Dental assisting is a very versatile occupation that allows assistants to perform a wide range of responsibilities. Thus, dental assistants need to be well-prepared to handle all job requirements. The state of Connecticut is constantly updating their dental assistant regulations as a way to ensure that patients are receiving the best care possible.
What can Dental Assistants do
In Connecticut, a dental assistant of all skill levels is allowed to perform basic supportive dental procedures that are specified by the state dental practice act under the supervision of a licensed dentist.
Connecticut’s dental practice act follows the standards set forth by the American Dental Assistants Association/ Dental Assistant National Board Alliance (ADAA/DANB). The ADAA/DANB Alliance have very tailored core competencies that list the specific tasks that dental assistants are certified to perform; the list includes a total of 70 allowable functions. However, it is up to each individual state to regulate which functions dental assistants and expanded function dental assistants can and cannot perform.
In Connecticut, dental practices can only permit dental assistants to perform the following dental office responsibilities under direct supervision:
- Supply fluoride varnish treatments
- Take dental x-rays
- Take impressions for study models
Dental assistants with an extra set of responsibilities are called Expanded function dental assistants (EFDA). This role requires EFDA’s to successfully complete the
DANB’s Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) certification exam and DANB’s Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA) certification exam. EFDA’s perform the same duties as a dental assistant plus additional responsibilities. These advanced duties include:
- Assisting in coronal polishing procedures
- Placing amalgam for condensation
- Placing, curing and completing composite resin restorations
- Assisting in the placement of liners and bases
- Assisting in the placement of temporary fillings
- Carving amalgams
- Applying pit and fissure sealants
- Providing oral health education for patients
However, Connecticut dental assistants of any level are not permitted under any circumstances to:
- Take impressions of the teeth or jaws
- Diagnose patients with dental procedures or dental treatments
- Prescribe drugs or medication
- Administrate general anesthetic agents of any kind
- Cut or remove any hard or soft tissue
- Practice dental hygiene
Dental Assistant Requirements in Connecticut
People pursuing dental assistance in Connecticut are not required to have a 4-year degree. However, state laws do require individuals to complete one of the following forms of training:
- A dental assistant program that has been accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation
- A dental assistant program that is recognized by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Dental assistant training received on the job while under direct supervision from a licensed dentist
Despite not needing a formal education, dental assistants should take two exams into thoughtful consideration.
The first being the DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam. Section 20-112a of the Connecticut General Statues states that all dental assistants must be able to successfully complete the dental radiography portion exam administered by the DANB prior to operating dental x-ray equipment. In some cases, dentists make it optional for dental assistants to become x-ray certified; however, we strongly recommend taking the exam. Individuals who hold a dental radiography certification have an advantage and are overall more marketable candidates to hire. In addition, many dental assistants eventually advance in their careers and pursue other fields in dentistry, such as dental hygiene. Most fields in dentistry also require individuals to have their x-ray certification as well as experience with x-ray equipment. Having this experience early on will help you advance in your dental assistant career quicker and ensure you a better salary.
Please visit the DANB website for further details on the DANB RHS exam.
Dental assistants of all skill sets in Connecticut are required to provide records demonstrating a successful completion of DANB’s Infection Control (ICE) exam. The ICE exam is intended to test participants’ knowledge about the prevention and management during dental procedures. There are no eligibility requirements, making participants who have not attended a dental assistant school free to apply anytime. However, we recommend attending an accelerated dental program in order to prepare for the ICE exam.
We encourage you to visit the DANB website to learn more about the ICE exam.
If you’re researching dental schools in CT, we recommend exploring The Professional Dental Assistant School’s dental assistant program; not only will you graduate with a dental assistant certification, but you’ll receive the hands-on training needed to confidently pass both the DANB ICE and RHS exam.
We strongly recommend the rewarding field of dentistry, especially in Connecticut, a state that welcomes growth and opportunities for dental assistants.