Dental Assistant Requirements & Regulations in Connecticut

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.

What Does A Dental Assistant do: Roles and Responsibilities of A Dental Assistant

Dental assistants play a vital role in the dental office. They contribute greatly by keeping the dental office running smoothly, providing patient care, and going above and beyond to assist the dentist during procedures. This level of support not only benefits the entire staff, but patients as well. According to the DALE Foundation’s research, 98 percent of participating dentists and dental office managers believe that dental assistants play an important role in maintaining the team’s synergy.

A dental assistant’s duties vary depending on their dental practice. However, no matter what the office dynamic is like, a dental assistant job description typically expects candidates to have outstanding technical and interpersonal skills.

Here is a list of potential duties expected from dental assistants.

Office Duties

Part of a dental assistant’s job description includes engaging with patients.

Dental assistants are typically the first people you greet when you walk into your dentist’s office. This is the first opportunity that dental assistants have to connect with their patients and ensure that they’re having the best experience possible. Prior to procedures, dental assistants will record the medical and dental history of their patients 

Dental assistants are there throughout the entire procedure, paying close attention to the patient and making sure that they’re not in any discomfort.

After a procedure is over, dental assistants will be the ones to follow-up with their patients and provide them with dental hygiene and oral health care tips. If the patient has undergone a dental procedure, dental assistants will provide postoperative instructions if directed by the dentist.

Dental assistants are also responsible for record keeping; this involves updating a patients’ records and including their latest treatments. Depending on the practice, a dental assistant may be responsible for sending bills and receiving payments, as well as scheduling a follow-up appointment if necessary. 

Laboratory Duties

Dental assistants work side by side with the dentist, and it’s not uncommon that they work with dental hygienists as well.

Prior to every dental procedure, dental assistants will prepare the dental equipment for the dentist and dental hygienists. This includes sterilizing and disinfecting instruments, setting up instrument trays, and preparing all materials.

Dental assistants play a very important role during dental procedures and are greatly depended on by dentists and dental hygienists. They’re responsible for handing instruments and materials to dentists, as well as keeping the patients’ mouth dry by using a suction device.

Experienced dental assistants are trained to form preliminary impressions for study casts. Impressions are taken prior to surgery or other procedures in order to produce accurate reproductions of a patients’ teeth, surrounding tissue, and dental arches.

It is not uncommon for a skilled dental assistant to help the dentist make temporary restorations, such as temporary fillings of a prepared tooth, and custom impressions from preliminary impressions.

Not all states require dental assistants to be certified in dental assistant radiology and x-ray; however, we strongly encourage all dental assistants to pursue this certification as it can help you advance in your career at a faster pace. Dental assistants who hold a radiology and x-ray certification are awarded more responsibility in the dental office. Typically, dental assistants will develop and mount all radiographs and x-rays, which typically takes place under a dentist’s supervision.

What Can’t Dental Assistants do?

A dental assistant’s job description involves a lot of different tasks, and although they play an important role during dental procedures, there are also many things that dental assistants are not allowed to do. Dental assistants are often confused with dental hygienists. In reality, both professions have very different job descriptions. You’ll rarely see a dental hygienist doing a dental assistant’s job; likewise, dental assistants should never be expected to perform a dental hygienist’s responsibilities. 

Every state has their own sets of laws. We strongly encourage you to visit the Dental Assistant National Board and research your state’s requirements.

Does Dental Assistance Sound like the Right Career Choice?

Dental assistant careers are growing at an impressive 11% and are becoming more dynamic and rewarding. Dental assistant jobs in CT are also growing, and it has become an occupation with one of the largest employment in Connecticut.

If these responsibilities excite you, then I encourage you to research local dental assistant programs in your area. The Professional Dental Assistant School’s dental assistant program offers dental assistant classes that provides students with the hands-on experience needed to pass the dental assisting national board examination. 

Dental Assistant vs. Dental Hygienist: What Are The Differences

Dental assistants and dental hygienists might sound similar, and sure, both positions require one to work closely with a lead dentist. However, there are major differences amongst both positions, such as education requirements, employment outlook, job duties, and salary projections. 

Both positions are promising options for anyone who’s passionate about the dentistry field. However, we wanted to breakdown the major differences between a dental hygienist vs dental assistant, so that you can make an informed decision based on your individual needs and skills. 

What’s The Difference Between A Dental Hygienist And A Dental Assistant?

There are many distinctions between these two positions. You’ll find that the core differences between dental assistants and dental hygienists pertain to expected tasks and the level of interaction that they’re allowed to have with patients.

Dental assistant duties vary depending on the dental practice. However, in most dental practices, it’s common to see dental assistants working directly with a licensed dentist, and providing direct aid. On the contrary, dental hygienists don’t require as much supervision and are free to work one-on-one with patients.  

Generally, a dental assistant job description involves the following responsibilities:

  • Clerical tasks, such as maintaining patient intake and organizing billing and insurance paperwork
  • Preparing treatment rooms and patients before the dentist enters the room
  • Sterilizing equipment before and after procedures
  • Taking patient x-rays and completing any lab tasks instructed by the dentist
  • Taking impressions of patients’ teeth for moldings
  • Offering supervised assistance during treatment procedures 
  • Educating patients on appropriate oral hygiene tips 

On the other hand, a dental hygienist job description differs, as they have the authority to work freely with patients. Their daily duties often consist of: 

  • Collecting a patient’s oral and medical health history
  • Screening patients
  • Charting a patient’s dental conditions in preparation for the dentist
  • Administering local anesthetics
  • Removing dental plaque off of a patient’s teeth, as well as polishing teeth during dental checkups
  • Taking patient x-rays and developing the x-ray film for the dentist’s analysis
  • Teaching patients appropriate brushing and flossing strategies 

Differences in Education Requirements

Since dental hygienists are expected to perform more advanced tasks that require direct patient care, most states require people pursuing dental hygiene to at least obtain an Associate’s degree in dental hygiene; most dental hygiene programs vary in length but generally require a three-year commitment.

According to the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA), every state requires individuals to complete the following in order to legally practice dental hygiene:

  • Graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program
  • Pass the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
  • Pass the regional or state clinical board examination

However, the license requirements differ state to state, so please do you due diligence and research the certification requirements for dental hygienists in your state.

Likewise, most states also expect dental assistants to become certified before they can begin working. Since state board exams are meant to be challenging, many students may benefit from receiving training from an accredited dental assistant program. However, dental assistant programs are much shorter, and typically only require a commitment of nine months to two years, depending on the program and certification. Many programs may also offer accelerated programs that can be completed within a matter of weeks, such as The Professional Dental Assistant School, an 8-week program that offers students career training and a Dental Assistant Certificate. 

Salary and Career Projections

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average annual salary for a dental hygienist was roughly $75,500 in 2018. A dental hygienist salary in CT amounts to an average of $83,630 per year. That same year, the median annual dental assistant salary was $38,660; meanwhile, a dental assistant salary in CT was $44,520, for full-time dental assistants.Both career choices are expected to have a positive job growth. The BLS predicts that the number of dental assistant jobs is expected to increase by 11% for dental hygienists between 2018-2028. Likewise, the dental assistant job growth will also increase by that same 11% rate throughout 2018 and 2028.  

Employment Opportunities for Dental Assistants and Dental Hygienists

Pursuing a career in dentistry is a wonderful choice, regardless of what career path you choose to take. Feelings of job security will reassure you that you have made the right career choice, and it will also encourage you to continue growing. Many experienced dental assistants eventually go on to pursue a degree in dental hygiene; meanwhile many dental hygienists choose to go back to school to earn a Bachelor’s degree, which then allows them to pursue research, education, or even opportunities to practice in public or school health programs.

Which career choice sounds more appealing to you?

Becoming a Dental Assistant: What You Need to Know

Have you always wanted to pursue a career in dentistry? If so, then you’re not alone. In fact, the U.S. News’ World Report ranked professions in dentistry as some of the top career choices in the nation. For this reason, the field is projected to grow at a rapid rate. You can expect the employment rate for dentists to grow by 7% throughout 2018-2028. 

Many associate dentistry with being a dentist. Although being a dentist is certainly a rewarding career, it is also a challenging and requires many sacrifices. For some, it may feel discouraging to realize the duration and cost of dental school. On average, dental school takes four years to complete, and most dental students graduate with $400,000 worth of debt.  

Don’t despair, as other alternatives exist. Luckily the field of dentistry is diverse, and there are certainly alternative dental career options that are just as reputable, like dental assisting.

As a dental assistant, you’ll enjoy the responsibility of working in a dental office alongside dentists and dental hygienists, helping to make sure your dental practice runs smoothly.

A dental assistant job description entails the following responsibilities:

  • Clerical tasks, such as maintaining patient intake
  • Preparing treatment rooms prior to a procedure
  • Sterilizing equipment before and after procedures
  • Taking patient x-rays and complete any lab tasks instructed by the dentist
  • Offering supervised assistance during procedures 

Your Career Path as a Dental Assistant    

As a dental assistant, you gain exposure to the field of dentistry, which gives you the opportunity to grow. One has the option of becoming a Certified Dental Assistant (DCA), Registered Dental Assistant (RDA), or an Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA). 

Registered dental assistants must pass an additional examination and then will be allowed to take on more responsibilities than their counterparts, and will have a bigger role assisting the dentist during procedures. A certified dental assistant is responsible for clerical responsibilities, as well as attending to patients prior to the dentist’s arrival. An Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) is a highly skilled dental assistant who has not only furthered their education, but also has a substantial amount of experience working in dental practices.

The majority of dental assistants work in dental offices. This gives them the benefit of working alongside, and learning from, dentists and dental hygienists, Many dental assistants eventually choose to pursue other fields in dentistry like dental hygiene, or more administrative roles, such as dental office management. Likewise, many dental assistants eventually go on to pursue nursing career paths. 

Do Dental Assistants Need a College Degree? 

Dental assistance does not require a four-year college degree, which is why it is a popular career choice among people interested in dentistry. However, most states require dental assistants to undergo certification; thus, people may benefit from formal training or courses that will prepare students for required state board exams. 

Dental assisting programs vary in duration, but typically only take 9 months to two years to complete, depending on the certification. Alternatively, accelerated programs that offer real hands-on clinical experience, like The Professional Dental Assistant School, can be completed in as little as 8 weeks. 

People can research their state’s certification requirements by visiting the Dental Assistant National Board’s (DANB) website. 


You’re probably thinking to yourself, “how much do dental assistants make?” Well, that varies by state, as well as experience level. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that on average dental assistants earn $38,660 annually; whereas a dental assistant employed in Connecticut will earn an average annual salary of $41,042. However, you can expect a part time dental assistant to earn less than a full time salaried assistant. 

Career Outlook

As mentioned, the demand for preventative dental health services is growing at a rapid rate in the United States. Fortunately, this means that the demand for dental assistants will only continue to increase. To be exact, employment for dental assistants is predicted to grow 11% by 2028. There are certainly opportunities to pursue dental assistant careers, especially as the field of dentistry evolves.

Working as a dental assistant is a rewarding and growing career path that you certainly should not miss out on. Please research your state’s certification requirements beforehand, as well as local dental assistant programs in your area.

Why Dental Assisting Is A Great Career

If you are looking for a new career but are not quite sure what to do, you should think about becoming a dental assistant. Dental assisting is a very rewarding career choice. The healthcare industry is the fastest growing industry in the world. Not only do you get to help people but there are also amazing career advancement opportunities that come with the role.

Dental Assisting is a very versatile occupation and has a wide variety of responsibilities. Dental assistants are the backbone of a dental practice, allowing dentists and hygienists to maximize time with their patients by taking care of preparatory duties and office duties. Some typical tasks include the following: Continue reading Why Dental Assisting Is A Great Career

Dental Assistant: A Great Career Choice


There are many available careers in the dental industry, but perhaps one of the most popular positions is that of a dental assistant. Dental assisting is a great career choice for individuals who enjoy working closely with others to provide quality patient care. If you have good communication skills, enjoy working with people, enjoy working with your hands and want the responsibility and rewards of a professional career, dental assisting is for you.

The best way to become a dental assistant is to receive formal training. There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass a state exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements. Continue reading Dental Assistant: A Great Career Choice