Dental Assistant

As a result of the passage of Legislative Bill 18, dental assistants working in a dental office may choose to continue working in an unlicensed status or pursue a license as a dental assistant professional in the office. An unlicensed dental assistant is restricted to performing the following duties or functions:
Unlicensed Dental Assistant
An unlicensed person employed by a licensed dentist is authorized to assist a dentist in the performance of his/her clinical and clinical-related duties.
An unlicensed dental assistant may, when a supervising licensed dentist is physically present on the premises:
  • Monitor nitrous oxide if the dental assistant has a current and valid board-approved certification for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) 
  • Place topical local anesthesia
  • Perform dental x-rays or coronal polishing, upon meeting the education or experience requirements below

X-Ray Requirements for Unlicensed Dental Assistants
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have either:
    • Successfully completed one of the following schools' Dental Radiography courses:
      • University of Nebraska College of Dentistry, Lincoln
      • Creighton University School of Dentistry, Omaha
      • Central Community College, Hastings
    • Passed the national certification exam for dental assistants (CDA) offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) - more information here
    • Successfully completed an ADA-accredited dental assisting course which provides training in dental radiography as part of its curriculum

Coronal Polishing Requirements for Unlicensed Dental Assistants
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have either:
    • Graduated from an ADA program that includes coronal polishing; or
    • One year (1,500 hours) of clinical work experience as a dental assistant and successfully completed a board-approved course in polishing procedures

A Licensed Dental Assistant is allowed to perform all clinical duties as listed for an unlicensed dental assistant and, upon completion of education and testing, may apply for additional permits. 

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