FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Board of Dental Examiner's COVID-19 Statement November 4, 2022

The Board has determined that all Alabama dental professionals shall follow CDC recommendations regarding COVID-related restrictions, as required by Alabama Administrative Code, 4.270-X-2. 15. This determination supersedes all previous recommendations by the Board. (See November 4, 2022 Board minutes) (Previous Board COVID-19 guidance superseded by this new determination can be found in the minutes of April 8, 2022, April 9, 2021, October 2, 2020, August 13, 2020, June 11, 2020, and May 30, 2020.)

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html

New Fee Increases for 2022

Licenses, Permits, and Renewal Fees will be increased beginning July 1, 2022!  (Please click on document below for more information.)  

Fee Increase for July 1 2022

Board Statement on Alabama Dental Practice Act

The Dental Practice Act, Ala. Code (1975), § 34-9-6(7), was amended by the Alabama Legislature in 2011 in Act 2011-571 to specify that “making . . . digital images” constitutes the practice of dentistry. In 2017, the Board amended the Rule that governs permissible procedures for dental auxiliaries, Ala. Admin. Code r. 270-X-3-.10, to allow them to “make . . . digital images,” thereby implementing the statute; and then began enforcing the statute to ensure that dental auxiliaries making digital images did so under direct supervision.

Signature on Medical Record

The Board opines that, pursuant to Alabama Code (1975), § 34-9-15.1(a), the dentist's signature or other identifying mark on a medical record must be sufficient to identify the dentist to any other party, and the dentist's name or other unique identifier must be on all electronic records.

Injectables and Topicals

Within their dental clinics and as part of their overall dental practice, dentists are allowed to use cosmetic injectables and topicals in any area of the face to treat maxillofacial trauma, and for the treatment of diagnosed dental and orofacial problems, pain, or other conditions, and for cosmetic purposes following proper continuing education and certification. such as training offered by national industry associations or other dental continuing education.

(See July, 2010, February 2020, December 2021, and January 2022 minutes.)

PDO Thread Lifts and Microneedling

It is the opinion of the Board that PDO thread lifts and microneedling are NOT within the scope of dentistry.

(See November 5, 2020 minutes; see June 2, 2022 minutes.) 

                          Home Sleep Test

The Board opines that it is within the scope of practice for a dentist to order/administer a home sleep test; however, a definitive diagnosis of sleep apnea must be made by a licensed physician prior to the prescription and fabrication of an intra-oral sleep disorder appliance. It is outside the scope of dental practice to order or prescribe an intra-oral sleep disorder appliance as a result of a sleep study being interpreted by a dentist. Additionally, it is always outside beyond the scope of dental practice for a dentist to prescribe a CPAP. It is, however, permissible for a dentist to fabricate and prescribe an antisnoring appliance without the consultation of a physician.

(See July, 2011 minutes and August, 2017 minutes.)

Patient Referrals

The Board opines that an internal referral based upon asking current patients for referrals with the enticement of a prize/award would be permissible, as long as any prizes/awards given are not cash or a cash equivalent (i.e., a Visa gift card with a cash balance). So long as the source of the referrals is the dentist's current patient base and any incentive provided is not cash or a cash equivalent, then the referring party will not be deemed to be a "Dental Referral Service" by the Board and will not be subject to the requirements of Code of Alabama (1975), § 34-9-19.1.

Advertising

The Board is no longer reviewing individual advertisements. To ensure that your advertisement complies with the Alabama Dental Practice Act, please review Rule 270-X-4.08.

Divide/Split Fees

Per Code of Alabama, § 34-9-18(9), no licensee of the Board of Dental Examiners may divide fees or agree to divide or split the fee received for dental services with any person for bringing or referring a patient without the knowledge of the patient or his legal representative.

Because online website-based discount programs such a Groupon retain a percentage of the monies paid by the consumer for the dental service, such online discounts may be construed as a violation of the DPA unless the patient is informed on the offer that the website service is retaining a portion of the fee. Therefore, it is the opinion of the Board of Dental Examiners that participation in such online discounting programs with this notification is acceptable and not a violation of the Dental Practice Act. (Per April, 2012 Minutes.)

Retain Patient Records

The Alabama Dental Practice Act does not address the length of time that you must maintain patient records, however, retention of lab prescriptions is found in Code of Alabama (1975), § 34-9-21 wherein it states the length of retention for lab prescriptions is 2 years. Considering forensic value and need for defending a patient complaint, also please check with your malpractice insurance carrier and/or ADA for more guidance with this issue.

Name and Address Changes

For an address and/or phone number changes please submit your changes in writing (mail, email, or fax) and include your name and license number. Indicate which address should be your public/mailing address for Board correspondence.

For any name changes please submit a copy of the legal document that changed your name along with your current listed name and license number (e.g. marriage certificate or page of divorce decree that indicates returning to former name, or court order). If you would like a new wall certificate reflecting your change of name, please include a check in the amount of $25.00 with your change of name request and a new wall certificate will be mailed to you.

Continuing Education Course Approval

It is the opinion of the Board that any Continuing Education provider who wishes to have a course in infection control approved by the Board must cover all of the following topics in the course:

          Review of Science Related to Dental Infection Control

          Preventing Transmission of Bloodborne and Airborne Pathogens

          Hand Hygiene

          Personal Protective Equipment

          Sterilization and Disinfection of Patient Care Items

          Environmental Infection Control

          Dental Unit Waterlines, Biofilms, and Water Quality

          Dental Handpieces and Other Devices Attached to Air and Waterlines

          Dental Radiology

          Single Use or Disposable Devices

          Preprocedural Mouth Rinse

          Handling of Extracted Teeth

          Dental Laboratory

          Program Evaluation

(see November 5, 2020 minutes)

Animals in Dental Patient Care Areas

Board Rule 270-X-2-.15 requires dental personnel to observe CDC guidelines for infection control in dental clinics. It is the opinion of the Board that those guidelines clearly require that animals other than service animals not be allowed into dental patient care areas.

(see November 5, 2020 minutes)

Teledentistry

The Dental Practice Act does not prohibit one narrow class of teledentistry, wherein the doctor interacts directly with a patient.  This can be to triage those patients whose conditions might constitute emergencies, or who might be carriers of COVID-19. The doctor must interact with the patient personally, rather than exclusively through auxiliary personnel; record the visit in detail, including making any necessary SOAP notes; and observe the same standard of car s/he would observe for an in-person visit.

This lone operational model of teledentistry is permissible, and will remain so once any remaining pandemic restrictions are lifted. Practitioners are cautioned to observe private and government insurers' requirements if seeking reimbursement, and any guidelines set forth by DEA or any other governing state or federal agency.

(see April 29, 2020 minutes)

      Board Members Compensation

It is the opinion of the Board that the clause, "for each day actively engaged in the duties of their office," as contemplated by Alabama Code (1975),  § 34-9-41 and Alabama Administrative Code r.270-X-1-.08(1), applies to all Board duties in the same manner as it applies to review of assigned cases under Rule 270-X-1-.08(1)(c)--one hundred dollars and 00/100 ($100.00) per hour, not to exceed three hundred dollars and 00/100 ($300.00) per day; except for Board Meetings, for which members will be compensated at a flat rate of three hundred dollars and 00/100 ($300.00).

(See September 3, 2020 minutes.)

Firearms & Dangerous Weapons Policy

Adverse Occurrences

The Board opines that a dentist complies with Alabama Administrative Code r. 270-x-2-.20 when the dentist notifies the Board of an adverse occurrence within 7 days of learning of the occurrence and submits to the Board within 30 days of learning of the occurrence a report that meets the requirements of Alabama Administrative Code Rule 270-x-2.20(2).  (See March 2019 minutes)

The Board opines that, for the purposes of Alabama Administrative Code r. 270-X-2 .20, “hospital admission” means any care provided by a hospital, whether inpatient or outpatient, to include any medical transport to a hospital by fire or EMS services. (See September 2022 minutes)

NOTE:  Adverse occurrences must be associated with the dental treatment of a patient to include, but not limited to anesthesia or sedation. (Code of Alabama (1975) §34-9-65; Alabama Administrative Code r. 270-X-2- .20)