Dental assistants are part of every dental team.
They usually support the dentist with different tasks and duties.
Dental assistants’ training is different than the one of a dental hygienist, for example, so their duties are not the same.
From meeting and greeting patients to helping with other more complex tasks, their duties vary depending on the state.
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Dental Assistants in Kansas in Numbers
According to a statistic, there were 2,640 dental assistants employed in Kansas in the year 2013.
This is a ratio of 1, 98 individuals for every 1,000 residents.
An increase of 20.7 percentage of dental assistants in the state is expected by the year 2020.
This means that there will be 862 new job openings.
How to Become a Dental Assistants in Kansas
The Kansas Dental Board is the sole body that oversees all regulations regarding the dental field in the state.
Individuals who wish to become assistants have two options before them.
They can become basic dental assistants or dental assistants trained in expanded functions.
Basic dental assistants don’t need a license or certification.
Their position is an entry-level one.
They are allowed to perform the listed below duties under the supervision of a dentist who has been licensed:
- Meeting and greeting patients
- Taking patients to waiting rooms
- Educating patients about oral health
- Exposing, processing, and evaluating dental radiographs
- Performing infection control
- Performing occupational safety procedures
- Maintaining of dental charts
- Maintaining, sterilizing, and passing standard instruments
- Performing other duties assigned by a licensed dentist
Basic dental assistants are not allowed to perform the listed below duties:
- Removing soft or hard tissue in the mouth
- Diagnose patients
- Write prescriptions
- Administering anesthesia
Dental assistants trained in expanded functions can perform the following duties:
- Coronal scaling
- Coronal polishing
- Assist the dentist in administrating oxygen or nitrous oxide
Although basic dental assistants are not required to enroll in a course or get a certificate, employers prefer individuals with some kind of education.
Therefore, more and more dental assistants are looking for ways to further their education.
Meanwhile, dental assistants with training in expanded functions need to be trained in the expanded functions they desire to pursue.
If coronal polishing is their desired expanded function, individuals have to be trained by a dentist who has been licensed and to perform it under his or her supervision.
When it comes to coronal polishing, dental assistants have to complete a course approved by the Kansas Board and perform this function, again, under the supervision of a licensed dentist.
Administration and monitoring of oxygen and nitrous oxide is an expanded function, the regulations for which are more complex.
Dental assistants have to complete a course approved by the Kansas Board.
The course has to include:
- A minimum of 16 hours of instruction at a program accredited by the CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation).
- Clinical instruction
- Textbook instruction
- Cover some categories, such as Anatomy, Emergencies and complications, Medical History, Pharmacology, and Theory of pain control.
Education Approved by the Kansas Board
Dental assistants have to complete a course approved by the Kansas Board if they want to perform coronal scaling and nitrous oxide.
The CODA accredits four dental assisting programs in Kansas.
One of these programs is the AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree.
This program results in a major or certificate in Dental Assisting.
CODA-accredited programs include some of the following courses, but are not limited to them:
- Chairside Assisting
- Clinical Internship
- Current Trends in Healthcare
- Dental Health Education
- Dental Materials
- Dental Nutrition
- Dental Practice Management
- Dental Radiography
- Dental Science
- First Aid/CPR
- Fundamentals in Dental Assisting
- Human Anatomy
- Infection Control
- Management of Medical Emergencies
- Oral Anatomy
- OSHA Compliance
- Preventive Dentistry
- Professional Development
National Certification Options for Dental Assistants in Kansas
Although certifications are not a must for basic dental assistants, many decide to pursue national certification.
This will give them an edge against the competition, since employers prefer more qualified candidates, and tend to pay them more.
Another option is joining a professional association.
The DANB (Dental Assisting National Board) issues national certification for dental assistants who take a DANB exam and pass it successfully.
The DANB offers four examinations resulting in a certification:
- CDA (Certified Dental Assistant)
- COA (Certified Orthodontic Assistant)
- CPFDA (Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant)
- CRFDA (Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant)
The most pursued one is the CDA examination.
It consists of three component exams:
The exams can be taken either together, or separately.
Mind that if the exams are taken separately, each exam has to be paid separately.
Applicants must check if they are eligible.
To be eligible to take the exam individuals have to meet any of the following criteria:
- Have a high-school diploma, have at least 3,500 hours of practical experience and have a valid CPR certification
- Be a graduate from a dental assisting or dental hygiene program accredited by the CODA, and have a valid CPR certification (from a provider approved by the DANB)
- Have a former DANB CDA certification, or be a graduate from a dental program outside of the USA, and have a CPR certification
After that, candidates have to submit an application and pay a fee.
The full CDA exam (when all three components are taken together) is 375 USD.
After receiving the application the DANB will send a Test Admission Notice.
In the notice, candidates will find instructions about the next steps of the process.
Applicants must call and schedule a time, date and location for the examination.
The exams are held in Pearson VUE centers in Hays, Topeka, and Wichita.
The certification is valid a year.
After that, it can be renewed if the CDE (Continuing Dental Education) criteria are met.
The KDA (Kansas Dental Association) is the so-called, State chapter of the ADA (American Dental Association)
Dental assistants who are committed to the field and want to have access to resources for dental research, seminar and continuing education, should join the chapter.
The address of the KDA is 5200 SW Huntoon, Topeka, KS 66611.
How Much Does a Dental Assistant in Kansas Earn?Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
|Overland Park, KS||$35,796|
|Kansas City, KS||$35,905|