DANB’s Preventive Duties Certification

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CHICAGO (April 19, 2011) – The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) has introduced a new national certification exam program, the Certified Preventive Dental Assistant (CPDA).* DANB’s CPDA certification is made up of four component exams: Coronal Polish (CP), Sealants (SE), Topical Anesthetic (TA), and Topical Fluoride (TF).

There are no prerequisites to take the individual CP, SE, TA, and TF component exams. However, candidates seeking CPDA Certification must apply through one of four eligibility pathways. Please see the CPDA Application Packet for complete eligibility requirements.

This is an exciting time for dental assistants, and many states are expanding the duties that assistants are allowed to perform. Currently, the dental practice acts in 35 states allow or do not prohibit dental assistants to perform all four of the CPDA functions. In total, 43 dental practice acts allow dental assistants to perform coronal polishing procedures, 38 allow dental assistants to apply sealants, 45 allow dental assistants to apply topical fluoride, and 49 allow dental assistants to apply topical anesthetic.

Visit the state information section of DANB’s website to learn which states’ dental practice acts and/or administrative rules allow dental assistants to perform these functions – and whether there are state-specific qualifications. Although each state sets its own requirements to perform preventive duties, DANB is proud to be able to offer an objective, reliable and valid exam to measure knowledge-based competency in coronal polish, sealants, topical anesthetic and topical fluoride, to assist state dental boards in meeting their public protection missions.

DANB has been testing and certifying dental assistants for more than 60 years. Recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) as the national certification board for dental assistants, DANB annually tests about 20,000 dental auxiliaries – with more than 33,000 DANB Certificants nationwide. Currently, DANB’s exams are recognized or required to perform dental assisting duties in 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In addition to the CPDA Certification, DANB offers the CDA and Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) national certifications. Covering the important duties that dental assistants perform every day, DANB’s CDA exam includes exams on General Chairside (GC), Radiation Health and Safety (RHS), and Infection Control (ICE). DANB’s COA exam covers Orthodontic Assisting (OA) and ICE.

There are numerous benefits to passing DANB exams and working toward Certification, including personal pride, professional status, greater earning power, recognition within the dental community, career advancement, and increased career mobility.

*Please note: DANB’s CPDA certification was renamed Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) in December 2011.


About DANB

DANB is recognized by the American Dental Association as the national certification board for dental assistants. DANB's certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. DANB serves the public by promoting a means of identifying qualified and competent dental assistants and by measuring and promoting excellence in oral healthcare delivery. As a Mark of Dental Assisting Excellence, DANB Certification is a source of pride for those who achieve it. Currently, there are more than 33,000 DANB Certificants nationwide, and DANB Certifications and Certificates of Competency are recognized or required in 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs. For those dental assistants who meet the eligibility and exam requirements, DANB Certification may be earned in the areas of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) and/or Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA). In addition to these two national certifications, DANB offers Certificates of Competency in Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and Infection Control (ICE). The RHS and ICE exams are components of the CDA exam, and ICE is also a component of the COA exam. Individuals may take these components separately in order to earn Certificates of Competency. Passing either or both of these exams demonstrates a dental assistant's competency in these two areas that are important to the health and safety of oral healthcare workers and patients alike.

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