How To Become A Certified Dental Assistant In BC And Canada

Are you passionate about helping people and looking for a fast entrance into the workplace in British Columbia? If so, then a career in Dental Assisting is what you should consider. Now, what is lingering in your mind is, how do you become a Certified Dentist’s Assistant? We have the answer for you here.

Dr. Pauline Imai, who is an experienced and dentist will be sharing her knowledge and expertise on the dental career. Apart from this, she will also be describing the pathway to becoming a Certified Dentist Assistant for someone who wants to pursue this career in British Columbia.

DA in British Columbia and the rest of Canada

The services DAs may provide to their patients and the dental assisting profession, in general, can vary for each province in Canada. This is because some areas are self-regulated with their association or college, the provincial dentist regulatory authority regulates some, and some lack a regulatory body.

Dr. Imai recommends visiting the respective regulatory authority’s website in that province, to learn more. If you want to know more about this profession in Canada, here is a quick overview.

The College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC) regulates Certified Dentist Assistants (CDA) in British Columbia. The following are the post-graduate module designations in BC:

  • Orthodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Radiography
  • Sedation assistant

Please review the Guide to CDA Services to learn more about the services that Certified Dentist Assistants can provide to their patients legally. It is also essential to meet the continuing competency requirements in British Columbia. Apart from that, you should renew your registration with the CDSBC. Make sure to check out and learn more about the needs of the legal continuing competency here.

RDAs are self-regulated in Alberta. Apart from that, they have their regulatory authority known as the College of Alberta Dental Assistants. There are two post-graduate module designations in Alberta. These are orthodontic and preventive dentistry. Of the two, preventive dentistry allows RDAs to perform scale teeth up and periodontal screening, and 4 mm subgingivally. Certified Dentist Assistants registered with the CDSBC may also be registered with the College of Alberta Dental Assistants under the Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

Saskatchewan Dental Assisting Association registers and licenses them in Saskatchewan. Please also note that this is the only province in Canada where you are allowed as a DA is allowed to place and finish amalgam restoration. RDAs may also assist with implants, place and remove gingival retraction cord, and even insert and carve amalgam restoration. The NDAANDAACE or the orthodontic and dentist anesthesia assistant module designation is also offered in Saskatchewan.

DAs are registered under the Manitoba Dental Association in the Manitoba province. Orthodontics and scaling are offered as post-graduate designations in this province.

A provincial authority does not register Quebec and Ontario. Ontario has a professionals authority under the banner of Ontario Dental Assisting Association. However, its membership is not mandatory, and you can choose to register voluntarily. This association certifies treatment coordinators, receptionists, and DAs. In Quebec, they only have chair-side assistants.

The provincial dentist boards regulate the Yukon Territories, Labrador, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. DAs with post-graduate education are allowed to scale teeth in New Brunswick, which makes it the third province to allow so.

To compare the legal skills of CDAs, check out the CDA’s Legal Scope of Practice by Province as of 2016.

Steps towards the Dentist Assistant Certification in British Columbia

If you want to become a Certified Dentist Assistant in British Columbia, there are several steps you must complete. These steps are as follows:

Step 1: Graduate from NDAEB which stands for National Dental Assisting Examining and a CDSBC that is approved to issue an assisting program.

Step 2: Take the NDAEB written exam and pass it. For you to be registered or licensed to practice as a dental assistant, you are required to provide a certificate indicating you passed the NDAEB exam. This is necessary for Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. For informative handbook, sample exam questions, exam dates, and application, please visit the NDAEB website.

Please note that if you are a graduate from a program that is not accredited by the CDAC, you must take and pass a clinical practice exam by the NDAEB.

Note: You must also pass the NDAED Clinical Practice Exam if you are a graduate from a (CDAC) program that is not accredited. Find more information here.

Step 3: Register with the British Columbia College of Dental Surgeons. For required documents and application, visit the CDSBC website.

Step 4: Register as a member of the CDABC (Certified Dental Assistants of BC). For liability insurance, continuing education courses, job employment board, and other resources, visit the CDABC website.

CDA Career Opportunities

Most Certified Dentists Assistants work with dentists who have solo general practices or dental office according to Dr. Imia. Those with post-graduate education may work in oral maxillofacial specialty, prosthodontic, or orthodontic practices. One Maple Ridge dentist has stated that In British Columbia, the average hourly pay for CDAs can be $25.70.