Tennessee State Requirements

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Radiography Requirements

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

  • Radiography Requirements

    A dental assistant must:

    1. Be a Registered Dental Assistant (see requirements below), AND

    2a. Successfully complete a Tennessee Board-approved radiology certification course (to qualify, one must be a current Tennessee RDA), or

    2b. Successfully complete a comparable training program in dental radiology in another state, or

    2c. Be enrolled in a CODA-accredited or Board-approved dental assisting program that offers a dental radiology course as part of its curriculum, or

    2d. Hold current DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification, or

    2e. Pass DANB's Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, AND

    3. Apply to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry for state certification in dental radiology

    Learn more about DANB's Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification
    CODA-Accredited Dental Assisting Programs

Dental Assisting Job Titles and Requirements for Each Level

  • Practical Dental Assistant

    A Practical Dental Assistant is an auxiliary employee of a licensed dentist who is receiving practical chairside dental assisting training from a licensed dentist or is a dental student in an educational program accredited by CODA.

    CODA-Accredited Dental Assisting Programs 

  • Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

    Registered Dental Assistants in the state of Tennessee may perform the procedures listed for this level in the state dental practice act under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist. To register as an RDA, one must:

    1.  Have a high school diploma or GED certificate, AND

    2.  Be at least 18 years of age, AND 

    3.  Successfully complete BLS for Healthcare Providers, CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers, or equivalent course, AND

    4.  Successfully complete the Tennessee Board of Dentistry Ethics and Jurisprudence exam, AND

    5. Apply for registration to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry

  • Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Qualified to Perform Expanded Functions

    To perform expanded functions in the state of Tennessee under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist, Registered Dental Assistants (RDAs) must earn state certification by completing the following requirements for each of the desired expanded functions:

    Perform coronal polishing procedures:

    1.  Successfully complete a Tennessee Board-approved coronal polishing course, including both a written and clinical exam (to qualify for the course, an individual must be an RDA in Tennessee), or complete a CODA-accredited dental assisting program that included coronal polishing in the curriculum, AND

    2.  Receive a certificate in coronal polishing from the Tennessee Board of Dentistry.


    Apply sealants:


    1.  Successfully complete a Tennessee Board-approved course in sealant application (to qualify, one must be a current RDA), or be enrolled in a CODA-accredited or Tennessee Board-approved program which offers such a course, AND

    2.  Receive a certificate in sealant application from the Tennessee Board of Dentistry.


    Monitor nitrous oxide:


    1.  Successfully complete a Tennessee Board-approved nitrous oxide monitoring course (to qualify, one must be a current RDA), or be enrolled in a CODA-accredited or Tennessee Board-approved program which offers such a course as part of its curriculum, AND

    2.  Receive a certificate in monitoring nitrous oxide from the Tennessee Board of Dentistry.


    Perform expanded restorative and/or prosthetic functions:


    1.  Have a minimum of two years of continuous, full-time registered dental assisting employment in the three years prior to enrolling in course, AND

    2.  Complete a Tennessee Board-approved certification course, AND

    3.  Receive a certificate in expanded restorative and/or prosthetic functions from the Tennessee Board of Dentistry. 


    Expose dental radiographs:

    See "Radiography Requirements" above. 

    Note: RDAs who have successfully completed a comparable training program in expanded functions in another state may be eligible to apply directly to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry for an expanded functions certificate without additional training. The expanded functions course must have been approved by the dental board in the other state and the Tennessee Board of Dentistry consultant must determine that the course is equivalent to the Tennessee Board-approved course. The information regarding content of the course and proof of completion must be sent directly from the course provider to the Board’s administrative office. If a certification or permit was issued by the other state, verification of the certificate or permit must be received directly from the other board. For more information, contact the Tennessee Board of Dentistry.

    Learn more about DANB's Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification
    CODA-Accredited Dental Assisting Programs