Dental Assistant (DA), Licensed Dental Assistant (LDA), Registered Dental Assistant (RDA), Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA), Registered Dental Assistants with Expanded Functions (RDAEF)…so many confusing titles! It can be hard to know who does what, where and why.
Depending upon the state you are working in, your title and the requirements satisfied to earn a title will vary. As you grow in your career, you may want to perform what is referred to as expanded functions. Each state is a different, so if you move from state to state, you will need to check with the individual state’s Board of Dental Examiners to determine your appropriate title and what functions can be performed within that title. Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) also provides comprehensive information on each state’s requirements for dental assistants.
Dental Assistant (DA)
In the state of Texas, there is no education or training required to be considered a basic Dental Assistant, performing basic support specified by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist. However, most licensed dentists will not hire you unless you earn your RDA.
Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
To apply for your RDA, you must meet the five qualifications listed here. To legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures in Texas, a dental assistant must be a RDA under the supervision of a licensed dentist.
RDA Qualified to Perform Expanded Functions
To perform expanded functions under the general or direct supervision of a licensed dentist in Texas, a RDA must successfully complete the appropriate requirements below.
Nitrous Oxide Monitoring (Certification): To be qualified to monitor the administration of nitrous oxide, an RDA must meet the criteria listed here.
Pit and Fissure Sealant: To be qualified to perform pit and fissure sealant procedures, an RDA must meet the criteria listed here in SECTION 5. Subsection (b), Section 265.004.
Coronal Polishing: To be qualified to perform coronal polishing procedures, an RDA must meet the criteria listed here in SECTION 6. Chapter 265.
Gaining an extended function skill can be a boost to your career, making you more marketable and differentiating you from the average dental assistant. Sometimes the practice you work for will cover the course cost or will provide a pay increase to compensate the new skills you are providing. Don’t be afraid to talk with your employer about your career goals, as additional skills can benefit the practice!