5.3 Regulatory Compliance

The dental board in each state regulates the practice of dentistry within that state, ensuring compliance with its state dental practice act. When designing a program, it is important to know the requirements specified in the state’s dental practice act and statutes and regulations. The Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners (MSBDE) regulates the practice of dentistry in Maryland. For information on the state dental practice act in Maryland as administered by MSBDE, refer to the MSBDE website.

In October 2008, the Maryland General Assembly unanimously passed the Public Health Dental Hygiene Act. This bill increased the number of health professional who could serve underinsured and uninsured populations by allowing dental hygienists to practice under "general supervision" (i.e., without the direct supervision of a dentist). The bill allows dental hygienists who meet specific criteria and who work for public health agencies to perform all duties within their scope of practice in off-site settings such as schools, Head Start programs, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs without a dentist being physically present and/or without examining the patient first.

In Maryland, public health dental hygienists may place dental sealants without a supervising dentist present. To become a public health dental hygienist in the state, one must be a licensed and registered dental hygienist with at least 2 years of direct clinical care experience.