In our office different levels of dental professionals are practicing dentistry. All dental professionals must be licensed by the state in which they are providing care. To be eligible for licensure, dentists, dental hygienists and expanded function dental assistants (EFDA) must graduate from a dental school or vocational school that’s accredited by the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation. They must also continuously attend educational meetings and stay current with the most recent developments in the profession.
Dentists: Dental students can obtain either a Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS). DMD and DDS are equivalent degrees, and both programs consist of the similar four-year curricula. The first two years are comprised of fundamental sciences and pre-clinical instruction in classrooms and laboratories. In the final two years, students gain hands-on experience in dental clinics, treating patients under the direction of skilled dentists and teachers. In order to get their dental license they must pass Board examination that is comprised of academic and clinical tests.
Dental Hygienists: Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. Programs typically take 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Most dental hygiene programs also require applicants to complete prerequisites, which often include college-level courses. Specific requirements vary by school.
Dental Assistants: There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements and dental assistants learn how to do their jobs through on-the-job training. EFDA (expanded function dental assistant) is trained in placing restorations, coronally polishing teeth, placing dental sealants etc..
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