Dental assisting laws, rules changed in these U.S. states

Dental Assistant 2

Recently, states in the U.S. made a new unlicensed dental auxiliary designation and instituted other changes that affect dental assistants, according to the Dental Assisting National Board's (DANB) spring 2024 State of the States report.

State legislative and regulatory changes were made from August 2023 to March 2024.

Changes by state

District of Columbia

Effective March 1, 2024, new rules established a level 3 dental assistant category in which assistants are authorized to perform coronal polishing, sealant functions, and glucose testing. This new category recognizes DANB's certified dental assistant (CDA) and certified preventive functions dental assistant (CPFDA) certifications. Other rule changes include authorized level 1 dental assistants can now apply topical fluoride, and required applicants for all three levels of assistants must pass the District of Columbia Dental Assistants Law Examination.


Effective October 2, 2023, a new rule created an unlicensed dental auxiliary (UDA) designation and outlines their duties and clarifies circumstances in which a dental therapist may delegate to a UDA. Also, the rule introduced a basic life support and advanced cardiovascular life support certification requirement for registered dental assistants (RDAs), established a process for them to retake the Michigan RDA exam upon failure, and established a pathway for RDA licensure by endorsement for applicants with Canadian dental assisting licenses.


Effective September 11, 2023, the state dental board issued rules to establish requirements for new expanded duty permits that a dental assistant may earn. They may now earn phlebotomy and venipuncture and elder care and public health permits. Also, the rules amended the list of dental assisting-prohibited functions. The education and training requirements for existing permits are as follows:

  • Radiation safety
  • Coronal polishing and topical fluoride
  • Sealants
  • Monitoring and assisting in administration of nitrous oxide
  • Assisting a dentist with an anesthesia permit

South Dakota

In August 2023, a rule changed the level of supervision from direct to indirect supervision by a dentist for a RDA with a permit to administer nitrous oxide inhalation analgesia.


In January 2024, rules were issued that make a series of amendments for dentists administering anesthesia. In addition, the new rules clarify requirements for basic life support, establish a requirement that dental anesthesia assistants must complete two hours of approved health equity training every three years, and clarify that an anesthesia monitor cannot also perform dental assisting tasks during general anesthesia administration.

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