are better as a state for your leadership and guidance. 

As you are aware, on March 18, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued recommendations on elective surgery and procedures; these recommendations are particularly strong with respect to dental procedures. Indeed, dental procedures are afforded particular emphasis. The CMS recommendations caution that: “Dental procedures use PPE [personal protective equipment] and have one of the highest risks of transmission due to the close proximity of the healthcare provider to the patient. To reduce the risk of spread and to preserve PPE, we are recommending that all non-essential dental exams and procedures be postponed until further notice.” 

Unfortunately, there has not been a mandate placed on dental offices and many are continuing business as usual without heeding the guidelines set forth by CMS, CDC, The White House and ADA. This decision directly endangers dental hygienists, office staff and patients and we believe such a mandate is necessary not only to help stop the spread of COVID-19 but to free up all available medical resources to the healthcare workers on the front lines who must have these items to do their jobs without potential exposure. Additionally, new studies indicate that people may acquire the coronavirus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. Scientists discovered the virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. 

Governor Cooper, we implore you to set a mandate on dental offices so that our resources can be re-directed to the appropriate areas and our dental professionals can be available to assist anywhere we are needed. 

In Best Health, 

Heather Edly, RDH, BSPH, CHES

ADHA President Matt Crespin Letter to Gov. Cooper

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NCDHA 3RD Annual Session


Charlotte, NC

September 25-27, 2020

Our Top Priorities 


Working Together to Advance and Protect Our Profession for the Future.


Forward thinking advocates for our association and profession. 


Developing relationships with likeminded professionals who value their profession.


Hygiene students our the future of our profession.


Serving the community by providing quality oral healthcare services.  

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