Commonwealth of Virginia



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Part V. Unprofessional Conduct.

18VAC60-20-150 to 18VAC60-20-160. [Repealed]

18VAC60-20-170. Acts constituting unprofessional conduct.


The following practices shall constitute unprofessional conduct within the meaning of § 54.1-2706 of the Code of Virginia:

1. Fraudulently obtaining, attempting to obtain or cooperating with others in obtaining payment for services;

2. Performing services for a patient under terms or conditions that are unconscionable. The board shall not consider terms unconscionable where there has been a full and fair disclosure of all terms and where the patient entered the agreement without fraud or duress;

3. Misrepresenting to a patient and the public the materials or methods and techniques the licensee uses or intends to use;

4. Committing any act in violation of the Code of Virginia reasonably related to the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene;

5. Delegating any service or operation that requires the professional competence of a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant II to any person who is not a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant II as authorized by this chapter;

6. Certifying completion of a dental procedure that has not actually been completed;

7. Knowingly or negligently violating any applicable statute or regulation governing ionizing radiation in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including, but not limited to, current regulations promulgated by the Virginia Department of Health;

8. Permitting or condoning the placement or exposure of dental x-ray film by an unlicensed person, except where the unlicensed person has complied with 18VAC60-20-195; and

9. Unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential information received from the Prescription Monitoring Program.


18VAC60-20-180. Advertising.


A. Practice limitation. A general dentist who limits his practice shall state in conjunction with his name that he is a general dentist providing only certain services, e.g., orthodontic services.

B. Fee disclosures. Any statement specifying a fee for a dental service which does not include the cost of all related procedures, services, and products which, to a substantial likelihood, will be necessary for the completion of the advertised services as it would be understood by an ordinarily prudent person shall be deemed to be deceptive or misleading. Where reasonable disclosure of all relevant variables and considerations is made, a statement of a range of fees for specifically described dental services shall not be deemed to be deceptive or misleading.

C. Discounts. Discount offers for a dental service are permissible for advertising only when the nondiscounted or full fee and the final discounted fee are also disclosed in the advertisement. The dentist shall maintain documented evidence to substantiate the discounted fee.

D. Retention of broadcast advertising. A prerecorded copy of all advertisements on radio or television shall be retained for a six-month period following the final appearance of the advertisement. The advertising dentist is responsible for making prerecorded copies of the advertisement available to the board within five days following a request by the board.

E. Routine dental services. Advertising of fees pursuant to subdivision F 3 of this section is limited to procedures which are determined by the board to be routine dental services as set forth in the American Dental Association's "Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature," as published in Current Dental Terminology (CDT-2007/2008), which is hereby adopted and incorporated by reference.

F. The following practices shall constitute false, deceptive, or misleading advertising within the meaning of §54.1-2706 (7) of the Code of Virginia:

1. Publishing an advertisement which contains a material misrepresentation or omission of facts;

2. Publishing an advertisement which contains a representation or implication that is likely to cause an ordinarily prudent person to misunderstand or be deceived, or that fails to contain reasonable warnings or disclaimers necessary to make a representation or implication not deceptive;

3. Publishing an advertisement which fails to include the information and disclaimers required by this section;

4. Publishing an advertisement which contains a claim of professional superiority, claims to be a specialist, or uses any of the terms to designate a dental specialty unless he is entitled to such specialty designation under the guidelines or requirements for specialties approved by the American Dental Association (Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists, October 1995), or such guidelines or requirements as subsequently amended and approved by the dental disciplinary board, or other such organization recognized by the board; and

5. A dentist not currently entitled to such specialty designation shall not represent that his practice is limited to providing services in a specialty area without clearly disclosing in the representation that he is a general dentist. A specialist who represents services in areas other than his specialty is considered to be practicing general dentistry.

G. Signage. Advertisements, including but not limited to signage, containing descriptions of the type of dentistry practiced or a specific geographic locator are permissible so long as the requirements of §§54.1-2718 and 54.1-2720 of the Code of Virginia are complied with.


Part VI. Direction and Delegation of Duties.

18VAC60-20-190. Nondelegable duties; dentists.


Only licensed dentists shall perform the following duties:
1. Final diagnosis and treatment planning;
2. Performing surgical or cutting procedures on hard or soft tissue;
3. Prescribing or parenterally administering drugs or medicaments, except a dental hygienist, who meets the requirements of 18VAC60-20-81, may parenterally administer Schedule VI local anesthesia to patients 18 years of age or older;
4. Authorization of work orders for any appliance or prosthetic device or restoration to be inserted into a patient's mouth;
5. Operation of high speed rotary instruments in the mouth;
6. Administering and monitoring general anesthetics and conscious sedation except as provided for in § 54.1-2701 of the Code of Virginia and 18VAC60-20-108 C, 18VAC60-20-110 F, and 18VAC60-20-120 F;
7. Condensing, contouring or adjusting any final, fixed or removable prosthodontic appliance or restoration in the mouth with the exception of  packing and carving amalgam and placing and shaping composite resins by dental assistants II with advanced training as specified in 18VAC60-20-61 B;
8. Final positioning and attachment of orthodontic bonds and bands; and
9. Final adjustment and fitting of crowns and bridges in preparation for final cementation.

18VAC60-20-195. Radiation certification.


No person not otherwise licensed by this board shall place or expose dental x-ray film unless he has one of the following (i) satisfactory completion of a radiation safety course and examination given by an institution that maintains a program in dental assisting, dental hygiene or dentistry accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, (ii) certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, or (iii) satisfactory completion of the Radiation Health and Safety Review Course provided by the Dental Assisting National Board or its affiliate and passage of the Radiation Health and Safety examination given by the Dental Assisting National Board. Any certificate issued pursuant to satisfying the requirements of this section shall be posted in plain view of the patient.

18VAC60-20-200. Utilization of dental hygienists and dental assistants II.


A dentist may utilize up to a total of four dental hygienists or dental assistants II in any combination practicing under direction at one and the same time, with the exception that a dentist may issue written orders for services to be provided by dental hygienists under general supervision in a free clinic, a public health program, or on a voluntary basis.

18VAC60-20-210. Requirements for direction and general supervision.


A. In all instances and on the basis of his diagnosis, a licensed dentist assumes ultimate responsibility for determining the specific treatment the patient will receive and which aspects of treatment will be delegated to qualified personnel, and the direction required for such treatment, in accordance with this chapter and the Code of Virginia.

B. Dental hygienists shall engage in their respective duties only while in the employment of a licensed dentist or governmental agency or when volunteering services as provided in 18VAC60-20-200. Persons acting within the scope of a license issued to them by the board under §54.1-2725 of the Code of Virginia to teach dental hygiene and those persons licensed pursuant to §54.1-2722 of the Code of Virginia providing oral health education and preliminary dental screenings in any setting are exempt from this section.

C. Duties that are delegated to a dental hygienist under general supervision shall only be performed if the following requirements are met:

1. The treatment to be provided shall be ordered by a dentist licensed in Virginia and shall be entered in writing in the record. The services noted on the original order shall be rendered within a specific time period, not to exceed 10 months from the date the dentist last examined the patient. Upon expiration of the order, the dentist shall have examined the patient before writing a new order for treatment.

2. The dental hygienist shall consent in writing to providing services under general supervision.

3. The patient or a responsible adult shall be informed prior to the appointment that a dentist may not be present, that no anesthesia can be administered, and that only those services prescribed by the dentist will be provided.

4. Written basic emergency procedures shall be established and in place, and the hygienist shall be capable of implementing those procedures.

D. General supervision shall not preclude the use of direction when, in the professional judgment of the dentist, such direction is necessary to meet the individual needs of the patient.


18VAC60-20-220. Dental hygienists.


A. The following duties shall only be delegated to dental hygienists under direction and may be performed under indirect supervision:
1. Scaling and/or root planing of natural and restored teeth using hand instruments, rotary instruments and ultrasonic devices under anesthesia.
2. Performing an initial examination of teeth and surrounding tissues including the charting of carious lesions, periodontal pockets or other abnormal conditions for assisting the dentist in the diagnosis.
3. Administering nitrous oxide or local anesthesia by dental hygienists qualified in accordance with the requirements of 18VAC60-20-81.
B. The following duties shall only be delegated to dental hygienists and may be delegated by written order in accordance with § 54.1-2722 of the Code of Virginia to be performed under general supervision when the dentist may not be present:
1. Scaling and/or root planing of natural and restored teeth using hand instruments, rotary instruments and ultrasonic devices.
2. Polishing of natural and restored teeth using air polishers.
3. Performing a clinical examination of teeth and surrounding tissues including the charting of carious lesions, periodontal pockets or other abnormal conditions for further evaluation and diagnosis by the dentist.
4. Subgingival irrigation or subgingival application of topical Schedule VI medicinal agents.
5. Duties appropriate to the education and experience of the dental hygienist and the practice of the supervising dentist, with the exception of those listed in subsection A of this section and those listed as nondelegable in 18VAC60-20-190.
C. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted so as to prevent a licensed dental hygienist from providing educational services, assessment, screening or data collection for the preparation of preliminary written records for evaluation by a licensed dentist.
D. A dental hygienist employed by the Virginia Department of Health may provide educational and preventative dental care under remote supervision, as defined in subsection D of § 54.1-2722 of the Code of Virginia, of a dentist employed by the Virginia Department of Health and in accordance with the Protocol adopted by the Commissioner of Health for Dental Hygienists to Practice in an Expanded Capacity under Remote Supervision by Public Health Dentists, September 2012, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

18VAC60-20-230. Delegation to dental assistants.


A. Duties appropriate to the training and experience of the dental assistant and the practice of the supervising dentist may be delegated to a dental assistant under the direction or under general supervision required in 18VAC60-20-210, with the exception of those listed as nondelegable in 18VAC60-20-190 and those which may only be delegated to dental hygienists as listed in 18VAC60-20-220.

B. Duties delegated to a dental assistant under general supervision shall be under the direction of the dental hygienist who supervises the implementation of the dentist’s orders by examining the patient, observing the services rendered by an assistant and being available for consultation on patient care.


C. The following duties may only be delegated under the direction and direct supervision of a dentist to a dental assistant II who has completed the coursework, corresponding module of laboratory training, corresponding module of clinical experience, and examinations specified in 18VAC60-20-61:
1. Performing pulp capping procedures;
2. Packing and carving of amalgam restorations;
3. Placing and shaping composite resin restorations;
4. Taking final impressions;
5. Use of a non-epinephrine retraction cord; and
6. Final cementation of crowns and bridges after adjustment and fitting by the dentist.

18VAC60-20-240. What does not constitute practice.


The following are not considered the practice of dental hygiene and dentistry:

1. Oral health education and preliminary dental screenings in any setting.

2. Recording a patient's pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and medical history.

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