In 2023, states in the U.S. have expanded function designations and instituted other changes that affect dental assistants, according to the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) fall 2023 “State of the States” report.
State legislative and regulatory changes were made from March to July 2023.
Changes by state
Effective July 10, 2023, licensed dental therapists can supervise dental assistants for functions under direct or general supervision. Also, the rule permits dental assistants to take final digital impressions for any activating orthodontic appliance or fixed or removable prosthesis under direct supervision.
On June 28, 2023, Senate Bill 00009 was amended to recognize a radiation health and safety competency assessment administered by a Connecticut Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited dental education program for a dental assistant to qualify to perform radiography. This was in addition to existing recognition of DANB’s Radiation Health and Safety exam. Furthermore, the law requires the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine to develop the competency assessment.
On June 15, 2023, SB 310 was signed into law establishing education, work experience, training, and examination requirements to receive an expanded function dental assistant license. This included a work-experience pathway that includes passage of DANB’s certified dental assistant exam. Furthermore, the law authorizes expanding the function of dental assistants to perform placement and finishing of restorations like amalgams and composites, final impressions, cementation of permanent restorations, and additional expanded functions.
Signed into law on July 27, 2023, and effective July 1, 2025, House Bill 3223 requires a new framework for dental assisting exams, including the following:
- Permitting the Oregon Board of Dentistry to require dental assistant certification exams that meet outlined requirements
- Specifying that the board may recognize exams offered by a CODA-accredited dental education program in the state, an entity in the state approved by the ADA’s Continuing Education Recognition program, or comparable exams from an entity approved by the board
- Providing that recognized exams must be offered in simple language in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese
- Specifying that only one exam per type of dental assistant certification may be required
Additionally, the law requires that the board convene a committee to advise on the workforce shortage and specifies that a majority of committee members must have dental assistant experience.
Effective March 1, 2023, new administrative rules established a new designation for expanded function dental auxiliaries, and DANB certified dental assistant certification is among the required training. The rules, which were implemented under emergency rulemaking, are effective through March 1, 2024, or until permanent rules are promulgated, whichever comes first.
A rule issued April 14, 2023, changed the supervision level from “indirect” to “general” under which dental assistants may perform dental radiography. Also, the rule clarified that any board-approved course in dental radiography must contain an exam or competency assessment.