Code of Alabama/Alabama Dental Practice Act



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§34-9-7. Exemption of certain practices and operations.
Nothing in this chapter shall apply to the following practices, acts, and operations:
(1) The practice of his or her profession by a physician or surgeon holding a certificate of qualification as a medical doctor and licensed as such under the laws of this state, provided he or she shall not practice dentistry as a specialty.
(2) The practice of dentistry in the discharge of their official duties by graduate dentists or dental surgeons in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, or other armed services, public health service including, but not limited to, a federally qualified health center authorized and operating under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. § 254B), provided, however, that such federally qualified health centers shall register pursuant to Section 34-9-7.2 (provided further however, dentists, dental hygienists, and other personnel employed by any public health service which performs dental health care for the general public under programs funded in whole or part by the state or federal government shall be subject to all of the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations duly promulgated by the board governing the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene in this state), Coast Guard, or Veteran's Administration.
(3) The practice of dentistry by a licensed dentist of other states or countries at meetings of the Alabama Dental Association or components thereof, or other like dental organizations approved by the board, while appearing as clinicians, or when appearing in emergency cases upon the specific call of dentists duly licensed under this chapter.
(4) The filling of prescriptions of a licensed and registered dentist, as hereinafter provided, by any person or persons, association, corporation, or other entity for the construction, reproduction, or repair of prostheses (fixed or removable) or appliances on a cast made by or from impressions made by a licensed and currently registered dentist, to be used or worn as a substitute for natural teeth; provided, that the person or persons, association, corporation, or other entity, shall not solicit or advertise, directly or indirectly, by mail, card, newspaper, pamphlet, radio, television, Internet, or otherwise, to the general public to construct, reproduce, or repair prostheses (fixed or removable) or other appliances to be used or worn as substitutes for natural teeth.
(5) The use of roentgen machines or other means for making radiographs, digital images, or similar records, of dental or oral tissues under the supervision of a licensed dentist or physician; provided, that the services shall not be advertised by any name whatever as an aid or inducement to secure dental patronage, and no person shall advertise that he or she has, leases, owns, or operates a roentgen or other machine for the purpose of making dental radiographs or images, of the human teeth or tissues or the oral cavity, or administering treatments thereto for any disease thereof.
(6) The giving of a general anesthetic by a nurse anesthetist who administers a general anesthetic under the direct supervision of a duly licensed dentist to a patient who is undergoing dental treatment rendered by the dentist.
(7) The use of a nurse in the practice of professional or practical nursing, as defined in Sections 34-21-1 through 34-21-26, by a dentist.
(8) A dentist who engages in the practice of dentistry across state lines in an emergency, as defined by the board.
(9) A dentist who engages in the practice of dentistry across state lines on an irregular or infrequent basis. The "irregular or infrequent" practice of dentistry across state lines is considered to occur if the practice occurs less than 10 times in a calendar year or involves fewer than 10 patients in a calendar year, or the practice comprises less than one percent of the diagnostic or therapeutic practice of the dentist.
(10) A dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant on active duty, or performing his or her duties as a reservist in the military, is not subject to any fee required for a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines. The dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant shall notify the board in advance of his or her participation in military activities and shall forward a copy of his or her current dental license or permit, or both, to the board. The dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant shall also provide proof of military status and any orders requiring him or her to perform dental treatment services in this state.
§ 34-9-7.1 Exemption of participation in continuing education course.
The practice of dentistry by a dentist licensed in another state as a part of participation in a continuing education course conducted, taught, or supervised by the University of Alabama School of Dentistry or any other dental college, hospital, or institution in Alabama which is approved by the board is exempt from the licensing requirements of this chapter.
§ 34-9-7.2. Registration of a 501(c)(3) entity.
A 501(c)(3) entity, as defined under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, that operates a dental clinic that provides dental services shall register with the board. The information provided to the board as a part of the registration process shall include the name of the corporation, the nonprofit status of the corporation, sites where dental services shall be provided by the corporation, and the names of all persons employed by, or contracting with, the corporation who are required to hold a license pursuant to this chapter. A copy of the entity's 501(c)(3) certification from the Internal Revenue Service shall be filed with the board. If the entity has multiple clinics, the entity shall register each clinic with the board and the entity shall have one licensed dentist serving as chief of dental services for all of the clinics. All dentists, hygienists, and expanded duty dental assistants at each clinic shall possess the applicable licenses or permits required by this chapter and shall be subject to this chapter.
§ 34-9-8. Dental faculty teaching permits; dental faculty special teaching permits.
(a) The board shall annually issue dental faculty teaching permits to persons who are bona fide members of the faculty of a dental college, if they hold a dental degree but are not licensed and registered to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the state. The dean of any dental college located in the state shall annually certify to the board the bona fide members of the clinical faculty of the college who are not licensed and registered to practice dentistry or dental hygiene in the state. The board shall issue teaching permits to applicants upon the certification by the dean. The teaching permits shall be invalid if the holder ceases to be a member of the clinical faculty of the dental college. The dean of any dental college shall promptly notify the board regarding changes in the faculty which affect the eligibility of a faculty member to possess a teaching permit. The holder of a teaching permit shall be subject to this chapter and may perform all clinical operations which a person licensed to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the state is entitled to perform. The operations may only be performed within the facilities of the dental college or any other facility approved by the board as an adjunct to his or her teaching functions in the college. An annual fee established pursuant to this chapter shall be paid to the board when the teaching permit is issued.
(b) The board shall annually issue dental faculty special teaching permits to persons who are bona fide members of the faculty of a dental college if they hold a dental degree but are not licensed and registered to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the state. The dean of any dental college located in the state shall annually certify to the board the bona fide members of the clinical faculty of the college who are not licensed and registered to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the state. The board shall issue special teaching permits to applicants upon certification by the dean. The special teaching permits shall be invalid if the holder ceases to be a member of the clinical faculty of the dental college. The dean of any dental college shall promptly notify the board regarding changes in the faculty which affect the eligibility of a faculty member to possess a special teaching permit. The holder of a special teaching permit shall be subject to this chapter and may perform all clinical operations on his or her private patients which a person licensed to practice dentistry or dental hygiene in the state is entitled to perform. The clinical operations may only be performed within the faculty private practice facilities of the dental college or any other facility approved by the board. An annual fee established pursuant to this chapter shall be paid to the board when the special teaching permit is issued.
§ 34-9-9. Exercise of independent professional judgment by dentist; prohibited business arrangements or relationships; penalties.
(a) No person other than a dentist licensed pursuant to this chapter or a 501(c)(3) entity registered under Section 34-9-7.2 may do any of the following:
(1) Employ a dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant in the operation of a dental office.
(2) Place in the possession of a dentist, dental hygienist, expanded duty dental assistant or other agent such dental material or equipment as may be necessary for the management of a dental office on the basis of a lease or any other agreement for compensation for the use of such material, equipment, or offices.
(3) Retain the ownership or control of dental equipment, material, or office and make the same available in any manner for the use of a dentist, dental hygienist, expanded duty dental assistant, or other agent.
(4) The term "person" as used in this section, shall not in any way pertain to state, county, municipal, or city institutions but shall be deemed to include any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, or other entity not licensed to practice dentistry in the State of Alabama.
(5) Nothing in this subsection shall apply to bona fide sales of dental equipment, material, or office secured by a chattel mortgage or retention title agreement, or to an agreement for the rental of the equipment or office by bona fide lease at a reasonable amount, and under which agreement the licensee under this chapter maintains complete care, custody, and control of the equipment and the practice. Further, nothing in this subsection shall prohibit or restrict persons, firms, or corporations from employing or retaining licensed dentists to furnish dental treatment for their employees or dependents of their employees.
(b) A prohibited business arrangement or relationship as defined in subsection (a) shall not be considered a violation of that subsection if a prohibited arrangement or relationship results from the death of a licensed dentist and is cured within 12 months of the date of the death.
(c) The purpose of this section is to prevent a non-dentist from influencing or otherwise interfering with the exercise of a dentist's independent professional judgment. In addition to the acts specified in subsection (a), no person, other than a dentist licensed in accordance with this chapter, shall enter into a relationship with a person licensed under this chapter pursuant to which the unlicensed person exercises control over the selection of a course of treatment for a patient, the procedures or materials to be used as a part of such course of treatment, or the manner in which such course of treatment is carried out by the licensee.
(d) No person other than a dentist licensed pursuant to this chapter or a 501(c)(3) entity registered under Section 34-9-7.2 shall exercise control over any of the following:
(1) The patient records of a dentist.
(2) Policies and decisions relating to pricing, credit, refunds, warranties, and advertising.
(3) Decisions relating to office personnel and hours of practice.
(e) Any licensed or permitted dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant who enters into any of the arrangements or relationships in violation of subsection (a) or subsection (c) with an unlicensed person as defined above, may be subject to any of the penalties set forth in Section 34-9-18.
§ 34-9-10. Application; licensure by credentials; special purpose license.
(a) Every person who desires to practice dentistry within the State of Alabama shall file an application prescribed by the board. Notwithstanding the method of obtaining licensure or any particular requirement set forth herein, every person as a prerequisite to licensure shall be at least 19 years of age, of good moral character, a citizen of the United States or, if not a citizen of the United States, a person who is legally present in the United States with appropriate documentation from the federal government, a graduate of a dental school or college accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and approved by the board and shall satisfy any other requirement set forth in any rule adopted by the board.
(b) Licensure by examination shall be applicable to the following categories:
(1) Those individuals who have never been licensed or taken an examination and whose application to take an examination administered or approved by the board is received by the board within 18 months of graduation from dental school.
(2) Those individuals who have successfully passed an examination approved but not administered by the board so long as an application for licensure is received by the board within five years of the date of notification of passing such examination. All applicants shall pay a fee which shall accompany the application.
(c) Any individual who possesses a current license in any state, who has passed an examination approved by the board and who has, since graduation from dental or dental hygiene school, practiced or participated in a clinical residency or practiced dentistry or dental hygiene in the Armed Forces or with the public health service shall be eligible for licensure if an application is received by the board within five years of the completion of the subject residency or Armed Forces or public health service commitment. All the above applicants shall pay a fee which shall accompany the application.
(d) Licensure by credentials may be utilized to evaluate the theoretical knowledge and clinical skill of a dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant when an applicant for licensure by credentials holds a dental, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting license in another state. The board may promulgate rules and regulations relating to licensure by credentials in addition to any requirements by law. An applicant for licensure by credentials shall satisfy all of the following:
(1) The dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant shall have been engaged in the active practice of clinical dentistry, clinical dental hygiene, or clinical expanded duty dental assisting or in full-time dental, dental hygiene, or clinical expanded duty dental assisting education for the five years or 5,000 hours immediately preceding his or her application.

(2) The applicant shall hold a current, valid, unrevoked, and unexpired license in a state having examination standards regarded by the board as an equivalent to the Alabama standards.


(3) The board of examiners in the state of current practice shall verify or endorse that the applicant's license is in good standing without any restrictions.
(4) The dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant shall not be the subject of a pending disciplinary action in any state in which the individual has been licensed which shall be verified by a query to the National Practitioner Data Bank, the Health Integrity Protection Data Bank, the American Association of Dental Boards Clearing House for Disciplinary Information, or any other pertinent bank currently existing or which may exist in the future.
(5) The applicant shall provide a written statement agreeing to be interviewed at the request of the board.
(6) The individual shall successfully pass a written jurisprudence examination.
(7) There shall be certification from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and from the state board of any state in which the applicant is or has been licensed that the DEA registration is not the subject of any pending disciplinary action or enforcement proceeding of any kind.
(8) The dentist applicant shall submit affidavits from two licensed dentists practicing in the same geographical area where the applicant is then practicing or teaching attesting to the moral character, standing, and ability of the applicant. The dental hygiene applicant shall submit affidavits from two licensed dentists or two licensed dental hygienists, or any combination of two thereof, practicing in the same geographical area where the applicant is then practicing or teaching attesting to the moral character, standing, and ability of the applicant. The expanded duty dental assistant applicant shall submit affidavits from two licensed dentists, two licensed dental hygienists, or two licensed expanded duty dental assistants, or any combination of two thereof, practicing in the same geographical area where the applicant is then practicing or teaching attesting to the moral character, standing, and ability of the applicant.
(9) The applicant shall provide the board with an official transcript with school seal from the school of dentistry, school of dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting which issued the applicant's professional degree or execute a request and authorization allowing the board to obtain the transcript.
(10) The applicant shall be a graduate of a dental, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting school, college, or educational program approved by the board.
(11) The applicant shall not be the subject of any pending or final action from any hospital revoking, suspending, limiting, modifying, or interfering with any clinical or staff privileges.
(12) The applicant shall not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or of any law dealing with the administering or dispensing of legend drugs, including controlled substances.
(13) The board may consider or require other criteria including, but not limited to, any of the following:
a. Questioning under oath.
b. Results of peer review reports from constituent dental societies or federal dental services.
c. Substance abuse testing or treatment.
d. Background checks for criminal or fraudulent activities.
e. Participation in continuing education.
f. A current certificate in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
g. Recent case reports or oral defense of diagnosis and treatment plans.
h. Proof of no physical or psychological impairment that would adversely affect the ability to practice dentistry or dental hygiene with reasonable skill and safety.
i. An agreement to initiate practice within the State of Alabama within a period of one year.
j. Proof of professional liability coverage and that coverage has not been refused, declined, cancelled, nonrenewed, or modified.
k. Whether the applicant has been subject to any final disciplinary action in any state in which the individual has been licensed which shall be verified by a query in the National Practitioner Data Bank, the Health Integrity Protection Data Bank, the American Association of Dental Boards Clearing House for Disciplinary Information, any state where the applicant has been licensed, or any other pertinent bank currently existing or which may exist in the future.
l. Whether the applicant's DEA registration or any state controlled substances permit has ever been revoked, suspended, modified, restricted, or limited in any way. Provided, however, that any discipline that results only from a failure to timely renew a registration or permit shall not prevent an applicant from being eligible for this method of licensure.
(14) If all criteria and requirements are satisfied and the board determines, after notice and hearing, that the individual committed fraud or in any way falsified any information in the application process, the license may be revoked by the board.
(15) In addition to the requirements for applicants seeking licensure by credentials, an applicant desiring to practice a specialty only shall satisfy the following requirements:
a. The specialty shall be one in a branch of dentistry approved by the American Dental Association.
b. The applicant shall satisfy the existing educational requirements and standards set forth by the American Dental Association for that approved specialty.
c. An applicant who chooses to announce or practice a specialty shall limit his or her practice exclusively to the announced special area or areas of dental practice.
d. If an applicant who is initially licensed by credentials for a specialty practice decides to renounce his or her specialty and practice general dentistry, and the license originally issued did not require a general dental license but rather a specialty license, or the applicant originally passed only a specialty examination, the applicant may not practice general dentistry until he or she successfully passes the board's regular general dentistry examination. However, if the applicant has passed a general dentistry examination or has a general dentistry license, was practicing a specialty, and decides not to continue that specialty and practice only general dentistry, the applicant is eligible for licensure by credentials as a general dentist.
(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), the board shall issue a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines to an applicant who has met the following requirements:
(1) The applicant holds a full and unrestricted license to practice dentistry in any state of the United States or in territories, other than the State of Alabama, in which the individual is licensed.
(2) The applicant has not had any disciplinary action or other action taken against him or her by any state or licensing jurisdiction. If there has been previous disciplinary or other action taken against the applicant, the board may issue a certificate of qualification if it finds that the previous disciplinary or other action indicates that the dentist is not a potential threat to the public.
(3) The applicant submits an application for a certificate of qualification for a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines on a form provided by the board, remits an application fee in an amount established by the board, and pays a fee.
(f) A special purpose license issued by the board to practice dentistry across state lines limits the licensee solely to the practice of dentistry across state lines. The special purpose license shall be valid for a period of up to three years, shall expire on a renewal date determined by the board, and may be renewed upon receipt of a renewal fee as established by the board. Failure to renew a license according to the renewal schedule established by the board shall cause the special purpose license to be inactive. An applicant may reapply for a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines following placement of the license on inactive status. The applicant shall meet the qualifications of subsection (e) in order to be eligible for renewal of the license.
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the board shall only issue a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines to an applicant whose principal practice location and license to practice are located in a state or territory of the United States whose laws permit or allow for the issuance of a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines or similar license to a dentist whose principal practice location and license are located in another state. It is the stated intent of this section that dentists who hold a full and current license in the State of Alabama be afforded the opportunity to obtain, on a reciprocal basis, a license to practice dentistry across state lines in any other state or territory of the United States as a precondition to the issuance of a special purpose license as authorized by this section to a dentist licensed in the other state or territory. The board shall determine which states or territories have reciprocal licensure requirements meeting the qualifications of this section.
(h) Any individual who does not qualify for licensure pursuant to any of the above subsections but who has passed an examination approved by the board and possesses a current license in another state is eligible to apply for licensure upon payment of a fee. The board shall have discretion whether to require an examination for any such individual, including the time, place, type, and content of any such examination.
(i) A current license shall mean one in good standing authorizing the individual to practice in the state of issuance.
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