• Find A Program

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Maine

The Maine Board of Dental Examiners (MBDE) regulates dental assistants in the state, recognizing three different designations:

Dental assistants perform basic, supportive dental procedures as described in Maine’s Dental Practice Act while under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist. These dental assistants are not required by state law to meet any education or training requirements, however employers may prefer to hire job applicants with some level of education and training in the field.

[featured_school_simple]

DANB Certified Dental Assistants are qualified to perform additional functions outlined in the Maine Dental Practice Act while under the general supervision of a licensed dentist, including but not limited to placing temporary fillings and removing excess cement from tooth surfaces.

Expanded Function Dental Assistants (EFDA) perform even more expanded functions as defined in the Maine Dental Practice Act while under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist. These expanded functions include but are not limited to supragingival polishing, applying topical fluorides, and placing and removing periodontal dressings.

Technical colleges, private universities, dental schools and online schools offer dental assistant programs designed to help prepare dental assistants at all levels. Education, experience and examination requirements differ at each level.

Becoming a DANB Certified Dental Assistant

Working as a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) involves becoming nationally certified through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). This is often the level dental assistants in Maine choose, because the national certification they receive is universally recognized in all states.

Search Dental Assistant Programs

You know you’re ready to make the move to become an administrative or clinical dental assistant. All you need is the training to make it happen. Learn more about flexible training options and the cost of programs in your area.

Sponsored

Three pathways qualify a candidate to take the CDA exam in Maine:

Pathway 1

AND

Pathway 2

  • Graduate from high school/obtain a general equivalency diploma,

AND

  • Gain a minimum of 3,500 hours of approved work experience,

AND

Pathway 3

  • Held a CDA from the DANB in the past, or graduated from a CODA-accredited DDS or DME program, or graduated with a dental degree from a foreign university,

AND

Prospective CDAs who meet one of the above pathway requirements may apply to take the CDA exam via this application. The exam has three sections, and candidates must pass all three:

  • General Chairside Assisting (GC)- candidates are given 1 hour 30 minutes to complete 120 multiple-choice questions
  • Infection Control (ICE)- candidates are given 1 hour 15 minutes to complete 100 multiple-choice questions
  • Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) – candidates are given 1 hour 15 minutes to complete 100 multiple-choice questions

The CDA exam is administered at Pearson Vue testing centers. Test centers in Maine and nearby states include:

  • Westbrook
  • Bangor
  • South Burlington, VT
  • Concord, NH
  • Boston, MA

On exam day, test takers will receive scores as they complete their examinations. Official results will be mailed to candidates by the DANB within four weeks.

Once certification from the DANB has been earned, this type of dental assistant is automatically qualified to work in Maine as a CDA.

Becoming an Expanded Function Dental Assistant in Maine

The Expanded Function Dental Assistant designation carries more responsibilities, so there are more requirements that a candidate must fulfill. They include:

  • Be at least 18 years old,

AND

  • Hold current CPR certification,

AND

  • Have a high school diploma or GED,

AND

  • Meet ONE of these requirements:
    • Completed a formal education program in EFDA approved by the MBDE at a CODA-accredited program, and hold CDA certification or a Registered Dental Hygienist license,

OR

  • Hold a credential as an expanded function dental assistant in another state or Canadian province that has standards acceptable to the MBDE, and three years of practice experience under that credential

All candidates for EFDA in Maine must pass the MBDE jurisprudence exam (which is included within the MBDE EFDA Certification Application). Along with the application, candidates must send the following to the MBDE:

  • $80 application fee via check or money order to Maine Board of Dental Examiners
  • $80 registration fee via check or money order to Maine Board of Dental Examiners
  • Certification of completion from EFDA program
  • Verification of any other state licenses/certification held
  • Recent passport-sized photograph, which must be forwarded to the EFDA program for completion and have the program’s seal affixed to it, then returned to the MBDE
  • Another recent passport-sized photograph must be affixed to the application and notarized
  • A criminal history background check must be completed from all states the candidate has lived in for the past 10 years. Instructions are included in the application.
  • Proof of current CPR certification

Mail everything to State of Maine Board of Dental Examiners, 143 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0143.

Dental Radiographer Requirement for All Maine Dental Assistants

All Maine dental assistants, regardless of their level of practice, must receive certification as a dental radiographer. Such certification allows dental assistants to legally operate dental x-ray technology and perform radiographic dental procedures. Requirements that must be met include:

  • Be 18 years of age or older,

AND

  • Hold current CPR certification,

AND

  • Hold a high school diploma/GED,

AND meet one of these requirements:

OR

OR

  • Complete an approved dental radiography course at a CODA-accredited dental school and compete a test in dental radiographic technique and safety at the school

All prospective dental radiographers must pass the MBDE jurisprudence exam (which is included within the Radiography License Application). Along with the completed application, send the following to MBDE:

  • Check or money order for $140 payable to Maine Board of Dental Examiners (covers application fee and registration for five years)
  • Proof of passing the DANB exam if using this to qualify
  • Official transcript showing completion of approved dental radiography courses if using this to qualify
  • Check/money order for $21 to MBDE for criminal background check
  • Copy of current CPR certification
  • Notarized copy of high school diploma
  • List of states in which candidate has lived for past 10 years (criminal background checks must be performed in all of them, and instructions are given within application)

Mail everything to State of Maine Board of Dental Examiners, 143 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0143.

Maintaining Dental Assistant Certification in Maine

Regardless of the credential or level of dental assisting obtained by a Maine dental assistant, certain steps must be taken to maintain the credential.

Dental Radiographer: Registration as a Dental Radiographer in Maine must be renewed every five years via this form. This renewal is not automatic, and may require that an applicant complete a course or exam in radiation health and safety, or an interview with the MBDE. This is left to the discretion of the MBDE. Additionally, CPR certification must be maintained.

Certified Dental Assistant: This DANB credential is valid for one year. A minimum of 12 continuing dental education (CDE) credits must be completed during that year. CDEs must relate directly to dental assistant practice, and may be in the form of online classes, 45-minute programs, and other formats listed within the DANB Recertification Requirements.

Expanded Function Dental Assistant: Certification with the state of Maine as an EFDA remains valid for five years. During those five years, an EFDA must complete 50 CDE hours. At least 40 of those hours must be in Category 1 CDE (this includes CDE that is directly related to dental assisting and are sponsored by organizations such as the American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation, and the American Medical Association. A more detailed explanation of Category 1 CDE may be found here). Additionally, CPR certification must be maintained.

Back to Top