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Radiography Requirements

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

Radiography Requirements

A dental assistant in the state of California must be state certified in radiography to legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures. To apply for state certification, a dental assistant must:

1a. Successfully complete a California Board of Dental Examiners-approved radiation safety course which includes theory and clinical application in radiographic technique, or

1b. Pass a Board-approved radiation safety exam (prior to January 1, 1985), AND

2. Submit a copy of the certificate of completion to the Dental Board of California.

Dental Assisting Job Titles and Requirements for Each Level

Unlicensed Dental Assistant

An Unlicensed Dental Assistant may perform basic supportive dental procedures under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

The employer is responsible for ensuring dental assistants maintain Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, and that all dental assistants in continuous employment for 120 days or more have proof of completing all of the following within a year from date of employment:

1. A California Dental Board-approved course in the California Dental Practice Act, AND

2. A California Dental Board-approved course in infection control, AND

3. An AHA or ARC-approved course in BLS which includes hands-on simulated clinical scenarios.

Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

To be licensed as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) in California, one must:

1a. Graduate from a California Board-approved RDA educational program, or

1b. Complete 15 months of work experience as a dental assistant, AND

2. Successfully complete California Board-approved courses in radiation safety and coronal polishing, AND

3. Successfully complete California Board-approved courses in the California Dental Practice Act and infection control within five years prior to application for licensure, AND

4. Successfully complete an AHA or ARC-approved course in Basic Life Support, AND

5. Pass a state written and practical exam, AND

6. Pass a state written exam in law and ethics, AND

7. Apply for licensure as an RDA to the Dental Board of California.

Registered Dental Assistant in Extended Functions (RDAEF)

To perform expanded functions under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist in California, a dental assistant must be licensed as a Registered Dental Assistant in Extended Functions (RDAEF). To register as an RDAEF, one must:

1a. Hold a valid license as a Registered Dental Assistant (see requirements above), or

1b. Complete the requirements for RDA licensure, AND

2. Successfully complete a California Board-approved course for the application of pit and fissure sealants, AND

3. Successfully complete a California Board-approved extended functions educational program, AND

4. Pass a California Board-approved written exam and a state clinical and practical exam, AND

5. Apply to the Dental Board of California for licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant in Extended Functions.

Orthodontic Assistant Permit Holder

To hold an Orthodontic Assistant permit in California, one must:

1a. Be an RDAEF (see requirements above), or

1b. Be an RDA (see requirements above), or

1c. Complete 12 months of work experience as a dental assistant and successfully complete board approved courses in the California Dental Practice Act and infection control and successfully complete an AHA or ARC-approved course in BLS, AND

2. Successfully complete a California Board-approved orthodontic assistant course, AND

3. Pass a state written exam in orthodontic duties, AND

4. Apply for a Orthodontic Assistant permit to the Dental Board of California.

Dental Sedation Assistant Permit Holder

To hold a Dental Sedation Assistant permit in California, one must:

1a. Be an RDAEF (see requirements above), or

1b. Be an RDA (see requirements above), or

1c. Complete 12 months of work experience as a dental assistant and successfully complete board approved courses in the California Practice Act and infection control and successfully complete an AHA or ARC-approved course in BLS, AND

2. Successfully complete a California Board-approved dental sedation assistant course, AND

3. Pass a state written exam in dental sedation duties, AND

4. Apply for a Dental Sedation Assistant permit to the Dental Board of California.

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