Expanded Function Dental Assisting Resources


This webpage provides valuable information on such topics as initiatives for expanding the scope of practice for dental auxiliaries, state laws regarding the use of dental assisting services, and the dramatic changes in the number and mix of personnel in the dental assisting workforce.


Iowa Dentist’s Willingness to Utilize Expanded Function Dental Auxiliaries. Iowa Dental Journal, October 2013

This study by Darling, Kanellis, McKernan and Damiano examines the feasibility of expanding the scope of practice for dental auxiliaries in order to increase the ability of Iowa citizens to receive dental services. Its findings support that increasing the number of procedures EFDAs may perform following appropriate training could improve access to care in Iowa.

Click here to read the article.


The Past and Future Evolution of the Dental Workforce Team. Journal of Dental Education, August 2012

This article by Dr. Eric Solomon reviews the dramatic changes in the number and mix of personnel in the dental workforce over the past 60 years. For example, the number of dental assistants has increased more than 400 percent since 1950, and first-year enrollment in accredited dental assisting programs has expanded by over 20 percent between 2010 – 2012. 

This article appears on the AAPD website with the permission of author Dr. Eric Solomon and the Journal of Dental Education.

Click here to read the article.


Dental Education: Evolving Student Trends. Journal of Dental Education, January 2012

Authors Woolfolk and Price summarize trends in the demographics of allied, pre-doctoral and advanced dental students in the United States over the past seventy-five years and review such efforts as legislative initiatives and public and privately funded programs to promote the racial/ethnic diversity of students. 

This article appears on the AAPD website with the permission of author Dr. Marilyn W. Woolfolk and the Journal of Dental Education

Click here to read the article.


ADA Synopsis of state laws regarding the use of Dental Assistants, 2011

This chart, developed by the ADA provides an overview of each state’s practice laws related to expanded functions/duties allowable for various levels of dental assisting certifications/qualifications. The chart includes expanded functions, certification requirements and supervision. The chart relates each state's job titles to the standardized DANB job titles for dental assisting.

Click here to download the chart.


Scope of Practice Legislative Examples, Connecticut, 2011

As states address the issue of scope of practice efforts on behalf of the hygiene community, state dental associations and other interested parties sometimes benefit from making a scope of practice request to their state's office of licensing and professional regulation. This is a regulatory process - not a legislative one. The following documents were presented to the Connecticut Practitioner Licensing and Investigations Section, Department of Public Health by the Connecticut Society of Pediatric Dentists (CSPD) in response to an effort put forth by the CT Dental Hygiene Association to broaden the scope of the practice of dental hygiene in the state. The CSPD developed two scope requests:

  • One in opposition to the scope of practice change proposed by the Connecticut Dental Hygienist Association (CDHA), which would allow for the implementation of a new model for the practice of dental hygiene called the Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner (ADHP) (available here), and
  • One which would increase the scope of practice for dental assistants in public health and private settings (available here).

Both documents contain information that is state specific and information that is relevant in any state. In order to obtain the background information helpful in constructing the requests, it is helpful to read and understand the state's oral health plan, which will allow you to address specific goals in the plan within the context of the scope request.


Executive Summary: Position Paper of the ADAA/DANB Alliance: Addressing a Uniform National Model for the Dental Assisting Profession, September 2005.

In November 2000, a joint committee of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), the national membership association for dental assistants, and the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB), the nationally recognized and accredited dental assisting testing and credentialing organization, initiated a four-phase study of dental assisting core competencies. The goal of the study was to rank dental assisting tasks from most basic to most complex and to classify these tasks into clearly delineated categories or task groupings, each associated with a pre-defined level of education, training, and experience. In classifying these tasks, the joint committee, known as the ADAA/DANB Alliance, sought to create a unified set of definitions related to dental assisting tasks, career levels, and educational/training/credentialing requirements and to lay the foundation for nationwide acceptance and recognition of a uniform national model for the dental assisting profession.

The ADAA/DANB Alliance discusses the findings of this study and the implications of those findings in the Position Paper of the ADAA/DANB Alliance Addressing a Uniform National Model for the Dental Assisting Profession.1 This Executive Summary will outline the issues addressed in the ADAA/DANB Alliance’s position paper, including the factors affecting current dental assisting practice, the findings of the DANB/ADAA Study to Define and Rank Core Competencies for Dental Assistants, and the implications of the study’s findings as they relate to the profession of dental assisting, the delivery of oral healthcare services, and the health and welfare of the public. (See Appendix A for the Table of Contents of the complete Position Paper of the ADAA/DANB Alliance Addressing a Uniform National Model for the Dental Assisting Profession.)

Click here to download the executive summary of the position paper.

Click here to download the full position paper


Current Initiatives for Expanded Duties for Dental Assistants, 2010

This PowerPoint presentation contains an overview of DANB as well as employment statistics for dental assistants. Additionally, it presents an overview of state trends related to non-dentist dental professionals. The DANB model for the Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) is presented, including a history of the position, description of duties and an overview of the Colorado experience. According to the presentation, DANB believes that

  • Passing various state mid-level provider laws is not the only way, and likely not the best way to address access to quality oral healthcare
  • A uniform national model for an expanded functions dental assistant is possible
  • Such a model will enhance Public protection
  • Dental assistant mobility and thus intrastate reciprocity Dental practice efficiency

Click here to download this PowerPoint presentation.


Additional Resources 

Dental Assisting National Board