News & Current Issues

Scope of Practice Changes for Certified Dental Assistants & Dental Hygienists


Commissioner's Regulations establishing additional dental supportive services that certified dental assistants may perform while under the direct personal supervision of a licensed dentist, and additional services that licensed dental hygienists may perform in the practice of dental hygiene while under the supervision of a licensed dentist became effective July 10, 2003.

The following frequently asked questions and answers regarding the additional services are provided for dental professionals and consumers of dental services. Please note that this information is intended for general use and is not law or rule. You should consult the appropriate statute(s), rule(s) or regulation(s) if you have an issue related to professional practice.


Frequently Asked Questions

Certified Dental Assistants

  1. What are the six new supportive services that a New York State certified dental assistant may perform that an unlicensed person may not carry out?

    New York State licensed certified dental assistant may perform the following new supportive services under a licensed dentist's direct personal supervision in the performance of dentistry:

    • take impressions for space maintainers, orthodontic appliances, and occlusal guards
    • remove temporary cement (not including temporary fillings)
    • apply topical anticariogenic agents to the teeth
    • apply desensitizing agents to the teeth
    • place and remove temporary separating devices
    • place orthodontic ligatures

  2. What does a licensed dentist's “direct personal supervision” mean?

    Certified dental assistants can provide these services based on instructions provided in the course of the procedure by a licensed dentist who remains in the dental office where the supportive services are being performed. The supervising dentist must personally diagnose the condition to be treated, personally authorize the procedure, and evaluate the services provided by the certified dental assistant before the patient leaves the office.

  3. In addition to New York State licensed certified dental assistants, are any other dental personnel allowed to perform these functions?

    Yes, a licensed dental hygienist or dentist, a dental assistant who has been issued a limited permit to practice, or a student in a dental hygiene program or a dental assisting program registered by the New York State Education Department as meeting the educational requirement for licensure may also perform these functions as part of that course of study. No other person may provide these services.

  4. Are currently licensed New York State certified dental assistants required to complete additional education and training to perform these services?

    Currently licensed New York State certified dental assistants must be able to provide these additional supportive services and other professional duties competently. Additional educational and training may be required to competently provide these services.


Dental Hygienists

  1. May a licensed dental hygienist provide the six new supportive services now authorized for licensed certified dental assistants?

    Yes. All supportive services performed by New York State licensed certified dental assistants may be performed by currently registered dental hygienists under a dentist's supervision. The Regulations clarify which of the six new services, as well as which of three previously approved services, are required to be provided under the general or personal supervision of a licensed dentist.

  2. What are the three new supportive services that may be performed under the general supervision of a licensed dentist?

    The three new supportive services that may be performed under the general supervision of a licensed dentist are:

    • apply desensitizing agents
    • apply topical anticariogenic agents to the teeth
    • remove temporary cement (not including temporary fillings)

    General supervision means that the supervising dentist must authorize the dental hygienist to perform these services and be available for consultation, diagnosis, and evaluation.

  3. What are the three new supportive services and three previously approved dental services that may now be performed under the personal supervision of a licensed dentist?

    The three new and three previously approved dental services that may be performed under the personal supervision of a licensed dentist are:

    • take impressions for space maintainers, orthodontic appliances, and occlusal guards
    • place and remove temporary separating devices
    • place orthodontic ligatures
    • select and prefit provisional crowns (previously approved service)
    • select and prefit orthodontic bands (previously approved service)
    • remove orthodontic arch wires and ligature ties (previously approved service)

    Personal supervision means that the supervising dentist must be in the dental office or facility and must diagnose the condition to be treated, personally authorize the procedure, and personally examine the patient when the treatment is completed and before the patient leaves the office or facility.

  4. Are currently licensed New York State dental hygienists required to complete additional education and training to perform these services?

    New York State licensed dental hygienists must be able to perform these new supportive services and all other professional duties competently. Additional education and training may be required to competently provide these services.


Additional Information

  1. Where can I find more information?

    For additional information, you may contact the State Board for Dentistry by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 550 or by e-mailing dentbd@nysed.gov.

Last Updated: June 19, 2009