Become an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant

The path to becoming an EFDA

Many dental assistants want to be able to perform expanded functions as allowed in their state. With more responsibilities, a higher salary, and greater job variety, becoming an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) can be an excellent career move.

What is an EFDA?

An EFDA is a dental assistant who performs expanded functions. Each state has different allowable duties, but some examples of expanded functions are applying sealants, taking impressions, performing coronal polishing, applying topical anesthetic or applying topical fluoride, to name a few. If your goal is to be able to perform these types of expanded functions, DANB and the DALE Foundation can help you get there.

Know your state’s requirements

Each state has different requirements, so it’s important to know the details for the state where you work. Some states use the title of Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA). Other states might use a title like Licensed Dental Assistant (LDA), Registered Dental Assistant (RDA), Registered Dental Assistant in Extended Functions (RDAEF), or some other title. You can look up the details for your state on DANB’s website by visiting the State Dental Assistant Requirements page.

EFDA skills

Most EFDAs have a few years’ experience behind them as dental assistants. They’re familiar with using dental instruments, and are knowledgeable about infection control and the latest health and safety regulations. They also bring to the role superb attention to detail and organizational skills, plus excel in patient interactions. Because EFDAs perform more complex duties, it’s especially important for them to have good communication skills, be able to anticipate the dentist’s needs, and be comfortable with working in a fast-paced environment.

EFDA job description

EFDAs may have many of the same duties as non-EFDA dental assistants, such as assisting the dentist with a variety of procedures, setting up and breaking down the operatory, managing infection control tasks, answering patient questions and providing post-treatment instructions. However, EFDAs also may be responsible for additional duties, such as coronal polishing, applying topical fluoride, applying sealants, taking impressions, and other preventive and restorative procedures.

EFDA salary

With their extra duties and qualifications, EFDAs generally are paid more than non-EFDA dental assistants. You can earn between $19 and $23 per hour, according to DANB’s salary survey. Although, your earnings can vary depending on your location and experience, as well as the type of practice where you work.

EFDA training

Often, graduating from a dental assisting educational program and completing EFDA coursework is required for the role. You also may need to pass an EFDA exam. Earning DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification may be recognized or required. Because each state has different requirements, there is no one path to becoming an EFDA. Look up your state’s dental assisting requirements.

How we can help

Still interested? We can help you make the move to an EFDA role. If your state requires DANB’s CDA certification in order to perform expanded duties, the DALE Foundation has review courses and practice tests to help you prepare. We’ve also put together an EFDA Practice Test, which includes questions focused on many of the most important expanded functions, to help you prepare for DANB exam day.

CDA Exam Review

EFDA Practice Test

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