What is a Certified Dental Assistant?
Certified dental assistants (CDAs) are an essential member of the dental healthcare team. They assist the dentist, provide patient education and comfort, patient care procedures, and office administration services.
Certified dental assistants are employed in general dental offices, specialty practices such as children's specialist, orthodontics, or oral surgery. CDAs also practice in hospital dental clinics, the BC Cancer Agency, community health clinics, and residential care facilities for seniors and the disabled. Employment opportunities also exist in CDA education, research, sales and marketing of dental products, and dental insurance company administration.
However, not every dental assistant is certified. Only those that have completed approved training and are registered with the College of Dental Surgeons of BC can call themselves Certified Dental Assistants. Be sure to ask your dentist whether the dental assistants in his or her office are certified. If they are not, they may not have any training at all. You have a right to know whether the personnel providing your dental care and treatment have adequate training.
How are CDAs regulated?
A Guide to Certified Dental Assistant Services in BC
This document from the College of Dental Surgeons of BC explains how CDA services are governed under the CDSBC bylaws - as well as the conditions that must be in place in order to perform them.
- The services a CDA can perform will depend on the type of certification they hold and whether the service is considered a 'restricted activity', which means it poses a higher risk and can be performed only by a professional to whom government has granted authority.
- It is the dentist's responsibility to delegate only to a person they know is competetent to perform the service. It is the CDA's responsibility to provide only the services they have the knowledge, skills and competency to perform.
Please view the document to find out about practices that are not restricted, must be delegated by a dentist, or must be supervised by a dentist.
The document below outlines the legal scope of practice for certified dental assistants in each province (click to enlarge).