Dental assistants help provide patient care in a dental setting. Registered expanded function dental assistants (RDAEFs) are dental assistants who are authorized to perform duties beyond a dental assistant's traditional duties. Duties of RDAEFs vary depending upon the state and the specific dental office in which an assistant works. RDAEFs might take X-rays, perform orthodontic functions, apply topical agents, polish teeth, and/or administer nitrous oxide.
Most dental assistants work full-time during regular business hours. Almost all dental assistants work indoors in a dental practice with dental hygienists and dentists. An RDAEF might work with unlicensed dental assistants and regular dental assistants as well. In some cases, they work with dental practice managers who supervise any work performed by the dental assistant related to patient scheduling or billing. Typical supervisors of dental assistants are dentists or dental hygienists.
Most dental assistants have completed education beyond high school. Generally, they have completed a one-year training programs at a community college and passed a state exam; training involves learning about teeth, gums, jaws, dental instruments, and dental terminology, as well as practical experience. Two-year dental assistant programs leading to an associate’s degree are also available. In most states, the expanded functions performed by RDAEFs require additional instruction, special classes, certifications, and/or exams beyond those required for dental assistants. Important skills for dental assistants include being detail oriented, having good interpersonal skills, having good listening skills, and possessing excellent organizational skills.
Dental Assistant, Registered Expanded Function (RDAEF) Tasks
Assist dentist during dental treatment procedures.
Fit preliminary crowns for adjustments, place temporary restorative material in teeth.
Place and remove matrix retainers for alloy and composite restorations.
Take impressions and bite registrations.
Clean and polish coronal surfaces of teeth to remove stains, apply fluoride treatment.