The California Dental Practice Act

Course #51292 - $15 • 2 Hours/Credits


Self-Assessment Questions

    1 . When employed continuously for 120 days or more, an unlicensed dental assistant's employer is responsible for ensuring that they have completed which of the following courses?
    A) Infection control
    B) Basic life support
    C) The California Dental Practice Act
    D) All of the above

    DENTISTRY DEFINED: SCOPE OF PRACTICE

    Although unlicensed dental assistants are not Board approved, their duties and actions are governed by the Act and they are required to complete coursework in the Dental Practice Act, infection control, and basic life support. Failure to follow the regulations set forth by California law can result in fines and/or imprisonment. As defined in CBPC Section 1750.(a), "A dental assistant is an individual who, without a license, may perform basic supportive dental procedures, as authorized by Section 1750.1 and by regulations adopted by the board, under the supervision of a licensed dentist" [1]. Basic supportive dental procedures are those procedures that have technically elementary characteristics, are completely reversible, and are unlikely to precipitate potentially hazardous conditions for the patient being treated. A licensed dentist is responsible for assuring unlicensed dental assistants' competence and ensuring that they complete required coursework and maintain certification in basic life support (if employed for longer than 120 days). Specific duties pertaining to dental assistant practice can be found in CCR Section 1085. General information regarding regulations pertaining to dental assistants is located in CBPC Sections 1740–1777; although these sections are not discussed in this course, they should be periodically reviewed to ensure self-compliance with the act. The CBPC may include additional duties for various dental assistant professions.

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    2 . A dental hygienist may perform all of the following procedures under general supervision, EXCEPT:
    A) Root planing
    B) Periodontal charting
    C) Oral exfoliative cytology
    D) Periodontal soft tissue curettage

    DENTISTRY DEFINED: SCOPE OF PRACTICE

    (c) Under general supervision, a registered dental hygienist may perform the following duties in addition to those provided by Section 1760(b) of the Code:

    1. Root planing;

    2. Polish and contour restorations;

    3. Oral exfoliative cytology;

    4. Apply pit and fissure sealants;

    5. Preliminary examination, including but not limited to:

      1. Periodontal charting;

      2. Intra and extra-oral examination of soft tissue;

      3. Charting of lesions, existing restorations and missing teeth;

      4. Classifying occlusion;

      5. Myofunctional evaluation.

    6. Irrigate sub-gingivally with an antimicrobial and/or antibiotic liquid solution(s).

    7. The following direct supervision duties of dental assistants and registered dental assistants:

      1. Dental Assistant.

        1. Taking impressions for diagnostic and opposing models;

        2. Applying non-aerosol and non-caustic topical agents;

        3. Removing post-extraction and periodontal dressings;

        4. Removing sutures;

        5. Taking intra-oral measurements for orthodontic procedures;

        6. Checking for loose bands;

        7. Removing ligature ties;

        8. Applying topical fluoride;

        9. Placing elastic separators.

      2. Registered Dental Assistant

        1. Test pulp vitality;

        2. Removing excess cement from supragingival surfaces of teeth;

        3. Sizing stainless steel crowns, temporary crowns and bands;

        4. Temporary cementation and removal of temporary crowns and removal of orthodontic bands;

        5. Placing post-extraction and periodontal dressings.

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    3 . Of the following, who may legally provide dental care in California?
    A) An unlicensed dental assistant
    B) A dentist with an expired license
    C) A dental hygienist with a valid license in another state
    D) A dentist who has not recorded his or her fingerprints through the Department of Justice Live Scan system

    LICENSURE

    All individuals practicing dentistry in California, with the exception of unlicensed dental assistants, must hold a current, valid license issued by the Board; California does not grant reciprocity with other states or nations. The Act requires that dental professionals meet certain education requirements, submit the correct applications and fees, pass the appropriate examinations, and submit a set of fingerprints. Fingerprinting is also required for license renewal if not previously conducted by the Dental Board/California Department of Justice (DOJ) or if records no longer exist [21]. Fingerprinting must be conducted using the DOJ Live Scan system; fingerprint records from other institutions (e.g., Department of Motor Vehicles) are not suitable. The fingerprints will be used to conduct a criminal history record check and a state and federal level criminal offender record information search.

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    4 . All of the following are grounds for having a license suspended, EXCEPT:
    A) Employing an unlicensed dentist
    B) Unsanitary or unsafe office conditions
    C) Practicing dentistry with an expired license
    D) Alteration of a patient record without an intent to deceive

    LICENSURE

    According to CCR Section 490.(b), conviction of crimes committed by dental professionals outside of the workplace may also be grounds for Board discipline and can impact licensure status if the crime is "substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the licensee's license was issued" [1]. These vary considerably on a case-by-case basis. Various lesser convictions, for example, driving under the influence (DUI), illicit drug possession, and prescription drug diversion, may not necessarily lead to license revocation provided the proper steps are taken toward remediation (e.g., entering the Board diversion program, submitting to periodic drug testing) [23]. In general, convictions for assaults, sex crimes, multiple misdemeanors (e.g., second DUI/controlled substance charge), and other egregious violations constitute a basis for denial or revocation of licenses or certifications. In addition to violations outside the workplace, unprofessional conduct, in its many forms, is grounds for Board Enforcement action. Acts and omissions that characterize unprofessional conduct are covered extensively in CBPC Sections 1680, 1681, and 1682 and CCR Section 1018.05.

    CBPC Section 1680. Unprofessional conduct by a person licensed under this chapter is defined as, but is not limited to, any one of the following:

    (a) The obtaining of any fee by fraud or misrepresentation.

    (b) The employment directly or indirectly of any student or suspended or unlicensed dentist to practice dentistry as defined in this chapter.

    (c) The aiding or abetting of any unlicensed person to practice dentistry.

    (d) The aiding or abetting of a licensed person to practice dentistry unlawfully.

    (e) The committing of any act or acts of sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient that are substantially related to the practice of dentistry.

    (f) The use of any false, assumed, or fictitious name, either as an individual, firm, corporation, or otherwise, or any name other than the name under which he or she is licensed to practice, in advertising or in any other manner indicating that he or she is practicing or will practice dentistry, except that name as is specified in a valid permit issued pursuant to Section 1701.5.

    (g) The practice of accepting or receiving any commission or the rebating in any form or manner of fees for professional services, radiograms, prescriptions, or other services or articles supplied to patients.

    (h) The making use by the licensee or any agent of the licensee of any advertising statements of a character tending to deceive or mislead the public.

    (i) The advertising of either professional superiority or the advertising of performance of professional services in a superior manner.

    (j) The employing or the making use of solicitors.

    (k) The advertising in violation of Section 651 regarding fraudulent advertising.

    (l) The advertising to guarantee any dental service, or to perform any dental operation painlessly.

    (m) The violation of any of the provisions of law regulating the procurement, dispensing, or administration of dangerous drugs, as defined in Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 4000) or controlled substances, as defined in Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code.

    (n) The violation of any of the provisions of this division.

    (o) The permitting of any person to operate dental radiographic equipment who has not met the requirements of Section 1656.

    (p) The clearly excessive prescribing or administering of drugs or treatment, or the clearly excessive use of diagnostic procedures, or the clearly excessive use of diagnostic or treatment facilities, as determined by the customary practice and standards of the dental profession. Any person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) or more than six hundred dollars ($600), or by imprisonment for a term of not less than 60 days or more than 180 days, or by both a fine and imprisonment.

    (q) The use of threats or harassment against any patient or licensee for providing evidence in any possible or actual disciplinary action, or other legal action; or the discharge of an employee primarily based on the employee's attempt to comply with the provisions of this chapter or to aid in the compliance.

    (r) Suspension or revocation of a license issued, or discipline imposed, by another state or territory on grounds that would be the basis of discipline in this state.

    (s) The alteration of a patient's record with intent to deceive.

    (t) Unsanitary or unsafe office conditions, as determined by the customary practice and standards of the dental profession.

    (u) The abandonment of the patient by the licensee, without written notice to the patient that treatment is to be discontinued and before the patient has ample opportunity to secure the services of another dentist, registered dental hygienist, registered dental hygienist in alternative practice, or registered dental hygienist in extended functions and provided the health of the patient is not jeopardized.

    (v) The willful misrepresentation of facts relating to a disciplinary action to the patients of a disciplined licensee.

    (w) Use of fraud in the procurement of any license issued pursuant to this chapter.

    (x) Any action or conduct that would have warranted the denial of the license.

    (y) The aiding or abetting of a licensed dentist, dental assistant, registered dental assistant, registered dental assistant in extended functions, dental sedation assistant permitholder, orthodontic assistant permitholder, registered dental hygienist, registered dental hygienist in alternative practice, or registered dental hygienist in extended functions to practice dentistry in a negligent or incompetent manner.

    (z)

    1. The failure to report to the board in writing within seven days any of the following: (A) the death of his or her patient during the performance of any dental or dental hygiene procedure; (B) the discovery of the death of a patient whose death is related to a dental or dental hygiene procedure performed by him or her; or (C) except for a scheduled hospitalization, the removal to a hospital or emergency center for medical treatment for a period exceeding 24 hours of any patient to whom oral conscious sedation, conscious sedation, or general anesthesia was administered, or any patient as a result of dental or dental hygiene treatment. With the exception of patients to whom oral conscious sedation, conscious sedation, or general anesthesia was administered, removal to a hospital or emergency center that is the normal or expected treatment for the underlying dental condition is not required to be reported. Upon receipt of a report pursuant to this subdivision the board may conduct an inspection of the dental office if the board finds that it is necessary. A dentist shall report to the board all deaths occurring in his or her practice with a copy sent to the Dental Hygiene Committee of California if the death was the result of treatment by a registered dental hygienist, registered dental hygienist in alternative practice, or registered dental hygienist in extended functions. A registered dental hygienist, registered dental hygienist in alternative practice, or registered dental hygienist in extended functions shall report to the Dental Hygiene Committee of California all deaths occurring as the result of dental hygiene treatment, and a copy of the notification shall be sent to the board.

    2. The report required by this subdivision shall be on a form or forms approved by the board. The form or forms approved by the board shall require the licensee to include, but not be limited to, the following information for cases in which patients received anesthesia: the date of the procedure; the patient's age in years and months, weight, and sex; the patient's American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status; the patient's primary diagnosis; the patient's coexisting diagnoses; the procedures performed; the sedation setting; the medications used; the monitoring equipment used; the category of the provider responsible for sedation oversight; the category of the provider delivering sedation; the category of the provider monitoring the patient during sedation; whether the person supervising the sedation performed one or more of the procedures; the planned airway management; the planned depth of sedation; the complications that occurred; a description of what was unexpected about the airway management; whether there was transportation of the patient during sedation; the category of the provider conducting resuscitation measures; and the resuscitation equipment utilized. Disclosure of individually identifiable patient information shall be consistent with applicable law. A report required by this subdivision shall not be admissible in any action brought by a patient of the licensee providing the report.

    3. For the purposes of paragraph (2), categories of provider are: General Dentist, Pediatric Dentist, Oral Surgeon, Dentist Anesthesiologist, Physician Anesthesiologist, Dental Assistant, Registered Dental Assistant, Dental Sedation Assistant, Registered Nurse, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or Other.

    4. The form shall state that this information shall not be considered an admission of guilt, but is for educational, data, or investigative purposes.

    5. The board may assess a penalty on any licensee who fails to report an instance of an adverse event as required by this subdivision. The licensee may dispute the failure to file within 10 days of receiving notice that the board had assessed a penalty against the licensee.

    (aa) Participating in or operating any group advertising and referral services that are in violation of Section 650.2.

    (ab) The failure to use a fail-safe machine with an appropriate exhaust system in the administration of nitrous oxide. The board shall, by regulation, define what constitutes a fail-safe machine.

    (ac) Engaging in the practice of dentistry with an expired license.

    (ad) Except for good cause, the knowing failure to protect patients by failing to follow infection control guidelines of the board, thereby risking transmission of bloodborne infectious diseases from dentist, dental assistant, registered dental assistant, registered dental assistant in extended functions, dental sedation assistant permitholder, orthodontic assistant permitholder, registered dental hygienist, registered dental hygienist in alternative practice, or registered dental hygienist in extended functions to patient, from patient to patient, and from patient to dentist, dental assistant, registered dental assistant, registered dental assistant in extended functions, dental sedation assistant permitholder, orthodontic assistant permitholder, registered dental hygienist, registered dental hygienist in alternative practice, or registered dental hygienist in extended functions. In administering this subdivision, the board shall consider referencing the standards, regulations, and guidelines of the State Department of Public Health developed pursuant to Section 1250.11 of the Health and Safety Code and the standards, guidelines, and regulations pursuant to the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 (Part 1 (commencing with Section 6300) of Division 5 of the Labor Code) for preventing the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B, and other blood-borne pathogens in health care settings. The board shall review infection control guidelines, if necessary, on an annual basis and proposed changes shall be reviewed by the Dental Hygiene Committee of California to establish a consensus. The committee shall submit any recommended changes to the infection control guidelines for review to establish a consensus. As necessary, the board shall consult with the Medical Board of California, the California Board of Podiatric Medicine, the Board of Registered Nursing, and the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, to encourage appropriate consistency in the implementation of this subdivision.

    The board shall seek to ensure that all appropriate dental personnel are informed of the responsibility to follow infection control guidelines, and of the most recent scientifically recognized safeguards for minimizing the risk of transmission of bloodborne infectious diseases.

    (ae) The utilization by a licensed dentist of any person to perform the functions of any registered dental assistant, registered dental assistant in extended functions, dental sedation assistant permitholder, orthodontic assistant permitholder, registered dental hygienist, registered dental hygienist in alternative practice, or registered dental hygienist in extended functions who, at the time of initial employment, does not possess a current, valid license or permit to perform those functions.

    (af) The prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing of dangerous drugs or devices, as defined in Section 4022, in violation of Section 2242.1.

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    5 . What is the maximum fine and term of imprisonment for a first offense misdemeanor violation of the Dental Practice Act?
    A) $200 and 3 months
    B) $200 and 6 months
    C) $3,000 and 6 months
    D) $30,000 and 12 months

    VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES

    Section 1701. Any person is for the first offense guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200) or more than three thousand dollars ($3,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail for not to exceed six months, or both, and for the second or a subsequent offense is guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) nor more than six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, or by both such fine and imprisonment, who:

    (a) Sells or barters or offers to sell or barter any dental degree or any license or transcript made or purporting to be made pursuant to the laws regulating the license and registration of dentists.

    (b) Purchases or procures by barter any such diploma, license or transcript with intent that the same shall be used in evidence of the holder's qualification to practice dentistry, or in fraud of the laws regulating such practice.

    (c) With fraudulent intent, makes or attempts to make, counterfeits or alters in a material regard any such diploma, certificate or transcript.

    (d) Uses, attempts or causes to be used, any such diploma, certificate or transcript which has been purchased, fraudulently issued, counterfeited or materially altered, either as a license to practice dentistry, or in order to procure registration as a dentist.

    (e) In an affidavit, required of an applicant for examination, license or registration under this chapter, willfully makes a false statement in a material regard.

    (f) Practices dentistry or offers to practice dentistry as it is defined in this chapter, either without a license, or when his license has been revoked or suspended.

    (g) Under any false, assumed or fictitious name, either as an individual, firm, corporation or otherwise, or any name other than the name under which he is licensed, practices, advertises or in any other manner indicates that he is practicing or will practice dentistry, except such name as is specified in a valid permit issued pursuant to Section 1701.5.

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    6 . Which of the following dental professionals are permitted to prescribe drugs?
    A) Dental assistants
    B) Dental hygienists
    C) Doctors of dentistry
    D) All of the above

    LAWS GOVERNING THE PRESCRIPTION OF DRUGS

    The California Dental Practice Act states that only doctors of dentistry are permitted to prescribe drugs, including analgesics, sedatives, and antibiotics, although prescription of oral conscious sedation to children younger than 13 years of age requires a permit. Dental assistants and dental hygienists are not permitted to write prescriptions [1]. There are many federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to prescribing. It is the responsibility of each Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-registered prescriber (or those exempted) to be familiar with and maintain knowledge of all applicable laws and regulations. Pertinent citations of federal laws governing the prescription of controlled substances are included in the DEA Practitioner's Manual, available at https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/manuals/pract. The California Uniform Controlled Substances Act (part of the California Health and Safety Code) can be found at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codesTOCSelected.xhtml?tocCode=HSC. The Substances Act begins at Section 11000, and information regarding prescriptions begins in Section 11150.

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    7 . Which of the following are mandated reporters of child abuse?
    A) Dental assistants
    B) Dental hygienists
    C) Doctors of dentistry
    D) All of the above

    REPORTING OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT

    In accordance with California Penal Code Section 11165.7, dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect [3]. Reporting suspected abuse is not only an ethical duty but is also a legal obligation.

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    8 . What percentage of child abuse injuries involve the lips?
    A) 14%
    B) 34%
    C) 54%
    D) 74%

    REPORTING OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT

    Preventing serious morbidity and mortality involves intervening at the first suspicion or indication of abuse and/or neglect. Dentists and dental hygienists are often the healthcare professionals who have the most frequent interactions with children and should be attentive to any signs of neglect and physical abuse—as abusive injuries commonly involve the face, jaw, mouth, teeth, and tongue [4]. One study found that orofacial trauma was concurrent with 49% of documented cases of child physical abuse [5]. Other studies show that craniofacial and neck injuries occur in 50% to 65% of child abuse victims and that the lips are a site for abusive injury in 54% of cases [6,7].

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    9 . All of the following are clinical signs of physical child abuse, EXCEPT:
    A) Excessive caries
    B) Welts in the shape of household objects
    C) A hoarse or raspy voice with evidence of strangulation injury
    D) Lacerations of the lips, tongue, buccal mucosa, gingival alveolar mucosa, frenum, or palate

    REPORTING OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect and the California Dental Association (CDA) have published useful guidelines regarding the identification of the orofacial signs of abuse and particular injuries of concern. According to these guidelines, possible signs of abuse include [6,7]:

    • Forced feeding injuries caused by eating utensils, bottles, hands, fingers, and other objects; scalding liquids; or caustic substances. These may be responsible for burns, contusions, or lacerations of the lips, tongue, buccal mucosa, gingival alveolar mucosa, frenum, or palate (soft and hard). Objects forced into the face/mouth may also cause facial bone and jaw fractures and avulsed, displaced, or fractured teeth.

    • Mouth gagging injuries resulting in bruises, lichenification, or scarring at the corners of the mouth

    • Strangulation injuries resulting in bruising, a hoarse or raspy voice, and difficulty breathing

    • Discolored teeth from previous trauma

    • Serious trauma (e.g., retropharyngeal abscesses, posterior pharyngeal injuries) resulting from caregivers with factitious disorder (i.e., Münchausen syndrome) by proxy

    • Injury to the petechiae of the palate (particularly at the junction of soft and hard palate) resulting from forced oral sex

    • Sexually transmitted oral/perioral infections (e.g., gonorrhea, human papillomavirus warts), although these can be transmitted by other means as well

    • Bite marks or bruises on the head or face, strangulation marks, or black eyes

    • Missing hair from hair pulling

    • Welts in the shape of objects (e.g., belt buckle, clothes iron)

    • Other suspicious trauma/bruises indicative of abuse (e.g., rope marks)

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    10 . What percentage of individuals 65 years of age or older suffer from some form of neglect?
    A) 20%
    B) 40%
    C) 60%
    D) 80%

    REPORTING OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT

    Elder and dependent adults are also at risk for poor oral health due to caretaker neglect. In fact, neglect is the one of the most common causes of elder injury reporting (roughly 500,000 cases per year in the United States) [14]. These populations are also at a high risk for self-neglect, accounting for more than 500,000 additional reported cases in the United States per year. A 2010 study revealed that 40% of individuals 65 years of age or older suffer from some form of neglect [15].

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