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Become a Dental Assistant in New Hampshire: A guide to Dental Assistant schools in New Hampshire

Most states set minimum standards for dental assistants who carry out certain types of duty. New Hampshire has many different sets of standards for dental assistants who perform various functions. A particular dental assistant may need to meet just a couple of these -- or many.

Prospective New Hampshire dental assistants should be aware that while there while there is no requirement to attend an accredited school or achieve national certification -- indeed, there are no state mandates, for the most basic types of dental assisting duty -- the path to certain advanced qualifications will be shorter for those who meet discipline-specific standards. Moreover, experience can be easier to attain qualifying experience if one has an accredited education.

In order to be authorized for restorative functions (a very advanced duty), a dental assistant will need to be credentialed as an Expanded Duty Dental Auxiliary. The EFDA is dependent on certification or accreditation status. Dental assistants can pursue a number of other advanced qualifications individually, however.

Select a New Hampshire Dental Assistant Topic:

CODA-Accredited Education/ Qualifying as a Graduate Dental Assistant

One status, Graduate Dental Assistant, is available only to graduates of programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

New Hampshire has just one CODA-accredited dental assisting program (http://www.danb.org/en/The-Dental-Community/Dental-Assistants/Dental-Assisting-Programs/CODA-Accredited-Dental-Assisting-Programs.aspx). Some dental assistants who do want CODA-accredited education may be better served by enrolling in a program in a neighboring state; Massachusetts has a number of programs.

Qualifying to Perform Individual Expanded Functions

Eighteen is the minimum age for qualification. Some qualifications are prerequisites for others. Candidates must complete approved courses. According to state administrative code, a person can petition for acceptance of a course that has not previously been reviewed and approved.The Dental Assisting National Board has stated that qualification in 1) preliminary inspection of the oral cavity and 2) infection control is a requirement for dental assistants who carry out specific duties in a public health setting.

In order to be qualified for preliminary inspection of oral cavity, a dental assistant must have six hours of coursework. The training must cover the following: oral anatomy, taking dental and medical histories, taking vital signs, and charting restorations. If the dental assistant does not have Graduate Dental Assistant status or Certified Dental Assistant status, he or she must accrue 400 hours of experience before beginning the course.

A dental assistant seeking certification in dental radiology will need 16 hours of coursework through a continuing education provider; this is to comprise 8 hours of lecture and 8 hours of lab. If the dental assistant does not have GDA status, he or she will need 400 clinical experience hours before taking the course. The student will have training in various types of film used in dental radiography. Additionally, training will include the following:

  • Radiation safety and asepsis
  • Bisecting and parallel techniques
  • Dark room procedures
  • Radiographic landmarks, mounting, interpretation

The individual will need to pass the Radiation Health and Safety examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board. (This may or may be taken as part of the qualification process for Certified Dental Assistant.)

In order to qualify to do preliminary crown and bridge restorations, a dental assistant will need to complete a course that includes provisional restoration anatomy, occlusal requirements, and cementation. Again, 400 hours of experience is required of non-GDA students.

A dental assistant who seeks certification in orthodontic functions will need to complete an eight hour course that includes required topics, for example, placement and removal of separators, and reparation of teeth for bonding. If the person is not a GDA or CDA, he or she will need 400 hours of dental assisting experience.

A dental assistant who will be monitoring patients who have had nitrous oxide must hold CPR certification. He or she must complete a six-hour course. Qualification will depend on successful examination. The 400-hour experience requirement applies to all who are neither CDAs or GDAs. A non-GDA must be authorized for initial inspection of the oral cavity.

The Board also offers qualifications in dental sealants and in-office teeth whitening. Each is dependent on eight hours of coursework that includes specific content delineated in administrative code. The course will include laboratory experience. A dental assistant who is not a GDA will need 400 clinical experience hours, to be completed before training.

The coronal polishing certificate requires 400 hours of clinical experience of non-GDAs. It is dependent on completion of an approved course. Those without GDA status will qualify in preliminary inspection of the oral cavity.

Becoming an Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary

A New Hampshire Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary certificate can qualify a professional to place and contour direct restorations. New Hampshire has set the clinical experience requirement at 4,500 hours. The dental assistant must have Basic Life Support certification at the healthcare provider level (BLS-HCP). He or she must secure the recommendation of a licensed dentist. The EFDA certificate will be issued after successful completion of an EFDA course.

A dental assistant who does not meet requirements for Graduate Dental Assistant (e.g. has not graduated from a CODA-accredited program) will need to achieve national certification before he or she can be state-certified as an Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary. Eligibility for the national credential will come slightly sooner. A dental assistant who has 3,500 hours of dental assisting experience can complete testing requirements for national CDA.

If the dental assistant is not a GDA, he or she will need to meet New Hampshire requirements for initial inspection of the oral cavity.

The EFDA application and certificate fee is $25.

Additional Information

Information is available from the New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners (http://www.nh.gov/dental).