Q: Can a hygienist use the laser for scaling and root planing patients when the dentist is not on the premises?
A: The Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board does not define the tools used for treatment within statute and a laser would be considered the tool being used in conjunction with scaling and root planing.
After obtaining additional training and certification, a dental hygienist is allowed to use lasers for their scaling and root planing patients. However, it is not advised that this be done when the dentist is not on the premises.
Under Wisconsin Administrative Code DE 3.02 Practice of dental hygiene defined shows in DE 3.02 (1)(a)(2) that a hygienist may perform, “…deep periodontal scaling, including root planing…while a dentist is present in the dental facility.”
Dentists are encouraged to rely on this portion of the Administrative Code – and they must also abide by Chapter 447.06(2)(c)(1-3) of the Wisconsin Statutes – when allowing their hygienists to treat patients when they (the dentists) are not in the office.
Please note that the WDA Sourcebook PDF and FAQ on WDA.org has been updated to include the correct language regarding hygienists using lasers without the dentist present. Download the PDF here