California Dental Practice Act: 2 Hour Course

Governing Agencies





The Department of Consumer Affairs

The State of California Department of Consumer Affairs regulates private businesses and professions that have an impact on public health, safety, and welfare. They set minimum qualifications and levels of competency for licensed persons to provide effective public services.

The State of California Department of Consumer Affairs regulates private businesses and professions that have an impact on public health, safety, and welfare. They set minimum qualifications and levels of competency for licensed persons to provide effective public services. It registers these persons to ensure qualified performance according to accepted professional standards. This department investigates allegations of unprofessional conduct, incompetence, fraudulent action, or unlawful activity and has the authority to institute disciplinary action against these persons. Also, the department conducts periodic checks of licensees, registrants, or otherwise certified persons to make sure they are complying with the code (B&P 101.6). The Governor of the State of California appoints and has the power to remove members of the Board of Consumer Affairs (B&P 106).

California Dental Board
(Formerly known as the Board of Dental Examiners of California)

The Dental Board of California (DBC) is part of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).  The DCA is the California regulatory agency that oversees various professions who interact with the consumer public.  The DCA was established to ensure businesses and professions that engage in activities which have potential impact on public health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of California, are adequately regulated and allow for input from the public if violations are suspected.  The DCA oversees various boards, committees, and bureaus. The Agency regulates all health professions such as medical, dental, veterinary, and pharmacy, and also oversees professions not in healthcare such as building contractors, auto repair, and home furnishings.

The mission statement of the Dental Board of California reads:
The Dental Board of California's mission is to protect and promote the health and safety of consumers of the State of California.
Included in the DBC’s mission to protect and promote the health and safety of consumers are responsibilities for:

  • Licensing those dental health care professionals who demonstrate competency.
  • Taking action to maintain the appropriate standard of care.
  • Enhancing the education of licensees and consumers.

 California Dental Board Members
The board consists of fourteen (14) members:

  • 8 practicing dentists
  • 4 public members
  • 1 registered dental hygienist
  • 1 registered dental assistant

Of the eight (8) practicing dentists, one shall be a

  • Member of the faculty of any California dental college
  • A dentist practicing in a non-profit community clinic

Other members of the Dental Board are appointed in this way:

  • The Senate Rules Committee appoints one (1) public member.
  • The Governor appoints two (2) public members, the dental hygienist, the dental assistant, and eight (8) licensed dentists.
  • The Speaker of Assembly appoints one (1) public member.

Subcommittees
The Board is organized into standing committees and ad hoc committees. The president of the Board has the sole discretion to appoint the chairperson and the majority of the members to each committee.
The standing committees include:

  • Examinations
  • Enforcement
  • Diversion

 The ad hoc committees may include:

  • Continuing education
  • Licensure/permits
  • Legislature
  • Infection control

Allied Dental Health Professionals (ADHP)

The Committee on Dental Auxiliaries (COMDA) which previously was responsible for all Allied Dental Health Professionals was eliminated July 1, 2009.

Dental Hygienists

The Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC) was established July 1, 2009, and is the regulatory entity for all dental hygiene licensees.  The committee shall consist of nine members appointed by the Governor. Four shall be public members, one member shall be a practicing general or public health dentist who holds a current license in California, and four members shall be registered dental hygienists who hold current licenses in California. Of the registered dental hygienists members, one shall be licensed either in alternative practice or in extended functions, one shall be a dental hygiene educator, and two shall be registered dental hygienists. No public member shall have been licensed under this chapter within five years of the date of his or her appointment or have any current financial interest in a dental-related business.

The responsibilities of DHCC include issuing, reviewing, and revoking licenses as well as developing and administering examinations. Additional functions include adopting regulations  and  determining  fees  and  continuing  education requirements for all hygiene licensure categories.

Dental Assistants

Effective July 1, 2009, the Dental Board of California (Board) became the regulatory board for licensed Dentists (DDS), Registered Dental Assistants (RDAs), and Registered Dental Assistants in Extended Functions (RDAEFs) health care professionals. The responsibilities of the DBC related to dental assistants include:  scope  of  practice  and  issuing,  reviewing,  and  revoking licenses, as well as developing and administering examinations. Additional functions include adopting regulations and determining fees and continuing education requirements for all dental assisting categories.

Regulatory Powers of the Dental Board

The Dental Board has the authority to create new regulations relating to the practice of dentistry. Requests for new regulations or a change in current regulations can come from several different sources, such as organizations, individuals, and state agencies. Examples of sources for new regulations, laws, or changes:
 

Legislature

The California Legislature considers legislative bills which can have an effect on the  practice  of  dentistry.  Once  a  bill  is  approved  by  both  houses  of  the Legislature, and the governor ultimately signs the bill or allows the bill to become law without his signature, it will become a statute and is considered a law. Any change to that statute would require that an additional bill be authored and carried through the Legislature. Once a legislative bill is law, the Dental Board may be required to write and approve regulatory language to implement the statute.

Stakeholder

Any professional organization, consumer group, or other stakeholder can bring an idea or concern to the Board's attention that affects the practice of dentistry. The Board has the authority to consider any such requests. If the Board decides to pursue any new regulations, they are bound to follow a specific set of steps that includes public notices, public hearings, oversight from the Department of Consumer Affairs, and review by the Office of Administrative Law. The regulatory process can often take a year or longer.

Continue on to Scope of Practice for Licensed Dental Personnel