SB 607 Deletes Clinical and Practical Exam Requirements for Specific Registered Dental Assistants

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By Dimitri Davis

SB 607 (Roth), as amended September 3, 2021, adds sections 1636.5 and 1636.6, amends sections 1724, 1753, 1753.55, 1753.6 of, and repeals section 1753.4 of, the Business and Professions Code, as it applies to the Dental Board. This bill deleted the clinical and practical examination requirement for registered dental assistants in extended functions (RDAEF).

During its May 14, 2021, meeting [Agenda Item 22(b)xiii], the Dental Board of California expressed its continued support for SB 607. The idea to delete the clinical and practical examination requirements for dental assistants began as a legislative proposal in December 2020 at the Board’s meeting, but later became a bill by Senators Roth and Min, who added several amendments. These amendments, among other things, specified that the application fee for a pediatric minimal sedation permit cannot exceed $1,000, and the renewal fee cannot exceed $600. The amendments also included that a foreign dental school that was renewed by the board prior to January 1, 2020, through a date between January 1, 2024, and June 30, 2026, maintains that approval through that date. The amendments further provided that, upon the expiration of that board approval, the foreign dental school is required to comply with the specified accreditation processes. The Board voted to continue its support for SB 607.

As previously detailed, before this bill, the RDAEF examination was offered approximately eight times per year. [see 26:2 CRLR 7–9]  Because the examination consists of a clinical and practical examination, it must be held at a dental school that has enough space to accommodate the approximately 25 to 30 candidates that are tested at each examination. The Board has already established that “due to ethical and practical considerations, dental licensure examinations are moving away from patient-based assessments and this trend has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Before the passage of SB 607, the law provided that under the Dental Practice Act, the licensure and regulation of dentists and dental auxiliaries, including registered dental assistants in extended functions, was by the Dental Board of California within the Department of Consumer Affairs. The law required a person who applied to the Board for a license as a registered dental assistant in extended functions on and after January 1, 2010, to successfully complete a clinical or practical examination administered by the Board. The law authorized a registered dental assistant in extended functions who was licensed before January 1, 2010, to perform certain additional duties only if they pass the clinical or practical examination.

Governor Newsom signed SB 607 on September 28, 2021 (Chapter 367, Statutes of 2021).

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