Business and Professions Code - BPC

Published: 2015-07-08

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Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )

CHAPTER 4. Dentistry [1600 - 1976]

  ( Chapter 4 added by Stats. 1937, Ch. 415. )
ARTICLE 2.8. Use of Conscious Sedation [1647 - 1647.9]
  ( Article 2.8 added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 1382, Sec. 3. )


(a) The Legislature finds and declares that a commendable patient safety record has been maintained in the past by dentists and those other qualified providers of anesthesia services who, pursuant to a dentist’s authorization, administer patient sedation, and that the increasing number of pharmaceuticals and techniques used to administer them for patient sedation require additional regulation to maintain patient safety in the future.

(b) The Legislature further finds and declares all of the following:

(1) That previous laws enacted in 1980 contained separate and distinct definitions for general anesthesia and the state of consciousness.

(2) That in dental practice, there is a continuum of sedation used which cannot be adequately defined in terms of consciousness and general anesthesia.

(3) That the administration of sedation through this continuum results in different states of consciousness that may or may not be predictable in every instance.

(4) That in most instances, the level of sedation will result in a predictable level of consciousness during the entire time of sedation.

(c) The Legislature further finds and declares that the educational standards presently required for general anesthesia should be required when the degree of sedation in the continuum of sedation is such that there is a reasonable possibility that loss of consciousness may result, even if unintended. These degrees of sedation have been referred to as “deep sedation” and “light general anesthesia” in dental literature. However, achieving the degree of sedation commonly referred to as “light conscious sedation,” where a margin of safety exists wide enough to render unintended loss of consciousness unlikely, requires educational standards appropriate to the administration of the resulting predictable level of consciousness.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 539, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2006.)


(a) As used in this article, “conscious sedation” means a minimally depressed level of consciousness produced by a pharmacologic or nonpharmacologic method, or a combination thereof, that retains the patient’s ability to maintain independently and continuously an airway, and respond appropriately to physical stimulation or verbal command.

“Conscious sedation” does not include the administration of oral medications or the administration of a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, whether administered alone or in combination with each other.

(b) The drugs and techniques used in conscious sedation shall have a margin of safety wide enough to render unintended loss of consciousness unlikely. Further, patients whose only response is reflex withdrawal from painful stimuli shall not be considered to be in a state of conscious sedation.

(c) For the very young or handicapped individual, incapable of the usually expected verbal response, a minimally depressed level of consciousness for that individual should be maintained.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 539, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2006.)


(a) No dentist shall administer or order the administration of, conscious sedation on an outpatient basis for dental patients unless one of the following conditions is met:

(1) The dentist possesses a current license in good standing to practice dentistry in California and either holds a valid general anesthesia permit or obtains a permit issued by the board authorizing the dentist to administer conscious sedation.

(2) The dentist possesses a current permit under Section 1638 or 1640 and either holds a valid anesthesia permit or obtains a permit issued by the board authorizing the dentist to administer conscious sedation.

(b) A conscious sedation permit shall expire on the date specified in Section 1715 which next occurs after its issuance, unless it is renewed as provided in this article.

(c) This article shall not apply to the administration of local anesthesia or to general anesthesia.

(d) A dentist who orders the administration of conscious sedation shall be physically present in the treatment facility while the patient is sedated.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 539, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2006.)


(a) A dentist who desires to administer or order the administration of conscious sedation, shall apply to the board on an application form prescribed by the board. The dentist shall submit an application fee and produce evidence showing that he or she has successfully completed a course of training in conscious sedation that meets the requirements of subdivision (c).

(b) The application for a permit shall include documentation that equipment and drugs required by the board are on the premises.

(c) A course in the administration of conscious sedation shall be acceptable if it meets all of the following as approved by the board:

(1) Consists of at least 60 hours of instruction.

(2) Requires satisfactory completion of at least 20 cases of administration of conscious sedation for a variety of dental procedures.

(3) Complies with the requirements of the Guidelines for Teaching the Comprehensive Control of Anxiety and Pain in Dentistry of the American Dental Association.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 539, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2006.)


A permittee shall be required to complete 15 hours of approved courses of study related to conscious sedation as a condition of renewal of a permit. Those courses of study shall be credited toward any continuing education required by the board pursuant to Section 1645.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 526, Sec. 4.)


A physical evaluation and medical history shall be taken before the administration of conscious sedation. Any dentist holding a permit shall maintain records of the physical evaluation, medical history, and conscious sedation procedures used as required by board regulations.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 526, Sec. 5.)


(a) Prior to the issuance or renewal of a permit to administer conscious sedation, the board may, at its discretion, require an onsite inspection and evaluation of the licentiate and the facility, equipment, personnel, and procedures utilized by the licentiate. The permit of any dentist who has failed an onsite inspection and evaluation shall be automatically suspended 30 days after the date on which the board notifies the dentist of the failure unless, within that time period, the dentist has retaken and passed an onsite inspection and evaluation. Every dentist issued a permit under this article shall have an onsite inspection and evaluation at least once in every six years. Refusal to submit to an inspection shall result in automatic denial or revocation of the permit.

(b) An applicant who has successfully completed the course required by Section 1647.3 may be granted a one-year temporary permit by the board prior to the onsite inspection and evaluation. Failure to pass the inspection and evaluation shall result in the immediate and automatic termination of the temporary permit.

(c) The board may contract with public or private organizations or individuals expert in dental outpatient conscious sedation to perform onsite inspections and evaluations. The board may not, however, delegate its authority to issue permits or to determine the persons or facilities to be inspected.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 526, Sec. 6.)


(a) The application fee for a permit or renewal under this article shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(b) The fee for an onsite inspection shall not exceed three hundred fifty dollars ($350).

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the board hire sufficient staff to administer the program and that the fees established pursuant to this section be equivalent to administration and enforcement costs incurred by the board in carrying out this article.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 526, Sec. 7.)


A violation of any provision of this article constitutes unprofessional conduct and is grounds for the revocation or suspension of the dentist’s permit, license, or both, or the dentist may be reprimanded or placed on probation. The proceedings under this section shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and the board shall have all the powers granted therein.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 526, Sec. 8.)