Illinois Dental Assistant Requirements

Radiography Requirements

There are no radiography requirements for dental assistants in Illinois.

All dental assistants may legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures.

Dental Assisting Job Titles and Requirements for Each Level

Dental Assistant

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

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

Dental Assistant qualified in expanded functions

To perform expanded functions under the supervision of a licensed dentist in Illinois, a dental assistant must meet state requirements for each of the desired expanded functions, as outlined below.

To qualify to perform coronal scaling and intracoronal temporization of a tooth* under the supervision of a dentist, a dental assistant must:
(1) Have at least 2,000 hours of direct clinical patient care experience
AND
(2) Successfully complete an approved coronal polishing course prior to taking coronal scaling course
AND
(3) Successfully complete a structured training program in coronal scaling and intracoronal temporization of a tooth provided by an educational institution (such as a dental school or a dental hygiene or dental assisting program) or by a statewide dental or dental hygienist association approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) that includes the following:
(a) minimum 16 hours of didactic and clinical manikin or human subject instruction covering specified content,
(b) an outcome assessment examination that demonstrates competency,
(c) completion of 6 full-mouth scaling procedures under the observation and with approval of the supervising dentist,
(d) issuance of a certificate of completion (which must be kept on file at the dental office).
See the Illinois Dental Practice Act, Section 17, Paragraph 7, for additional requirements and conditions governing the performance of these functions by dental assistants. 

*The Illinois Legislature passed a law in the 2015 legislative session authorizing performance of these functions by dental assistants meeting specified requirements; the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation is in the process of developing rules to implement this new law.

To place, carve and finish amalgam restorations; place, pack and finish composite restorations; and place interim restorations under the direct supervision of a dentist, a dental assistant must:

(1) Have at least 4,000 hours of clinical patient care experience, AND
(2) Pass approved coronal polishing course and approved dental sealants course (prior to taking restorative training program), AND
(3) Successfully complete a structured training program meeting the requirements outlined in statute and provided by (a) an educational institution accredited by CODA, or (b) a statewide dental association approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), AND
(4) Maintain on file at the dental office the certificate of completion of the required training program, which must be made available to IDFPR upon request

To perform coronal polishing, place pit and fissure sealants, monitor patients under nitrous oxide, or monitor patients under sedation, a dental assistant must: 
(1) Be at least 18 years of age 
AND 
(2a) Complete 1,000 hours of clinical dental assisting experience 
or 
(2b) Complete a CODA-accredited dental assisting program 
or 
(2c) Hold a current national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Certification, 
AND 
(3a) Complete an Illinois Board-approved course relative to the expanded function in question, subject to specific didactic and clinical requirements 
or 
(3b) Provide proof of completion of an Illinois Board-approved dental assisting program that contained the expanded function in the curriculum

Note: In addition to the above requirements, in order to monitor patients while nitrous oxide is being administered and to monitor patients under minimal, moderate or deep sedation, or under general anesthesia, dental assistants must maintain basic life support certification intended for healthcare providers (BLS) that includes evaluation of hands-on skills and a written exam.

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant

To perform specified expanded functions in Illinois and hold oneself out as an Expanded Function Dental Assistant*, a dental assistant must complete required training in each of the allowed expanded functions. To qualify, a dental assistant must:

(1a) Complete training the expanded functions from an approved continuing education sponsor OR

(1b) Complete training in the expanded functions from a dental assistant training program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation OR

(1c) Complete a training course approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation AND

(2) Complete and maintain Basic Life Support certification, proof of which must be kept on file with the supervising dentist.

*The Illinois Legislature passed a law in the 2017 legislative session authorizing the creation of Expanded Function Dental Assistants; the Illinois General Assembly further amended the law in 2018. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is in the process of developing rules to implement this new law.

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