Expanded functions dental assistants (or EFDAs) are an important part of dental practices, performing duties that include patient chair and administrative work. Depending on the state, EFDAs may have other titles, such as registered dental assistants with expanded functions (RDAEF) or expanded duty dental assistants. Also depending on the state, there may be one or several levels of certification for expanded functions dental assistants.
Typically, expanded functions dental assistants prepare the treatment rooms or operating rooms before procedures. After reviewing patient records, they help the patients feel comfortable and often are responsible for taking and developing x-rays. During oral surgery and routine checkups, an EFDA gives technical assistance to the dentist, such as applying anesthesia or pain medication. Patient interaction may include reviewing dental history, addressing concerns, suggesting treatments, and convincing patients of the importance of follow-up appointments. After an appointment, the EFDA is responsible for restocking supplies, cleaning up and sanitizing the room, and preparing it for the next patient. It is important for expanded functions dental assistants to be familiar with and comply with OSHA, CDC, and HIPPA regulations.
Expanded functions dental assistants are required to have state certification, and the guidelines for obtaining that certification vary from state to state. Generally, a high school diploma or equivalent is needed. Additionally, EFDAs are required to have up-to-date radiology certification in their state, and many employers prefer at least a year of EFDA experience in addition to these certifications. Depending on state regulations and employer preference, additional certifications and schooling may be required.
Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) Tasks
- Clean and polish coronal surfaces of teeth to remove stains, apply fluoride treatment.
- Assist dentist during dental treatment procedures.
- Take impressions and bite registrations.
- Fit preliminary crowns for adjustments, place temporary restorative material in teeth.
- Place and remove matrix retainers for alloy and composite restorations.