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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 511/2: Registration of dental assistants

Section 511/2. No person shall practice as a dental assistant unless registered with the board. A person who is at least 18 years of age, of good moral character and who meets the applicable qualifications and requirements for registration as a dental assistant as established and adopted by the board shall, upon application and payment of a fee, as determined annually by the secretary of administration under section 3B of chapter 7, be registered as a dental assistant. The board shall furnish to each such person a registration certificate in a form prescribed by the board. A registration certificate issued under this section shall be revoked upon the issuance to the same person of a certificate of registration under section 45 or 51. The board may adopt rules and regulations consistent with sections 43 to 53, inclusive, governing the registration and practice of dental assistants to protect the public health, safety and welfare including, without limitation, rules and regulations that establish and define the acts, services and delegated procedures that may be performed by dental assistants, the level of supervision required by a registered dentist, tiered classes or levels of practice and certification requirements for each established class or level, education and training requirements, registration and registration renewal procedures and requirements for the display of registration certificates. The continuing education requirements set forth in section 51A shall not apply to this section unless adopted by the board. A dental assistant shall not practice dentistry as defined in section 50 or perform acts or services requiring the knowledge and skill of a registered dentist, such as diagnoses, treatment planning, surgical or cutting procedures on hard or soft tissue and the prescription of medications, or perform any acts or services that require the training, knowledge or skill of a registered dental hygienist, unless specifically authorized by regulation of the board and performed under the appropriate supervision of a registered dentist; provided, however, that the board shall not authorize a dental assistant to perform dental screenings, periodontal charting, subgingival and supragingival scaling, root planting and curettage, minor emergency dental adjustments, polishing of amalgam restorations, micro disk identification applications or preliminary examinations for hygienist services. The board may, without examination, register as a dental assistant an applicant who is duly licensed or registered under the laws of a state, territory or commonwealth of the United States or the District of Colombia, where the requirements for licensure or registration are, in the opinion of the board, equivalent to those in the commonwealth. A dental assistant shall register biennially, which shall be in the year not so designated for the registration of dentists, and shall pay a biennial registration fee determined under this section; provided, however, that the board may issue an initial registration for not more than 2 years. Notwithstanding the above registration requirement, a person who is at least 18 years of age may practice as a dental assistant without being registered by the board for on-the-job training or professional education training under the supervision of a registered dentist for a preliminary and 1–time period of up to 6 consecutive months to commence from the beginning of the initial training if the person: (i) has not been previously employed, licensed or registered as a dentist, dental hygienist or dental assistant; (ii) prior to the commencement of the training, provided written notification of such training to the board on a form prescribed by the board and a certification by the supervising dentist confirming that he will supervise the person during the training; and (iii) is not in violation of any rule or regulation adopted by the board. The board may extend the training period for an additional 6 months for a dental assistant who is enrolled in a program of professional educational training for dental assistants offered by a college, university or dental school authorized to confer degrees or by another dental institution or association recognized by the board.

All registration applications and training notifications submitted to the board under this section shall be signed under the penalties of perjury by the person certifying the information contained therein. The board shall investigate all complaints relating to the practice of dental assistants. The authority granted to the board in sections 43 to 53, inclusive, shall include disciplining dental assistants who are registered or authorized to practice for training purposes, and the board may exercise such authority by conducting hearings regarding complaints or by suspending, revoking or cancelling any such registration or authorization to practice as a dental assistant to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public, in the same manner as with registered dentists and dental hygienists.

A registered dentist under section 45, a dental faculty member or a dental intern under section 45A subject to a restriction on location of practice or a dental hygienist under section 51 shall not be considered to be practicing as a dental assistant for the purposes of this section.