What is an Expanded Duty Dental Assistant? Explore Roles & Responsibilities

Dental assistant explaining paperwork to a patient

Dental assistant and receptionist reviewing paperwork

An expanded duty dental assistant, also known as an expanded functions dental assistant (EFDA), is a certified dental assistant who has undergone additional training and schooling to earn the licensure and skills that enables them to perform specific dental procedures.

EFDAs can perform specific dental procedures that you would expect a dentist to perform, but they can only do so under their supervision.

To become an EFDA, you must become a registered dental assistant before taking on additional training, certifications, and responsibilities.

What Are the Expanded Duties of a Dental Assistant?

The expanded functions dental assistant duties include conducting preliminary evaluation of the patient’s oral health, cording retraction of gingiva for impression procedures, sizing and fitting endodontic master points and accessory points, placing, contouring, finishing, and adjusting all direct restorations, among others.

In addition, some other dental assistants’ expanded duties include other procedures authorized by regulations adopted by the board.

You can become an expanded duty dental assistant after you have become a registered dental assistant (RDA). You must complete the registered dental assistant expanded functions (RDAEF) program to perform more expansive duties as a dental assistant.

The expanded duty dental assistant program at the Howard Academy is a 410-hour course, and you can take the course according to your schedule. To qualify for the EFDA program, you must have the following:

  • A current and valid RDA license
  • CPR certification
  • Professionally liability and malpractice insurance
  • Completed board-approved pit and fissure sealant course
  • Hepatitis-B vaccine clearance or evidence of immunity

What is the Difference Between EFDA and a Normal Dental Assistant

The main reason that a typical dental assistant and an EFDA differ is that an EFDA can perform more advanced duties than a normal dental assistant under the supervision of a dentist.

A standard dental assistant primarily helps with:

  • Patient care
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Processing billing and payments
  • Sterilizing equipment
  • Instructing patients on proper dental hygiene practices
  • Passing equipment to dentists during procedures
  • Processing lab samples and X-rays

What can an expanded duties dental assistant do? EFDAs can perform the same duties as an RDA but have additional responsibilities. Expanded function dental assistant duties can be performed under a dentist’s supervision, such as taking final impressions for permanent indirect restorations, adjusting and cementing permanent indirect restorations, and more.

Besides the different job functions, the certification and training are also different. To become an EFDA, you must be a certified RDA first.

Can EFDAs Do Fillings?

Yes, EFDAs can do fillings. One of the primary roles of an EFDA includes placing and contouring fillings after the dentist has prepared the tooth. While the EFDA is not certified to prepare the tooth for a filling, they can assist once the dentist has prepared the tooth to be filled.

Once the dentist has prepared the tooth for the filling, the EFDA uses restorative materials to place, sculpt, and polish the filling.

Then, they must check the bite occlusion and floss the area well. Once everything is completed, the dentist will do a final check to ensure the filling is done correctly before the patient leaves.

What is the Highest Paid Dental Assistant?

An expanded duty dental assistant salary is typically more than an RDA’s salary because they have taken on more responsibilities and can perform additional functions in a dental office.

It is important to remember that your location can influence how much you earn within your career, as dental assistants working in a metropolitan area usually make the most when compared to rural areas.

Why Do Dentists Use an Expanded Duty Dental Assistant?

While many patients often assume a dentist will do their entire dental procedure alone, dentists need assistance to assure things run smoothly in the dental office. EFDAs are intensely utilized in dental practice for various reasons.

The dentist cannot help multiple patients simultaneously, which is where an EFDA becomes necessary. The EFDAs can complete a filling for a dentist so the dentist can begin treatment for another patient, allowing patients’ appointments to be on time.

Some patients do not understand the role of an EFDA. They should understand that an EFDA is a professional with expansive knowledge within the dental field.

How to Get EFDA Certification

Now that you know what an expanded duty dental assistant is, you understand more about their job responsibilities and what it takes to become an EFDA.

If you are an RDA looking to take on more responsibilities and are looking for higher pay, the Howard Healthcare Academy can help. At Howard Healthcare Academy, we offer an EFDA course that is California board-approved.

An EFDA is a rewarding and respected career. Contact us today to register for the expanded functions dental assistant course at the Howard Healthcare Academy.

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