State Law vs. State Board Rules
How You Determine the Difference
Under Texas law, a state agency called the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners ("TSBDE") is responsible for regulating the practice of dentistry in Texas. As part of its responsibilities, the TSBDE licenses dentists and dental hygienists, examines candidates for dental and dental hygiene licenses, investigates complaints, and makes rules that address a wide range of issues from agency operations to regulations for dental x-ray laboratories. The agency also enforces the state law and the TSBDE rules that govern the practice of dentistry.
Under the Texas Constitution, only the state legislature can enact laws such as the Dental Practice Act ("DPA"). The DPA is just a small part of a larger set of laws called the Texas Occupations Code. The DPA specifically addresses a wide variety of issues related to the practice of dentistry. For example, it authorizes the TSBDE to enforce state law and TSBDE rules, as well as investigate and punish violators.
In addition to authorizing the TSBDE to enforce state law relating to dentistry, the DPA permits the TSBDE to make binding rules without legislative approval. Since the TSBDE meets several times each year, the ability to make rules enables the TSBDE to move quickly to address any issues or problems that may arise. Finally, since the majority of the TSBDE members are dentists, they have the detailed knowledge needed to address issues related to their profession.