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Dental Hygiene Practice in NYS: Resources on Supervision


Background to the Issue

New York State Law (statute), notably, Article 133 states that the practice of dental hygiene "must be done under the supervision of a licensed dentist" or in the case of a registered dental hygienist working for a hospital defined in article twenty-eight of the public health law, pursuant to a collaborative arrangement with a licensed and registered dentist who has a formal relationship with the same hospital in accordance with regulations promulgated by the department in consultation with the Department of Health. Such collaborative arrangement shall not obviate or supersede any law or regulation which requires identified services to be performed under the personal supervision of a dentist. When dental hygiene services are provided pursuant to a collaborative arrangement, such dental hygienist shall instruct individuals to visit a licensed dentist for a comprehensive examination or treatment.

The degrees of supervision by the dentist as defined are follows:

  1. General supervision shall mean that a supervising dentist available for consultation, diagnosis and evaluation, has authorized the dental hygienist to perform the services, and exercises that degree of supervision appropriate to the circumstances.
  2. Personal supervision shall mean that the dentist in the dental office or facility, personally diagnoses the condition to be treated, personally authorizes the procedure and, before dismissal of the patient, personally examines the condition after treatment is completed."


The distinction between these two levels of supervision is an important one. It clearly indicates the State Education Department's ("SED") explicit intent to establish different levels of supervision - back over three decades ago - for different dental hygiene services in order to allow for a more flexible workforce and an assurance of safe patient care.



Read more - Procedures designated under general and personal supervision, as well as procedures for RDHs working in a collaborative practice agreement (Commissioner's Regulations, Part 61.9)

Read more - An article, General Supervision: The Simple Truth

Read more - Recommended elements in office policy