How to Become a Dental Assistant in Connecticut

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Connecticut

The job of a dental assistant is diverse and challenging.

Dental assistants must be positive and outgoing individuals, who are highly motivated and can keep confidential information.

Their duties vary from greeting and meeting patients, through administrative tasks, to performing some expanded procedures, either under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist or by receiving some kind of a degree or certification.

Dental Assistants in Connecticut in Numbers

The demand for this profession is high and it is expected to grow further over the next ten years.

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According to the statistics offered by the Department of Labor for the year 2018, 4,020 dental assistants were working in the state of Connecticut.

It is expected numbers to grow more by the year 2028, the BLS national projected job growth is estimated at 11% for dental assistants.

Dos and Don’ts of a Dental Assistant in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Health doesn’t certify, register, or license dental assistants.

However, assistants can perform some duties under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

When it comes to operating an x-ray, however, individuals must complete an examination in dental radiography approved by the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board).

Dental assistants in the state of Connecticut are not allowed to do the following:

  • Plan dental treatment
  • Diagnose patients
  • Prescribe medications
  • Administer local, inhalation, parenteral or general anesthesia
  • Take impressions of jaws or the teeth for appliances and prostheses
  • Dental hygiene practice
  • Take actions regarding final restorations, such as placement and temporary adjustment
  • Cut/remove hard tissue of suturing
  • Cut/remove soft tissue of suturing

Education in Dental Assisting

Students who desire to become dental assistants in Connecticut have to complete a dental assisting program.

However, most employers prefer individuals with some practical experience or additional certification.

CODA (Commission on Dental Assisting) is accrediting programs in the dental field.

It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and its programs are highly favored.

Currently, 4 programs are accredited by the CODA in the state of Connecticut.

Fortunately, there is also an online course, that can be completed from everywhere, as long as there is an Internet connection.

For every program, online or not, individuals must gain some practical experience in a clinic or dentists’ office.

Programs for dental assistants are usually with a duration of less than a year.

All of these programs result in some practical experience, which gives the candidates useful skills and knowledge.

The focus of the lectures in such programs is mainly on the listed below:

  • Oral anatomy and disease
  • Impressions
  • Sterilization
  • Bridge and crown
  • Radiology
  • Nitrous sedation
  • Restorative, pediatric and cosmetic dentistry
  • Endodontics
  • Orthodontics

Certifications for Dental Assistants in Connecticut

More and more dental assistants thrive to gain national certification in the field, as this gives them an edge in comparison to their competition.

Many choose to receive a certificate after completing an examination administered by the DANB (Dental Assisting Board).

Although certification through the DANB is voluntary, it is desired by assistants in the field.

An exception to the rule above is the dental assistants who want to operate an x-ray.

They need to successfully pass the DANB-approved and part of CDA credential examination in Radiation Health and Safety.

CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) credential received through the DANB is usually the basic one that students prefer to pursue.

Three-component exams have to be completed successfully to achieve a CDA.

They are the following:

  • RHS (Radiation Health and Safety)
  • GC (General Chairside Assisting)
  • ICE (Infection Control)

Individuals who take the RHS and pass it will be eligible to operate an x-ray.

They can also pursue other CDA exams to receive a CDA credential.

Dental assistants need to have at least 3,500 hours of practical experience, as well as to be graduates of a CODA-approved program.

The DANB offers other certification options such as:

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

However, all of the DANB-accredited certifications must be renewed annually.

Information about all of the DANB-approved credentials can be found on the official website of the DANB or the Dale Foundation.

The Dale Foundation is an official DANB affiliate.

It offers a variety of course, such as:

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

The Dale Foundation also offers some free courses, but availability has to be checked before enrollment.

Other Educational and Career Options

Individuals may have chosen a career in dental assisting, but that doesn’t mean that one day they won’t desire a different career path.

Many dental assistants choose to pursue a degree in dental hygiene.

Dental hygienists are professionals with a license allowing them to perform some advanced duties, such as teeth cleaning.

Other dental assistants prefer to obtain a bachelor’s or associate degree in office or medical administration, which will allow them to become managers or dental office supervisors.

Information Regarding Dental Assistants in Connecticut

Besides the official website of the DANB, CODA, and Dale Foundation, there are a few more resources available at dental assistants’ disposal.

The Connecticut Dental Assistant Association provides individuals with career resources, as well as updates regarding legislative news, education/professional courses, and events.

They also hold annual Dental Assistant Association meetings.

The Connecticut State Dental Association is essentially a membership organization, representing dentists and their stuff in Connecticut. Currently, there are about 2,600 members in the state.

Members of the CSDA receive additional benefits upon joining the association, such as insurance and affiliate programs.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant Earn in Connecticut?

This is a question that can be hardly answered with just one word.

Dental assistants earn between 27,000 and 56,000 USD, per year.

Salaries are high in cities like Greenwich, Norwalk, and Stamford, with numbers above 42,000 USD, per year.

Lowest salaries can be tracked in cities such as Norwich, Danbury, and East Hartford, with numbers rounding at 45,000 USD, per year.

Annual Base Salary of a Dental Assistant in Connecticut

Annual Salary Range:
$39K
$40K
$42K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$43,860
Connecticut non-metropolitan area$47,250
Danbury, CT$46,100
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT$45,040
New Haven, CT$42,900
Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI$47,720
Waterbury,CT$47,270

* Salary information based on data from the BLS (May 2019 wage estimates)

* Conditions in your area may vary

USA Dental Assisting by State


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