Can a Dentist Write Prescriptions?

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Can a Dentist Write Prescriptions?

The first few weeks and months after a dentist has graduated are usually a bit challenging for them. They typically are qualified medical practitioners, but their title is what creates the confusion. One of the central questions that often arise is whether or not a dentist can write prescriptions to their patients. If you have questions about this subject, provides more insight on the same. 

The question of whether or not a dentist can write prescriptions for their patient has raised some serious controversy over the years. When a dentist graduates from school and gets their license to practice, they are usually given the green light to write prescriptions for a limited number of medications such as fluoride and Ibuprofen, among other non-controlled substance. That is as far as their practice allows them to go. When it comes to the prescription, dispensation and the administering of controlled drugs, the green light is given by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. One has to register with them first. Some states, however, like California may not require separate registration. 

Things are even more complicated if the dentist operates and administers prescribed medication from more than one location. If a dentist happens to store, prescribe, administer or directly dispense the types of drugs falling under the “control substances” category in some locations, they are required by law to obtain an additional registration for each of those areas they serve. However, if they administer, store, prescribe and dispense controlled substances in just one place and only prescribe the controlled substances in the other areas, then the law does not require separate registrations for each of the different areas. It is important to note the fact that this exception only applies if the secondary sites where the dentist just prescribes the controlled substances lie within the boundaries of the state in which their registration is maintained. 

If two different dentists collaborate or collectively write the prescription, then more than one name can be indicated on the secured prescription forms. The underlying condition for this, however, is that both dentists writing the prescription have to work at the addresses shown on the form. The NPI number of the individual prescriber should be written on the prescription form to enable the pharmacy to obtain payment. 

Being a dentist means you are a medical practitioner who is very qualified and capable of administering medical treatment – through dental care – to patients. The fact that dentists are medical practitioners usually makes some dentists go out of their line of duty and dive into further treatments that do not lie within their jurisdiction. Some dentists typically fall into the trap of being tempted to prescribe controlled substances to their patients for other parts of their patient’s body that is not the mouth. Often they end up facing the wrath of the Dentist Board. While they are allowed to write prescriptions for their patients, dentists should always limit themselves to their jurisdiction. In case a patient has an issue in another part of their body other than the mouth, and they require medical attention, best practice calls for the dentist to refer them to a physician and not take matters into their own hands. 

Dentists are allowed to write prescriptions for their patients, but the staff is not. Sometimes staff members can abuse the privileges of prescription that come with the practice and prescribe medication to a patient under their dentist’s name. It usually gets the dentist and the entire facility in trouble. It is essential for a dentist to take charge of their staff and ensure that they do not do what is not within their role in the dental facility. It entails being up to date with the inventory and having a drug log. You can use the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for your state to review the prescriptions you have administered.


If a dentist practices sedation dentistry, then a sedation permit is one of the crucial requirements that they need to have for them to practice legally. The license is required if the dentist is treating a patient who is at least 13 years of age and the dosage exceeds the recommended dose that can be home prescribed, if the patient requires conscious sedation through oral medication and if the dentist is to administer the general anesthesia to a patient. If the dentist only uses nitrous oxide and oxygen just for sedation, then it is not mandatory for them to get the permit. The permits are for sedation dentistry are very crucial because malpractices under this types of dentistry are high. If not carefully handled and administered, sedatives can result in the patient losing their breath or even getting a cardiac event. It is, therefore, critical that before a dentist administers sedatives to their patient, they have obtained a permit and done sufficient amount of training as per the requirements of the Dental Board. A dentist can, also, opt to acquire the services of a qualified and certified anesthesiologist to offer assistance in this area of practice.