3 FAQs on expanded functions dental assistants

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When you’re looking to take the next step in your career, transitioning to an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) may be right for you. In this role, you can perform duties beyond the scope of a normal dental assistant. It's a chance to get more variety in your work and take on additional responsibility around the office. Whether the job title is completely new to you or you’re already interested in becoming an EFDA, you may have a few questions. This guide is here to help!

How can you become an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant?

Each state has different requirements to fulfill before someone can perform expanded functions in the dental office. For example, some states may require you to graduate from a dental assisting school or complete a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). You can see a list of CODA-accredited dental assisting programs on the DANB website.

Many states also recognize or require DANB certification as a qualification to perform expanded functions. DANB offers five nationally recognized certifications, including the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification.

In some states, you may have to be trained in expanded functions by a licensed dentist, who must provide proof of completion to the state dental board.

View the full state-by-state requirements on DANB’s state search map or contact your state dental board if you have questions.

Note that some states may use a different title for an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant. These may include: Licensed Dental Assistant (LDA), Registered Dental Assistant (RDA), or Registered Dental Assistants with Expanded Functions (RDAEF).

What duties can an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant perform?

Again, the duties you’re allowed to perform as an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant will depend on the requirements in the state where you work. They may include coronal polishing or scaling, taking x-rays, applying sealants or fluoride, and administering or monitoring nitrous oxide.

View the state map above to see what tasks Expanded Functions Dental Assistants can perform in your state.

What are the benefits of being an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant?

Becoming an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant can increase efficiency in the practice. As a result, it can make you even more valuable in the dental office. Taking on new tasks can free up the schedule for your dentist, allowing them to see more patients. It also gives you more variety in your work and keeps every day even more interesting! Multiple studies have found variety can increase job satisfaction. For instance, the 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report from the Society for Human Resource Management found that 85% of respondents felt variety was either “important” or “very important” to their satisfaction at work.

The job may even come with higher pay, especially if you hold CDA certification. DANB’s Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey found that those who held CDA certification earned over $4 more per hour, on average.

Ready to take on expanded functions in your office? Visit the state requirements map and learn more about getting certified through DANB.