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Dental Assistant Certification

Understanding the path to a dental assistant career starts by understanding the different ways that assistants are certified and classified. The discussion that follows pertains specifically to the guidelines mandated by the North Carolina Dental Board.

There are two categories of dental assistants: DAI and DAII (DA1 and DA2). The state of North Carolina does not expressly certify or classify assistants as DAI or DAII’s, but the qualifications, training, and experience of a dental assistant is recognized by an employer as falling within one of these classifications.

A DAI is any dental assistant who is not a DAII. All graduates of Sunrise are DAI’s with greatly expanded skills and are well positioned to quickly earn DAII status. There are certain baseline qualifications one must possess in order to be considered a DAII, and there are different pathways for reaching this milestone.

The training program at the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting prepares students to earn DAII status by following one of the paths laid out by the NC Dental Board. The requirements are:

  • A 3-hour course in sterilization and infection control
  • A 3-hour course in dental office emergencies
  • CPR certification

Each of these requirements is met during the Sunrise dental assisting program. The fourth requirement is:

  • “seven hours of instruction in the production and use of dental x-rays and an education program of not less than seven hours in clinical dental radiology.”

This requirement is met by taking Sunrise’s dental radiology course, followed by successfully passing the final exam, which qualifies dental assistants to take radiographs.

With these 4 criteria met, a dental assistant must complete 3,000 hours, or roughly two years, of chair side dental assisting to be officially considered a DAII. However, prior to completion of this two-year period, the assistant is “allowed to perform the functions of a Dental Assistant II under the direct control and supervision of a licensed dentist.”1

What this means is that any student who completes both the Sunrise dental assisting program as well as the dental radiology course is, in effect, a DAII upon graduation—provided, of course that assistant is working under the “direct control and supervision of a licensed dentist.” In other words, Sunrise graduates meet all DAII requirements in the typical private practice setting.

If you are ready to begin your dental assisting career, the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting can put you on the fast track to professional achievement at the highest level. Contact us to learn more about our programs and find out how you can get started!

1 http://www.ncdentalboard.org/dental_assisting.htm

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