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Dental Board of California Continuing Education Requirements

Effective April 8, 2010

Note: The following is a summary of CE Regulations that pertain primarily to the licensee. You may view the complete regulations on the Dental Board of California website.

Each renewal period, the licensee must complete:

Mandatory courses:

  • Infection Control – 2 units
  • California Dental Practice Act – 2 units
  • Basic Life Support – Maximum of 4 units by the American Heart Association (AHA) or American Red Cross (ARC) course to include all of the following:
    1. Instruction in both adult and pediatric CPR, including 2-rescuer scenarios;
    2. Instruction in foreign-body airway obstruction;
    3. Instruction in relief of choking for adults, child and infant;
    4. Instruction in the use of automated external defibrillation with CPR; and;
    5. A live, in-person skills practice session, a skills test, and a written examination;

Other course classifications include:

Courses in the actual delivery of dental services to the patient or the community, such as:

  • Courses in preventive services, diagnostic protocols and procedures (including physical evaluation, radiography, dental photography) comprehensive treatment planning, charting of the oral conditions, informed consent protocols and recordkeeping.
  • Courses dealing primarily with nutrition and nutrition counseling of the patient.
  • Courses in esthetic, corrective and restorative oral health diagnosis and treatment.
  • Courses in dentistry’s role in individual and community health emergencies, disasters, and disaster recovery.
  • Courses that pertain to the legal requirement governing the licensee in the areas of auxiliary employment and delegation of responsibilities; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and actual delivery of care.
  • Courses pertaining to federal, state and local regulations, guidelines or statutes regarding workplace safety, fire and emergency, environmental safety, waste disposal and management, general office safety, and all training requirements set forth by the California Division of
  • Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-DOSH) including the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
  • Courses pertaining to the administration of general anesthesia, conscious sedation, oral conscious sedation or medical emergencies.
  • Courses pertaining to the evaluation, selection, use and care of dental instruments, sterilization equipment, operatory equipment, and personal protective attire.
  • Courses in dependency issues and substance abuse such as alcohol and drug use as it relates to patient safety, professional misconduct, ethical considerations or malpractice.
  • Courses in behavioral sciences, behavior guidance, and patient management in the delivery of care to all populations including special needs, pediatric and sedation patients when oriented specifically to the clinical care of the patient.
  • Courses in the selection, incorporation, and use of current and emerging technologies.
  • Courses in cultural competencies such as bilingual dental terminology, cross-cultural communication, provision of public health dentistry, and the dental professional’s role in provision of care in non-traditional settings when oriented specifically to the needs of the dental patient and will serve to enhance the patient experience.
  • Courses in dentistry’s role in individual and community health programs.
  • Courses pertaining to the legal and ethical aspects of the insurance industry, to include management of third-party payer issues, dental billing practices, patient and provider appeals of payment disputes and patient management of billing matters.

Courses limited to a maximum of 20% of a licensee’s total required course unit credits:

  • Courses to improve recall and scheduling systems, production flow, communication systems and data management.
  • Courses in organization and management of the dental practice including office computerization and design, ergonomics, and the improvement of practice administration and office operations.
  • Courses in leadership development and team development.
  • Coursework in teaching methodology and curricula development.
  • Coursework in peer evaluation and case studies that include reviewing clinical evaluation procedures, reviewing diagnostic methods, studying radiographic data, study models and treatment planning procedures.
  • Courses in human resource management and employee benefits.

Courses not eligible for CE credit:

  • Courses in money management, the licensee’s personal finances or personal business matters such as financial planning, estate planning, and personal investments.
  • Courses in general physical fitness, weight management or the licensee’s personal health. Presentations by political or public figures or other persons that do not deal primarily with dental practice or issues impacting the dental profession.
  • Courses designed to make the licensee a better business person or designed to improve licensee personal profitability, including motivation and marketing.
  • Courses pertaining to the purchase or sale of a dental practice, business or office; courses in transfer of practice ownership, acquisition of partners and associates, practice valuation, practice transitions, or retirement.
  • Courses pertaining to the provision of elective facial cosmetic surgery as defined by the Dental Practice Act in Section 1638.1, unless the licensee has a special permit obtained from the Board to perform such procedures pursuant to Section 1638.1 of the Code.

NOTE: Completion of a course does not constitute authorization for the attendee to perform any services that he or she is not legally authorized to perform based on his or her license or permit type.

Continuing Education Units Required for Renewal of License Or Permit

Mandatory continuing education units count toward the total units required to renew a license or permit; however, failure to complete the mandatory courses will result in non-renewal of a license or permit. Any continuing education units accumulated before April 8, 2010 that meet the requirements in effect on the date the units were accumulated will be accepted by the Board for license or permit renewals taking place on or after April 8, 2010.

All licensees shall accumulate the continuing education units equal to the number of units indicated below during the biennial license or permit renewal period assigned by the Board on each license or permit. All licensees shall verify to the Board that he or she who has been issued a license or permit to practice for a period less than two years shall begin accumulating continuing education credits within the next biennial renewal period occurring after the issuance of a new license or permit to practice.

  1. Dentists: 50 units.
  2. Registered dental hygienists: 25 units.
  3. Registered dental assistants: 25 units.
  4. Dental Sedation Assistant Permit Holders: 25 units.
  5. Orthodontic Assistant Permit Holders: 25 units.
  6. Registered dental hygienists in extended functions: 25 units.
  7. Registered dental assistants in extended functions: 25 units.
  8. Registered dental hygienists in alternative practice: 35 units.

Each dentist licensee who holds a general anesthesia permit shall complete, as a condition of permit renewal, continuing education requirements pursuant to Section 1646.5 of the Business and Professions Code at least once every two years, and either (1) an advanced cardiac life support course which is approved by the American Heart Association and which includes an examination on the materials presented in the course or (2) any other advanced cardiac life support course which is identical in all respects, except for the omission of materials that relate solely to hospital emergencies or neonatology, to the course entitled “2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care” published by the American Heart Association December 13, 2005 which is incorporated herein by reference.

Each dentist licensee who holds a conscious sedation permit shall complete at least once every two years a minimum of 15 total units of coursework related to the administration of conscious sedation and to medical emergencies, as a condition of permit renewal, in continuing education requirements pursuant to Section 1647.5 of the Business and Professions Code. Refusal to execute the required assurance shall result in non-renewal of the permit.

Each dentist licensee who holds an oral conscious sedation permit for minors, as a condition of permit renewal, shall complete at least once every two years a minimum of 7 total units of coursework related to the subject area in continuing education requirements pursuant to Section 1647.13 of the Business and Professions Code.

Each dentist licensee who holds an oral conscious sedation permit for adults, as a condition of permit renewal, shall complete at least once every two years a minimum of 7 total units of coursework related to the subject area in continuing education requirements pursuant to Section 1647.21 of the Business and Professions Code.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this code, tape-recorded courses, home-study materials, video courses, and computer courses are considered correspondence courses, and will be accepted for credit up to, but not exceeding, 50% of the licensee’s total required units.

In the event that a portion of a licensee’s units has been obtained through non-live instruction, as described in Section (h) above, all remaining units shall be obtained through live interactive course study with the option to obtain 100% of the total required units by way of interactive instruction courses. Such courses are defined as live lecture, live telephone conferencing, live video conferencing, live workshop demonstration, or live classroom study.

Licensees who participate in the following activities shall be issued continuing education credit for up to 20% of their total continuing education unit requirements for license renewal:

  • Participation in any Dental Board of California or Western Regional Examination Board (WREB) administered examination including attendance at calibration training, examiner orientation sessions, and examinations.
  • Participation in any site visit or evaluation relating to issuance and maintenance of a general anesthesia, conscious sedation or oral conscious sedation permit.
  • Participation in any calibration training and site evaluation training session relating to general anesthesia, conscious sedation or oral conscious sedation permits.
  • Participation in any site visit or evaluation of an approved dental auxiliary program or dental auxiliary course.

The Board shall issue to participants in the activities listed in subdivision (j) a certificate that contains the date, time, location, authorizing signature, 11-digit course registration number, and number of units conferred for each activity consistent with all certificate requirements herein required for the purposes of records retention and auditing.

The license or permit of any person who fails to accumulate the continuing education units set forth in this section or to assure the Board that he or she will accumulate such units, shall not be renewed until such time as the licensee complies with those requirements.

A licensee who has not practiced in California for more than one year because the licensee is disabled need not comply with the continuing education requirements of this article during the renewal period within which such disability falls. Such licensee shall certify in writing that he or she is eligible for waiver of the continuing education requirements.

A licensee who ceases to be eligible for such waiver shall notify the Board of such and shall comply with the continuing education requirements for subsequent renewal periods.

A licensee shall retain, for a period of three renewal periods, the certificates of course completion issued to him or her at the time he or she attended a continuing education course and shall forward such certifications to the Board only upon request by the Board for audit purposes. A licensee who fails to retain a certification shall contact the provider and obtain a duplicate certification.

Any licensee who furnishes false or misleading information to the Board regarding his or her continuing education units may be subject to disciplinary action. The Board may audit a licensee continuing education records as it deems necessary to ensure that the continuing education requirements are met.

A licensee who also holds a special permit for general anesthesia, conscious sedation, oral conscious sedation of a minor or of an adult, may apply the continuing education units required in the specific subject areas to their dental license renewal requirements.

A registered dental assistant or registered dental assistant in extended functions who holds a permit as an orthodontic assistant or a dental sedation assistant shall not be required to complete additional continuing education requirements beyond that which is required for licensure renewal in order to renew either permit.

Pertaining to licensees holding more than one license or permit, the license or permit that requires the largest number of continuing education units for renewal shall equal the licensee’s full renewal requirement. Dual licensure, or licensure with permit, shall not require duplication of continuing education requirements.

Current and active licensees enrolled in a full-time educational program in the field of dentistry, including dental school program, residency program, postdoctoral specialty program, dental hygiene school program, dental hygiene in alternative practice program, or registered dental assisting in extended functions program approved by the Board or the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation shall be granted continuing education credits for completed curriculum during that renewal period. In the event of audit, licensees shall be required to present school transcripts to the Board as evidence of enrollment and course completion.

Current and active dental sedation assistant and orthodontic assistant permit holders enrolled in a full-time dental hygiene school program, dental assisting program, or registered dental assisting in extended functions program approved by the Board or the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation shall be granted continuing education credits for completed curriculum during that renewal period. In the event of audit, assisting permit holders shall be required to present school transcripts to the committee or Board as evidence of enrollment and course completion.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 1614 and 1645, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Sections 1645, 1646.5 and 1647.5, Business and Professions Code.