Iowa State Requirements

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Radiography Requirements

To legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures in Iowa, a dental assistant must meet the requirements shown below.

  • Radiography Requirements

    To expose radiographs in Iowa, a dental assistant must hold a current registration certificate and active radiography qualification issued by the Iowa Dental Board (IDB) and a dentist must provide general supervision. To earn dental radiography qualification, one must:

    (1a) Be a Dental Assistant Trainee or Registered Dental Assistant with an active registration status 
    or 
    (1b) Be a graduate of an accredited dental assisting program 
    or 
    (1c) Be a nurse who holds an active Iowa nursing license 
    AND 
    (2) Provide proof of successful completion of an Iowa board-approved course of study in dental radiography within the two years prior to application 
    AND 
    (3) Provide proof that he or she successfully completed an Iowa Board-approved exam in the area of dental radiography (the national DANB Radiation Health and Safety [RHS] exam meets this requirement, if taken after January 1, 1986) 
    AND 
    (4) Apply to the IDB for Qualification in Dental Radiography.

    Note: A dental assistant must be at least 18 years of age to perform dental radiography.

    Dental Assistant Trainees may also engage in on-the-job training in dental radiography pursuant to 650-22.3(136C,153). Trainees are all individuals who are engaging in on-the-job training to meet the requirements for registration and who are learning the necessary skills under the personal supervision of a licensed dentist.

    Learn more about DANB's Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam

Dental Assisting Job Titles and Requirements for Each Level

Note: In order to work as a dental assistant in the state of Iowa, an individual must be 17 years of age or older, be a high school graduate or equivalent, and be registered with the Iowa Dental Board and have received a Certificate of Registration.

  • Dental Assistant Trainee

    To qualify as a Dental Assistant Trainee in Iowa, one must:

    1a. Graduate from high school or equivalent, AND

    1b. Be 17 years of age or older, or

    2. Be enrolled in a cooperative education or work study program through an Iowa high school, AND

    3.  Apply to the Iowa Dental Board and receive a certificate of registration.

    Note: Effective after May 1, 2013, a dentist supervising a person performing dental assistant duties must ensure that the person has been issued a trainee status certificate from the Board office prior to the person's first date of employment as a dental assistant. 

  • Iowa Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

    To qualify as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) in Iowa, one must:

    1a.  Work in a dental office for six months as a Dental Assistant Trainee (see requirements above), or

    1b.  If licensed out of state, have had at least six months of prior dental assisting experience under a licensed dentist within the past two years, or

    1c.  Graduate from an accredited dental assisting program approved by the board, AND

    2.  Successfully complete an Iowa Board-approved course of study in the areas of infection control, hazardous materials and jurisprudence; the course of study may be taken at a board-approved, accredited dental assisting program or on the job using a curriculum approved by the board, AND

    3. Successfully pass required examinations in infection control/hazardous materials and jurisprudence; examinations approved by the board are those administered by the board or the board's approved testing centers, or the DANB Infection Control Exam (ICE), if taken after June 1, 1991 (the board may require applicants with exam scores older than five years to retest), AND

    4. Hold a valid CPR card, AND

    5.  Apply to the Iowa Dental Board (IDB) for registration as a dental assistant using IDB application forms, or apply online and receive a Certificate of Registration.

    Learn more about DANB's Infection Control (ICE) exam

  • Basic, Certified Level 1 and Certified Level 2 Expanded Function Providers

    To perform expanded functions, a registered dental must meet the education and training requirements set forth below.

    To qualify for expanded function training, a dental assistant must be a graduate of a CODA-accredited dental assisting program, OR hold current DANB certification, OR have a minimum of one year of clinical practice as a registered dental assistant, OR have a minimum of one years of clinical practice as a dental assistant in a state that does not require registration.

    Basic Expanded Function Provider

    A Registered Dental Assistant may qualify to perform select Level 1 expanded function procedures by:

    • Completing Board-approved training offered through a CODA-accredited program or another Board-approved program, which may include on-the-job training offered by an Iowa licensed dentist, in the procedures to be performed

    A dentist may delegate to an RDA only those Level 1 procedures for which the assistant has received the required expanded function training.

    Certified Level 1 Provider

    A Registered Dental Assistant may qualify as a Certified Level 1 Provider by:

    • Completing Board-approved training in all Level 1 expanded functions offered through a CODA-accredited program or another Board-approved program, which may include on-the-job training offered by an Iowa licensed dentist

    Level 1 expanded functions include the following:

    1. Taking occlusal registrations
    2. Placement and removal of gingival retraction
    3. Fabrication and removal of provisional restorations
    4. Applying cavity liners and bases, desensitizing agents, and bonding systems
    5. Placement and removal of dry socket medication
    6. Placement of periodontal dressings
    7. Testing pulp vitality
    8. Monitoring of nitrous oxide inhalation analgesia
    9. Taking final impressions
    10. Removal of adhesives (hand instrumentation only)
    11. Preliminary charting of existing dental restorations and teeth

    Certified Level 2 Provider

    A Registered Dental Assistant may qualify as a Certified Level 2 Provider by:

    1. Becoming a Certified Level 1 provider, AND
    2. Passing a Board-approved entrance examination with a score of at least 75 percent prior to beginning training as a Certified Level 2 provider, AND
    3. Completing Board-approved training in all Level 2 functions offered through the University of Iowa College of Dentistry or a program accredited by CODA

    Level 2 expanded functions include the following:

    1. Placement and shaping of amalgam following preparation of a tooth by a dentist
    2. Placement and shaping of composite following preparation of a tooth by a dentist
    3. Forming and placement of stainless steel crowns
    4. Taking records for the fabrication of dentures and partial dentures
    5. Tissue conditioning (soft reline only)