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Radiography Requirements

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

Radiography Requirements

A dental assistant in Maryland must be state certified as a Dental Radiation Technologist in order to operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures. To obtain this state certification, one must:

1. Be at least 18 years of age, AND

2. Be of good moral character, AND

3. Hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, AND

4. Successfully complete a dental radiography course (minimum of 24 hours) approved by the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners, AND

5. Pass the national DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam or Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam, AND

6. Apply for state certification to the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners. See Maryland Dental Radiation Technologist Requirements brochure for full details.

Note: An individual holding an active radiology license or certification in another state may apply for Maryland certification if he or she has engaged in practicing dental radiation technology for at least 150 hours in the three years preceding application and meets any ADA or federal requirements. In addition, beginning in 2011, all Dental Radiation Technologists seeking to renew or reinstate their certificates shall have completed a two-hour, Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners-approved course in infection control.

Maryland Dental Radiation Technologist Requirements Brochure (PDF) 

Dental Assisting Job Titles and Requirements for Each Level

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant in Maryland may perform basic supportive dental procedures specified by the state dental practice act under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

There are no education or training requirements for this level of dental assisting.

A dental assistant working under the general supervision for a sealant program must do all of the following:

  • Maintain American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (BLS) or American Red Cross CPR for Professional Rescuers
  • Have at least 400 hours of dental assisting clinical practice in dental patient care
  • Successfully complete a Board-approved course of at least six hours in infection control with OSHA protocol
  • Enter into a written agreement with the supervising dentist setting forth the terms and conditions of practice under general supervision

Dental Assistant Qualified in General Duties

To perform expanded functions in Maryland, a dental assistant must register as a Dental Assistant Qualified in General Duties. To qualify one must:

1a. Complete a training program (minimum of 35 hours) approved by the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners and pass the Maryland General Dental Assisting Expanded Functions (MDG) exam administered by DANB, or

1b. Pass the national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam, AND

2. Apply to the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners for state recognition as a Maryland Dental Assistant Qualified in General Duties.

Note: While not required by law, it is recommended that a Dental Assistant Qualified in General Duties also earn status as a Dental Radiation Technologist (see requirements above).

Maryland General Duties Expanded Functions (MGD) Exam Application (PDF) 

Dental Assistant Qualified in Orthodontics

To perform orthodontic functions in the state of Maryland, a dental assistant must register as a Dental Assistant Qualified in Orthodontics. To qualify, one must:

1a. Complete a training program (minimum of 35 hours) approved by the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners and pass the Maryland Orthodontic Assisting Expanded Functions (MDO) exam administered by DANB, or

1b. Pass the national DANB Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) exam, AND

2. Apply to the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners for state recognition as a Maryland Dental Assistant Qualified in Orthodontics

Maryland Orthodontic Assisting Expanded Functions (MDO) Exam Application (PDF)

Additional Resources

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