Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional And Occupational Licensing
Agency 60. Board of Dentistry
Chapter 21. Regulations Governing the Practice of Dentistry

18VAC60-21-260. General provisions.

A. Part VII of this chapter:

1. Applies to prescribing, dispensing, and administering controlled substances in dental offices, mobile dental facilities, and portable dental operations and shall not apply to administration by a dentist practicing in (i) a licensed hospital as defined in § 32.1-123 of the Code, (ii) a state-operated hospital, or (iii) a facility directly maintained or operated by the federal government.

2. Addresses the minimum requirements for administration to patients of any age. Guidelines for Monitoring and Management of Pediatric Patients During and After Sedation for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, should be consulted when practicing pediatric dentistry.

B. Registration required. Any dentist who prescribes, administers, or dispenses Schedules II through V controlled substances must hold a current registration with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

C. Patient evaluation required.

1. An appropriate medical history and patient evaluation, including medication use and a focused physical exam, shall be performed before the decision to administer controlled substances for dental treatment is made. The decision to administer controlled substances for dental treatment must be based on a documented evaluation of the health history and current medical condition of the patient in accordance with the Class I through V risk category classifications of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) in effect at the time of treatment. The findings of the evaluation, the ASA risk assessment class assigned, and any special considerations must be recorded in the patient's record.

2. Any level of sedation and general anesthesia may be provided for a patient who is ASA Class I and Class II.

3. A patient in ASA Class III shall only be provided minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia by:

a. A dentist after he has documented a consultation with the patient's primary care physician or other medical specialist regarding potential risks and special monitoring requirements that may be necessary;

b. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon who has performed a physical evaluation and documented the findings and the ASA risk assessment category of the patient and any special monitoring requirements that may be necessary; or

c. A person licensed under Chapter 29 (§ 54.1-2900 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code who has a specialty in anesthesia.

4. Minimal sedation may only be provided for a patient who is in ASA Class IV by:

a. A dentist after he has documented a consultation with the patient's primary care physician or other medical specialist regarding potential risks and special monitoring requirements that may be necessary; or

b. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon who has performed a physical evaluation and documented the findings and the ASA risk assessment category of the patient and any special monitoring requirements that may be necessary.

5. Moderate sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia shall not be provided in a dental office for patients in ASA Class IV and Class V.

D. Additional requirements for patient information and records. In addition to the record requirements in 18VAC60-21-90, when moderate sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia is administered, the patient record shall also include:

1. Notation of the patient's American Society of Anesthesiologists classification;

2. Review of medical history and current conditions, including the patient's weight and height or, if appropriate, the body mass index;

3. Written informed consent for administration of sedation and anesthesia and for the dental procedure to be performed;

4. Preoperative vital signs;

5. A record of the name, dose, and strength of drugs and route of administration including the administration of local anesthetics with notations of the time sedation and anesthesia were administered;

6. Monitoring records of all required vital signs and physiological measures recorded continually; and

7. A list of staff participating in the administration, treatment, and monitoring including name, position, and assigned duties.

E. Pediatric patients. No sedating medication shall be prescribed for administration to a patient 12 years of age or younger prior to his arrival at the dentist office or treatment facility.

F. Informed written consent. Prior to administration of any level of sedation or general anesthesia, the dentist shall discuss the nature and objectives of the planned level of sedation or general anesthesia along with the risks, benefits, and alternatives and shall obtain informed, written consent from the patient or other responsible party for the administration and for the treatment to be provided. The written consent must be maintained in the patient record.

G. Level of sedation. The determinant for the application of the rules for any level of sedation or for general anesthesia shall be the degree of sedation or consciousness level of a patient that should reasonably be expected to result from the type, strength, and dosage of medication, the method of administration, and the individual characteristics of the patient as documented in the patient's record. The drugs and techniques used must carry a margin of safety wide enough to render the unintended reduction of or loss of consciousness unlikely, factoring in titration and the patient's age, weight, and ability to metabolize drugs.

H. Emergency management.

1. If a patient enters a deeper level of sedation than the dentist is qualified and prepared to provide, the dentist shall stop the dental procedure until the patient returns to and is stable at the intended level of sedation.

2. A dentist in whose office sedation or anesthesia is administered shall have written basic emergency procedures established and staff trained to carry out such procedures.

I. Ancillary personnel. Dentists who employ unlicensed, ancillary personnel to assist in the administration and monitoring of any form of minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia shall maintain documentation that such personnel have:

1. Training and hold current certification in basic resuscitation techniques with hands-on airway training for health care providers, such as Basic Cardiac Life Support for Health Professionals or a clinically oriented course devoted primarily to responding to clinical emergencies offered by an approved provider of continuing education as set forth in 18VAC60-21-250 C; or

2. Current certification as a certified anesthesia assistant (CAA) by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons or the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology (ADSA).

J. Assisting in administration. A dentist, consistent with the planned level of administration (i.e., local anesthesia, minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia) and appropriate to his education, training, and experience, may utilize the services of a dentist, anesthesiologist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, or nurse to perform functions appropriate to such practitioner's education, training, and experience and consistent with that practitioner's respective scope of practice.

K. Patient monitoring.

1. A dentist may delegate monitoring of a patient to a dental hygienist, dental assistant, or nurse who is under his direction or to another dentist, anesthesiologist, or certified registered nurse anesthetist. The person assigned to monitor the patient shall be continuously in the presence of the patient in the office, operatory, and recovery area (i) before administration is initiated or immediately upon arrival if the patient self-administered a sedative agent, (ii) throughout the administration of drugs, (iii) throughout the treatment of the patient, and (iv) throughout recovery until the patient is discharged by the dentist.

2. The person monitoring the patient shall:

a. Have the patient's entire body in sight;

b. Be in close proximity so as to speak with the patient;

c. Converse with the patient to assess the patient's ability to respond in order to determine the patient's level of sedation;

d. Closely observe the patient for coloring, breathing, level of physical activity, facial expressions, eye movement, and bodily gestures in order to immediately recognize and bring any changes in the patient's condition to the attention of the treating dentist; and

e. Read, report, and record the patient's vital signs and physiological measures.

L. A dentist who allows the administration of general anesthesia, deep sedation, or moderate sedation in his dental office is responsible for assuring that:

1. The equipment for administration and monitoring, as required in subsection B of 18VAC60-21-291 or subsection C of 18VAC60-21-301, is readily available and in good working order prior to performing dental treatment with anesthesia or sedation. The equipment shall either be maintained by the dentist in his office or provided by the anesthesia or sedation provider; and

2. The person administering the anesthesia or sedation is appropriately licensed and the staff monitoring the patient is qualified.

M. Special needs patients. If a patient is mentally or physically challenged, and it is not possible to have a comprehensive physical examination or appropriate laboratory tests prior to administering care, the dentist is responsible for documenting in the patient record the reasons preventing the recommended preoperative management. In selected circumstances, sedation or general anesthesia may be utilized without establishing an intravenous line. These selected circumstances include very brief procedures or periods of time, which may occur in some patients; or the establishment of intravenous access after deep sedation or general anesthesia has been induced because of poor patient cooperation.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 5, eff. December 2, 2015; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 9, eff. February 10, 2017; Volume 37, Issue 13, eff. March 17, 2021.

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