Frequently Asked Questions

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New Dental Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Dentists (ERLID Number 8618)

The new dental rules and regulations pertaining to dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants (216-RICR-40-05-2) went into effect Sunday, June 4, and are posted on the RI Secretary of State website. Although all elements are important, you may wish to observe the Appendices at the end--specifically Continuing Education (Appendix A) and Public Health Dental Hygienist.

Dental License Renewal Requirements:
- Dental Licenses are renewed every two years, on even numbered years. Licenses expire on the 30th of June. Dentists must complete at least 40 hours of continuing dental education. All dentists practicing in a dental setting must complete yearly OSHA training and have a current certificate of completion from an approved course in Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS). These continuing education hours must be complete before the first (1st) day of May of each even numbered year. It is up to the individual dentist to obtain documentation of his or her participation in a learning experience. For more details, please see the current Rules and Regulations listed above and see page 4, Part II, Dentists/Licensing Requirements.

How long does my office need to keep patient records?
- Dentists must maintain a patient's written dental record and radiographs for a minimum of five (5) years from the date of the last dental visit. Records for minors shall be kept for at least five (5) years after the minor has reached the age of eighteen (18). Records must be kept in a manner which permits the patient and/or successor dentist access to these records. For more details, please see the current Rules and Regulations listed above and see page 30, Part VI Record Keeping and Disclosure.

How much can my office charge a patient for a copy of their dental records?
- A dentist may charge a reasonable fee for the expense of providing a patient's dental record, however this fee may not exceed cost (example below). The dentist shall not require prior payment of charges for dental services as a condition for providing a copy of the dental record.
"Not to exceed cost" means, the dentist can charge for the time of the person who pulled the record and made the copies. If you pay someone $20 per hour and it took them 15 minutes to pull the file and make copies, a reasonable fee based on cost would be $5.00 for the person's time and maybe 15-20 cents per page for copies. If the copies need to be on high gloss paper or another form of copy medium, a higher charge for that cost is allowed.