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North Carolina Considers Changes to Regulations Surrounding Dental Practice


Organizations, such as the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative, have long advocated for changes in the way dentistry is practiced in the state to expand access to care for all North Carolinians. However, there has not been much forward movement with the exception of allowing dental hygienists to administer local anesthesia (North Carolina was the 47th state to do so) and enabling public health dental hygienists to practice with indirect supervision in some settings. The new Senate Bill 382, which has garnered widespread support, would make the following changes:

  • Educators from outside of North Carolina who have 2,000 clinical hours within the past 2 years are eligible for a license in North Carolina.
  • Educators who do not have a dental license may receive an instructor’s license if they are affiliated with an accredited educational institution in North Carolina.
  • Dental students may provide care at long-term care facilities, group home programs, and state and federally qualified health care facilities under the supervision of a licensed dentist.
  • Mannequins instead of human patients will be used for students’ clinical assessment as required for licensure.
  • The presence of illness, substance use or mental health disorders, or physical abnormalities that hinder the individual’s ability to practice dentistry precludes his or ability to attain licensure.
  • A physical or mental exam by licensed physicians or health care providers may be required prior to attaining licensure.

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