Licensure, Permits, and Regulations

Information for Massachusetts Dentistsprint this page  

Click the links below to find more information, as well as the website, address, and phone number for each state agency



Massachusetts Dental Licensure


 Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry (BORID) / (617) 973-0971 or (800) 414-0168 
239 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114

  Licences and Permits

BORID is the state agency with the power to grant and revoke licenses to practice dentistry and dental hygiene in Massachusetts. The fee to initially obtain a license is approximately $660. A renewal fee of approximately $360 is required every two years.

To obtain a license to practice dentistry, you must submit proof of successful completion of a clinical examination administered by one of the following

    Successfully complete a clinical examination from either: North East Regional Board (NERB), Florida State Board of Dental Examiners, Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners, or Central Region Dental Testing Service (if taken prior to July 1, 2009).



Successfully complete The North East Regional Board (NERB) Diagnostic Skills Exam (DSE) and successfully complete a state clinical examination acceptable to BORID or a clinical exam administered by one of the following: Central Region Dental Testing Service (if taken on or after July 1, 2009), South East Regional Testing Agency, Western Regional Examination Board, or Council of Interstate Testing Agencies.

Licensure by Credentials may also be granted to a dentist that has been in practice for more than five years in another state. For requirements regarding Licensure by Credential, please contact BORID directly.

The following information can be found on BORID’s website under Licensing:

  • Dental License Application and Forms.
  • BORID Fee Schedule.
  • Information for Foreign Trained Dentists.
  • Renewal Policies and Procedures.
  • Regional and State Clinical Licensing Examination Requirements.


To help you understand BORID regulations, the MDS has created a summary of key issues every dentist should know.

NOTE: BORID also enforces the state's continuing education requirements. All dentists must earn 40 continuing education (CE) credits every two years; hygienists must earn 20 continuing education credits. Random audits are performed by the Board to verify completion of required credit hours. For complete information about the CE responsibilities of licensees, go to the MDS Continuing Education Requirements for Licensure web page or you can review the regulations directly on the BORID’s website, click on "Statutes, Rules, and Regulations" and refer to document “234 CMR 5.00.” 



Controlled Substance License


To obtain a license to prescribe controlled substances there is a two step process: First, a Controlled Substance Certificate must be obtained by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Drug Control. Second, apply for registration with the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

A prescription license is renewable every three years. A Practitioner’s Manual can be downloaded from the DEA website, which will explain the DEA rules and regulations.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Food Drug Control / (617) 983-6700
305 South Street, 2nd Floor, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

  • Application for a Massachusetts Controlled Substance Registration can be accessed via The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Food and Drugs website, under Quick Links.


U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) / (617) 557-2100 or (800) 882-9539
JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury Street, Room E400, Boston, MA 02203

  • Links to new and renewal applications can be found on the DEA website.




Anesthesia Permit


Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry (BORID) / (617) 973-0971 or (800) 414-0168
239 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02144

Individual and facility permits are required for any dentist who administers anesthesia other than local anesthesia. See BORID's website for the application and the regulations for all requirements.

  •  Applications can be found on BORID's website under Licensing, Applications and Forms. 
  •  State Regulations Regarding Anesthesia, Deep Sedation Conscious Sedation, and Nitrous Oxide can be found on BORID's website under Statutes, Rules & Regulations.



National Provider Identifier (NPI) Number


National Plan & Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) / 800-465-3203
PO Box 6059, Fargo, ND 58108-6059

The NPI number is a 10-digit identifier assigned by the federal government to all providers considered to be HIPAA covered entities. “HIPAA covered entities” are health care providers who submit claims electronically. The NPI is unique to an individual dentist or dental entity, and has no intrinsic meaning. There are two types of NPI available to dentists and dental practices.

  • Type 1 Individual Provider—A health care practitioner who is a single human being. All dentists should apply for Type 1 NPI’s. A dentist’s individual NPI will remain the same throughout his/her life, regardless of practice location. 
  • Type 2 Organization Provider—A health care provider that is an organization, such as a group practice or corporation. Individual dentists who are incorporated may obtain an NPI as a Type 2 provider, in addition to obtaining an NPI as a Type 1 provider. All incorporated dental practices and group practices should obtain a Type 2 NPI for the “group.” The Type 2 NPI will remain the same throughout the life of the facility /organization.


Tip: Dentists who do not submit claims electronically may obtain an NPI at their discretion. Many third-party payers, however, require an NPI number regardless of how claims are submitted, so it is a good idea to obtain one.

Tip: Go to the NPPES Web Site to complete an application, view your information, or change your information.



Radiography Registration


Massachusetts Bureau of Radiation Control / (617) 242-3035
Schrafft Center, Suite 1M2A, 529 Main Street, Charlestown, MA 02129 

Every radiographic machine must be registered with the Massachusetts Bureau of Radiation Control. Contact the Bureau for an application and a copy of the state’s radiation rules and regulations. Inspection of your radiography equipment may be done by the radiation control department every five years. The Bureau may also perform random checks on your equipment every few years.


Tip: When you have a radiography machine installed, the installer will notify the Bureau of Radiation Control. You should, however, obtain a copy of the Bureau’s regulations prior to installing your radiographic equipment to be sure you meet all installation requirements. In addition, any new construction requires the submission of drawing indicating the location of the X-ray equipment for approval prior to installation.




Infectious and Hazardous Waste Disposal


Infectious Waste:
Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services, Division Environmental Health, Community Sanitation / (617) 624-5757
250 Washington Street, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02108

Red bag and sharps are classified as infectious waste.

The Division maintains copies of the rules and regulations regarding proper disposal of infectious waste.

Hazardous Waste:
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) / (617) 292-5500 or (617) 292-5898
1 Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108

Spent radiography fixer is classified by state and federal law as hazardous and its disposal into sewers or septic systems is forbidden. Hazardous waste must be disposed of in accordance with the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Dentists must also register with the department as a "Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG)" and adhere to its regulations. Dentists who discharge their waste to a septic system (other than sanitary waste) are required to follow regulations 314 CMR.

For additional assistance regarding dental office waste disposal, contact the MassDEP Business Compliance Assistance Line at (617) 292-5898.


The MDS has Affinity Partnerships with EBI Consulting and SolmetX for waste disposal. For details, go to the MDS "At Your Service" web page.



Amalgam Scrap Waste, Separators and Recycling


Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) / (617) 654-6579
1 Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108

Scrap amalgam and amalgam separator cartridges, elemental mercury, fluorescent light bulbs and any waste containing amalgam or mercury should be recycled through an amalgam recycler.

General dentists, pediatric dentists, endodontists, and prosthodontists are required to install an amalgam separator in their offices and certify with MassDEP that the office is in compliance with this regulation. Oral surgeons, periodontists, and orthodontists do not need to install a separator at this time. After initial certifications are filed with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), renewal certifications are required every five years (by June 15 of the year they are due).


The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) implements the Dental Amalgam-Mercury Recycling program. It requires all dentists in Massachusetts to:

  • Install mercury amalgam separators (if they install or remove mercury amalgam),
  • Maintain their separators in accordance to manufacturers specifications, and
  • Recycle the collected mercury amalgam.

To find more about this important program follow this link:


Also, the MDS has secured discounts on separator units for members from the following company:

  • SolmeteX  - Members receive a free replacement cartridge with purchase



Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules


The ADA provides information on HIPAA Privacy Guidance for Dentists on their website. In addition, the ADA publishes several documents that cover HIPAA compliance which can be downloaded from the ADA website:

  • HIPAA and OSHA Compliance Kit - K017.
  • The ADA Complete HIPAA Compliance Kit - J598.
  • The ADA Practical Guide to HIPAA Compliance: Privacy and Security Kit - J594.
  • The ADA Practical Guide to HIPAA Training - J596.
  • HIPAA Privacy and Security Forms in Spanish - J597D.
  • Personalized Notice of Privacy Practices - DAB001.

The Following information is also available on the website.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services / (877) 696-6775
200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201

The HIPAA Security Rule sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information. All Health Care Providers must comply with the Rules' requirements to protect the privacy and security of health information and must provide individuals with certain rights with respect to their health information.

The following information is from the website regarding information for Smaller Providers, Small Health Plans, and other Small Businesses:




Infection Control


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Oral Health / (404) 639-3311
Mailstop F10, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30341

Dental offices are required by BORID to conform to the most recent CDC recommendations for infection control as published in the CDC's "Recommended Infection Control Practices for Dentistry." Some of the topics and attachments covered are:


Additional information on Blood-borne Pathogens Guidelines can be found on the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) website



Employee and Patient Safety and Requirements


The MDS and ADA maintain up-to-date information related to employee and patient safety requirements, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance, and the information needed to continuously meet government requirements, such as:



If you are opening a new office, you are required to post the Job Safety Health Protection poster (#2203).

In addition, every dental practice must have an annual training program for its employees and supply them with a HEP-B vaccine at no charge.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) / (617) 565-9860 or (800) 321-6742
JFK Federal Building, Room E340, Boston, MA 02203

OSHA has developed standards concerning employee safety and training, infection control, waste management, and hazardous chemicals for medical and dental offices. A summary of the most frequently found hazards in medical and dental offices can be found at:

The information from this summary should not be used as a substitute for reading and becoming familiar with all applicable OSHA standards. As an employer, it is up to you to follow up and obtain the full text of the OSHA standards, all of which are available on the OSHA Law and Regulations website or by calling our toll free number (800) 321-OSHA. Most OSHA materials are available at no charge.


Americans with Disabilities Requirements


U.S. Department of Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act (AwDA) / (800) 514-0301
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section – NYA, Washington, D.C. 20530

The Americans with Disabilities Act is different from other discrimination regulations in that it does not simply prohibit discrimination; it also imposes certain affirmative duties on businesses, including dental offices, to take steps necessary to be accessible to disabled persons. It is recommended that all new dentists be acquainted with the AwDA’s requirements.

Dental Practice Information


MDS member resources for running a success- ful dental practice.Learn More


Plan for the Future

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