Legislation adopted in 1913 established requirements for a person to practice dentistry in Arizona and created the Board of Dental Examiners (Board). Statutory authority for the Board is found in A.R.S.§§ 32-1201 through 32-1299.26.
The name of the Board was changed to the Arizona State Dental Board in 1935 and was changed again, to the State Board of Dental Examiners in 2010.
A person must be licensed to practice dentistry in Arizona. The State Board of Dental Examiners regulates and licenses dental professionals, including dentists, dental consultants, dental hygienists, denturists and dental therapists. The Board also reviews complaints against licensees and business entities, conducts investigations and is authorized to take disciplinary action for violations of state laws relating to the profession. The Board is required to maintain a record of its proceedings regarding licensure and disposition of complaints.
The Board consists of 11 members, appointed by the Governor to four-year terms. Information for the general public is maintained on the Board’s website. The Board does not receive any State General Fund appropriations. Its revenues consist primarily of license and permit fees. The Board is required to remit 100 percent of penalties collected, and 10 percent of all fees and other revenue are deposited in the state General Fund. The remaining 90 percent is deposited into the Dental Board Fund.
Legislation adopted in 1913 required a license to practice dentistry in Arizona and established penalties for failure to comply with license requirements. A five-member Board of Dental Examiners was created, consisting of five members appointed by the Governor to five-year terms.
The Board was required to adopt rules and regulations regarding examinations, maintain a list of licensed dentists for submission to the Secretary of State and was authorized to revoke a license for cause. The Secretary of State reviewed offenses, conducted hearings, and determined if a license should be revoked. A Board of Review, consisting of the Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Auditor was established to consider appeals. The law also stated that dentists were exempt from jury duty. See 1913 Code, sections 4751 through 4766, added by Laws 1913, Second Special Session, Chapter 14,.
The name of the Board was changed to the Arizona State Dental Board in 1935. The Dental Act of 1935 also outlined the powers and duties of the Board, provided for licenses and penalties and repealed prior legislative enactments related to the practice of dentistry. See Laws 1935, Chapter 24.
Laws 1947, Chapter 36 required dental hygienists to be licensed and to work under the direction and supervision of a licensed dentist.
In 1976, the makeup of the Board was modified by one lay member and the terms of the Board members were increased to six years. Each Board member could serve no more than two consecutive terms. In 1978, the Board was expanded by adding one dental hygienist, taking the total membership to seven. Two additional lay people were added in 1980. See Laws 1976, Chapter 160; Laws 1978, Chapter 134; and Laws 1980, Chapter 197.
Laws 1982, Chapter 72 provided grounds for disciplinary actions, subpoena authority and addressed conduct of Board hearings.
In 1984, terms for Board members were reduced from six years to four years. The measure also provided for regulation of dental assistants and x-ray technicians. See Laws 1984, Chapter 99.
Laws 1989, Chapter 235 authorized the Board to issue a letter of concern as part of its disciplinary process and increased the penalty for practicing without a license from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony.
In 1990, two additional members were added; one licensed dentist and one dental hygienist. The measure also allowed the Board to stagger license renewals according to an alphabetical division in order to maintain a nearly equal yearly licensure. Licenses had to be renewed every three years. Legislation in 2000 merely changed the term ‘lay people’ to ‘public members.’ See Laws 1990, Chapter 218 and Laws 2000, Chapter 87.
The Board was authorized to establish a substance abuse treatment program for licensees, funded by a portion of license renewal fees. See Laws 1991, Chapter 78.
Laws 1993, Chapter 183 required a licensee to maintain written records for each patient.
Laws 2005, Chapter 158 provided that the identity of a complainant did not have to be disclosed to a licensee.
In 2006, retired or disabled dentists, hygienists and denturists were provided an exemption from renewal fees. See Laws 2006, Chapter 77.
In 2010 the name of the Board changed again, from the State Dental Board to the State Board of Dental Examiners. Laws 2010, Chapter 122 also modified other licensing requirements.
Laws 2017, Chapter 174 modified requirements relating to dental hygienists, dental assistants and examinations for licensure; and established a one-time waiver from license or certificate renewal fees.
Laws 2018, Chapter 296 established dental therapy as a licensed profession and outlined requirements for dental therapists. The measure addressed licensing, education requirements and collaborative practice agreements between dentists and dental therapists. A study of the impact of licensing dental therapists is required to be prepared by the Arizona Department of Health Services. A report is due within three years of the date the Board begins licensing dental therapists.
Laws 2019, Chapter 195 allowed the Board to authorize its executive director to issue licenses, certifications, registrations, preceptorships, reinstatements and waivers to eligible applicants who meet the requirements identified in the statute. In addition, the Board may issue temporary licenses of thirty days to qualified applicants who meet the statutory requirements and may adopt rules to carry out the new provisions.
A second enactment in 2019 requires the Board to regulate the unauthorized practice of the profession by investigating complaints and referring verified complaints to the county attorney or attorney general for prosecution. See Laws 2019, Chapter 227.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§32-1201 to 32-1299.26
- Arizona Administrative Code §§R4-11-101 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1913, Chapter 14, 2nd Special Session
- Laws 1935, Chapter 24
- Laws 1947, Chapter 36
- Laws 1976, Chapter 160
- Laws 1978, Chapter 134
- Laws 1980, Chapter 197
- Laws 1982, Chapter 72
- Laws 1984, Chapter 99
- Laws 1989, Chapter 235
- Laws 1990, Chapter 218
- Laws 1991, Chapter 78
- Laws 1993, Chapter 183
- Laws 2000, Chapter 87
- Laws 2005, Chapter 158
- Laws 2006, Chapter 77
- Laws 2010, Chapter 122
- Laws 2017, Chapter 174
- Laws 2018, Chapter 296
- Laws 2019, Chapter 195 and Chapter 227
Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners website
RELATED COLLECTIONS AT ARIZONA STATE ARCHIVES
- Record Group 012 – Board of Dental Examiners, 1913-1994