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Supervision of Dental Auxiliaries in California – Dental Practice Act

When dentists utilize their office staff legally and effectively, they can increase office efficiency and production, as well as provide a more rewarding work environment for employees. Therefore, it is important to be able to determine the dental auxiliary duties that the Dental Board of California (DBC) allows for each employee classification level.

Two levels of supervision apply to the duties – direct and general supervision. Direct supervision means supervision of dental procedures based on instructions given by a licensed dentist, who must be physically present in the treatment facility during the performance of those procedures. Direct supervision of procedures requires the dentist to check and approve the treatment prior to dismissal of the patient from the office. General supervision, on the other hand, means supervision of dental procedures based on instructions given by the licensed dentist but not requiring the physical presence of the supervising dentist during the performance of those procedures.

Dental auxiliaries work under the supervising dentist’s license and professional control. The supervising dentist is always responsible for their work. Since the number of duties that can be delegated is quite extensive and complex, the supervising dentist must know the differences between these two levels of supervision and be able to delegate appropriately. Improper delegation and/or supervision can result in disciplinary action by the DBC.

Refer to our web site –, or your OSHA Review poster set (Poster #12B and Poster 13A), for tables listing the allowable dental auxiliary duties and the level of supervision required for each one.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered dental continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.

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