Continuing Education Credits

Continuing Education Credits: Texas State Board of Dental Examiners

In Texas, all active dentist and dental hygienist licensees must complete a minimum of 24 hours of appropriate continuing education (CE) biennially. The Texas Dental Association is a recognized CE provider by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE).

  • At least 16 hours of coursework must be either technical or scientific as related to clinical care. The terms “technical” and “scientific” as applied to continuing education mean that courses have significant intellectual or practical content and are designed to directly enhance the practitioner’s knowledge and skill in providing clinical care to the individual patient.
  • Up to 8 hours of coursework may be in risk-management courses. Acceptable “risk management” courses include courses in risk management, record-keeping, and ethics.
  • Hours of coursework in the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may not be considered in the 24-hour CE requirement.
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training may be used towards continuing education hours.
  • Hours of coursework in practice finance may not be considered in the 24-hour CE requirement.

Continuing Education Dentists
Continuing Education Dental Hygienists

Continuing Education for Dentists: Controlled Substances
In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature implemented new continuing education requirements for prescribing controlled substances.

There are 2 separate controlled substance CE requirements—one requirement for dentists permitted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prescribe controlled substances—and a second requirement for dentists whose practices include direct patient care.

Controlled Substances: Dentists with DEA Numbers
As of September 1, 2020, dentists permitted by the DEA to prescribe controlled substances prior to September 1, 2020 have until September 1, 2021 to complete 2 hours of CE in the abuse and misuse of controlled substances, opioid prescription practices, and/or pharmacology. Dentists permitted by the DEA to prescribe controlled substances after September 1, 2020, have until have until the first anniversary of their DEA registration to complete this CE requirement.

This is an initial, one-time, CE requirement. However, after the dentist takes the initial required CE course, he or she may take the course again on an annual basis and apply those CE hours toward the 8 CE hours allowed in risk-management for the dentist’s biennial license renewal.

For more details, go to Standards for Prescribing Controlled Substances: Additional Education Required.

Continuing Education for Dentists: Safe and Effective Pain Management for Patients
Effective January 1, 2021: Licensed dentists whose practices include direct patient care must complete at least 2 CE hours annually, and at least 4 CE hours biennially, in safe and effective pain management when prescribing opioids and other controlled substances to patients. CE courses to satisfy this requirement must include education in: (1) reasonable standards of care; (2) the identification of drug-seeking behavior in patents; and (3) effective patient communication about prescribing opioids or other controlled substances. The 4 CE hours may be hours may be applied to the 16-hour technical and scientific CE hour requirements for dentist license renewal.

For more details, go to Continuing Education.

Continuing Education for Dentists: Anesthesia Permits
In Texas, dentists’ anesthesia permits are renewed at the same time their dental license is renewed.

Dentists seeking to renew an anesthesia permit(s) must complete the following CE hours once every 2 years on the administration of their highest permitted level of sedation or medical emergencies associated with their highest permitted level of sedation. The courses must be taken from a TSBDE-approved CE provider.

These CE requirements are in addition to any CE hours required for dentist license renewal.

  • Level 1: Minimal Sedation – 6 hours
  • Levels 2 & 3: Moderate Sedation – 8 hours
  • Level 4: Deep Sedation or General Anesthesia – 12 hours

Continuing Education for Dentists: Anesthesia Permits

Continuing Education for Registered Dental Assistants
In Texas, all actively registered dental assistants must complete 6 hours of CE yearly in areas covering dental assistant duties. At least 3 of the 6 hours must be in clinical CE.

Continuing Education Registered Dental Assistants

Attesting to Completing CE and Submitting Proof of CE Completion to the Texas State board of Dental Examiners
At the time of license or registration renewal, all licensees and registrants are asked to attest that they completed the required CE hours. Licensees and registrants must keep in their possession “auditable documentation” of CE hours earned for a minimum of 3 years. Auditable documentation confirms course completion and attendance. According to the TSBDE, approximately 5% of monthly license and registration renewals are selected for random audit.

For more information on CE requirements in Texas, including CE requirements for sedation permits and prescribing controlled substances, visit the dental board’s webpage at