Dental Assistant Registration
Kentucky does not issue a dental assistant license and no application process is required by the Board for someone to work in that capacity. Instead, assistants are only required to be registered by their employer dentist. As per 201 KAR 8:571, dental assistants are auxiliary staff who are deemed registered once their names are reported by the dentist when they renew their dental license every biennium. Therefore, dental assistants do not need to complete a registration; the responsibility to register DA's belongs to the dentist. However, the employer dentist is not required to register new assistants until the license renewal process at the end of every odd numbered year.
Kentucky defines Dental Assistant as "a person who is directly involved with the care and treatment of
a patient under the direct supervision of a dentist and performs reversible procedures delegated by a dentist licensed in the Commonwealth." Therefore, dental assistants may not perform any procedures that typically require the professional competence of a licensed dentist or licensed dental hygienist. This includes but is not limited to:
- The practice of dental hygiene or the use of instruments which remove deposits or accretions from the teeth
- Diagnosis of diseases, disorders, or conditions of the oral cavity
- Treatment planning and prescribing, or authorization for oral appliances
- Surgery or any other procedure that contributes to an irreversible alteration of the oral anatomy
- Administering injectable medication or anesthesia, unless otherwise authorized by law
Special titles or certifications such as Expanded Duties Dental Assistant (EDDA) or Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary (EFDA) are not specifically recognized under Kentucky law and do not directly confer any special privileges. However, any qualifying education an assistant received while earning such a title may be used to fulfill the expanded duty requirements.
Kentucky recognizes three expanded duties for dental assistants: coronal polishing, radiography, and intravenous access lines. Pursuant to state law, dental assistants can only perform these duties if they have the appropriate education and training. Although expanded duty training courses should be submitted for approval by the Board to ensure they qualify, dental assistants are not required to provide transcripts, certificates of completion, or other verification of training. Instead, the employer dentist must keep this documentation on file to be produced upon request. Failure on the part of the dental assistant to obtain the required training or of the employer dentist to properly document the training are grounds for disciplinary action.
To perform coronal polishing under the supervision of a licensed dentist, a registered dental assistant must complete an eight hour course from an educational institution accredited by the Council on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The following programs are pre-approved to offer qualifying coronal polishing courses:
- University of Louisville School of Dentistry
- University of Kentucky College of Dentistry
- Western Kentucky University Dental Hygiene Program
- Kentucky Community and Technical College System Dental Hygiene or Dental Assisting Programs
Courses offered by other education institutions should be submitted to the Board of approval. See Section 3 of 201 KAR8.571 for the complete coronal polishing requirements.
To take X-rays under the supervision of a licensed dentist, a registered dental assistant must complete a six hour course in dental radiography safety and four hours of instruction in dental radiographic technique. The radiographic technique requirement may be satisfied either by taking a four hour course or from completing four hours of in-office training provided under supervision of the dentist. See Section 4 of 201 KAR8.571 to read the radiography rule in its entirety.
Intravenous Access Lines
To start IV access lines under the supervision of a licensed dentist who holds a sedation or anesthesia permit, a registered dental assistant must complete a course approved by the Board that addresses patient safety techniques, anatomy and physiology, and techniques for starting and maintaining IV lines. See Section 5 of 201 KAR8.571 for more details.
Visit our Course Approval page to request approval of an expanded duties course or to see a list of already approved courses.