Frequently Asked Questions

Initial Licensure/Certification

How can I check the status of my application?

An applicant can check the status of his/her application by accessing the web site at http://llr.sc.gov/bod. Click on Application Status. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Following initial processing, all applicants are sent a deficiency notice via email.

Does S.C. have reciprocity with any other state?

Per SC Code of Law 40-15-270, the board may grant licenses to licensees of other states who are members of regional testing services of which the board is also a member without further examination and may make all necessary regulations and agreements for the reciprocal recognition of licenses issued by other states. Currently, SC does not hold reciprocity agreements with any other licensing jurisdiction. The South Carolina Board is a member of the Southern Regional Testing Agency, Inc. (SRTA), Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA), The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA), and Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (CRDTS).

Dental applicants who hold licensure in another state and have actively practiced for a minimum of five (5) years preceding the application date should apply for Licensure by Credential. See Licensure Requirements page for further information.

Is Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) mandatory for all licensees?

SC Regulations 39-5(F) requires all dentists and dental hygienists to have completed an approved CPR course within two (2) years of licensure or renewal. Thereafter, all dentists and dental hygienists must be recertified in CPR once every three years. Yearly recertification is not required, but can be used as continuing education hours any time. Courses or providers that have been approved by the Board include:

American Red Cross “Community CPR;”
American Red Cross “CPR for the Professional Rescuer;”
American Heart Association “Heartsaver CPR,”
American Heart Association “BLS Healthcare Provider,”
American Safety & Health Institute,
Emergency Care & Safety Institute (ECSI)
Health Education Solutions,
National Safety Council, and
ProCPR Trainings LLC dba ProCPR
EMS Safety Services, Inc.
Pacific Medical Training BLS Recertification Course

Does the Board of Dentistry issue “temporary” licenses?

The Board of Dentistry does not issue “temporary” licenses.

How many times can an applicant re-take a licensing exam that they have failed?

The Board gives a jurisprudence examination (statutes and regulations of the Board) to all seeking licensure. It is an on-line, open book exam and you may take it as many times as necessary to pass.

National examinations have their own criteria for retaking examinations.

Does the Board require certification of dental radiography?

Per SC Regulations 39-16, all personnel in a dental office who place and expose radiographic films shall have successfully completed a structured course of training in radiation safety. Every dentist shall certify to the Board that any person employed, who shall place and expose radiographic films, has successfully completed the training required herein.

The Board does not issue certificates to individuals in radiation safety. The Board does continue to determine which structured courses are approved for satisfying the radiation safety requirements of the South Carolina Dental Practice Act. Board SC Regulations 39-12(8) and SC Regulations 39-16 govern the performance of dental radiologic procedures in South Carolina.

Structured courses that are Board - approved are given by American Dental Association (ADA)-accredited schools and their constituents; Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.(DANB) CDA certification or DANB RHS certificate of competency; and South Carolina Dental Association (SCDA).

Which schools offer courses in the administration of local infiltration anesthesia and monitoring of nitrous oxide anesthesia?

The following schools are approved to offer courses in both the administration of infiltration anesthesia and monitoring nitrous oxide:

  • Greenville Technical College, Greenville, S.C.
  • Florence-Darlington Technical College, Florence, S.C.
  • Midlands Technical College, Columbia, S.C.
  • MUSC College of Dental Medicine, Charleston, S.C.
  • Summerville Pediatric Dentistry, Summerville, S.C. (nitrous oxide course only)
  • Trident Technical College, Charleston, S.C.
  • Tri-County Technical College, Pendleton, S.C.
  • York Technical College, Rock Hill, S.C.

What are the requirements for Volunteer Clinics?

See Volunteer Clinic Requirements.

Can a retired dentist or dental hygienist volunteer his/her services?

Licensees who do not hold an active dental or dental hygiene license and are seeking to volunteer their services must apply for a Restricted Volunteer License. Individuals may not engage in the practice of dentistry or dental hygiene without a valid license. See Restricted Volunteer Licensure Requirements.

What are the requirements for reinstatement of Dental Hygiene license that has been lapsed or expired for more than six (6) years?

See Reinstatement – Re-Entry Program Requirements.

License/Certification Maintenance

What is the CPR requirement for dental and dental hygiene licensure renewal?

Dentists and dental hygienists are required to complete an approved CPR course, adult/child CPR, one or two-person depending on the needs of the particular office, once every two years. Courses and providers that have been approved by the Board include:

American Red Cross “Community CPR;”
American Red Cross “CPR for the Professional Rescuer;”
American Heart Association “Heartsaver CPR,”
American Heart Association “BLS Healthcare Provider,”
American Safety & Health Institute,
Emergency Care & Safety Institute (ECSI)
Health Education Solutions,
National Safety Council, and
ProCPR Trainings LLC dba ProCPR
EMS Safety Services, Inc.
Pacific Medical Training BLS Recertification Course

If I retire from active practice of dentistry (or dental hygiene/dental technological work), must I continue to obtain continuing education in order to keep my license/certificate active?

If you are fully retired from active practice, you may request a waiver of continuing education and CPR requirements. If the waiver is approved, you must sign an “Agreement” confirming that you will not resume active practice without first fulfilling all CE and other requirements owed during period of retirement. A licensee granted a waiver may not practice at all, not even on a “fill-in” or occasional basis. Also, a licensee granted a waiver is not exempt from all other annual renewal requirements, including payment of the annual license renewal fee.

To request a CE Waiver Form, contact the Board office at contact.dentistry@llr.sc.gov.

How do I notify the Board of a change in my address or my name?

A licensee or applicant can make a change in address by accessing the Licensee Portal.

Name changes require a copy of a legal document being sent to the Board’s office at contact.dentistry@llr.sc.gov.

Scope of Practice

Can dentists use Botox and other injectable?

Botox and fillers have become popular in recent years. The Board has a policy on the limitations of use and delivery of these products and injectable by licensees. The policy can be found on the Board’s website under Laws/Policies. The policy states in general that these are limited to the perioral area, must be for a dental purpose, must be performed by a licensed general dentist, and must be performed only where a bona fide dentist-patient relationship has been established. Please read the full policy on the Board’s website https://llr.sc.gov/bod/laws.aspx.

What is prescribing within the scope of dentistry?

Dentists are sometimes asked to write prescriptions that are outside the scope of practice. Licensees and registrants are reminded of the statute in the SC Dental Practice Act regarding prescription writing. Dentists are only allowed to prescribe within the scope of dentistry to a registered patient within their dental practice. Please refer to the SC Code of Law Section 40-15-70(2)(c) and SC Code of Law Section 40-15-360.

What are the approved procedures for dental hygienists, expanded duty dental assistants and dental assistance?

SC Regulations 39-12 and SC Regulations 39-13, outline the approved procedures of dental assistance and expanded duty dental assistants. A breakdown of approved procedures are listed in on the Summary of Procedures for Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistants.

Continuing Education

Is continuing education (CE) mandatory for all licensees and registrants?

Per SC Regulation 39-5(F), all licensees are required to complete CEs in order to be eligible to renew their license/registration. All CEs must be completed within the two year renewal period: January 1 of odd years to December 31 of even years.

  • Dentists shall complete a minimum of twenty-eight (28) CE hours
  • Dental hygienists shall complete a minimum of fourteen (14) CE hours
  • Dental technicians shall complete a minimum of eight (8) CE hours

Upon initial licensure in South Carolina, newly licensed dentists, dental hygienists and dental/orthodontic technicians shall be exempt from continuing education requirements for the first re-licensure period. For additional CE information, visit the Board Continuing Education webpage at https://www.llr.sc.gov/bod/ce.aspx.

How do I know if a continuing education course that I want to attend is accepted in South Carolina?

The Board does not approve individual courses or content. SC Regulation 39-5(F)(4) lists sponsoring organizations that the Board has approved, such as the ADA and AGD, which do not have to receive prior approval from the Board. If you have questions about course sponsorship or course approval, you will need to contact the course provider to ascertain sponsorship. Study clubs and local societies or associations are approved CE sponsors, provided a form of verification of the CE course name, date, instructor and hours is provided. Correspondence and home-study courses are approved, provided a post-test is successfully completed and a certificate of completion is obtained. One credit hour of CE is earned for each one contact hour of instruction.

If I retire from active practice of dentistry (or dental hygiene/dental technological work), must I continue to obtain continuing education in order to keep my license/certificate active?

If you are fully retired from active practice, you may request a waiver of continuing education and CPR requirements. If the waiver is approved, you must sign an “Agreement” confirming that you will not resume active practice without first fulfilling all CE and other requirements owed during period of retirement. A licensee granted a waiver may not practice at all, not even on a “fill-in” or occasional basis. Also, a licensee granted a waiver is not exempt from all other annual renewal requirements, including payment of the annual license renewal fee.

To request a CE Waiver Form, contact the Board office at contact.dentistry@llr.sc.gov

Board Statutes and Regulations

Are there restrictions on advertising as a specialist?

Per SC Regulations 39-11(5.H), a dentist may publically announce themselves to be a specialist in any of the dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) if they hold an active Dental Specialty License with the SC Board of Dentistry. Dentists who choose to announce specialization should use ‘‘specialist in’’ and shall devote a sufficient portion of their practice to the announced specialty or specialties to maintain expertise in that specialty or those specialties. Dentists whose practice is devoted exclusively to an announced specialty or specialties may announce that their practice ‘‘is limited to’’ that specialty or those specialties. The burden of responsibility is on specialists to avoid any inference that general practitioners who are associated with specialists are qualified to announce themselves as specialists.

Are there restrictions on advertising as a general dentist?

In accordance with SC Code of Law Section 40-15-220, general dentists who wish to announce the services available in their practices are permitted to announce the availability of those services so long as they avoid any communications that express or imply specialization. General dentists shall also state that the services are being provided by general dentists. No dentist shall announce available services in any way that would be false or misleading in any material respect in accordance with SC Regulation 39-11(5.F). The phrase "practice limited to" shall be avoided.

How does the Board notify its licensees of legislative changes?

Legislative changes are posted on the Board’s website and notice sent to licensee via email.

How long must a dentist retain patient records?

In accordance with SC Code of Law Section 40-15-83, dentists shall retain their patient records for at least five years. These minimum recordkeeping periods begin to run from the last date of treatment. After these minimum recordkeeping periods, the records may be destroyed. If a dentist is employed by a corporation or another dentist, the corporation or employing dentist is responsible for maintaining the patient records for a period of five years. The practicing dentist shall have access to these patient records during that period. However, a dentist who works in a nonprofit dental clinic operated solely for the benefit of poor and indigent persons is not required to maintain records for patients seen in that setting. The owner or operator of a nonprofit dental clinic, for at least five years, shall retain patient records for persons treated at the clinic.

What restrictions are there about coupon use by dentists?

The SC Regulation 39-11(4.D) states “Dentists shall not accept or tender ‘rebates’ or ‘split fees.’ This includes social coupon website applications. A violation of the Principles of Ethics as promulgated in the Code of Regulations is grounds for misconduct. The ADA also has a statement regarding this.

How many dental hygienists are allowed to practice under a dentist?

There is no set number on how many hygienists are allowed to practice in a dentist office.

Can a dental practice be owned by a non-dentist?

Corporations and individuals who are not dentists can own a dental practice. However, owners of dental practices who are not dentists cannot interfere with the professional judgment of the dentist working in that practice. Dental practice ownerships are held to the same standard of care as dental owned practices.

Can a dentist refuse to see a patient?

SC Regulations 39-11(4.A), dentists, in serving the public, may exercise reasonable discretion in selecting patients for their practices, dentists shall not refuse to accept patients into their practice or deny service to patients because of the patient's race, creed, color, sex or national origin.

How is a Dental Board member elected?

SC Regulation 39-6 stipulates notice of the annual election of the Board will be mailed in March to each dentist qualified to vote, according to the records of the Board. Nominations of candidates shall be made to the Board by written petition signed by not less than fifteen dentists qualified to vote in the election. Any person who is nominated by valid petition may withdraw his name by written notice to the Board. If only one candidate is nominated, he shall be declared elected. If more than one candidate is nominated, ballots shall be prepared with the names of the nominees in alphabetical order. Ballots and return envelopes shall be mailed to every dentist qualified to vote in the election. The candidate receiving the majority of the ballots received by the Board, in the allotted time, will be declared elected. Voters will be allowed approximately ten days to cast their ballot.

Notice of the election of the dental hygiene member of the Board will be mailed in March of the appropriate year (once every six years) to each dental hygienist qualified to vote, according to the records of the Board. Nominations of candidates shall be made to the Board by written petition signed by not less than fifteen dental hygienists qualified to vote in the election. Nominations must be received by the Board within thirty days from the date of the notice announcing the election. Any person who is nominated by valid petition may withdraw their name by written notice to the Board. If only one candidate is nominated, she shall be declared elected. If more than one candidate is nominated, ballots shall be prepared with the names of the nominees in alphabetical order. Ballots and return envelopes shall be mailed to every dental hygienist qualified to vote in the election. The candidate receiving the majority of the ballots received by the Board in the allotted time will be declared elected. Voters will be allowed approximately ten days to cast their ballot.

Why must the Board of Dentistry publish disciplinary orders on its web site?

SC Code of Law Section 40-15-215 stipulates any final order of the board finding that a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental technician is guilty of any offense charged in a formal accusation is public knowledge except for a final order dismissing the accusation or determining that a private reprimand is in order or unless stayed by an administrative law judge as provided under Article 5 of Chapter 23 of Title 1 or the board.

Any final order which is made public may be mailed to local and state dental associations and all hospitals in which the respondent has staff privileges, to states where the dentist, dental hygienist, or dental technician has a license or certificate as known to the board, or to any other agency the board considers appropriate. If a license or certificate is voluntarily limited or surrendered by the holder, a public record of the existence and duration of the limitation or surrender must be maintained by the board, and no further distribution of the information may be made. All information, investigations, and proceedings concerning the circumstances underlying an action by the holder of the license or certificate are privileged and confidential.

Dental Technicians

Is every employee in an out-of-state dental lab required to become registered as a dental technician in SC?

In accordance with SC Code of Law Section 40-15-125, an out-of-state laboratory that provides dental technological services for SC dentists must employ at least one dental laboratory technician registered by the SC Board of Dentistry.

Does the Board office have a specific work authorization/prescription “form” that must be used by all dental laboratories?

No. A prescription form is considered approved by the Board as long as it contains all of the information required in SC Code of Law Section 40-15-280:

  • Name, address, and certificate number of the individual or organization to do the work
  • Identification of the patient by name or number
  • Date on which the authorization was written
  • Description of the work to be done, with diagrams, if necessary
  • Specification of the type and quality of materials to be used
  • Dentist’s signature, complete address, and state license number

Who can authorize a prescription for out-of-state dental technological work?

Dental technological work performed in an out-of-state lab must be based on a prescription issued by a dentist licensed and practicing in SC.

What if I do not know the percentages of each ingredient used in the fabrication of a dental device?

The law requires a “percentage” be provided; therefore, you must list a percentage of each ingredient used.

What is the renewal process for registration as an in-state or out-of-state dental technician?

In-state and out-of-state dental technicians must renew their Registration to Perform Dental Technological Work in SC biennially. Renewal period runs from January 1 of odd years to December 31 of even years. Renewal open in October of even years.

Consumer Education

Am I entitled to my patient records and x-rays and can I be legally charged for copies?

SC Regulation 39-11(1.B) states, “Upon request of a patient or another dental practitioner, dentists shall provide any information that will be beneficial for the future treatment of that patient.” Further, in accordance with Board policy, dental records are the property of the dentist who performs the dental service; however, a patient who requests his/her records shall have access to such records. Copies of patient records and/or x-rays, or summaries thereof, must be made available to the patient and/or new dentist upon submission of a written release authorization, in a reasonable manner and upon reasonable costs associated with providing such record. This obligation exists whether or not the patient’s account is paid in full.

How long must a dentist retain patient records?

In accordance with SC Code of Law Section 40-15-83, dentists shall retain their patient records for at least five years. These minimum recordkeeping periods begin to run from the last date of treatment. After these minimum recordkeeping periods, the records may be destroyed. If a dentist is employed by a corporation or another dentist, the corporation or employing dentist is responsible for maintaining the patient records for a period of five years. The practicing dentist shall have access to these patient records during that period. However, a dentist who works in a nonprofit dental clinic operated solely for the benefit of poor and indigent persons is not required to maintain records for patients seen in that setting. The owner or operator of a nonprofit dental clinic, for at least five years, shall retain patient records for persons treated at the clinic.

What is the difference between the Dental Board and the SC Dental Association?

The Board of Dentistry is a state regulatory board that protects the public health, safety and welfare in the State of South Carolina by the licensure and regulation of dentists, dental hygienists and dental technicians.

The SC Dental Association is a membership organization of dentists.

Does the Dental Board set the fees that dentists charge in their practice?

No, the dentist or the corporation sets the fees that can be charged.

Does the Dental Board recommend dentists if someone calls the office and is in need of dental care?

The Board does not make recommendations or referrals.

Can a dentist refuse to see a patient?

SC Regulations 39-11(4.A), dentists, in serving the public, may exercise reasonable discretion in selecting patients for their practices, dentists shall not refuse to accept patients into their practice or deny service to patients because of the patient's race, creed, color, sex or national origin.

How can I get a copy of the Board minutes?

The minutes are posted on the Board website at https://www.llr.sc.gov/bod/minutes/minutes.aspx

How do I file a complaint against a dentist? Is it kept confidential?

To files a complaint, visit the SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Complaint Portal at https://www.llr.sc.gov/fileacomplaint.aspx. Per SC Code of Law Section 40-15-180, all investigations and proceedings undertaken shall be confidential.

How can I know if my dentist has had any complaints or problems in the past?

Information regarding disciplinary actions can be accessed by going to the web site at http://llr.sc.gov/bod and clicking on the link for Board Orders.

Why must the Board of Dentistry publish disciplinary orders on its web site?

SC Code of Law Section 40-15-215 stipulates any final order of the board finding that a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental technician is guilty of any offense charged in a formal accusation is public knowledge except for a final order dismissing the accusation or determining that a private reprimand is in order or unless stayed by an administrative law judge as provided under Article 5 of Chapter 23 of Title 1 or the board.

Any final order which is made public may be mailed to local and state dental associations and all hospitals in which the respondent has staff privileges, to states where the dentist, dental hygienist, or dental technician has a license or certificate as known to the board, or to any other agency the board considers appropriate. If a license or certificate is voluntarily limited or surrendered by the holder, a public record of the existence and duration of the limitation or surrender must be maintained by the board, and no further distribution of the information may be made. All information, investigations, and proceedings concerning the circumstances underlying an action by the holder of the license or certificate are privileged and confidential.