Dental Assistants and Their Requirements
What are the course requirements for dental assistants?
A. Dental assistants can only expose
dental radiographs after successful completion of
a board-approved radiation safety course. As of
January 2010, dental assistants are required to
complete the following courses after 120 days of
employment to within a year of the date of hire:
• Course in basic life support (must be American
Red Cross or American Heart Association)
• Board approved course in infection control,
must be at least 8 hours long
• Board approved course in the California
Dental Practice Act (2hours)
As a dental assistant, is it necessary to maintain
my basic life support certification?
A. Yes, all members of the dental
team, including dental assistants must have a basic
life support certification by either the American
Red Cross or American Heart Association
As a dental assistant, is it necessary to renew
my radiation safety certification to take dental
A. No, once the course has been
completed there is no need to renew certification.
What should I do if my dentist wants to keep my
x-ray certificate for his files?
A. Never give away the original
certificate, it is very important. Instead make
your employer a copy of the certificate.
After taking and passing a board approved course
in coronal polish, can a dental assistant perform
coronal polish in their office?
A. No. In accordance with the Dental
Practice Act, a dental assistant can only perform
a coronal polish after passing a board approved
course in coronal polish and they are an RDA. The
coronal polish certificate is required as part of
the application process for becoming an RDA.
After passing a Board approved course in coronal
polish, and after receiving a yellow card (Certificate
of Completion) what do I do with the card?
A. After you have passed your coronal
polish course, you will be required to fill out
the top portion of the card, keeping in mind that
you will need to include your social security number.
You will then mail your yellow card to the Dental
Board if you are in the process of obtaining your
RDA license. If you have not applied to take your
RDA examination, then you will need to keep your
Certificate of Completion (yellow card) in a safe
place until you are ready to apply for your RDA
What happens if I have lost my Certificate of Completion
for coronal polish?
A. If you have lost your Certificate
of Completion card and you have received that card
from Dental Advantage, then you must contact the
business office: (209) 358-0707. We will need to
know the date and location of your coronal polish
course, so that we can find you in our system. Once
we have located you, we can issue another card.
There is a 25.00 fee for a lost Certificate of Completion
As of January, 2010 what are the requirements for
becoming an RDA?
A. Applicants can become RDA's
through on the job training or having graduated
from a RDA approved dental assisting program. Applicants
wanting to qualify, via the work experience pathway
must have 15 months of work experience rather than
12 months. All applicants must have completed a
board-approved course in the California Dental Practice
Act (2hrs), an 8-hour board-approved course in infection
control, a course in basic life support within five
years prior to application, a board approved course
in the application of pit and fissure sealants,
coronal polish and a certificate in radiation safety
(x-ray license). Individuals applying after January
1, 2010 must pass both a separate written examination
in Law and Ethics and the RDA written examination,
as well as passing a practical examination
How do I apply for the RDA exam?
A. To apply for the RDA exam, you
must file an application with the Dental Board.
To file download the application from the Dental
Board website www.dbc.ca.gov and fax the completed
application to (916)274-2140 or mail it to 2005
Evergreen Street Suite 1550, Sacramento CA 95815(the
Board prefers it be mailed). If you have any questions
you can contact the Dental Board by calling (916)263-2595.
When is the RDA written exam?
A. The written exam is computerized
and scheduled by appointment at designated test
sites, through PSI. You can download an application
for the written by going to: www.dbc.ca.gov, clicking
on applicants then proceed to the section entitled
Written examination and downloading an application
from PSI. You can also call PSI at: (877) 392-6422.
For additional help, go to: the Dental Board's website
When is the RDA practical exam?
A. The practical exam is scheduled
periodically throughout the year. To get the exam
dates, testing locations and filing schedule go
online to the Dental Boards website www.dbc.ca.gov
be sure to follow the directions for filing as each
testing session, has a specific filing period.
When will I be given my exam dates for taking the
written RDA exam?
A. After filing your application,
for the RDA practical examination with the Dental
Board, and after being accepted for the exam you
will receive a letter confirming your acceptance.
This letter will contain detailed information regarding
both the practical examination and will also include
a packet from PSI with information on the written
exam. The written can be scheduled at any time after
your application has been approved and you have
been given a case number. The Dental Board only
assigns a practical exam date and time. PSI will
schedule a written examination date and time at
a location near you.