New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs

Welcome to the Online Orientation for applicants for licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant.

The State Board of Dentistry (Board) requires every applicant for licensure to complete this Orientation prior to issuance of a license to practice as a registered dental assistant in the State of New Jersey. Once an applicant has met the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:30-2.2, the Board will inform the applicant that he or she is eligible to take the orientation. Upon completion of this orientation, and all other requirements, the Board will issue a license to the applicant.

The material presented provides an overview of some of the laws and regulations relevant to the practice of dental assisting in New Jersey. The links provided allow you to read the laws and regulations. When you click on a link, do not close this window. Simply click on the link and then close the link's window when you have finished viewing it. Many statutes and regulations that are relevant to the field of dental assisting in New Jersey are also listed on the Board's website.

The questions are based on specific statutes and regulations relevant to the practice of dental assisting in New Jersey. Statutes, or laws, are designated as N.J.S.A., which stands for "New Jersey Statutes Annotated." Regulations, or rules, are designated as N.J.A.C., which stands for "New Jersey Administrative Code." Regulations supplement the statutes, providing clarification as to statutory requirements or covering topics that are not specifically addressed by statute.

The following questions address some of the statutes and regulations with which potential licensed dental assistants should be familiar before obtaining licensure. These are not necessarily the only New Jersey statutes and regulations that may apply to the practice of dental assisting, but address issues which the Board believes are relevant to the majority of dental assistants practicing in New Jersey. The questions do not address Federal statutes or regulations with which dental offices may need to comply.

 

Orientation Questions

You must answer all of the questions that follow in one online session. If you don't, you will have to start over, and complete them all at one time. When you have answered them, click the submit button on the final page. Your participation will be recorded for the Board's records. You will also be able to print a confirmation upon submission of your answers. You may return to the orientation (above) to read information and click on links to web sites while you are answering the questions. Keep in mind, after entering the Questions section, to view the first section of the orientation you must minimize the window you are in (don't close it). You may hit your back arrow button to page backwards through the Questions section.

IMPORTANT:
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Introduction to the Board

Board Responsibilities:

The paramount responsibility of the Board is the protection of the public's health, safety, and welfare. The Board meets its responsibility by licensing dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants, adopting regulations, determining standards of practice, investigating allegations of misconduct, and disciplining those who do not adhere to requirements - thereby assuring the public that dentists and dental hygienists are qualified, competent, and honest.

Board Meetings:

The Board has monthly meetings, which are scheduled up to a year in advance, with the dates posted on its web site, www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/den.  Meetings are conducted in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act.

Board meetings are held in two parts. One is open to the public, and includes: non-disciplinary sessions (open minutes, policy, legislation, information, public comment), and disciplinary actions (formal hearings).

Closed sessions, attended by Board members only, are held when matters need to be discussed privately, such as investigatory matters, potential disciplinary actions, and matters in which the Board needs the advice of legal counsel.

Licensure:

Registered dental assistant licenses expire every two years, on December 31 of even-numbered years. It is very important that you notify the Board office when you change your mailing address as renewal notifications are not forwarded by the Post Office. The notification will give you information about renewing your license online, paying with a credit card, and other information about keeping your license in good standing. The notification is mailed 2-3 months before your license expires. You may renew for thirty days after your license expires and pay a late fee of $100. Thirty one days after your license expires it will be automatically placed in suspended status without further notice to you. If you don't intend to practice in New Jersey during the upcoming licensing period, you should renew your license as "inactive."

Registered dental assistants are required to complete 10 credit hours of continuing education every biennial renewal period. You are permitted to complete up to ½ of the required continuing education through distance learning methods.

Waivers of continuing education requirements may be granted for hardship reasons, and require supporting documentation. You must apply for the waiver prior to the end of the renewal cycle. If a waiver is granted, it applies only to the renewal cycle for which it was granted; you must reapply each cycle.

A licensed individual must cooperate with the Board's investigative powers. Investigative powers of the Board, the Attorney General and the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs include:

  • Inspection of premises from which a practice is conducted;
  • Review of records, books or documents prepared or maintained in the course of practice;
  • Review of goods or items used to practice;
  • Issuance of administrative subpoenas to compel attendance at investigative hearings or production of records;
  • Demands for statements in writing under oath as to facts and circumstances concerning rendering of professional services;
  • Impounding of evidence pursuant to a court order; and
  • Compelling skills assessment to determine if licensees can practice with reasonable skill and safety.

The following are examples of grounds for discipline of licensees:

  • Obtaining a license through fraud, deception, or misrepresentation;
  • Omission of a criminal conviction on an application form;
  • Use or employment of dishonesty, fraud, deception, misrepresentation, false promise or false pretense;
  • Gross negligence, gross malpractice or gross incompetence which damaged or endangered the life, health, welfare, safety or property of another person;
  • Repeated acts of simple negligence, malpractice, or incompetence;
  • Alteration of dental records, including late additions without proper identification and dating;
  • Professional or occupational misconduct as may be determined by the Board;
  • Conviction of, or engaging in, acts constituting crimes of moral turpitude or crimes relating adversely to the practice of dental hygiene;
  • Disciplinary action against a license issued by another state, agency or authority;
  • Failure to comply with any act or regulation administered by the board;
  • Incapability of discharging the functions of a licensee consistent with the public health, safety or welfare;
  • Violation of the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act as found in a civil or administrative proceeding;
  • Presently engaged in drug or alcohol use likely to impair the ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety. (Presently means "at this time" or any time within the previous 365 days);
  • Aiding, abetting or permitting unlicensed practice; and
  • A registered dental assistant is required to report a colleague who demonstrates an impairment or activities of a colleague that pose a clear and imminent danger to public health and welfare (N.J.S.A. 45:1-37). Examples of the type of misconduct which you are required to report are gross negligence, indiscriminate prescribing, and actions which pose an imminent danger to the public health safety and welfare.

    The Complaint And Discipline Process

    The Board receives numerous complaints per month from sources including: consumers, other governmental agencies, law enforcement agencies, court officials, and insurance fraud investigators. Each and every one is investigated. The nature of the allegations dictates the type and the depth of the investigation.

    In most cases the Board asks for the licensee's response to the complaint to be considered in the investigation. If you are contacted by the Board and requested to provide information to it, please provide a timely response - your reply and explanation must reach the Board office within 21 days. Failure to respond in a timely fashion may result in you being directed to appear before the Board, or sanctioned for failure to cooperate.

    When the Board determines that a complaint has merit, the formal discipline process begins. New Jersey's Attorney General prosecutes formal complaints against licensees, and those found to be practicing dental hygiene while unlicensed. Licensees have a right to counsel at disciplinary proceedings before the Board. The Board may hear the matter, or refer it to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who issues an initial decision that is reviewed by the Board. The Board can either adopt, reject or modify the findings of fact and conclusion of law, and the penalties recommended by the ALJ. The final decision is made by the Board. Licensees have the right to appeal a final decision of the Board to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court.

    Additionally, the Board has the authority to take the interim measure of temporarily suspending a license if there is a palpable demonstration of imminent danger to the public. When a license is revoked or suspended, or clinical practice is barred by another state or licensing authority, and the Board finds that either the continued practice endangers or poses a risk to public health and safety, or gross or repeated negligence, fraud or professional misconduct adversely affecting public health and safety is involved, the Board is authorized to impose a suspension.

    Possible disciplinary sanctions and other dispositions of formal complaints may include:

    • Revocation of license;
    • Suspension of license;
    • Reprimand;
    • Probation, limitations on license;
    • Penalties;
    • Costs of investigation and prosecution;
    • Remedial education and/or supervision; or
    • Community service and other measures

    Under N.J.S.A. 45:1-25, licensed dentists may be assessed monetary penalties of up to $10,000, for the first violation, and up to $20,000, for the second and subsequent violations.

    Scope of Practice:

    The regulations list the scope of practice of a registered dental assistant at N.J.A.C. 13:30-2.4. According to this section of the regulations, a registered dental assistant may perform the following duties under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist:

    1. Isolate the operative field, including the placement and removal of rubber dams;
    2. Place and remove matrices and wedges;
    3. Place temporary restorations;
    4. Remove excess cement from crowns or other restorations and orthodontic appliances;
    5. Remove sutures;
    6. Fabricate and cement temporary crowns and bridges after preparation of tooth (teeth) by a dentist. This does not include intra-oral occlusal adjustment;
    7. Etch teeth in preparation for bonding, sealants and desensitizing agents;
    8. Place caries detecting agents;
    9. Use instruments for caries detection. Such instruments shall not include lasers that are capable of altering, cutting, burning or damaging hard or soft tissue;
    10. Perform hand removal of soft temporary restorations;
    11. Perform hand removal of crowns and bridges that have been temporarily cemented;
    12. Prepare coronal surfaces for bonding and restoration, with pumice and water only, not to include a prophylaxis;
    13. Take alginate impressions;
    14. Place amalgam, composite or gold foil in a tooth for condensation by the dentist;
    15. Place and remove retraction cords and medicated pellets. This shall not include electrosurgery or the use of lasers for tissue retraction;
    16. Perform bite registration procedures;
    17. Place and remove periodontal dressings and other surgical dressings;
    18. Trial size (pre-select) orthodontic bands, wires, stainless steel crowns and temporary crowns intra-orally or on diagnostic models;
    19. Place and remove arch wires and ligature wires;
    20. Take impressions for and perform laboratory fabrication of mouth guards. This shall not include insertion of the appliance;
    21. Make radiographic exposures as permitted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to N.J.S.A. 26:2D-24 et seq.;
    22. Provide oral health education including dietary analysis and clinical instruction in order to promote dental health;
    23. Apply topical anesthetic agents;
    24. Take and record vital signs;
    25. Retract patient's cheek, tongue or other tissue parts during a dental procedure;
    26. Remove such debris as is normally created in the course of treatment during or after dental procedures by vacuum devices, compressed air, mouthwashes and water;
    27. Hold a curing light for any dental procedure. Such curing light shall not include a laser capable of altering, cutting, burning or damaging hard or soft tissue or for electrosurgery for tissue retraction;
    28. Take dental photographs including the use of intraoral cameras;
    29. Select shades of prosthetic appliances;
    30. Demonstrate home-use bleaching systems and apply bleaching agents;
    31. Apply hot or cold packs pursuant to the direction of a licensed dentist;
    32. Administer a topical treatment on a patient after a licensed dentist or licensed dental hygienist has performed a prophylaxis;
    33. Assist a licensed dentist in the administration of nitrous oxide, provided the licensed dentist is physically present in the operatory at all times during the procedure; and
    34. Provide prophylactic and preventive measures, such as the application of fluorides and pit and fissure sealants and other recognized topical agents for the prevention of oral disease or discomfort. This shall not include prophylaxis.