Being in the medical field can be quite intimidating. With technology having a huge impact on how the medical world operates as well as new findings and technological advancements, it is essential to be constantly on your toes and up-to-date. This requires a whole lot of studying and being able to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the world. However, if you have a fascination for teeth, but do not have the time, resources or capacity to keep up, you could just as well consider a career as a Dental Assistant.
What does a Dental Assistant do?
As a Dental Assistant, the job role involves a lot of administrative work as well as taking care of the patient. An EFDA (Expanded Functions Dental Assistant) is a dental health professional who works under the supervision of a dentist. Depending on the state, the requirements of becoming an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant differ as well as the title of the job itself. You will be required to carry out all the normal duties of a Dental Assistant, as well as other tasks such as applying sealants, taking impressions, performing coronal polishing, applying topical anaesthetic or fluoride. As for the normal tasks of a Dental Assistant, they involve scheduling appointments for patients, record-keeping for dental treatments, aiding in the billing and payment process for patients, assisting the dentist by sterilizing the dental tools before procedures, handing them the necessary tools, and many more tasks.
How does one become an EFDA?
There are a few things to keep in mind before becoming one, read on below to understand what is required:
Check your state’s requirements
For each state, the requirements are quite different and so it is important to understand what is necessary according to your state.
Research dental assisting programs and board-approved courses
The requirements to become an EFDA are also different from that of becoming a Dental Assistant. In many states, the dental boards require you to receive an accredited dental assisting program and sometimes finishing dental board-approved courses are also necessary. That’s why you should check with your dental board to understand which courses and certification are compulsory as well as board-approved.
Complete an Externship (optional)
Before you advance your career and take the steps towards getting a certification, degree or licence, getting a hands-on experience can be a great way to find out whether this is the job for you. Externships also allow you to develop a specialty within dentistry like orthodontics or paediatrics.
Earn CDA Certification or equivalent
The CDA certification is a requirement in almost 29 states; however, there are several other certifications that can be accepted according to the state you’re applying for. The CDA certification is a 120 credit hour course that can be finished in a month or a year according to the time you invest in it. With this kind of certification, an EFDA will have the opportunity to advance in their career and take the first step towards becoming a dental assistant.
Applying for State Licensing
In most states, the requirements are quite similar to get licensed; however, it is important to double-check the specific necessities needed to be a licensed EFDA in your state. The common conditions usually involve having completed an accredited postsecondary educational program, as well as successfully completing a practical or written exam. The latter can be a CPDA exam as it consists of all the component exams required in most states to perform EFDA functions such as Coronal Polish, Sealants, Topical Fluoride, and Topical Anaesthetic.
The journey to becoming an EFDA is relatively easy and less time consuming than many other professions, but still rewarding. If this is the path you’re undergoing, within 9 months to 2 years, you could become a dental assistant and start the career of your dreams. Just remember to comply with your state’s requirements.