How to Become a Dental Assistant In Tennessee

How to Become a Dental Assistant In Tennessee

So you are probably wondering how to become a dental assistant in Tennessee but there are a few positions you can pursue. There is the practical dental assistant, registered dental assistant, registered dental assistant qualified in expanded functions, and of course the nationally recognized certified dental assistant. There are also requirements you have to meet if you want to operate dental x-ray equipment and perform radiographic procedures. Here is how to become a dental assistant in Tennessee with dental assistant salary figures as well.

Dental Assistant Salary in Tennessee

Practical Dental Assistant

how to become a dental assistant in tennesseeA practical dental assistant is essentially an employee of a licensed dentist training to become a dental assistant by either receiving chair side training or is currently a student in a CODA accredited program.  A practical dental assistant is able to perform most of the basic supportive procedures listed under Tennessee’s dental regulations under the supervision of a licensed dentist. You can view the allowable duties here.

Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

The next position on the ladder is the registered dental assistant (RDA), who is officially licensed by the state of Tennessee. A registered dental assistant can perform all the procedures listed under the state’s dental regulations, which you can view here. To become an RDA you will need to:

1. Complete high school or its equivalent (e.g. GED)

2. Be at least 18 years old

3. Obtain CPR certificate from a Board-approved provider

4. Apply to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry for registration

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Registered Dental Assistant Qualified in Expanded Functions

The next position is a registered dental assistant qualified in expanded functions, which allows you to perform expanded functions such as coronal polishing, applying sealants, monitoring nitrous oxide, and performing expanded restorative and/or prosthetic functions. For each individual function you will need to obtain state certification.

For coronal polishing you must:

1. Complete a Board-approved course in coronal polishing that includes a written and clinical exam portion. To qualify for the course, you must already be an RDA

2. Send proof to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry to receive your certificate in coronal polishing

For applying sealants you must:

1. Complete a Board-approved course in sealant application. To qualify for the course, you must either be an RDA or enrolled in a CODA accredited or Board-approved dental assisting program that offers such a course

2. Send proof to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry to receive your certificate in sealant application

For monitoring nitrous oxide you must:

1. Complete a Board-approved course in monitoring nitrous oxide. To qualify for the course, you must either be an RDA or enrolled in a CODA accredited or Board-approved dental assisting program that offers such a course

2. Send proof to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry to receive your certificate in nitrous oxide monitoring

For performing expanded restorative and/or prosthetic functions you must:

1. Have 2 years of experience as a full time registered dental assistant in the past 3 years

2. Complete a Board-approved certification course

3. Send proof to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry to receive your certificate in expanded restorative and/or prosthetic functions

How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant in Tennessee

There is also the option to become a certified dental assistant (CDA), which is nationally recognized position that allows you to earn a higher salary as well as receive other benefits. You will also be able to apply for a dental radiology certificate as well. Becoming certified should always be considered if you are thinking of becoming a dental assistant, as the process is not difficult but the rewards are plenty. In order to become certified you must:

1. Complete a CODA approved dental assisting program OR have 2 years/3,500 hours of experience as a dental assistant

2. Obtain CPR certification from a DANB accepted provider

3. Apply for the DANB CDA exam and pass it. After passing the exam you will have earned CDA status

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Radiography Requirements

In order to operate dental x-ray equipment and perform radiographic procedures you are going to need to obtain a certificate in dental radiology. There are a few requirements to meet first, which are:

1. Be a registered dental assistant (RDA)

2a. Complete a Tennessee Board-approved course in radiology, OR

2b. Complete a similar dental radiology training program in another state, OR

2c. Complete a CODA accredited or Board-approved dental assisting program that includes a dental radiology course

2d. Be a current DANB certified dental assistant (CDA)

3. Send proof to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry to receive a certificate in dental radiology

Dental Assisting Schools in Tennessee

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