Board of Dental Examiners
Statement on the Use of Lasers by Non-Dentists
August 10, 2011
The Board of Dental Examiners has been asked whether and under what conditions non- dentists may use lasers. The statutes and rules governing dental practice do not directly address laser use.
Practitioners are reminded that current law limits the practice of non-dentists. The relevant portion of the Administrative Rules of the Board of Dental Examiners 1.11 provides:
“1.11 Permitted Practices (a) Dentists: The following tasks may be performed by licensed dentists only:
(1) Practices permitted by Chapter 13 of Title 26 including diagnosis, treatment planning and prescription, including prescription for drugs and medicaments or authorization for restorative, prosthodontic or orthodontic appliances; or
(2) Surgical procedures on hard and soft tissues within or ancillary to them related to the treatment of the maxillofacial complex and any other intraoral procedure that contributes to and results in an irreversible alteration to the oral anatomy.
(3) Dentists are responsible for general supervision of dental hygienists and “direct supervision” of dental hygienists where specifically required elsewhere in these rules.
(4) Dentists are responsible for the direct supervision of dental assistants.
(b) Clarifications, Limitations on Scope of Practice, Dentists or Dental Hygienists:
Oral prophylaxis, oral debridement, periodontal descriptions and charting, including periodontal probing and placement of subgingival chemotherapeutic agents shall be performed only by a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.” (Emphasis added)
All licensees should bear in mind that 3 V.S.A. § 129a(a) which defines unprofessional conduct includes:
“(6) Delegating professional responsibilities to a person whom the licensed professional knows, or has reason to know, is not qualified by training, experience, education or licensing credentials to perform them.” and,
“(13) Performing treatments or providing services which the licensee is not qualified to perform or which are beyond the scope of the licensee's education, training, capabilities, experience, or scope of practice.”
Those sections permit disciplinary action against a dentist who improperly delegates any task, and against a non dentist who provides services she or he is not qualified to render.
Practitioners are reminded that they must always use independent professional judgment in deciding if they are qualified to undertake any task.
/s/ August 10, 2011
Board of Dental Examiners
Edward P. Pantzar, DDS, Chair