How to Become a Dental Assistant in Arizona

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Arizona

Dental assistants are becoming more and more wanted throughout the US.

People who want to work in the dental field and become dental assistants have a very important place in the dentists’ office.

Their duties vary in every state and there are a few things they should keep in mind when applying for a job position.

First, and more importantly, they need to follow the guidelines of the state they want to work in.

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Second, they have to get familiar with the different procedures and certifications needed for them.

Lastly, they need to be motivated to further their professional experience in the field.

What is a Dental Assistant?

Dental assistants are the core of every dental practice.

They greet and meet patients, as well as keep the place clean and fresh.

Their duties include managing documentation and doing some procedures.

The patient’s information must be kept confidential.

A dental assistant must be a fast-learner, to be a team player, but to have the ability to work alone as well.

If he or she is not sure about a particular issue, he or she should ask the dentist for instructions.

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Arizona?

The Arizona Department of Administration states that 6,259 people were working as dental assistants in

Arizona in 2012.

This number rose in 2013 reaching 6,559 and it is expected for it to grow further by the year 2022 reaching 8,384.

Dental assistants in the state of Arizona are not licensed, but their duties are limited.

However, if they want to perform different procedures that require certification, they must obtain one.

Dental assistants in Arizona can receive a certificate in coronal polishing or radiologic proficiency.

Programs in dental assisting that are accredited by the CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) are preferred.

There are currently 3 programs approved by the CODA in the state of Arizona.

These programs occasionally last around 10 months and have a practice included in their schedule.

People participating in these courses are better-prepared practice wise and can apply both for national and state


Students can study things such as:

• Oral anatomy and radiology
• Basic body functions and systems
• Dental materials and sciences
• Office and computer applications

What to Study to Become a Dental Assistant in Arizona

There are other programs than the CODA-approved ones, that can be helpful for individuals who want to continue their education and work in the dental field.

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners also accredit some programs.

In the state of Arizona, there are no requirements regarding an x-ray certification.

However, every dental assistant that desires to operate an x-ray under the supervision of a licensed dentist, can enroll in a program and obtain a certificate in that area.

To become certified to operate an x-ray, individuals have to complete an exam approved by the DANB and the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners.

The exam is called Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and can be successfully taken after the completion of the Oral Radiography Review for Dental Assistants course.

This course can be taken in Scottsdale (Progressive Dental Academy), Tucson (Pima Community College) and Phoenix (Phoenix College).

The contents of the exam include:

• Select appropriate radiographic techniques and the relevant equipment for them.
• Techniques and barriers regarding infection control.
• Patients’ safety during an x-ray examination
• How to properly mount the machines
• Basic know-how of digital radiography and more.
• Processing of conventional films
• Safety regarding radiation

When the exam is completed successfully the candidate has to apply for a certificate to Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners (ASBDE).

The best thing regarding this kind of certification is that it doesn’t have to be renewed each year.

The DANB accredits another program in coronal polishing.

It also administers a program including everything from the enrollment process, through courses, to taking an exam and obtaining a certificate.

All dental assistants who want to perform coronal polishing must have an Arizona Coronal Polishing Certificate.

Other Relevant Certification Options

There are several other options regarding certification in the dental field.

The DANB accredits a few programs, such as the CDA (Certified Dental Assistant).

Three-component exams have to be taken to receive a CDA certificate.

To be eligible for the CDA exams, individuals must have completed a program accredited by the CODA or to have 3,500 hours as dental assistants.

The DANB offers other certifications, such as:

• Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)
• Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA)
• Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (FDA)

Unfortunately, all DANB certifications have to be renewed every year.

The Dale Foundation is another institution that offers programs to anyone who wants to further their education.

It is an official affiliate of the DANB and offers courses such as:

• Radiation Health & Safety
• General Chairside
• Infection Control
• Coronal Polish
• Orthodontic Assisting
• Anatomy, Morphology, and Physiology
• Dental Office Management

Dos and Don’ts of a Dental Assistant in Arizona

Dental assistants in the state of Arizona are allowed to perform certain procedures under direct supervision:

• Removal of sutures
• Application of topical fluorides and sealants
• Placement and removal of dental dams
• Removal of interim restorations
• Observation of patients that are under nitrous oxide and oxygen analgesia
• Removal of periodontal dressings
• Placement of crowns, bands, and restorations

Dental assistants in the state of Arizona are allowed to perform certain procedures under general supervision:

• Explain pre- and post-operative instructions to patients
• Gather and document information about extra oral conditions
• Instruct and guide patients regarding hygiene techniques and plaque control

Dental assistants in the state of Arizona are not allowed to administer the following:

• Irreversible procedures
• Final jaw registrations
• Taking final impressions and others.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant in Arizona Earn?

On average a dental assistant in the state of Arizona earns around 35,000 USD per year.

Lowest salaries are recorded in cities such as Flagstaff and Sierra Vista.

The highest salaries are received in the cities of Lake Havasu City and Yma. In the state capital – Phoenix, the average annual salary is around 36,000 USD.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Lake Havasu City,AZ$37,371
Sierra Vista,AZ$33,443
Sun City,AZ$35,981

USA Dental Assisting by State

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