Health Care

Dental services funded by federal earmark stalled due to hygienist shortage

Many hygienists retired during pandemic

white and gray hospital chair
Photo by Fitusm Assefa on

South Royalton’s HealthHUB recently received a $350,000 congressional earmark to provide restorative dental care for area adults as well as upgrade the mobile operatory for its existing school-based dental hygiene program. However, HealthHUB is running into the same problem so many area businesses face: it can’t start offering services because qualified employees are in short supply, founder Dr. Rebecca Foulk said in a recent statement.

Competition for Registered Dental Hygienists is particularly intense because many experienced hygienists retired when their supervising dentists closed down for long months during the pandemic, and training programs for that profession were curtailed for two years for the same reason. HealthHUB founder and president, Rebecca Foulk, MD, said, “We’ve always had good luck finding dedicated hygienists because we offer a lot of independence and top salary to introduce dental care and oral health education to mostly low-income kids who can’t get it anyplace else. But multiple job ads posted everywhere we can think of have not been successful.”

Dr. Foulk said dental patients in the White River Valley community might be able to help. “If you know of a retired hygienist or one who works far from home, tell them there is important work in a brand new, mobile operatory that travels to schools in South Royalton, Strafford, Chelsea, Sharon, Bethel, Tunbridge, Stockbridge, Randolph and Rochester. It’s the kind of pioneering dental care that will make you proud of your profession.” A complete description of the program can be found at

Categories: Health Care

6 replies »

  1. When the government, state and federal, stops giving away free money and benefits, then people will consider working for a living again. It’s not complicated.

  2. Does anybody know a good hygienist who wants to improve his/her skills? How about a hygienist who retired but might like to get back in the game. What’s most interesting about this from a hygienist’s POV is that VT hygienists no longer need a dentist right in the next room to look over their shoulder.

    • It has not been necessary for a dentist to be in the building for decades for a hygienist to work, that is a non argument.

  3. The decimated ranks among the medical professions and education professions is not a mystery. The exodus, whether voluntatry or involuntary, is partly the awareness that all is not well or right in the world. The acceleration of the New World Order and the exposure of other nefarious plans awakens many, and those people are no longer willing to partake or participate. Babylon is falling – the walls of Jericho are coming down. Stand for something or fall for anything.

  4. What this article fails to address is that the VTC dental hygiene program went from a 2 yr program to a 3 yr program to push the dental therapist program. IE dental hygienists performing duties of a dentist…fillings, extractions etc. This is what happens when the government and NGO’S get involved with healthcare. Taking lower level providers giving them more responsibility and less pay. Quantity vs quality the Walmart mentality. Not to mention the pandemic significantly increased the number of people eligible for Medicaid.

  5. By the way the head officer in the Vermont Department of Health is a Dental Hygienist, because they under fund the position so much they can not find a dentist to fill the position….accidently on purpose????/