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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Maine: The Dental Assistant Schools in Maine are A Good Place to Start

Maine sets standards for dental assistants high. Maine dental assistants can perform basic supportive functions without licensing. However, many functions do require state licensing. In some cases, two licenses will be required: one to perform dental radiography, the other to carry out expanded functions. Board rule describes allowable duties for each category of dental assistant. Certification (a national voluntary process) allows for a scope of practice slightly beyond that of an uncredentialed dental assistant. A far greater scope of practice, however, is afforded a dental assistant who has Maine EFDA licensing.

The foundation for practice is a high school diploma or GED. A person must be at least 18 to be licensed as an Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) or a Dental Radiographer. The foundation for practice is a high school diploma or GED. Formal education in dental assisting may or may not result in an academic degree. Some individuals choose one-year certificate programs or two-year associate degree programs.

Select a Maine Dental Assistant Topic:

Licensure as a Dental Radiographer in Maine

In order to be licensed as a dental radiographer, a person must pass a Board-approved examination. A dental assistant can be licensed on the basis of the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) examination or the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination; the latter is a more comprehensive examination that includes the RHS as one of its components. The RHS and CDA are under the banner of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

A person can also be licensed on the basis of a radiography course completed through a program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, provided that it included an examination.

Licensure as an Expanded Function Dental Assistant

A prospective CDA will need to obtain a dental assisting certificate from the Dental Assisting National Board (http://www.danb.org/) unless he or she is licensed as a dental hygienist or is credentialed as an EFDA by another U.S. state or Canadian jurisdiction. DANB certification is a multi-step process. It will entail accruing significant experience as a dental assistant, except in cases where the person has pursued dental assisting education through a CODA-accredited program. Maine currently has one CODA-accredited dental assisting program. There are accredited programs in most states; some boast many. Maine’s program is associate’s level; some programs are significantly shorter and result in a certificate. A student can expect at least 300 hours of externship in either instance. Externship can facilitate career placement.

The prospective EFDA will also need to document completion of a Maine-approved EFDA program. The program may be CODA-accredited or may be judged equivalent. A Maine CDA can achieve the higher credential after completing about eight credit hours of additional coursework.

The following are among the tasks an EFDA may carry out under direct supervision: placing periodontal dressings; applying pit and fissure sealants, topical fluorides, and supragingival desensitizing agents; and using a digital caries detector to record information for dentist interpretation.

The Expanded Function Dental Assistant License Application Process

Application forms for Expanded Function Dental Assistant and Dental Radiographer can be downloaded from the website of the Maine Board of Dental Practice (http://www.maine.gov/dental/licensure/forms.html).

EFDA applicants will include certification from their expanded function training program; a form is included in the application packet. They will also include documentation of CDA certification (or dental hygienist licensing).

Dental Radiographer applicants will include documentation of radiography coursework or testing.

Applicants are asked to read the applicable statutes and rules; links can be found in the application packets. Applicants must complete the Maine Board of Dental Examiners jurisprudence examination. There is a separate jurisprudence examination for dental radiographer and EFDA license types. In each case, the required document is included in the application packet. The minimum score is 90% for EFDAs, 85% for radiographers.

Applicants must also perform self-queries of the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). They can visit the NPDB website at http://www.npdb.hrsa.gov/index.jsp or call 800-767-6732.

The EFDA application and licensing fee each total $80. A Dental Radiographer applicant pays a $40 application fee and $100 license fee.

In either case, there is a $21 fee for the criminal records check (if applicable). Applicants who have lived in other states during the prior ten years are asked to provide background record checks from their own state(s) of residence.

Applicants who have held professional licenses are required to submit license verification.

Out-of-state EFDAs who have been in practice for three years may be licensed without examinations but will need to take the state jurisprudence examination and demonstrate current CPR certification.

Currently, EFDAs and dental radiographers renew their Maine licenses every five years.

Earning Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Certification in Maine

A dental assistant can be DANB-certified as a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by meeting prerequisite requirements and passing a three-part examination. The candidate can enroll in a CODA-accredited program or accrue 3,500 hours. The candidate will take the RHS (which serves the dual function of meeting Maine dental radiographer requirements). He or she will also pass the Infection Control (ICE) and General Chairside Assisting (GC) examinations. The RHS and ICE can be taken at any stage; only the GC has prerequisites.

Having the CDA allows a Maine dental assistant to carry out a limited number of additional duties, such as placing temporary fillings during emergency circumstances. Because it facilitates earning the EFDA, it is a step toward taking on many other duties.

Additional Information

Licensing information can be obtained from the Maine State Board of Dental Examiners. The Board can be reached by telephone at (207) 287-3333 or by email at 'dental.board at maine.gov'. Statutes and rules are available online (http://www.maine.gov/dental/statutes-rules/statutes-rules.html)

The Dental Assisting National Board has provided discussion of Maine scope of practice (http://www.danb.org/Meet-State-Requirements/State-Specific-Information/Maine.aspx).