Frequently Asked Questions

Dental Amalgam Rule

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has finished their work on the Dental Amalgam Rule (40 CFR 441) which requires a One-Time Compliance Report to be submitted by all dental offices meeting the applicability requirements found in 40 CFR 441.

They are providing a fillable pdf form on their SCDHEC website for use by dental offices in our state.

Once the form is completed, SCDHEC requests dental offices email a copy of the form to them at and also maintain a copy at your facility.  

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) deadline for filing the "One-Time Compliance Report" is October 12, 2020.

Section 1557

By now you have most likely heard of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was designed to protect individuals from discrimination in health care. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which currently enforces HIPAA, will be enforcing Section 1557 as well.

Dentists and dental practices that receive certain payment from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, such as Medicaid or CHIP reimbursement or “meaningful use” payments under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program must comply with Section 1557. Additionally, the final rule applies to a dental practice that receives reimbursement under Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), whether the plan reimburses the dentist or the patient.

These practices must have certain notices displayed in their practices and on their websites by October 16, 2016. They must be included within certain publications as well.

There are 2 notices to display and below are links to those notices. One is for practices who employ less than 15 employees and the other is for larger practices. The larger practices must assign a team member as the grievance coordinator and have a grievance procedure in place, therefore their notice differs from that of a smaller practice. These forms are electronically writable, but you must first be sure to download them to your computer.

Regardless of size, all practices impacted by Section 1557 will utilize the below “ADA Taglines” as the second notice and it contains the 15 most commonly used languages in our state.

The final link contains a list of translators that you may utilize should you so choose. These companies are not endorsed and/or sponsored by the SCDA in any manner. This list is provided as a simple reference only.

Below is a link to the ADA’s Centers for Professional Success and it has a wealth of information regarding Section 1557 of the ACA. This is a member benefit, so you must log in with your ADA number in order to fully view this link.

The Basics on What you Must Do

Less than 15 Employees
More than 15 Employees
ADA Taglines
Translator List

Interpretation Services

The ADA has endorsed Cyracom to help practices provide interpretation services. As an ADA member you will receive a discount.


What is the State Board of Dentistry?

The number is (803) 896-4599 and the administrator is ​Dr. Rita Melton. They handle all the certification and licensing of Dentists and Hygienists in the state of South Carolina, as well as setting policy and regulations for dentists, hygienists and assistants. Click here to visit their website.

How long should I keep records? Must I release records?

The law requires records to be kept five years, which begins the last date of service, but the SCDA suggests records be kept at least six years due to statute of limitations for all patients. Records should be kept until age 25 if the patient is a minor. If the patient is a special needs patient, the SCDA recommends the records be kept forever. Any records to be disposed of must be shredded.

You must make records available to patients upon their submission of a written release authorization whether or not the patient's account is paid in full. You may charge a nominal fee associated with copying records (even for medicaid patients). The State Board of Dentistry's policy on patient records can be found here.

How to get Radiation Certified in South Carolina?

Dental Assistants must pass a SC State Board of Dentistry approved Radiation Safety exam  before they are allowed to take x-rays within a dental office in South Carolina. Board Regulation 39-16 requires that the employing dentist is responsible for verifying the credentials of all dental assistants who expose radiographs in his/her office, and for verifying that all personnel in his/her office who expose radiographs have met the required training and have a copy of their certification from a Board-approved program:

Board-approved Programs:
American Dental Association (ADA)-accredited schools
Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and
South Carolina Dental Association (SCDA)

Click here to register to take the exam 

If you have an Out-of-State Radiation Safety Certification, you will need to take the South Carolina Radiation Safety Exam, contact the SCDA (803) 750-2277 or

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:
Trident Technical College, Charleston, S.C.;
Midlands Technical College, Columbia, S.C.;
Greenville Technical College, Greenville, S.C.; and
York Technical College, Rock Hill, S.C.
Two additional schools are approved to offer nitrous oxide monitoring courses:
Florence-Darlington Technical College, Florence, S.C. and
Tri-County Technical College, Pendleton, S.C.

Who do I call or how do I get a drug control number?

Drug control numbers for the State and D.E.A. are obtained by calling Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The (DHEC) Division of Narcotics and Drug Control number is 803-896-0634.

What do I do in case of a needle-stick?

The dental office should have a contract with a medical doctor who specializes in infectious disease. The situation should be documented and the individual who was stuck should immediately go the medical doctor for a blood test and evaluation. The patient should also be referred to the physician.

How do I handle disposing of sharps? What other record keeping should I do regarding disposable waste?

Under the small quantity generator provision, the office is to weigh the container (subtracting the weight of the container, itself) each month and keep a log of the amount disposed. When the container is filled:

  • Disinfect the contents with a Clorox solution
  • Drain after several agitations over a period of several hours
  • Mark through the biohazard label
  • Mark the container with the method of disinfecting, sequential number, SQG ID number and name of practice
  • Log this same information in a diary and have the information witnessed by a staff member
  • Double bag the container in a standard black garbage bag and throw away as solid waste.

It is mandatory under state law that each dental office keeps a record of the weight of potentially infectious waste. The agreed upon method is to actually weigh the material for a one-month period and then estimate each month thereafter. On all forms and in any conversations, the dentist and staff must note that all potent medical waste is disinfected and therefore becomes solid waste before disposal.

What are the signage requirements for my office?

Signs from three areas should be posted in your office for all employees to see:

Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation 803-896-4300 (6 signs)

  • Labor Law
  • OSHA
  • Workers pay no part of the Cost of Job Insurance
  • Unemployed
  • Workers Compensation
  • Employee Discrimination

Federal Labor Department 803-765-5981

  • Employee Polygraph Protection
  • Federal Minimum Wage
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Military Family Leave
  • Your Rights under USERRD


  • Radiation poster that must be displayed for all to see
  • RHA-20 – Notice to all employees

All posters can be obtained online or ordered and laminated, etc.

Sales tax exemption for dentists?

(28)(a) medicine and prosthetic devices sold by prescription, prescription medicines used to prevent respiratory syncytial virus, prescription medicines and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, or related diseases, including prescription medicines used to relieve the effects of any such treatment, free samples of prescription medicine distributed by its manufacturer and any use of these free samples;

(b) hypodermic needles, insulin, alcohol swabs, blood sugar testing strips, monolet lancets, dextrometer supplies, blood glucose meters, and other similar diabetic supplies sold to diabetics under the authorization and direction of a physician;

(c) disposable medical supplies such as bags, tubing, needles, and syringes, which are dispensed by a licensed pharmacist in accordance with an individual prescription written for the use of a human being by a licensed health care provider, which are used for the intravenous administration of a prescription drug or medicine, and which come into direct contact with the prescription drug or medicine. This exemption applies only to supplies used in the treatment of a patient outside of a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or ambulatory surgical treatment center;

(d) medicine donated by its manufacturer to a public institution of higher education for research or for the treatment of indigent patients;

Where can I get information on what auxiliaries are paid?

Information on the salaries of dental auxiliaries can be obtained off the S.C. Employment Security Commission web site and by talking with technical colleges offering auxiliary training in your geographical area. The SCDA cannot determine current salaries because of FTC regulations.

What are the continuing education requirements for dentists and hygienists?

Per SC Regulation 39-5(F), of the required twenty-eight (28) hours completed for biennial renewal, two (2) hours must be sterilization and infection control. If a licensee is authorized to prescribe controlled substances two (2) hours of the twenty-eight (28) hours must be in prescribing and monitor of controlled substances as outlined in S.C. Code of Law §40-15-145. CPR recertification must be completed once every two years. Yearly recertification is not required, but can be used as CE hours. All licensees must have, at a minimum, Level II CPR; however, Level III CPR is recommended for all licensed
healthcare providers by the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Licensees working in practices that hold sedation permits must possess current advanced or pediatric advanced life support certification (ACLS/PALS) in accordance with S.C. Code of Law §40-15-400.

CE Requirements Overview

What is general supervision for hygienists? (Dental Practice Act 40-15-102)

There are two levels of general supervision of hygienists. One is where the hygienist works under general supervision of the public health dentist under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and is subject to the provisions of the MOA. The second is in private office settings and this means that a hygienist can work without the dentist being present under the following conditions:

  • The patient is made aware before their appointment that the dentist will not be present
  • The patient must be an established patient (Has already been examined by the dentist)
  • The dentist must see the patient at least once a year.

What is the difference in a dental assistant and an expanded duty dental assistant? What duties can my expanded duty assistant perform?

What is the difference in hiring someone “off the street” and training them on the job versus hiring a graduate from assisting school?

An individual hired as an assistant off the street cannot perform expanded duty functions until they have worked at chair-side for two consecutive years. The graduate of a one-year ADA accredited program who attains the CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) status can perform expanded duty functions immediately.

How does a dentist discontinue a relationship with a patient, withdraw from caring for a patient, deal with a broken appointment, etc.?

Our lawyer has provided draft letters that can be used in these instances.

Discontinuing the Doctor Patient Relationship
Letter of Withdrawal from Care
Letter to Confirm Discharge by Patient
Withdrawal from Care Non-Compliant Patient

I am closing my office and retiring or death of a spouse what do I need to do?

Click here for the ADA's booklet on closing a dental practice.

Who do you contact if a dental office has a problem with a State employee and their dental insurance?

We (SCDA) have voiced many concerns over the bleaching kiosks, etc. that have been popping up in our state. In many areas, complaints have been given to the State Board and they have issued orders to cease doing business. In our conversations with the State Board, they have asked us to refer all complaints to them so that they may investigate and handle according to the law. You can contact them by calling (803) 896-4599.

Can dentists use Botox and other injectables?

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 injectables 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

I am a delegate from one of the four districts and cannot attend the upcoming House of Delegates meeting, what should I do?

Delegates should contact an alternate and get a commitment for substitution and then notify the president of the district of this substitution.

Where can I donate dental equipment?

America's Dentists Care Foundation: 316-260-5056 or
World Dental Relief: 918-251-2612 or
​Eau Claire Cooperative Family Dental: 803-705-3169

Does your office need signs if you have security cameras?

There is nothing wrong with having security cameras in waiting and exam rooms. If you have cameras you will need a sign in the front office that says, "For your protection, cameras are placed in the office and exam rooms."

What is the Age of Consent for Dentistry?

The age of consent for health services, which includes dental services, is 16.

A 17 year old patient can be bound to a contract for dental services if the services are deemed “necessaries,” and the minor is not living and/or being supported by his/her parents at the time the services were rendered. Dental services are generally characterized as necessary to the life of a minor.