Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 31.1
Dentists and Dental Hygienists

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-31.1-1

§ 5-31.1-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) “Board” means the Rhode Island board of examiners in dentistry or any committee or subcommittee of the board.

(2) “Chief of the division of oral health” means the chief of the division of oral health of the Rhode Island department of health who is a licensed dentist possessing a master’s degree in public health or a certificate in public health from an accredited program.

(3) “Dental administrator” means the administrator of the Rhode Island board of examiners in dentistry.

(4) “Dental hygienist” means a person with a license to practice dental hygiene in this state under the provisions of this chapter.

(5) “Dentist” means a person with a license to practice dentistry in this state under the provisions of this chapter.

(6) “Dentistry” is defined as the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical, or related procedures) of diseases, disorders, and/or conditions of the oral cavity, cranio-maxillofacial area, and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body, provided by a dentist, within the scope of his or her education, training, and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.

(7) “Department” means the Rhode Island department of health.

(8) “Direct visual supervision” means supervision by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (with a permit to administer deep sedation and general anesthesia) by verbal command and under direct line of sight.

(9) “Director” means the director of the Rhode Island department of health.

(10) “Healthcare facility” means any institutional health service provider licensed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 17 of title 23.

(11) “Health-maintenance organization” means a public or private organization licensed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 17 of title 23 or chapter 41 of title 27.

(12) “Limited registrant” means a person holding a limited registration certificate pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(13) “Nonprofit medical services corporation” or “nonprofit hospital service corporation” or “nonprofit dental service corporation” means any corporation organized pursuant to chapter 19 or 20 of title 27 for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, and operating a nonprofit medical, hospital, or dental service plan.

(14) “Peer-review board” means any committee of a state, local, dental or dental hygiene association or society, or a committee of any licensed healthcare facility, or the dental staff of the committee, or any committee of a dental care foundation or health-maintenance organization, or any staff committee or consultant of a hospital, medical, or dental service corporation, the function of which, or one of the functions of which, is to evaluate and improve the quality of dental care rendered by providers of dental care service or to determine that dental care services rendered were professionally indicated or were performed in compliance with the applicable standard of care or that the cost for dental care rendered was considered reasonable by the providers of professional dental care services in the area and includes a committee functioning as a utilization review committee under the provisions of Pub. L. No. 89-97, 42 U.S.C. § 1395 et seq. (Medicare law), or as a professional standards-review organization or statewide professional standards-review council under the provisions of Pub. L. No. 92-603, 42 U.S.C. § 1301 et seq. (professional standards-review organizations), or a similar committee or a committee of similar purpose, to evaluate or review the diagnosis or treatment of the performance or rendition of dental services performed under public dental programs of either state or federal design.

(15) “Person” means any individual, partnership, firm, corporation, association, trust or estate, state or political subdivision, or instrumentality of a state.

(16) “Practice of dental hygiene.” Any person is practicing dental hygiene within the meaning of this chapter who performs those services and procedures that a dental hygienist has been educated to perform and which services and procedures are, from time to time, specifically authorized by rules and regulations adopted by the board of examiners in dentistry. Nothing in this section is construed to authorize a licensed dental hygienist to perform the following: diagnosis and treatment planning, surgical procedures on hard or soft tissue, prescribe medication, or administer general anesthesia or injectables other than oral local anesthesia. A dental hygienist is only permitted to practice dental hygiene under the general supervision of a dentist licensed and registered in this state under the provisions of this chapter.

(i) Provided, that in order to administer local injectable anesthesia to dental patients, dental hygienists must be under the supervision of a dentist and meet the requirements established by regulation of the board of examiners in dentistry including payment of a permit fee.

(17)(i)(A) “Practice of dentistry.” Any person is practicing dentistry within the meaning of this chapter who:

(I) Uses or permits to be used, directly or indirectly, for profit or otherwise, for himself, herself, or for any other person, in connection with his or her name, the word “dentist” or “dental surgeon,” or the title “D.D.S.” or “D.M.D.,” or any other words, letters, titles, or descriptive matter, personal or not, that directly or indirectly implies the practice of dentistry;

(II) Owns, leases, maintains, operates a dental business in any office or other room or rooms where dental operations are performed, or directly or indirectly is manager, proprietor, or conductor of this business;

(III) Directly or indirectly informs the public in any language, orally, in writing, or in printing, or by drawings, demonstrations, specimens, signs, or pictures that he or she can perform or will attempt to perform, dental operations of any kind;

(IV) Undertakes, by any means or method, gratuitously, or for a salary, fee, money, or other reward paid or granted directly or indirectly to himself or herself, or to any other person, to diagnose or profess to diagnose, or to treat or profess to treat, or to prescribe for, or profess to prescribe for, any of the lesions, diseases, disorders, or deficiencies of the human oral cavity, teeth, gums, maxilla, or mandible, and/or adjacent associated structures;

(V) Extracts human teeth, corrects malpositions of the teeth or of the jaws;

(VI) Except on the written prescription of a licensed dentist and by the use of impressions or casts made by a licensed and practicing dentist, directly or indirectly by mail, carrier, personal agent, or by any other method, furnishes, supplies, constructs, reproduces, or repairs prosthetic dentures, bridges, appliances, or other structures to be used and worn as substitutes for natural teeth;

(VII) Places those substitutes in the mouth and/or adjusts them;

(VIII) Administers an anesthetic, either general or local, in the course of any of the previously stated dental procedures; or

(IX) Engages in any of the practices included in the curricula of recognized dental colleges;

(B) Provided, that in order to administer any form of anesthesia, other than local, dentists must meet the requirements established by regulation of the board of examiners in dentistry, including training in advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support, and payment of a permit fee.

(ii) The board shall promulgate regulations relating to anesthesia. Those regulations shall be consistent with the American Dental Association guidelines for the use of conscious sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia in dentistry. Neither the board, nor any regulation promulgated by the board, shall require additional licensing fees for the use of nitrous oxide by dentists. Prior to the adoption of those regulations, dentists shall be permitted to administer anesthesia without restriction. From the proceeds of any fees collected pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, there is created a restricted receipts account that is used solely to pay for the administrative expenses incurred for expenses of administrating this chapter.

(iii) No non-dentist who operates a dental facility in the form of a licensed outpatient healthcare center or management service organization may interfere with the professional judgment of a dentist in the practice.

(18) “Telemedicine” has the same meaning as provided in § 27-81-3.

History of Section.
P.L. 1987, ch. 358, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 235, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 388, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 154, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 199, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 202, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 219, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 232, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 95, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 163, § 1; P.L. 2021, ch. 184, § 3, effective July 6, 2021; P.L. 2021, ch. 199, § 3, effective July 6, 2021.