How to Become a Dental Assistant in North Carolina

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in North Carolina

The Board of Dental Examiners in North Carolina sets rules and standards for the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene.

It also classifies dental assistants, though these professionals are not required to hold a license.

The classification is based on the individual’s experience and takes into consideration their training as well.

Employers must verify under which classification does the assistant fall:

  • Dental Assistant I (DAI): works under the direct supervision and performs basic duties, such as:
    • Apply topical anesthesia and fluoride
    • Polish dentures
    • Instruct patients in oral hygiene
    • Write laboratory orders and prescriptions
  • Dental Assistant II (DAII): allowed to perform expanded functions while being supervised, such as:
    • Apply bonding agents
    • Coronal polishing
    • Insert interdental spacers
    • Remove sutures, excess cement, periodontal dressings

Of course, the classification will have a big impact on how much can a person earn on this position.

Annual Salary Range:
$31K
$35K
$39K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Charlotte$36,933
Raleigh$36,172
Greensboro$36,031
Durham$35,971
Winston Salem$36,119
Fayetteville$34,596
Cary$36,172
Wilmington$34,388
High Point$36,247
Concord$36,198

Training Requirements for Dental Assistants

Individuals classified as DAI don’t need formal training, but those who want to become DAII do need it.

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For the DAII classification, just one of the following requirements must be met:

1. Complete a training program for dental assistants, accredited by CODA.

2. Finish at least one year of a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program.

3. Accumulate at least 2 years of work experience in the previous 5 years, and:

  • Complete a course in sterilization and infection control – 3 hours
  • Complete a course in dental office emergencies – 3 hours
  • Finish a radiology training course

4. Pass the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)

For all of the four situations above, a CPR certification is also mandatory.

Dental Assisting Programs

A dental assisting program is usually between 9 and 11 months long, and it is the main and easiest way of becoming a DAII.

These programs are made of several parts: clinical and administrative aspects of dental assisting, hands-on experiences, and a clinical internship.

There are many institutions offering such programs, and cover subjects such as:

  • Chair-side dental assisting
  • X-ray
  • Specialty practice procedures
  • Dental sciences
  • Infection control
  • Dental health education
  • Office emergency procedures
  • Dental office business practices

Depending on the program and career path chosen, future dental assistants can even obtain an associate’s degree that can allow them to perform certain procedures without supervision.

School NameAddress
Alamance Community College1247 Jimmie Kerr Road, Graham, North Carolina 27253-8000
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College340 Victoria Rd, Asheville, North Carolina 28801-4897
Cape Fear Community College411 North Front Street, Wilmington, North Carolina 28401-3910
Central Carolina Community College1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, North Carolina 27330-9840
Central Piedmont Community College1201 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina 28204
Fayetteville Technical Community College2201 Hull Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303-0236
Lake Norman Dental Assisting School747 Brawley School Road, Mooresville, NC 28117
Miller-Motte College-Raleigh3901 Capital Blvd Ste 151, Raleigh, North Carolina 27604-6072
North Carolina Dental Assistant Training School (NCDATS)NC DATS/Administrative Office P.O Box 1157 Morganton, NC 28680
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College1333 Jake Alexander Blvd, Salisbury, North Carolina 28146-1595
Sunrise School of Dental Assisting900 Summit Avenue Greensboro, NC 27405
Sunrise School of Dental Assisting1400 Walter Reed Road, Suite 200 Fayetteville, NC 28304
Sunrise School of Dental Assisting1009 Spring Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27615
The Dental Assistant Academy of Charlotte3707 Latrobe Drive Suite 420, Charlotte, NC 28211
Wake Technical Community College9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603-5696
Wayne Community College3000 Wayne Memorial Dr, Goldsboro, North Carolina 27534-8002
Wilkes Community College1328 South Collegiate Dr, Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28697

DANB Certification Options

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) issues certifications for a number of dental assistants across the country.

Some of the certifications are:

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

Those with a CDA credential are usually permitted to perform extended tasks, such as X-rays and operate the X-ray machines.

The CDA credential is given to those who passed an exam made of parts, and for the exam, they need to either:

  • complete a training program that was accredited by CODA; OR
  • accumulate 3500 hours as a dental assistant

The DANB credentials are renewed annually after completing 30 continuing education credits.

Nitrous Oxide and Coronal Polishing Requirement

Both DAIs and DAIIs may complete a course lasting at least 7 hours that was approved by the Board, covering nitrous oxide-oxygen conscious sedation.

They can then monitor the patient’s nitrous oxide.

Coronal polishing can only be performed by DAIIs who completed the appropriate course approved by the Board.

The course must have at least 3 hours of theory and 4 hours of clinical studies.

Radiography Requirements

Only DAIIs are allowed to perform dental X-rays or work with the equipment.

DAIs can perform these tasks only if they meet at least one of these requirements: 

  • Pass the North Carolina radiography equivalency test
  • Graduate a CODA-accredited program for dental assistants
  • Having the DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification

Conclusion

The best ways for dental assistants to find employment faster in North Carolina, are the professional associations.

The Dental Assistants Association in North Carolina and the North Carolina Dental Society, are the best ones to contact for this purpose.

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