Code of Alabama/Alabama Dental Practice Act

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Code of Alabama/Alabama Dental Practice Act

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Alabama State Code & Rules of the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama

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Code of Alabama (1975), §34-9-43(11) requires the Board to annually publish the provisions of the Alabama Dental Practice Act and Board Rules. The purpose and intent of this requirement is to ensure that all licensees have knowledge and are informed of the statutes and rules which govern their professional activities and license. The Board implores you to take the time to review and understand both the Act and Rules and to call the Board office if you have any questions. Many problems can be avoided if you ask first rather than act first. Remember, you are charged with knowledge of these requirements, and ignorance of or not reading them is no excuse.
You are also encouraged to carefully read Board newsletters, its website, Alabama Dental Association News or other publications for any changes or proposed changes to the Act or Rules which may occur during the year. The Board has express statutory rule making authority and must follow the provisions of the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act whenever a rule is adopted, amended or rescinded. Before any of these actions can be taken, there must be publication of the Board's intended action in the Alabama Administrative News Monthly and a public hearing before the Board.
YOUR LICENSE IS VALUABLE. With the benefits of licensure, there are also responsibilities and obligations. One of those is adhering to the requirements of the Alabama Dental Practice Act and Board Rules. The Board believes that disciplinary actions can be reduced if you seek guidance before acting. Relying upon forgiveness rather than permission is an unwise course of action when it involves your license.
You are encouraged to contact the Board if you have questions about any requirement. Your questions will be answered as promptly as possible.
Please remember that annual renewal of licenses or any required permits must be timely and presently there are penalties and disciplinary consequences for your failure to do so. Please also remember to timely renew your Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration. The expiration date is on the permit. The DEA also requires YOU to notify them of any address change.
It is YOUR responsibility to notify the Board of any address change. Please make sure individuals in your office who require licensure have timely renewed. Requesting to see a copy and posting of the current annual registration certificate is the fail safe method of verification.
Please remember to comply with the mandatory continuing education requirements and to retain documentation evidencing your attendance so that if you are randomly audited, there will be no adverse consequences.
Alabama Dental Professionals Wellness Committee
The Alabama Legislature has mandated that it is the “duty and obligation of the Board to promote the early identification, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals licensed by the Board of Dental Examiners (BDEA) who may be impaired. Impairment may include inebriation, excessive use of drugs, controlled substances, alcohol, chemicals or other dependent forming substances which results in a physical or mental condition rendering such person unable to meet the standards of their profession.” Code of Alabama (1975), §34-38-2. Impaired is defined as the inability to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients due to the conditions or diseases described above.
To fulfill its statutory “duty and obligation” the BDEA created what is now known as the Alabama Dental Professionals Wellness Committee (Committee). The Committee is led by a dedicated group of recovering professionals who discharge or assist in the important functions of identification, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation of impaired professionals. The BDEA commends the Committee on its success due to the procedures, policies and compliance monitoring they have adopted. The cooperation between the Committee and the BDEA has produced one of the lowest relapse rates in the nation and excellent relationships with treatment facilities and providers have been established. The Committee currently monitors a number of individuals who have successfully returned to practice.
As a part of the mandate of the Committee, the Board has adopted a non disciplinary procedure for those licensees who SELF REPORT their abuse of or addiction to alcohol or drugs and voluntarily participates in rehabilitation. If the licensee on his or her own contacts the Committee and agrees to recommended treatment, completes treatment and is acknowledged by the treatment facility as able to resume practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients, a Deferral Agreement will be offered. The essential terms of this Agreement require complete compliance with a five year chemical dependency monitoring contract, payment of costs, annual monitoring fee and strict compliance with any recommendations imposed by the treatment facility or the Committee. This agreement also provides that if its terms are violated the licensee agrees to the entry of a Consent Order which sanctions the license, imposes penalties and is reportable as discipline.
If a licensee qualifies for the above described Agreement he or she is not required to appear before the Board. The Agreement will not be reported as discipline either in the BDEA newsletter or to the Federal Data Banks as long as there is compliance throughout the term of the Agreement. The Committee has a hotline, 1-800-818-3880, which you are encouraged to call should the need arise or you have any information regarding the impairment of any individual. More information on the history of the Committee, how the Committee functions, contact information and links to treatment facilities can be found on the BDEA’s website,


Dr. Mike Mahan
According to the Code of Alabama, the practice of dentistry was deemed to “affect the public health, safety, and welfare.” To protect this public interest, the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners was created by the Alabama Dental Association in 1881, the first such regulatory body for dentists in the nation.
The inaugural meeting of the Board of Examiners took place at Lotus Hall in Selma on July 19, 1881. Elected to the first Board were the following: Drs. E.S. Chisholm (Chair), W.R. McWilliams,

F.M. Allen (secretary), and W.D. Dunlap, and J.G. McAuley. Also at the initial meeting, the Board chose the seal still used today - the coat of arms of Alabama, with “Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama, organized July the 19th 1881” engraved on it. But more importantly, they began reviewing applications for license, approving some and rejecting others.

The 1882 meeting took place in Montgomery on April 9-11. Secretary Allen reported the Board that his “labors [had] not been light” during the previous year and that he had worked with an insufficient budget. He made up some of the deficit out of his own pocket, but, at the year’s end, he was able to report a balance of fifty-two cents.
By the end of the second meeting of the Board of Dental Examiners, rules and regulations governing the Board had been adopted. New applicants for license had been approved, and those rejected were sent off to study more before receiving the imprimatur of the Board. In subsequent years during the nineteenth century, the Board met annually to approve licenses. It never acted as a rubber stamp, always turning down some of the applicants.
The year of 1889 is a signal year for the board in that it adopted for the first time a standard for grading the examinations of the candidates. The applicant had to score seventy-five points out of one hundred. In the following years, the Board found that the dental colleges were becoming better and better, and in 1896, eighty percent, rather than seventy-five, was required for successfully passing the exam. In his message to the Alabama Dental Association that year, Chairman W.D. Boyd, Jr., lamented, “We regret to state that we have parties coming before us who claim to have diplomas who are totally incapacitated to pass a theoretical examination.”
In 1897, 1898, and 1899, the work continued as usual, and the numbers of applicants examined were growing. In 1888, under the leadership of Chairman E.S. Chisholm and Secretary G.M. Rousseau, the organization seemed to take stock of itself and get new bearings. Dr. Chisolm reported to the Alabama Dental Association that “it affords the Board gratification to state that the gentlemen who have been examined by us stood a closer and more thorough examination that has ever been given by the board.” In addition, the board tightened the requirements for temporary licenses and issued a new directory of Alabama dentists.
As the century turned, The Alabama Board of Dental Examiners was well established, continuing to accomplish the task it was charged with when it was organized in 1881: to protect the public’s interest and insure quality dental care in Alabama.

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The portion of the Code of Alabama (1975) that deals specifically with the practice of dentistry and the licensing of dentists and dental hygienists in the state of Alabama may be found in §34. If you would like to view the entire Code of Alabama please visit The Board has provided you with §34 for you to review should you have any questions about the practice of dentistry and the licensing of dentists and dental hygienists in Alabama. Should you have any questions after reviewing the Code of Alabama please contact the Board office.

Chapter 9

Dentists and Dental Hygienists

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