The Board of Examiners in Dentistry from Rhode Island doesn’t require dental assistants to hold a license to be able to work.
Certification is possible through the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board) and needed by those who want to perform certain tasks, such as taking Xrays.
Certification also means a higher salary.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
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Article Table of Contents
Becoming a Dental Assistant
To become a basic dental assistant, an individual must prove they can legally work in the USA and not have a serious criminal record.
These are some of the tasks these professionals are allowed to perform while being supervised:
- Intraoral procedures that are reversible
- Procedures that are not specifically assigned to dental hygienists or Certified Dental Assistants
- Occupational safety procedures and infection control
Other tasks may also be delegated to the assistants, by dentists.
Dental assistants may enroll in an approved dental radiology class to be able to perform Xrays and to use the appropriate machines.
Becoming a Certified Dental Assistant
Certified Dental Assistants can perform the following duties:
- Any task that can be delegated to a dental assistant
- Application of pit and fissure sealants, as well as fluoride treatment, if they have the appropriate training
- Perform dental radiographic procedures and operate x-ray equipment as the approval is a part of becoming a Certified Dental Assistant
To become a CDA, a person needs to meet certain criteria, including passing the certification exam, sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Another requirement is having a CPR certification from an approved provider.
One can take the exam after also completing one of the following steps:
- Enroll and finish a CODA-accredited dental assistant or dental hygiene training program.
- Have a high school diploma and spend at least 3,500 hours working as a dental assistant
- Graduate from a dental assistant school from outside the United State or Canada
After the requirement is met, the candidate can fill out the CDA Application Packet to be able to take the exam at a Pearson Vue location.
The CDA exam is actually a combination of 3 DANB exams and it covers:
- Collection and recording of clinical data – 10%
- Chairside dental procedures – 45%
- Chairside dental materials – 9%
- Laboratory materials and procedures – 4%
- Patient education and oral health management – 10%
- Prevention and management of emergencies – 12%
- Office operations – 10%
- Exposure and evaluation – 26%
- Radiological regulations and quality assurance – 21%
- Radiation safety for operators and patients – 31%
- Infection control – 22%
- Dental and patient healthcare worker education – 10%
- Prevention of disease transmission and standard and universal precautions – 60%
- Occupational safety – 30%
Authorization to Perform Radiological Procedures
Those who became CDAs also met the requirements to be allowed to perform Xrays as well.
Entry-level assistants can also get this certification even if they don’t want to obtain a DANB diploma as well.
Completing a CODA-accredited radiology course is the only requirement.
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Certification Maintenance for Certified Dental Assistants
CDAs must renew their credentials every year, by following these steps:
- Pay the renewal fee
- Complete 12 Continuing Dental Education (CDE) credits annually
- Maintain CPR certification
- Attest to the DANB any malpractice or criminal convictions
The renewal application must be completed and send out 6 weeks before the CDA credential expires and this can be done online as well.
The CDE credits are valid for 2 years, and all excess credits from one year can be used in the next one.
Some candidates may be chosen by the DANB, for an audit, and they will need to prove their CDE credits and CPR certification are current.
There are 4 areas in which the CDE credits can be earned and each of them has a maximum limit per year.
Candidates can’t exceed the limit or else the extra credits won’t be valid anymore.
These are the maximum limits:
- Clinical practice – 12 CDE credits
- Dental office management – 3 CDE credits
- DANB and other dental-related exams – 12 CDE credits
- Scholarly activity or volunteer service – 3 CDE credits