The Dental Practice Act/Administrative Rules are not written in a list form outlining the duties that can be performed by a dental assistant since it is not a licensed profession in the State of Wisconsin. Since all dental assistant duties are delegated by the dentist, an assistant should not be performing any service on patients when the dentist is not in the office. A dentist can use the following set of guidelines to determine what can be done.

Additional questions may be directed to the WDA Legislative Office at 888-538-8932 or [email protected].

Wisconsin Administrative Rules

Chapter DE 12 – Delegation of Functions to Unlicensed Persons

DE 12.01  Nondelegated functions. A dentist may not delegate any dental procedure of any description to an unlicensed person if the procedure or function to be delegated is any of the following:

(1) Of a character which may cause damage to the patient’s teeth or oral cavity which cannot be remedied without professional intervention.

(2) Of a character which may cause adverse or unintended general systemic reaction.

(3) Intended, interpreted, or represented to be preliminary assessments, dental hygiene treatment planning, oral screenings, supragingival, or subgingival calculus removal.

DE 12.02  Training. A dentist who delegates any remediable dental procedure or function to an unlicensed person shall first provide training to or verify competency of the person in the performance of the procedure or function.

DE 12.03  Reporting violations.

(1)  A licensee shall report to the board any dentist who is improperly delegating the performance of any dental procedure or function to an unlicensed person, or is delegating to a person performing any dental procedure or function in a manner which is less than minimally competent.

(2) A licensee who fails to report the circumstances as specified in sub. (1) constitutes aiding and abetting the violation of a law substantially related to the practice of dentistry or dental hygiene, and shall be in violation of s. DE 5.02 (20), (21), or (22).

It has been asked if the use of a high speed hand piece can be delegated to an assistant. The high speed hand piece issue lies with the attachment that is placed on the end. For example, polishing is OK for an assistant to do, but a more aggressive attachment that can remove tooth structure should not be delegated to an assistant.