Dentists, hygienists required to provide public notice of state regulator

As a result of a recent announcement from the Dental Hygiene Committee of California (DHCC), licensed dentists and registered dental hygienists are each now required to provide specified public notification that they are licensed and regulated by the Dental Board of California and the DHCC, respectively. 

State law calls for each professional licensing board to adopt regulations requiring its licentiates “to provide notice to their clients or customers that the practitioner is licensed by the state.” The intent of the law was to assure that individuals who obtain services from licensed professionals are made aware of where to seek redress of grievances. In addition, a separate section of the Dental Practice Act requires the Dental Board to require dentists to post the notice “in a conspicuous location accessible to public view,” and to require the notice to include the telephone number and web address of the Dental Board. 

The Dental Board’s rules for complying with this law were released in December 2012.  The regulations are very specific, requiring dentists to post the following notice in at least 48-point type font:

Dentists are licensed and regulated
by the Dental Board of California
(877) 729-7789

A printable version of the required notice is available at dbc.ca.gov/formspubs/ntcsign.pdf

Recently, the DHCC began informing its licentiates that registered dental hygienists also should be in compliance with the notice requirement, since they are licensed separately by the committee. On its website, the DHCC provides several compliance options for registered dental hygienists and recommends consulting with their supervising dentist about the best option if the hygienist works in a dental office:

  1. Post a written notice similar to the one required above for dentists, with equivalent contact information for the DHCC;
  2. Provide the notice in a written statement, signed and dated by the patient and placed in the patient’s record;
  3. Include the notice in another document, such as care instructions, where the notice is placed directly above the signature line. 

The notice information for registered dental hygienists can be found by searching for “Important Notification for Licensees” at dhcc.ca.gov.

The new notice requirement for dentists was a topic of discussion at the CDA House of Delegates in Sacramento on Nov. 15-17 in Sacramento, stemming from concerns that the current regulation is inappropriately restrictive by requiring dentists to refer to their patients as “consumers.”

As a result, the House adopted Resolution 23, which calls on the appropriate CDA entity to seek solutions that will give dental offices additional options for complying with the notice requirement.