Certifications Available For People Considering Careers As Dental Assistants


The field of dentistry has changed immensely over the course of the last thirty years.  Dentistry is a specified branch of medicine specializing in the preventative care and treatment of conditions, disorders and diseases of the oral cavity. With advancements made across all medical fields in recent years, this branch of medicine is no exception.  An increasing number of conditions and unique needs of dental patients is cropping up, making it necessary to specialize and create jobs that are unique to this field alone.  Gone are the days when people looking to enter this field only had the two options of dental assistant and dentist.  There are many other certifications that are now not only available, but necessary to have, as dental professionals seek to provide the best care possible.  The following is a snapshot of some of the certifications that are available in the field of dentistry.


 Dental Assistant Certification

A standard way to enter the field of dentistry is through becoming a dental assistant, then choosing to specialize in one area of care.  Students in the dental assistant certification program  learn the basics of hygienic care, work protocol for a standard dental office, and how to use the latest equipment and techniques to work more efficiently. In addition, dental assistants are called upon to update charts, maintain records and schedule appointments for follow up care.   Dental assistants are highly valued members of the dental community, for they are the face that patients see as they address initial concerns before meeting with the dentist.


Orthodontic Dental Assistant Certification

The orthodontic dental assistant has many of the duties that a regular dental assistant does, including greeting and making patients feel comfortable,  performing simple orthodontic maintenance procedures, and maintaining and updating patient records.  Additionally, orthodontic assistants may be required to assist the orthodontist in placing and removing braces, making adjustments, and in some cases, administering anesthetic for more detailed procedures.  In general, this type of specialized care requires additional training beyond a high school diploma.  Many orthodontists offer on the job training for qualified dental assistants who wish to add this certification to their credentials.


EFDA and Dental X-Ray Combo Certification

The EFDA and Dental X-Ray Combo course is only for those dental assistants who have received their primary certification and have finished clinical hours with a licensed dentist.  Students will be responsible for bringing laboratory materials to class, and upon completion of the one day training, they must pass a proficiency quiz to be certified.  This course is a must for those students wishing to make themselves more marketable as dental assistants.  Having knowledge of the latest industry tools is essential for providing proper patient care.  Quite often, dental assistant programs will dedicate a portion of study to x-ray certification.  Being able to efficiently set up and execute accurate x-rays will often determine the course of treatment a patient has to undergo.  A dental assistant that is experienced in all aspects of taking and developing x-rays is an essential and valued member of any dental environment.  Students in this certification course will learn the latest techniques for taking and developing quality x-rays, as well as keeping patients comfortable and minimizing risk of radiation.  Adding this certification to existing qualifications will ensure that you remain highly sought after in the dental field.


Expanded Functions Dental Assistant Certification

Building on existing knowledge of the regular assistant program, the Expanded Functions Dental Assistant Certification program requires that students entering have  a minimum of three months of experience in a licensed dental environment.  Skills taught in the Expanded Functions program include working alongside the dentist during operative and treatment situations, preparing and processing dental impression materials, and setting up and sanitizing environments, preparing them for use.  In addition, students are taught how to set up and administer general anesthesia for patients, how to report and maintain patient records accurately, and how to schedule appointments using word processing and medical record keeping programs.  If considering a career in the field of dentistry, this program comprehensive and well structured, and would attend to all aspects of patient care.


Dental Radiology Certification Course

Students in the Radiology Certification Course learn to take and process radiographs and x-rays.  Other topics of study in this program include radiation protection and control, local and federal regulations for use of radiation, biological effects of radiation,  film processing techniques, and x-ray machine overview and operation.   Additionally, extensive time is devoted to film assessment and developing comprehensive treatment plans for patients.  A dental assistant who is confident in taking and developing quality x-rays is a valued member of any dental office.

The field of dentistry is now more varied and evolved than ever before, and finding a unique career niche that is suited to your interests and abilities is easier than ever.  Dentistry is a highly respected field, and one that holds tremendous possibility for bettering lives and educating patients on essentials of personal care.  Dental care is a richly rewarding and satisfying industry to work in, and one that you can be sure will allow you to impact lives in a positive and productive way.