Expanded Functions of Dental Assistants

Dental Assistant are expected to perform “basic supportive dental procedures”, that is, dental procedures that have technically elementary characteristics, are completely reversible, and are unlikely to post potentially hazardous conditions for the patient being treated. Some states require Dental Assistants to be trained in a variety of “expanded duties”. Each state differs in expected requirements. Florida and Minnesota are the two states I am going to focus on.

Dental Assistants in the state of Florida must have formal training to perform multiple expanded functions. For an individual to perform the expanded functions of a Dental Assistant they must graduate from a CODA accredited Dental Assisting program provided that it includes the appropriate training in expanded functions. Kaplan College in Jacksonville, FL is one of these schools. The other way a Dental Assistant that lives in Florida can perform expanded duties is if they successfully complete a Florida Board approved expanded duties training program.

Florida offers 14 expanded functions under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist, 18 expanded functions under indirect supervision of the dentist and 2 expanded functions under general supervision. These expanded functions allow a Dental Assistant in the state of Florida to be a huge asset to a dental clinic. Florida offers one of the longest lists of expanded functions available for the Dental Assistant to perform. By learning to be comfortable with the expanded functions, you are allowing yourself to learn beyond the average assistant and excelling at your career.

Some of the 14 expanded functions that are required of a Dental Assistant under direct supervision of a licensed dentist include: ~ Using appropriate implements for preliminary charting of the existing restorations and missing teeth and visual assessment of existing oral conditions. ~Packing and removing retraction cord. ~Polishing clinical crowns when not for the purpose of changing the existing contour of tooth. ~Selecting and pre-sixing orthodontic bands. ~Removing and recementing properly contoured and fitting loose bands. ~ Making impressions. Fabricating temporary crowns or bridges. ~Cementing temporary crowns and bridges with temporary cement. ~Placing or removing temporary restorations. ~Removing excess cement from dental restorations. ~Monitor the administration of nitrous oxide, make adjustments during administration. ~Inserting or removing dressings from alveolar sockets in post-operative situations. Some of the 18 expanded functions that are required of a Dental Assistant under indirect supervision of a licensed dentist include: ~Removing sutures. ~Securing or unsecuring an archwire. Applying topical fluorides. ~

Positioning and exposing dental and carpal radiographic film. ~ Placing and removing dental dams. ~ Applying cavity liners, varnishes or bases. ~Placing periodontal dressings. ~ Applying sealants. ~ Placing and removing prescribed pretreatment separators ~ Making impressions for study cases. ~ Placing and/or removing matrixes. ~ Removing periodontal or surgical dressings. The 2 functions that a Dental Assistant in Florida can perform under general supervision include: ~Instructing patients in oral hygiene care. Fabricating temporary crowns or bridges in a laboratory. Being an Expanded Function Dental Assistant in the state of Florida is a rewarding and challenging job. Florida offers multiple locations to receive your degree and is one of the leading states in accelerated programs. The job outlook for Dental Assistance in Florida is very good. The average pay for an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant is between $14. 00 and $18. 00 an hour. Now let’s take a look at the expanded functions of a Dental Assistant in the state of Minnesota.

First of all, the educational requirements in Minnesota differ greatly from the requirements of Florida. The state of Minnesota does not recognize the name of Expanded Function Dental Assistant; instead, they are Licensed Dental Assistants. To earn the status of a Licensed Dental Assistant in the state of Minnesota, a dental assistant must pass the DANB Certified Dental Assistant exam and either: ~Graduate from a MN CODA-accredited dental assisting program Or ~Graduate from a CODA-accredited program in a state other then MN and upon MN board review of curriculum, complete additional coursework Or Graduate from a non-CODA accredited dental assisting program or complete office training and complete a MN board approved course in Expanded Functions in MN. You also need to pass the MN Licensure exam, pass the MN Jurisprudence Exam and apply for registration to the MN Board of Dentistry. As you can see, MN is one state that requires a lot of certification to be considered an Expanded Function Dental Assistant. I feel it is important to know what is required of you from state to state so you are prepared as a Dental Assistant to meet each requirement before you decide to officially move.

There are 3 expanded functions that an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant can perform under direct supervision by the licensed dentist, 12 functions that can be performed under indirect supervision, 2 functions under general supervision and 3 functions under personal supervision. The schooling required in the state of Minnesota outdoes the amount of responsibilities you will perform in your career as an Expanded Dental Assistant. The average salary in the state of MN is the same as the state of Florida – $14. 00 to $18. 00 per hour. It all depends on the office you work in to determine your pay and benefits.

The expanded functions that a Dental Assistant can perform in the state of Minnesota differ then the expanded functions in the state of Florida. There are only 3 expanded functions that can be performed under direct supervision of a licensed dentist, 12 expanded functions under indirect supervision and 2 expanded functions under general supervision. There are also 3 expanded functions that can be performed under personal supervision. The expanded functions that can be performed by the Dental Assistant under direct supervision include: ~ Place and remove matrix bands.

Fabricate, cement and adjust temporary restorations extraorally and intraorally. ~ Remove temporary restorations with hand instruments only. This list is quite a bit shorter than the list of expanded functions that can be performed under direct supervision of a licensed dentist in Florida. The expanded functions that can be performed under indirect supervision include: ~Perform mechanical polishing to clinical crowns ~ Remove sutures ~ Dry root canals with paper points. ~ Remove and place ligature ties and arch wires on orthodontic appliances. ~ Apply topical medication. Place and remove rubber damns. ~ Preselect orthodontic bands. ~ Place and remove periodontal dressings. ~ Etch appropriate enamel surfaces. ~ Place and remove elastic orthodontics. ~ Monitor a patient that who has been induced by a dentist. ~ Remove excess cement from inlays, crowns, bridges and orthodontic appliances.

The expanded functions that can be performed under general supervision include: ~Take radiographs. ~ Place temporary fillings. The expanded functions that can be performed by a Dental Assistant under personal supervision include: Retract a patient’s cheek, tongue or other parts of tissue during a dental operation. ~ Remove debris normally created during the course of treatment. ~Provide general assistance to a licensed dentist, hygienist and registered dental assistants in the performance of their duties. After reviewing the expanded functions of Dental Assistants in the state of Florida and Minnesota, I am very happy to start my Dental Assisting career. I will have more responsibilities and duties to perform in a dental practice in Florida. This will allow me to show the Dentist how productive and motivated I am in my career.

I was surprised how different each states requirement for education compared to what an Assistant can perform though, but am glad I am now aware of what each state offers. I look forward to all the expanded functions available for me in both states and I know that I will excel at them. This research project allowed me to fully understand what will be expected of me here in Florida and Minnesota.

Work Cited:

  • (1) http://www. payscale. com Average state salary
  • (2)http://www. danb. org Educational requirements and allowable functions

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