Dental Assistant Levels

Dental Assistant Levels

Dental Assistant Levels

 

What Are the Different Types or Levels of Dental Assistants?

First, there can be different titles given to dental assistants depending on their office. For example, I have a friend who works for an oral surgeon. She’s a certified dental assistant (DA). However, her job title is “traveling nurse”, since they have different locations spread across different nearby cities. She isn’t a nurse but that’s her title. Get ready for dental assistant levels!

Dental Assistant Levels
Santa Clarita School of Dental Assisting. 12-week course.

Similarly, you may encounter similar types of situations. However, we’re going to be talking about the most common formal titles and break them down for you!

Below are five types of dental assistants in California. This may vary by state:

  1. Certified Dental Assistant (DA).
  2. Orthodontic Assistant (OA).
  3. Dental Sedation Assistants (DSA).
  4. Registered Dental Assistants (RDA)
  5. Registered Dental Assistants in Extended Functions (RDAEF).

 

Dental Assistant Levels: Education

To begin with, at Santa Clarita School of Dental Assisting, we prepare our students to become successful dentals assistants (DA’s). In truth, our students love our program because it’s flexible. For instance, classes are currently twice a week in the afternoon. We understand that a lot of our students have busy lives.

Next, our course is only 12-weeks long. But don’t take our word for it check out these testimonials to see what our students and some parents have to say! At any rate, you can always learn more about our school here!

 

Certified Dental Assistant (DA)

First, to become a dental assistant, you don’t any prerequisites. In fact, you could get hired without any experience and receive on the job training and get your certificates down the road. However, most practices like hiring individuals who have already been trained and certified to perform the duties of a competent certified dental assistant. This is the first of the dental assistant levels.

Luckily our program was created by dentists based on the qualities they seek in dental assistants. As a result, many of our students go on to find jobs while still in school. Next, in our course you will be certified in dental assisting, pit and fissure sealants, coronal polishing, you will receive a California State Radiation Certificate, and you will also be CPR certified.

Lastly, our school was not only created by dentists but it’s also right next to our dental practice, Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry. As a result, this means you will get you work and learn in our practice from our teachers, some of whom work with us during the day.

 

Certified Dental Assistant Duties

Below are the allowable duties a certified dental assistant can perform:

  1. Under general supervision of a supervising licensed dentist:
  • Extra-oral duties or procedures specified by the supervising licensed dentist, provided that these duties or procedures meet the definition of a basic supportive procedure specified in Section 1750.
  • Operate dental radiography equipment for the purpose of oral radiography if the dental assistant has complied with the requirements of Section 1656.
  • Perform intraoral and extraoral photography.
  1. A dental assistant may perform the following duties under the direct supervision of a supervising licensed dentist:
  • Apply nonaerosol and noncaustic topical agents.
  • Apply topical fluoride.
  • Take intraoral impressions for all nonprosthodontic appliances.
  • Take facebow transfers and bite registrations.
  • Place and remove rubber dams or other isolation devices.
  • Place, wedge, and remove matrices for restorative procedures.
  • Remove postextraction dressings after inspection of the surgical site by the supervising licensed dentist.
  • Perform measurements for the purposes of orthodontic treatment.
  • Cure restorative or orthodontic materials in operative site with a light-curing device.
  • Examine orthodontic appliances.
  • Place and remove orthodontic separators.
  • Remove ligature ties and archwires.
  • After adjustment by the dentist, examine and seat removable orthodontic appliances and deliver care instructions to the patient.
  • Remove periodontal dressings.
  • Remove sutures after inspection of the site by the dentist.
  • Place patient monitoring sensors.
  • Monitor patient sedation, limited to reading and transmitting information from the monitor display during the intraoperative phase of surgery for electrocardiogram waveform, carbon dioxide and end tidal carbon dioxide concentrations, respiratory cycle data, continuous noninvasive blood pressure data, or pulse arterial oxygen saturation measurements, for the purpose of interpretation and evaluation by a supervising licensed dentist who shall be at the patient’s chairside during this procedure.
  • Assist in the administration of nitrous oxide when used for analgesia or sedation. A dental assistant shall not start the administration of the gases and shall not adjust the flow of the gases unless instructed to do so by the supervising licensed dentist who shall be present at the patient’s chairside during the implementation of these instructions. This paragraph shall not be construed to prevent any person from taking appropriate action in the event of a medical emergency.

You can find this information here.

 

Orthodontic Assistant (OA)

Second on our list for dental assistant levels is Ortho Assistant. According to the Dental Board of California, click the link for more details and updates, below are the six steps you need to take to be an orthodontic assistant:

  1. Completion of at least 12 months of work experience as a dental assistant.
  2. Successful completion of a Board-Approved course in the Dental Practice Act and a Board-Approved, course in infection control.
  3. Completion of a course in basic life support offered by an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, or any other course approved by the Board as equivalent.
  4. Successfully completing a Board-Approved orthodontic assistant course, which may commence after the completion of six months of work experience as a dental assistant.
  5. Passage of a written examination administered by the Board after completion of all of the other requirements of this subdivision.
  6. Submit fingerprint clearances from both the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation. This process can take 60 days or more.

 

Orthodontic Assistant Duties

Below are the duties you can preform as an orthodontic assistant:

  1. Under the supervision of a licensed dentist:
  • All duties that a dental assistant is allowed to perform.
  • Prepare teeth for bonding, and select, preposition, and cure orthodontic brackets after their position has been approved by the supervising licensed dentist.
  • Remove only orthodontic brackets and attachments with removal of the bonding material by the supervising licensed dentist.
  • Size, fit, and cement orthodontic bands.
  • Remove orthodontic bands and remove excess cement from supragingival surfaces of teeth with a hand instrument.
  • Place and ligate archwires.
  • Remove excess cement with an ultrasonic scaler from supragingival surfaces of teeth undergoing orthodontic treatment.
  • Any additional duties that the board may prescribe by regulation.

 

Dental Sedation Assistant (DSA)

Next on our list of dental assistant levels is Sedation Assistant. To begin with, please visit the Dental Board of California to see their fees and application since we will not be posting it here. However, below are the six steps they require of you to become a dental sedation assistant:

  1. Completion of at least 12 months of work experience as a dental assistant.
  2. Success in completion of a Board-Approved course in the Dental Practice Act and a Board-Approved, course in infection control.
  3. Completion of a course in basic life support offered by an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, or any other course approved by the Board as equivalent.
  4. Successfully completing a Board-Approved orthodontic assistant course, which may commence after the completion of six months of work experience as a dental assistant.
  5. Passage of a written examination administered by the Board after completion of all of the other requirements of this subdivision.
  6. Submit fingerprint clearances from both the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation. This process can take 60 days or more.

 

Dental Sedation Assistant Duties

Below are the duties you can perform as a dental sedation assistant:

  1. under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist or other licensed health care professional authorized to administer conscious sedation or general anesthesia in the dental office:
  • All duties that a dental assistant is allowed to perform.
  • Monitor patients undergoing conscious sedation or general anesthesia utilizing data from noninvasive instrumentation such as pulse oximeters, electrocardiograms, capnography, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rate monitoring devices. Evaluation of the condition of a sedated patient shall remain the responsibility of the dentist or other licensed health care professional authorized to administer conscious sedation or general anesthesia, who shall be at the patient’s chairside while conscious sedation or general anesthesia is being administered.
  • Drug identification and draw, limited to identification of appropriate medications, ampule and vial preparation, and withdrawing drugs of correct amount as verified by the supervising licensed dentist.
  • Add drugs, medications, and fluids to intravenous lines using a syringe, provided that a supervising licensed dentist is present at the patient’s chairside, limited to determining patency of intravenous line, selection of injection port, syringe insertion into injection port, occlusion of intravenous line and blood aspiration, line release and injection of drugs for appropriate time interval. The exception to this duty is that the initial dose of a drug or medication shall be administered by the supervising licensed dentist.
  • Removal of intravenous lines.
  • Any additional duties that the board may prescribe by regulation.

 

Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

 Continuing on our dental assistant levels list, we have RDA’s. Beneath you will find the six steps required by the Dental Board of California to become a registered dental assistant:

  1. A completed RDA application (RDA1)along with the $120.00 application fee. Pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 30(c) a licensing board may not process any application for an original license unless the candidate or licensee provides its federal employer identification number or social security number where requested on the application.
    1. Mail To:
      Dental Board of California
      2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1550
      Sacramento, CA 95815
  2. Submit written evidence, satisfactory to the Dental Board of California, of one of the following eligibility requirements:
    1. Graduation from an educational program in registered dental assisting approved by the Board. Satisfactory evidence would be one of the following documents:
      1. A completed Certification of Board Approved Registered Dental Assisting Program Completion (RDA2)form. This form must be signed and dated after the date of graduation, with the school seal affixed. Copies of this form will not be accepted, or
      2. A copy of the Dental Assisting Diploma/Certificate, or, a letter signed by the Program Director certifying completion of the RDA program and the actual date of graduation. The letter must be written on school stationary with the school seal affixed.
  1. Evidence of completion of satisfactory work experience of at least 15 months as a dental assistant in California or another state. Satisfactory work experience means performance of the duties specified in Section 1750.1 in a competent manner as determined by the employing dentist, who shall certify to such satisfactory work experience in the application. Applicants must submit a completed Certification of Work Experience as a Dental Assistant (RDA3)Copies of this form will not be accepted.
  2. The Board shall give credit toward the work experience referred to in this section to persons who have graduated from a dental assisting program in a postsecondary institution approved by the Department of Education or in a secondary institution, regional occupational center, or regional occupational program, that are not, however, approved by the Board pursuant to subdivision (a). The credit shall equal the total weeks spent in classroom training and internship on a week-for-week basis. Applicants must submit both of the following:
    1. A completed Certification of Work Experience as a Dental Assistant (RDA3)form. Copies of this form will not be accepted.
    2. A completed Certification of Non-Approved Dental Assisting Program Completion (RDA4)form is acceptable proof. This form must be signed and dated after the date of graduation, with the school seal affixed. Copies of this form will not be accepted.
  3. Every applicant for RDA licensure shall provide evidence of having successfully completed Board-approved courses in radiation safety and coronal polishing.
  4. Each applicant for RDA licensure shall provide evidence of having successfully completed within five years prior to application, Board-approved courses in the California Dental Practice Act, an 8-hour Board-approved Infection Control course, and a course in basic life support by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, or any other course approved by the Board as equivalent.
  5. All RDA applicant for licensure shall demonstrate satisfactory performance on the Registered Dental Assistant Combined Written and Law and Ethics Examination.
  6. Fingerprint clearances from both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is required for licensure. Applicants will need to download the Live Scan form, complete it and take it to a Live Scan service location. The Live Scan service location will require you to pay a fee. Your fingerprints will be taken electronically, without ink, and transmitted to the California DOJ. Finally, the DOJ will send their report to the Dental Board. Usually, the report is received within seven days. There is a low rate of rejections with this method. If you use Live Scan, you are not required to submit $49.00 fee to the Dental Board.

 

Registered Dental Assistant Duties

Below you will find the duties a registered dental assistant can perform:

  • All duties that a dental assistant is allowed to perform.
  • Mouth-mirror inspections of the oral cavity, to include charting of obvious lesions, existing restorations, and missing teeth.
  • Apply and activate bleaching agents using a non-laser light-curing device.
  • Use of automated caries detection devices and materials to gather information for diagnosis by the dentist.
  • Obtain intraoral images for computer-aided design (CAD), milled restorations.
  • Pulp vitality testing and recording of findings.
  • Place bases, liners, and bonding agents.
  • Chemically prepare teeth for bonding.
  • Place, adjust, and finish direct provisional restorations.
  • Fabricate, adjust, cement, and remove indirect provisional restorations, including stainless steel crowns when used as a provisional restoration.
  • Place post-extraction dressings after inspection of the surgical site by the supervising licensed dentist.
  • Place periodontal dressings.
  • Dry endodontically treated canals using absorbent paper points.
  • Adjust dentures extra-orally.
  • Remove excess cement from surfaces of teeth with a hand instrument.
  • Polish coronal surfaces of the teeth.
  • Place ligature ties and archwires.
  • Remove orthodontic bands.
  • All duties that the board may prescribe by regulation.
  1. A registered dental assistant may only perform the following additional duties if he or she has completed a board-approved registered dental assistant educational program in those duties, or if he or she has provided evidence, satisfactory to the board, of having completed a board-approved course in those duties:
  • Remove excess cement with an ultrasonic scaler from supragingival surfaces of teeth undergoing orthodontic treatment.
  • The allowable duties of an orthodontic assistant permitholder as specified in Section 1750.3. A registered dental assistant shall not be required to complete further instruction in the duties of placing ligature ties and archwires, removing orthodontic bands, and removing excess cement from tooth surfaces with a hand instrument.
  • The allowable duties of a dental sedation assistant permitholder as specified in Section 1750.5.
  • The application of pit and fissure sealants.

 

 

 

Registered Dental Assistant in Extended Functions (RDAEF)

 

The longest title you’ll see on our dental assistant levels list is RDAEF! Below are the 5 requirements from the Dental Board of California (click the link for more info) to become registered dental assistant in extended functions:

  1. Current licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) or completion of the requirements for licensure as an RDA.
  2. Successful completion of a Board-approved course in the application of Pit and Fissure Sealants.
  3. Successful completion of a Board-approved RDAEF program.
  4. Passage of a written, clinical, and practical examination administered by the Board.
  5. Submission of fingerprint clearances from both the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

 

Registered Dental Assistant in Extended Functions Duties

Beneath are the duties a registered dental assistant in extended functions can perform under direct supervision and pursuant to the order, control, and full professional responsibility of a licensed dentist:

  • Conduct preliminary evaluation of the patient’s oral health, including, but not limited to, charting, intraoral and extra-oral evaluation of soft tissue, classifying occlusion, and myofunctional evaluation.
  • Perform oral health assessments in school-based, community health project settings under the direction of a dentist, registered dental hygienist, or registered dental hygienist in alternative practice.
  • Cord retraction of gingiva for impression procedures.
  • Size and fit endodontic master points and accessory points.
  • Cement endodontic master points and accessory points.
  • Take final impressions for permanent indirect restorations.
  • Take final impressions for tooth-borne removable prosthesis.
  • Polish and contour existing amalgam restorations.
  • Place, contour, finish, and adjust all direct restorations.
  • Adjust and cement permanent indirect restorations.
  • Other procedures authorized by regulations adopted by the board.

 

Conclusion

In short, this concludes our article and list of dental assistant levels! Hopefully it was able to answer some of your questions. Also, as we stated above in our opening paragraphs, we are located in California and this information comes via the Dental Board of California. Hence, if you are from out of state, we recommend you do research based on your states dental board.

Lastly, if you have any questions that we might be able to help you with, please contact us here!

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