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From PDHAonline.org- Changes In State Board of Dentistry CE Requirements:

All licensees in PA are required to take a 2 CEU Child Abuse course for every re-licensure period. New applicants or new hygiene school graduates must take a 3 credit course. Go to www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu for a free online course that is approved by the PA State Board of Dentistry.

»Local AnesthesiaAll RDHs who are certified in local anesthesia are required to take 3 CE hours every renewal period.  These credits must be in local anesthesia or pharmacology.

There are no specific requirements for your local anesthesia and public health CE credits in regards to taking these classes as online modules.  The only requirement from the State Board of Dentistry is that half of your overall credits must be taken in-person.

»Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioners The 5 credit hours needed for this permit should be in subjects related to public health.  If you have a question about a  specific course, you must contact the State Board of Dentistry with the course outline and topic information to see if it qualifies as a public health course.
Need information on the Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner (PHDHP)?
What are the qualifications?
How do you apply for the license?
What is the scope of practice?
Where can you practice?
GO TO THE SOURCE:  Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and request a copy of the Title 49: Professional and Vocational Standards, Chapter 33: State Board of Dentistry – or go online to http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/049/chapter33/chap33toc.html and view the regulations online.

»The Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Radiation Protection, is now requiring all radiographers to take 2 contact hours (4 CEUs) in radiation safety. (Since medical and dental CEUs are evaluated differently, for you it means 2 credits with a live speaker; the course can be didactic or may involve clinical.  Hands-on is NOT a requirement.)   The DEP will be verifying these hours when the radiation check is done on office x-ray equipment (varies for every office, occurs once every four years).  The owner of the equipment is liable to the DEP for ALL persons using radiation equipment.  This requirement is NOT required by the State Board of Dentistry and can not affect your professional license, however, the content may be used toward your 20 CEUs.

»Need a copy of a continuing education certificate? All the CE records are kept at the state office in Mechanicsburg.  When you take courses that are approved by the PA Academy of Dental Hygiene Studies, your name & license number are placed into the computer system. If you need a transcript of all courses that you took that were approved by the Academy, the fee for PDHA members is $10.00, and $25.00 for non-members of the PDHA.  Please contact PDHA at 717-766-0334 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

»Supervision laws have changed (effective 01/2010) Registered dental hygienists are now able to perform services within their scope of practice without their employer in the office as long as the patient has been examined within the last year.  The dentist also needs to authorize each specific treatment after reviewing the patient’s history (with input from the RDH) and the patient needs to be healthy or have only mild systemic disease.  This means that no patients with moderate or severe disease may be seen by a RDH without the dentist in the office.  The State Board of Dentistry is no longer using ASA classifications for determining supervision guidelines.

»Did you know? The PDHA recommends that all hygienists keep proof of their CE certificates for the previous TWO renewal periods.  The State Board of Dentistry can audit dental professionals for FOUR years prior to the current licensure period.

More Information Concerning CE in Radiology:

The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection issued technical guidance called "Medical X-Ray Procedures Operator Training Guide" in July 2010.  Anyone taking radiographs in a dental office will be required to attend a continuing education course on radiographs and radiation.  THIS IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FROM THE STATE BOARD OF DENTISTRY.  The method the DEP will use to identify who is in compliance is in their periodic office evaluations.  A representative from the DEP will ask to see proof of attendance at a radiology course.  If attendance has not occurred, the office staff will have 4 years to comply until the next DEP office evaluation.

The following is information from the Pennsylvania Dental Association:

You can obtain information about the radiology CE requirements by accessing the “Radiation Protection Update Questions and Answers” on the PDA website at www.padental.org/radiology. Here is a quick overview of the requirements.

According to Pennsylvania law (25 Pa. Code, Section 221.11(b)) anybody who operates an x-ray machine in the state of Pennsylvania (dentists, assistants and hygienists) must take continuing education in radiology; the continuing education must cover four specific topics: radiation safety, biological effects, quality assurance and quality control. However, the law is very vague; it puts no minimum standard on how many CE credits must be obtained, or how often, it has always been left up to discretion.

The Department of Environmental Protection recommends that anyone who operates an x-ray machine obtain 4 credit hours (or 2 contact hours) of radiology CE every 4 years, but this is simply a recommendation. It is not the only way in which you can be compliant with PA law.  Any continuing education in radiology, such as an online CE course, having a lecturer come into your office, etc. is in compliance with the law, as long as it covers the four above mentioned subject areas.  It is important that you are doing something in terms of radiology CE.

PDA is offering a free CE course available exclusively to PDA members and their staff. The course is worth two CE credits for those who view the PowerPoint presentation and successfully complete a short 20 question quiz about the PowerPoint’s content.  Links to both the PowerPoint and the quiz can be accessed at www.padental.org/radiology.

Kathleen E. Kennedy
Executive Assistant
Pennsylvania Dental Association
3501 N. Front Street
P.O. Box 3341
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Phone: (717) 234-5941, ext. 102
Fax: (717) 232-7169
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Must Read Article! Periodontal Disease:  A Patient-by-Patient Approach by Susan Elliott-Smith This important up to date article is found in the Access journal from the ADHA., May-June 2011.  The more we read about periodontal disease and its systemic connection the more we understand our own role in the managament of inflammation.


The GPDHSC was publicized in the October, 2010 issue of Doctor of Dentistry magazine and in the September, 2010 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene Journal! We're pleased to be considered a role model for continuing education of dental professionals.

  • Click on and check out the following important articles:

Impact of the Link Between Periodontal Disease and Systemic Disease, Inside Dentistry (2008)

May 2009 - Leveraging Evidence: How big of a role will dental hygiene have in evidence-based dentistry.

2008: Diabetes Mellitus: Promoting Collaborations Among Health Care Professionals

April 2006 - INFLAMMATION: The Relationship Between Oral Health and Systemic Disease

The following are a series of must read articles written by Caren Barnes, RDH, MS in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene:
November 2009, The Science of Polishing
January 2010, Polishing Esthetic Restorative Materials
March 2010, An In-depth Look at Air Polishing
You can view these articles online at www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com.

Lynn Pencek, RDH, MS, GPDHSC member and our sales consultant with Orascoptic has coauthored "Do You See How I See?" with Juli Kagan, RDH, MEd.  It is printed in RDH magazine, March 2010.



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