Recent Rule Changes Related to Dental Assisting
At the October 2022 meeting, the Iowa Dental Board adopted rulemaking related to the practice of dental assisting in the state of Iowa. The notification of adoption was published as ARC 6673C in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin on November 16, 2022. The rule changes will be effective December 21, 2022. To view the new requirements for registration and practice as a dental assistant, please review the following chapters in Iowa Administrative (IAC) 650:
Below is a summary of some of the changes enacted by the Board.
- Updates to the definitions for supervision of dental assistants.
- Elimination of a formal application required to practice as a dental assistant trainee.
- Elimination of the age and high school diploma (or equivalent) requirements to practice as a dental assistant trainee or registered dental assistant.
- Updated requirements to train in dental radiography.
Board staff drafted a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist licensees, registrants and trainees to better understand the rule changes.
Eligibility for Registration
Effective December 21, 2022, to qualify to register as a dental assistant, a person must have training and/or education as a dental assistant that meets one of the following:
- Work in a dental office as a dental assistant trainee; or
- Have previous experience as dental assistant in another state within the previous five (5) years; or
- Be a graduate of an accredited dental assisting program approved by the Board;
A certificate of registration will identify the type of registration a dental assistant has received. One of the following designations will appear on a dental assistant’s renewal card.
- RDA - Registered Dental Assistant: Prohibited from taking dental radiographs (x-rays).
- QDA - Qualified/Registered Dental Assistants: Allowed to take dental radiographs (x-rays).
- XDA - Qualified/ Non-registered Dental Assistants: Allowed to take dental radiographs (x-rays).*
*Note: Applicants for a radiography qualification without registration (XDA) are only required to successfully complete the examination in dental radiography. An Iowa nursing license covers the remaining scope of practice and the other exams are not required.
Applicants for dental assistant registration are required to successfully complete the Board-approved examinations in the following areas:
- Infection control and hazardous materials.
- Iowa jurisprudence.
- Dental radiography. Note: Only required if the applicant intends to take dental x-rays when registered.
PLEASE NOTE: Applications are considered active for only 180 days from the date the application is received in the Board office. If an applicant has not supplied all requested documentation within 180 days, a new application and fee must be submitted before a license will be issued. If the applicant does not meet the requirements for a license or permit, the application will be considered incomplete.
To become a registered dental assistant, an individual must submit an application to the Board for review and approval. The application must meet the following requirements:
- Application completely filled out; all questions answered.
- Application fee paid.
- Completed training and/or education that meets one of the following:
- Worked in a dental office as a dental assistant trainee and achieved clinical competence as determined by the supervising dentist;
- Have prior dental assisting experience with licensed dentist in another state within the previous five (5) years; or
- Be a graduate of accredited dental assisting program.
- Successfully completed a Board-approved examination in the area of infection control/hazardous materials;
- Successfully completed a Board-approved examination in the area of Iowa jurisprudence;
- Successfully completed a Board-approved examination in the area of dental radiography examination, if applicable; and
- Evidence of current CPR certification (sponsored by a nationally recognized provider).