Key messages

  • Dentists are authorised to possess, prescribe, use and supply many Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines but only in the lawful practice of their profession, i.e. for the dental treatment of patients under their care.
  • Other registered dental practitioners are authorised to possess and use a limited number of listed Schedule 4 medicines.

Registered dental practitioners - other than dentists

Registered dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists are authorised to possess and have access to a limited range of specific Schedule 4 medicines to provide dental care.

However, these dental practitioners are not authorised to supply or prescribe Schedule 4 medicines.

Schedule 4 medicines approved for use by other registered dental practitioners

The Secretary has given general approval for a dental hygienist, dental therapist or oral health therapist, registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to have in their possession and use the Schedule 4 medicines listed below that are required for the provision of dental care.

  • adrenaline
  • articaine
  • demeclocycline and triamcinolone in combination for topical endodontic use
  • felypressin
  • lignocaine
  • mepivacaine
  • mercury (metallic) for human therapeutic use
  • prilocaine.

Dentists

Dentists are authorised under the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (the Act) to obtain, possess, use or supply scheduled poisons for the lawful practice of their profession, i.e. for the dental treatment of patients under their care.

The Poisons Standard lists all scheduled poisons and contains standards with which dentists must comply, including the labelling requirements for dispensed medicines.

The Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 contain the majority of regulatory requirements, relating to scheduled poisons, with which dentists must comply.

Note: Dentists are not authorised to possess or prescribe methadone (Physeptone®), a special Schedule 8 poison.

Safe, lawful and appropriate treatment

In addition to the requirement to ensure treatment is lawful, dentists are required to meet professional standards that are contained in other legislation and that are determined by the Dental Board of Australia.

Dentists should not issue a prescription or otherwise authorise treatment without satisfying themselves that it is safe, appropriate and lawful to treat the patient with the medication.

This website contains a range of documents, in the section for Documents to print or download, which summarise the legislative requirements and issues that relate to dentists plus documents that relate to multiple categories of health practitioner. The following document provides an overview of the legislative requirements that relate to dentists and other dental practitioners.

  • Dentists (and other registered dental practitioners) - key legislative requirements in Victoria
The following documents, in the section headed ‘Matters that relate to many health practitioners’ contain requirements that are common to multiple categories of health practitioner:
  • Possession and storage: includes regulatory requirements and matters to be notified to authorities
  • Supply, administration and records: includes software and recording requirements, destruction of Schedule 8 poisons and labelling requirements for dispensed medicines
  • Prescribing: includes regulatory requirements for issuing prescriptions, writing chart instructions, authorising administration and providing verbal instructions in an emergency
  • Handwritten and computer-generated prescriptions: includes details of mandatory components of prescriptions
  • All reasonable steps and other key terms: includes an explanation of the meaning and application of the subjective term 'all reasonable steps', which appears in several regulations, and how it might be applied to certain situations
     

 

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