Code of Alabama/Alabama Dental Practice Act



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§ 34-9-11. Examination of applicants; issuance of licenses.
When application and accompanying proof as are required herein are found satisfactory, the board shall notify the applicant to appear for examination at a time and place to be fixed by the board, and each applicant shall be examined and graded by number in lieu of name. All examinations provided for in this chapter shall be approved by the board and shall be of such type and character as to test the qualifications of the applicant to practice dentistry. It is provided, however, that the board may recognize any written parts of an examination given by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations in lieu of such examinations or subject to such examinations as the board may approve. Those found qualified by the board shall be granted a license and a license certificate which shall bear a serial number, the full name of the licensee, the date of issuance, and the seal of the board, and shall be signed by each member of the board.
§ 34-9-12. Recording, reporting requirements.
(a) Every person granted a license to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in this state by the board, as herein provided, shall cause his or her license certificate to be recorded in the office of the judge of probate of the county in which he or she desires to practice before beginning the practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the county. Any person receiving a license from the board, whether or not intending to immediately engage in the practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in this state, shall cause his or her license certificate to be recorded in the office of the judge of probate in one of the counties of this state within 60 days of the issuance of the license certificate.
(b) Every person issued a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the board, and all rules and regulations of the board, including all matters relating to discipline. It shall be the affirmative duty of every special purpose licensee to report to the board in writing within 15 days of the initiation of any disciplinary action against the licensee to practice dentistry by any state or territory in which the licensee is licensed. In addition, the licensee agrees, by acceptance of the license, to produce any patient records or materials as requested by the board or to appear before the board or any of its committees following receipt of a written notice issued by the board. The notice may be issued by the board. The failure of a special purpose licensee to report, produce records, or appear as set forth above shall subject the licensee to the disciplinary penalties as set forth in Section 34-9-5.
(c) Every person issued a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines shall comply with all laws, rules, and regulations governing the maintenance of patient records, including patient confidentiality requirements, regardless of the state where the records of any patient within this state are maintained.


§ 34-9-13. License and registration certificates to be kept in office of practitioner.
Every practitioner of dentistry, dental hygiene, and expanded duty dental assisting within the meaning of this chapter shall have in his or her possession a license certificate and an annual registration certificate in the office wherein he or she practices.
§ 34-9-14. Change of address generally.
Every licensed dentist, dental hygienist, and expanded duty dental assistant upon changing his or her place of practice, whether from one building, city, street address, or county to another, shall within 30 days thereafter furnish the secretary-treasurer of the board with the new address. The secretary-treasurer shall acknowledge receipt of change of address within 30 days.
§ 34-9-15. Annual registration; continuing education.
(a) No person shall practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the State of Alabama unless licensed or permitted by the board and registered annually as required by this chapter. The secretary-treasurer of the board shall issue to each licensee an initial registration form which shall contain space for the insertion of name, address, date, and number of license certificate, and other information as the board shall deem necessary. The licensee shall sign and verify the accuracy of the registration before a notary public after which he or she shall forward the registration to the secretary-treasurer of the board together with a fee. Each subsequent registration shall be made in electronic format or by United States mail upon a form to be determined by the board. On or before October 1 of each year, every dentist, dental hygienist, and expanded duty dental assistant licensed or permitted to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the state shall transmit either online or by United States mail to the secretary-treasurer of the board the completed form prescribed by the board, together with a fee established by the board pursuant to this chapter, and receive thereafter the current annual registration certificate authorizing him or her to continue the practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting in the state for a period of one year. Any license or permit previously granted under the authority of this chapter or any prior dental practice act shall automatically be suspended if the holder thereof fails to secure the annual registration certificate before January 1, each year. Any dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant whose license or permit is automatically suspended by reason of failure, neglect, or refusal to secure the annual registration certificate shall be reinstated by the board upon payment of the penalty fee plus all accrued annual registration fees up to a maximum of five years, accompanied with the prescribed form for annual registration of the license or permit. Upon failure of any licensee or permittee to file application for the annual registration certificate and pay the annual registration fee on or before November 30, each year, the board shall notify the licensee or permittee by mail addressed to the last address of record that the application and fee have not been received and that, unless the application and fee are received on or before the first day of January, the license or permit shall be automatically suspended. The board shall notify the licensee or permittee by mail addressed to the last address of record of the effective date of the automatic suspension and the provisions for registration of the license or permit. The board shall waive the annual payment of fees herein provided for and issue a current annual registration certificate to any licensee or permittee who, because of age or physical disability, has retired from the practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting or who is suffering a malady of a lingering or permanent nature. The board by rule shall waive annual registration and the payment of fees while any licensee is on temporary active duty with any of the Armed Forces of the United States. The waiver of fees herein provided shall be effective so long as the retirement because of age or physical disability or temporary active duty continues.
(b) The board shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for the adoption of a program of continuing education for its licensees by October 1, 1991. After that date, the successful completion of continuing education program requirements shall be a requisite for renewal of licenses issued pursuant to this chapter.
§ 34-9-15.1. Release of records.
(a) Upon the request of a patient or authorized agent of a patient, a dentist shall promptly release to the patient or his or her authorized agent legible and accurate copies of all records of the patient regardless of how they are generated or maintained. The reasonable costs of reproducing copies shall not be more than the amounts authorized by statute and in the absence of any statutory authority no more than the actual cost of the reproduction.
(b) The release of records under this section shall not be made contingent upon the payment of any fee or charge owed by the patient.
(c) The provisions of the section shall survive the closing of a dental office or practice for any reason, including, but not limited to, sale of practice, any disciplinary action, retirement, disability, or death.
§ 34-9-16. Fee schedule.
The board shall establish and collect reasonable fees provided for in this chapter within the ranges set forth below and without having to engage in the rulemaking process:
Description Not More Than
Dental Examination Application Fee $750.00

Dental Examination Fee $2,500.00

Dental Examination Materials Fee $500.00

Dental Licensure by Credentials Application Fee $4,000.00

Dental Licensure by Regional Exam Application Fee $1,000.00

Special Purpose Licensure Fee $750.00

Special Purpose Licensure Renewal Fee $750.00

Dental Annual Registration Fee $500.00

Dental License Reinstatement Penalty $500.00

Dental Hygiene Program Application Fee $500.00

Alabama Dental Hygiene Training Permit Fee $450.00

Alabama Dental Hygiene Training Education Fee $600.00

Alabama Dental Hygiene Program Instructor

Certification Course Fee $200.00

Alabama Dental Hygiene Program Instructional

Materials Fee $950.00

Dental Hygiene By Regional Exam Application Fee $75.00

Dental Hygiene Examination Application Fee $500.00

Dental Hygiene Examination Fee $600.00

Dental Hygiene Examination Materials Fee $400.00

Dental Hygiene Licensure by Credentials Fee $2,000.00

Dental Hygiene Annual Registration Fee $75.00

Dental Hygiene License Reinstatement Penalty $200.00

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant by

Regional Exam Application Fee $75.00

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant Examination Application Fee $500.00

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant Examination Fee $600.00

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant Examination Materials Fee $400.00

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant Licensure by Credentials Fee $2,000.00

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant Annual Registration Fee $75.00

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant License Reinstatement Penalty $200.00

License Certificate Fee $500.00

Duplicate or Replacement License Fee $150.00

Dental Faculty Teaching Permit Fee $350.00

Dental Faculty Special Teaching Permit Fee $500.00

Alabama Controlled Substance Permit Fee $400.00

Alabama Controlled Substance Permit Renewal Fee $400.00

General Anesthesia Permit Fee $1,500.00

General Anesthesia Permit Renewal Fee $750.00

Parenteral Sedation Permit Fee $1,500.00

Parenteral Sedation Permit Renewal Fee $750.00

Oral Conscious Sedation Permit Fee $250.00

Oral Conscious Sedation Permit Renewal Fee $250.00

Mobile Dental Application/Inspection Fee $1,500.00

Mobile Dental Renewal Fee $1,500.00

Mobile Dental Facility/Portable Dental Operation

Application for Certificate of Registration Fee $750.00

Mobile Dental Facility/Portable Dental

Operation Renewal of Certificate of Registration Fee $500.00

Alabama Impaired Dental Professionals Committee Annual



Monitoring Fee $2,000.00
§ 34-9-17. Use of names.
(a) Any person or persons may practice or offer to practice dentistry in connection with any dental office or offices by or under the use of a name other than their own provided their name or names as they appear on their license certificate granted to him or them as a dentist pursuant to this chapter appear in a reasonably dignified manner either following or beneath any name selected and further provided that such person or persons are personally present in their office or offices operating as a dentist or personally overseeing such operations as they are performed in their office or each of their offices. When an associate in practice is on temporary active duty with the armed forces, his or her name may continue to appear in connection with the practice of dentistry at any office or offices. Nothing herein shall allow or permit any person or persons to select a name that suggests or implies a nonprofit or charitable activity. The violation of any of the provisions of this subsection by any dentist may subject such dentist to any of the penalties outlined in Section 34-9-18.
(b) It shall be unlawful for a licensee to permit his or her name to appear in any manner on, within, or in connection with any office which he or she has sold to another licensee and from which he or she has severed active practice, provided the name of the dentist who sells his or her office to a licensed dentist, or in the event of the death of a licensee, the name of the deceased dentist, may remain in the office for a period not to exceed 12 months and it shall also be unlawful for the buyer to permit the former owner's name or the deceased's license to appear in any manner on, within, or in connection with the office, except as herein provided. The violation of any of the provisions of this subsection by any dentist may subject such dentist to the penalties outlined in subsection (b) of Section 34-9-18.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be so construed as to prevent two or more licensed dentists from associating together for the practice of dentistry.
§ 34-9-18. Grounds for disciplinary action.
(a) The board may invoke disciplinary action as outlined in subsection (b) hereof whenever it shall be established to the satisfaction of the board, after hearing as hereinafter provided, that any dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant has been guilty of the following:
(1) Fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in obtaining any license, license certificate, annual registration certificate, money, or other thing of value.
(2) Gross immorality.
(3) Is a menace to the public health or to patients or others by reason of a disease.
(4) Is an habitual user of intoxicants or drugs rendering him or her unfit for the practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting.
(5) Has been convicted for violation of federal or state narcotics or barbiturate laws.
(6) Is guilty of negligence or gross negligence.
a. For the purposes of this subdivision, negligence is defined as the failure to do what a reasonably prudent dentist or dental hygienist would have done under the same or similar circumstances or the doing of that which a reasonably prudent practitioner would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.
b. For the purposes of this subdivision, gross negligence is defined as willful or wanton conduct with reckless, malicious, or conscious disregard for the rights or safety of others, or conduct that is so deliberate, outrageous, and callous as to display total indifference to the health or safety of a patient, that could result in serious bodily injury or death.
(7) Is guilty of employing, allowing, or permitting any unlicensed person or persons to perform any work in his or her office which, under this chapter, can only be legally done by a person or persons holding a license to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting.
(8) Willfully or negligently violates the rules of the State Department of Health or of the board regarding sanitation.
(9) Is guilty of division of fees, or agreeing to split or divide the fee received for dental service with any person for bringing or referring a patient without the knowledge of the patient or his or her legal representative, except the division of fees between dentists practicing in a partnership and sharing professional fees, or in case of one licensed dentist employing another.
(10) Is guilty of professional connection or association with or lending his or her name to anyone who is engaged in the illegal practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting.
(11) Conviction in any court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
(12)a. A dental hygienist using or attempting to use in any manner whatsoever any prophylactic list, call list, records, reprints, or copies of same, or information gathered therefrom, of the names of patients whom the dental hygienist served in the office of a prior employer, unless the names appear upon the bona fide call or prophylactic list of his or her present employer and were caused to appear through the legitimate practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting as provided for in this chapter.
b. A licensed dentist who aids or abets or encourages a dental hygienist or expanded duty dental assistant employed by him or her to make use of a prophylactic list or the calling by telephone or by the use of letters transmitted through the mails to solicit patronage from patients formerly served in the office of any dentist employing the hygienist, expanded duty dental assistant, or nurse.
c. An expanded duty dental assistant using or aiding, abetting, or encouraging a dental hygienist to use in any manner whatsoever any prophylactic list, call list, records, reprints, or copies of same, or information gathered therefrom, of the names of patients who the expanded duty dental assistant served in the office of a prior employer, unless the names appear upon the bona fide call or prophylactic list of his or her present employer and were caused to appear through the legitimate practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting as provided for in this chapter.
(13) Pertaining to licensed dentists only, the prescribing, administering or dispensing of any controlled substances enumerated in Schedules I through V contained in the Alabama Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Chapter 2 of Title 20, or any amendment or successor thereto, or any drug not prescribed for any dentally or facially related condition, and/or for any necessary medication during the course of treatment rendered directly by the dentist, for any person not under his or her treatment in the regular practice of his or her profession.
(14) Irregularities in billing an insurance company or other third party payer for services rendered to a patient. For the purposes of this section irregularities in billing shall include: Reporting charges for the purpose of obtaining a total payment in excess of that usually received by the dentist for the services rendered; falsely reporting treatment dates for the purpose of obtaining payment; falsely reporting charges for services not rendered; falsely reporting services rendered for the purpose of obtaining payment; or failing to advise any third party payer that the copayment provisions of a contract have been abrogated by accepting the payment received from the third party payer as full payment.
(15) Violating any rule adopted by the board.
(16) Has had his or her license or permit to practice dentistry, dental hygiene, or expanded duty dental assisting from another state suspended or revoked based upon acts similar to those described in this section. A certified copy of the record of suspension or revocation of the state making the suspension or revocation shall be conclusive evidence thereof.
(17) Violating any provision of this chapter.
(b) When the board finds any dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant guilty of any of the grounds set forth in subsection (a), it may enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties:
(1) Refuse to issue the dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant any license or permit provided for in this chapter.
(2) With the exception of negligence as defined in paragraph (a)(6)a. revoke the license or permit of any dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant.
(3) Suspend the license or permit of any dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant.
(4) Enter a censure.
(5) Issue an order fixing a period and terms of probation best adapted to protect the public health and safety and to rehabilitate the dentist, dental hygienist, or expanded duty dental assistant.
(6) Impose an administrative fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each count or separate offense.
(7) Impose restrictions on the scope of practice.
(8) Impose peer review or professional education requirements.
(9) Assess the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.
(c) Failure to comply with any final order of the board, including, but not limited to, an order of censure or probation, is cause for suspension or revocation of a license.
(d) No disciplinary action as outlined in subsection (b) or (c) hereof shall be invoked or entered except after hearing by the board as provided in this chapter, and such order is subject to judicial review as provided by this chapter.
No order of suspension or revocation provided in this section shall be made or entered except after hearing by the board as provided in this chapter, and the order shall be subject to judicial review as provided by this chapter.
(e) The board may temporarily suspend a special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines without a hearing on either of the following grounds:
(1) The failure of the licensee to appear or produce records or materials as requested by the board.
(2) The initiation of a disciplinary action against the licensee by any state or territorial licensing jurisdiction in which the licensee holds a license to practice dentistry.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act, the temporary suspension provided herein shall remain in effect until either the licensee has complied with the request of the board or the disciplinary action pending against the licensee has been terminated in favor of the licensee and the temporary suspension has been terminated by a written order of the board. A special purpose license to practice dentistry across state lines is subject to each of the grounds for disciplinary action provided in this section in accordance with the procedures of Section 34-9-24 and the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.
(f) Members of the board, any agent, employee, consultant, or attorney for the board, and the members of any committee of dentists, dental hygienists, or expanded duty dental assistants impaneled by the board, shall be immune from suits for any conduct in the course of their official duties with respect to investigations or hearings; provided, that the persons act without malice and in good faith that such investigations or hearings are warranted by the facts, known to them after diligent effort to obtain the facts of the matter relative to the investigations or hearings.
(g) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to limit or restrict the authority of the board to discipline any dentist licensed to practice in this state who violates this chapter while engaging in the practice of dentistry within this or any other state.
(h) The board shall have the authority to adopt rules imposing a non-disciplinary administrative penalty for designated violations of this chapter.
§ 34-9-19. Advertising -- Dentist; specialty requirements; practice emphasis; purpose of section; rules and regulations.

(a) For the purpose of this section, the following terms shall have the respective meanings:


(1) ADVERTISEMENT. An advertisement is information communicated in a manner designed to attract public attention to the practice of a dentist as heretofore defined.
(2) DENTIST. Any person licensed to practice dentistry in this state pursuant to this chapter or any entity authorized by law which is formed for the purpose of practicing dentistry.
(3) FALSE. A false statement or claim is one which:
a. Contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law.
b. Omits a material fact rendering the statement or claim when considered as a whole false.
(b) A dentist shall have ultimate responsibility for all advertisements which are approved by him or her or his or her agents or associates and the dentist shall be responsible for the following:
(1) Broadcast advertisements shall be recorded, approved by the dentist, and a recording of the actual transmission shall be retained by the dentist for one year following the final appearance or use of the advertisement. The dentist is responsible for making copies of the advertisement available to the board within 10 days following a request by the board.
(2) Written or printed advertisements shall be approved by the dentist and a copy of the publication in which the advertisement is displayed shall be retained by the dentist for one year following the final appearance or use of the advertisement. The dentist is responsible for making copies of the advertisement available to the board within 10 days following a request by the board.
(3) Other forms of advertisement shall be approved by the dentist and the contents and specifications, where applicable, shall be retained by the dentist for one year following the final appearance or use of the advertisement and the dentist is responsible for making copies of the advertisement available to the board within 10 days following a request by the board.
(c) A dentist may not hold himself or herself out as a specialist or advertise specialty status unless the specialty is approved by the American Dental Association.
(d) Dentists who are not specialists in specialties approved by the American Dental Association may nevertheless advertise that their practice is limited to a specific area of dentistry only if the dentist has obtained membership in or otherwise has been credentialized by an accrediting organization which is recognized by the board as a bona fide organization for such an area of practice.
(e) Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, a dentist licensed pursuant to this chapter may not hold himself or herself out as a specialist or advertise membership in a specialty recognized by an accrediting organization, unless the dentist has continuously held himself or herself out as a specialist since December 31, 1964, in a specialty recognized by the American Dental Association or has completed a specialty education program approved by the American Dental Association and the Commission on Dental Accreditation and meets either of the following qualifications:
(1) Is eligible for examination by a national specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association.
(2) Is a diplomate of a national specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association.
(f) A dentist licensed under this chapter may not represent to the public without appropriate disclosure that his or her practice is limited to a specific area of dentistry other than a specialty area of dentistry authorized under subsection (e) unless the dentist has attained membership in or has otherwise been credentialed by an accrediting organization which is recognized by the board as a bona fide organization for such an area of dental practice. In order to be recognized by the board as a bona fide accrediting organization for a specific area of dental practice other than a specialty area of dentistry authorized under subsection (c), the organization must condition membership or credentialing of its members upon all of the following:
(1) Successful completion of a formal, full-time advanced education program that is affiliated with or sponsored by a university-based dental school that is beyond the dental degree, is at the graduate or postgraduate level, and is of at least 12 months in duration.
(2) Prior didactic training and clinical experience in the specific area of dentistry which is greater than that of other dentists.
(3) Successful completion of oral and written examinations based on psychometric principles.
(g) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsections (e) and (f), a dentist who lacks membership in or certification, diplomate status, or other similar credentials from an accrediting organization approved as bona fide by either the American Dental Association or the board may announce a practice emphasis in any other area of dental practice if the dentist incorporates in capital letters or some other manner clearly distinguishable from the rest of the announcement, solicitation, or advertisement the following statement: "_____________ (NAME OF ANNOUNCED AREA OF DENTAL PRACTICE) IS NOT RECOGNIZED AS A SPECIALTY AREA BY THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION OR THE BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS OF ALABAMA." If such an area of dental practice is officially recognized by an organization which the dentist desires to acknowledge or otherwise reference in the dentist's announcement, solicitation, or advertisement, the same announcement, solicitation, or advertisement shall also state prominently: "_______________ (NAME OF REFERENCED ORGANIZATION) IS NOT RECOGNIZED AS A BONA FIDE SPECIALTY ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION BY THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION OR THE BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS OF ALABAMA."
(h) The purpose of this section is to prevent a dentist from advertising without appropriate disclosure membership in an organization which may be perceived by the public as recognizing or accrediting specialization or other unique competencies in an area of dentistry that is not recognized or accredited by the American Dental Association or the board in accordance with this section. The purpose of this section is also to prohibit a dentist from advertising a specialty or other area of dental practice without appropriate disclosure unless the special competencies held by the dentist satisfy the requirements of subsections (d) and (f). The Legislature finds that dental consumers can reasonably rely on these requirements as satisfactory evidence of a dentist's attainment of meaningful competencies in the specialty or other bona fide area of dental practice advertised. The Legislature also finds that this process for the recognition of dental specialties and other bona fide areas of dental practice is the least restrictive means available to ensure that consumers are not mislead about a dentist's unique credentials.
(i) A dentist who lacks membership in or certification, diplomate status, or similar credentials from an accrediting organization approved as bona fide by either the American Dental Association or the board may announce a practice emphasis in any other area of dental practice if the dentist incorporates the disclaimer set forth in subsection (g).
(j) The board shall promulgate rules and regulations delineating examples of advertising which would be considered false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive.
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