3 Steps to Getting X Ray Certified for Dental Assisting

Patient receiving a dental x ray

Dental X rays are images of the teeth that offer insight into a patient’s overall health and are just as important as regular dental cleanings. As a dental assistant, having the ability to perform dental X rays is a skill that will benefit both you and your patients. 

Without dental X rays, cavities, impacted teeth, or tooth decay could be missed. While obtaining an X ray certification for a dental assistant might seem complicated, it is simple. You only need to complete a 32-hour course to get your dental assistant X ray certification. 

1. Register for a Board-Approved Radiation Safety Course

The first thing to do to become X ray certified is to register for a board-approved radiation safety course. Depending on your chosen method, you can take a radiation safety course online or in person. 

Before registering for a board-approved radiation safety course, you must have the title of unlicensed dental assistant, registered dental assistant, or registered dental assistant in extended functions. Before registering for the exam, you are required to have the following:

  • 8-hour infection control
  • CPR certification
  • 6 months of dental office work experience

2. Study to Learn How to Take X Rays as a Dental Assistant

Once registered for your radiation safety course, you must study for the exam. Throughout the radiation course, you will undergo a 32-hour course to prepare to take X rays and understand them. 

Many programs are designed for you to study at home and take your official exam online. You must learn to understand the proper dental X ray prep and steps when studying for your exam.

The positioning of the tube head angles and sensors will significantly affect the diagnosis of your patient, which is why it is essential to understand proper positioning. While you might learn how to give a dental X ray properly, it can take years to perfect the process. 

3. Train for and Complete the Radiation Safety Course

To legally take X rays as a dental assistant in California, you must take the radiation safety X ray course. This course will consist of the following:

  • A lecture component
  • A laboratory component, where you take X rays on manikins
  • A clinical part, where you must provide your own patients to take their X rays

The training is 32 hours, with 8 lectures, 12 hours of lab work, and 12 hours of clinical. There will also be a practical exam for the lab and clinical part and a written exam for the didactic piece. Depending on where you take your course, you may need to supply your own materials and supplies.

How Do You Study for Dental X-Ray Certification?

When studying how to get X ray certified for dental assisting, you must not only learn written information, but you must physically practice performing dental X-rays on manikins. 

Throughout the X-ray safety course, you will practice a laboratory component, which will be helpful for you to pass your exam. You must study the reasons to get dental X-rays done and the types of dental X-rays you must perform. 

How Long Does It Take to Perform Dental X Rays?

It entirely depends on the number of teeth and type of X ray to determine how long the X ray will take. However, it should not take any longer than 30 minutes to complete a dental X ray. 

An X ray of a single tooth may only take a few minutes, but an X ray of the whole mouth series may take up to 30 minutes or sometimes longer. 

Where Do I Get X Ray Certified?

You can learn how to get X ray certified for dental assisting at the Howard Healthcare Academy. 

The Howard Healthcare Academy’s radiation safety course is a 32-hour course, offering education on several topics:

  • X ray safety
  • How to set up, take, process, and mount X rays for patients
  • Perform radiation safety procedures on manikins and human subjects
  • Proper techniques to handle digital and traditional X rays
  • Dental definitions and terms
  • Learn everything you need to know about X ray safety

When learning how to get X ray certified for dental assisting online, you will participate in an online lecture, practice on a mannequin head, and perform an exam to put your skills to the test. Once completed, you will receive an X ray certification certificate that will remain valid indefinitely. 

Final Thoughts

When learning how to get X ray certified for dental assisting might seem overwhelming, obtaining your x-ray certification is straightforward. 

Discover what it takes to perform x-rays in a dental office by enrolling in the Howard Healthcare Academy Radiation Safety Course Certification Program. Learn more and register today!

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