TITLE 24

Professions and Occupations

CHAPTER 11. DENTISTRY AND DENTAL HYGIENE

Subchapter I. State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene


The primary objective of the State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public, specifically those persons who are the direct recipients of services regulated by this chapter, from unsafe and unprofessional practices.

The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions where necessary against licensees or former licensees.

71 Del. Laws, c. 31, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 463, § 3.;

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them under this section except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) Academic license. — Full-time director, chairperson or attending faculty member of a hospital based dental, oral and maxillofacial surgery or other specialty dental residency program for the purposes of teaching.

(2) "Board" shall mean the State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene established in this chapter.

(3) "Dental assistant" shall mean any person not licensed to practice dentistry and/or dental hygiene in this State, who aids a dentist in the performance of generalized tasks, including chair-side aid, clerical work, reception, radiography, dental laboratory work, and any other such tasks delegated by the dentist.

(4) "Dental auxiliary personnel" shall mean any person not licensed to practice dentistry in this State, who works in a dental office as either a dental assistant, dental hygienist, dental technician, or otherwise.

(5) "Dental hygienist" shall mean a person who is qualified to practice dental hygiene as prescribed in this chapter.

(6) "Dental technician" shall mean any person not licensed to practice dentistry in this State, engaged in the business of constructing, altering, repairing or duplicating full dentures ("plates"), partial dentures, splints, orthodontic appliances, fixed bridges or any other prosthetic appliances.

(7) "Dentist" shall mean a person who is qualified to practice dentistry as prescribed in the chapter.

(8) "Division" shall mean the State Division of Professional Regulation.

(9) "Excessive use or abuse of drugs" shall mean any use of narcotics, controlled substances or illegal drugs without a prescription from a licensed individual with valid prescriptive authority or the abuse of alcoholic beverage or prescription or nonprescription drugs, such that it impairs a person's ability to perform the work of a dentist or dental hygienist.

(10) "Person" shall mean a corporation, company, association or partnership, as well as an individual.

(11) "Practice of dental hygiene" shall mean the removal of calculus deposits, plaque and stains from all surfaces of the teeth, and making instrumental examinations of the oral cavity, and assembling all necessary information for use by the dentist in diagnosis and treatment planning, and the performance of such prophylactic or preventive measures in the case of teeth, including the application of chemicals to the teeth and periodontal tissues, designed and approved for the prevention of dental caries and/or periodontal disease, as the Board may authorize; but the "practice of dental hygiene" shall not include any other operation on the teeth or tissues of the mouth.

(12) "Practice of dentistry" is defined as the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body provided by a dentist within the scope of the dentist's education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law. A person shall be construed to practice dentistry who by verbal claim, sign, advertisement, opening of an office, or in any other way, including use of the words "dentist," "dental surgeon," the letters "D.D.S.," "D.M.D.," or other letters or titles, represents the dentist's to be a dentist or who holds himself or herself out as able to perform, or who does perform, dental services or work. A person shall be regarded as practicing dentistry who is a manager, proprietor, operator or conductor of a place for performing dental operations or who for a fee, salary or other reward paid, or to be paid either to himself or herself or to another person, performs or advertises to perform dental operations of any kind.

(13) "State" shall mean the State of Delaware.

(14) "Substantially related" means the nature of the criminal conduct, for which the person was convicted, has a direct bearing on the fitness or ability to perform 1 or more of the duties or responsibilities necessarily related to the practice of dentistry or dental hygiene.

73 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 262, § 20; 75 Del. Laws, c. 436, § 8; 77 Del. Laws, c. 463, §§ 1, 2, 3; 79 Del. Laws, c. 261, § 1.;

(a) There is created a State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene which shall administer and enforce this chapter.

(b) The Board shall consist of 9 members, appointed by the Governor, who are residents of this State, 5 of whom shall be dentists licensed under this chapter and who have been actively practicing dentistry in this State for a period of 5 years immediately preceding appointment to the Board; 1 member shall be a dental hygienist who has been actively practicing dental hygiene in this State for a period of 5 years immediately preceding appointment to the Board; and 3 public members who shall have been residents of this State for a period of 5 years immediately preceding appointment to the Board. The public members shall not be, nor ever have been, dentists or dental hygienists, nor members of the immediate family of a dentist or dental hygienist; shall not have been employed by a dentist; and shall not have a material interest in the providing of goods and services to dentists or dental hygienists, nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to dentistry or dental hygiene. The public members shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public. No public member shall have been licensed in any health related field or be licensed to practice law. No person shall be eligible for appointment to the Board who is in any manner connected with or interested in any dental college or the dental department of any college or university or the dental supply business.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, each member shall serve a term of 3 years, and may succeed himself or herself for 1 additional term; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may succeed himself or herself for only 1 additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment; however, the Board member shall remain eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor.

(d) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board for 2 consecutive terms; but, no such person shall thereafter be eligible for 2 consecutive appointments. No person who has been twice appointed to the Board or who has served on the Board for 6 years within any 9-year period shall again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least 1 year has expired since such person last served.

(e) Any act or vote by a person appointed in violation of this section shall be invalid. An amendment or revision of this chapter is not sufficient cause for any appointment or attempted appointment in violation of subsection (d) of this section, unless such an amendment or revision amends this section to permit such an appointment.

(f) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency or neglect of duty. A member subject to disciplinary hearing shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated or otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.

(g) No member of the Board, while serving on the Board, shall hold elective office in any professional association of dentists or dental hygienists, including the Delaware State Dental Society and the Delaware Dental Hygienists' Association.

(h) The provisions set forth for "employees" in Chapter 58 of Title 29 shall apply to all members of the Board.

(i) Any member who is absent without adequate reason for 3 consecutive meetings or fails to attend at least 1/2 of all regular business meetings during any calendar year shall be guilty of neglect of duty.

(j) Each member of the Board shall be reimbursed, in accordance with the policy of the Division of Professional Regulation, for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel; and, in addition, shall receive not more than $50 for each meeting attended but not more than $500 in any calendar year. After 10 meetings have been attended, the member shall not be compensated for any subsequent meetings attended in that year.

(k) A dentist and a dental hygienist from the same practice, or 2 dentists from the same practice, or 2 dental hygienists from the same practice, may not serve on the Board or the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee at the same time.

11 Del. C. 1953, §§ 1101-1103, 1005; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 547, § 7; 60 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 1, 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 334, §§ 4, 6; 63 Del. Laws, c. 290, § 8; 65 Del. Laws, c. 494, § 2; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, § 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 266, §§ 3, 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 451, §§ 1, 2; 71 Del. Laws, c. 31, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 463, §§ 3, 4.;

(a) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year and at such times as the President deems necessary, or at the request of a majority of the Board members.

(b) The Board annually shall elect a President and Secretary. Each officer shall serve for 1 year and shall not succeed himself or herself for more than 2 consecutive terms.

(c) A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. No disciplinary action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of 5 members of the Board.

(d) When members of the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee participate in voting on matters listed in § 1105(c)(1)-(5) of this title, the Board composition shall be 12 voting members, so that 7 members shall constitute a quorum.

(e) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded and copies shall be maintained by the Division of Professional Regulation. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.

17 Del. Laws, c. 496, § 3; 21 Del. Laws, c. 242, § 2; 26 Del. Laws, c. 133, § 1; Code 1915, § 888; 38 Del. Laws, c. 48, § 2; Code 1935, § 969; 42 Del. Laws, c. 93, § 1; 24 Del. C. 1953, § 1104; 65 Del. Laws, c. 210, §§ 3, 4, 12; 67 Del. Laws, c. 366, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 31, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 463, § 5.;

The Division of Professional Regulation shall keep a register of all approved applications for license as a dentist or a dental hygienist and complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the Board's rules and regulations, complaints, hearings and such other matters as the Board shall determine. Such records shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.

Code 1915, § 890; 38 Del. Laws, c. 48, § 2; Code 1935, § 971; 24 Del. C. 1953, § 1106; 65 Del. Laws, c. 210, § 12; 71 Del. Laws, c. 31, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 3.;

(a) There is created a State Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee which shall serve the Board on matters pertaining to the policy and practice of dental hygiene.

(b) The Committee shall consist of 3 licensed dental hygienists, appointed by the Governor, who are residents of this State and who have been actively practicing dental hygiene in this State for 2 years immediately preceding appointment to the Committee.

(1) No person shall be eligible for appointment to the Committee who is in any manner connected with or who has an interest in any dental hygiene college or the dental hygiene department of any college or university or any commercial dental enterprise.

(2) Each member shall serve a term of 3 years and remain eligible to participate in proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor.

(3) All terms shall be staggered so that 1 new member is added and 1 member is retired each year.

(4) A member of the Committee shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency or neglect of duty.

(5) No member of the Committee shall hold elective office in any professional association of dental hygienists.

(6) Each member of the Committee shall be reimbursed, according to the policy of the Division of Professional Regulation, for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel; and in addition, shall receive $50 for each meeting attended but not more than $500 in any calendar year. After 10 meetings have been attended, the member shall not be compensated for any subsequent meetings attended in that year.

(7) No 2 dental hygienists from the same practice may serve on the Advisory Committee at the same time.

(c) The Committee shall participate with members of the Board in:

(1) Voting on the qualifications of candidates who apply for licensure to practice dental hygiene;

(2) Voting on the composition of the state dental hygiene clinical/practical examination;

(3) Voting on the requirements for renewal of dental hygiene licenses;

(4) Voting on disciplinary actions involving hygienists; and

(5) Voting on other matters involving the policy and practice of dental hygiene as defined in § 1101(11) of this title and further defined in the Board's rules and regulations. The Committee shall not vote on matters involving changing the scope of practice as defined in § 1101(11) of this title.

65 Del. Laws, c. 210, § 16; 71 Del. Laws, c. 31, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 463, §§ 6-8; 79 Del. Laws, c. 261, § 1.;

(a) The State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene shall have authority to:

(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29] of this State. Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific section of this chapter;

(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and to process all applications;

(3) Examine candidates for licensure subject to § 8735(d)(5) of Title 29;

a. Designate the written, standardized examination administered by the National Board of Dental Examiners to be taken by all persons applying for licensure;

b. Prepare and administer a practical examination in dentistry and dental hygiene;

c. Designate a written jurisprudence examination on the Delaware laws pertaining to dentistry to be taken by all persons applying for licensure;

(4) Provide for the administration of all applicable examinations, including notice and information to applicants;

(5) Evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license to practice dentistry and dental hygiene in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this chapter;

(6) Grant licenses to and renew licenses of all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure and/or renewal of licenses;

(7) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal for dentists and dental hygienists;

(8) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure who has been previously licensed, certified or registered in another jurisdiction to practice dentistry or dental hygiene has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses;

(9) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensed dentists and dental hygienists or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29 and assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint;

(10) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this chapter, Chapter 101 of Title 29 and § 8735 of Title 29. Where such provisions conflict with the provisions of this chapter, this chapter shall govern. The Board shall determine whether or not a dentist or dental hygienist shall be subject to a disciplinary hearing and, if so, shall conduct such hearing in accordance with this chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29];

(11) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed;

(12) Working in conjunction with the Board of Directors of the Delaware Institute of Dental Education and Research, develop programs to encourage and allow dentists to practice in under-served areas of the State, as designated by the Delaware Health Care Commission, in lieu of hospital-based residency training as a condition of licensure;

(13) Issue a volunteer license to an individual who is duly licensed as a dentist or dental hygienist in this State or to any individual who has ever been so licensed provided proof of continued competence is provided to the satisfaction of the Board. Such individuals shall certify on the license application that the individual will perform no dental or dental hygiene services for any direct compensation and that the individual volunteers his or her time exclusively in a nonprofit dental clinic or nonprofit dental service designated by the Delaware Health Care Commission and approved by the Delaware State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene. A volunteer license shall be issued at no charge to a qualified individual approved by the Board. All other costs associated with meeting the requirements for such license will remain the responsibility of the applicant. The applicant for a volunteer license shall be responsible for completing the continuing education required for an active Delaware licensee by the Board and shall adhere to all standards of practice and supervision required of a Delaware licensed dentist or dental hygienist. Any dentist or dental hygienist having a volunteer license shall not practice dentistry or dental hygiene in this State in any setting other than in an approved nonprofit dental clinic or nonprofit dental service.

(14) Define 3 levels of supervision by rule and regulation.

(15) Establish by rule and regulation the requirement to and standards for permits that authorize dentist to administer anesthetic agents.

(16) Issue subpoenas requiring the production of and receive information regarding changes in hospital privileges as a result of disciplinary or other adverse action taken by a hospital, or regarding disciplinary or other adverse action taken by a dental society against any person certified under this chapter to practice dentistry or dental hygiene.

(b) The State Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene shall promulgate regulations specifically identifying those crimes which are substantially related to the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene.

Code 1915, § 891; 38 Del. Laws, c. 48, § 2; Code 1935, § 972; 24 Del. C. 1953, § 1107; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 31, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 481, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 3; 74 Del. Laws, c. 262, § 21; 75 Del. Laws, c. 104, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 463, §§ 3, 9-13.;