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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Missouri

The Missouri Dental Board recognizes two categories of dental assisting: the basic, entry-level dental assistant, and the expanded functions dental assistant.

Each category has its own allowable duties, with basic dental assistants allowed to perform simple, supportive dental procedures under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist; and expanded function dental assistants allowed to perform procedures that are more complex. Additionally, expanded function dental assistants may hold additional permits that allow them to perform restorative, orthodontic and fixed prosthodontics supportive services.

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No special certification or training is necessary in order to take dental x-rays or operate radiographic equipment in the state of Missouri. All dental assistants may legally perform these duties.

Becoming a Dental Assistant in Missouri

Basic Dental Assistant – The Missouri Dental Board does not mandate specialized education or training for basic, entry-level dental assistants. This level of dental assisting allows the dental assistant to perform simple, supportive dental procedures under a licensed dentist’s direct supervision.

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If, however, the dental assistant will be assisting in administering and monitoring nitrous oxide analgesia, certain requirements must be met:

  • The dental assistant must show completion of a formal, certified training course approved by the board and pass a Board-approved competency test in clinical and didactic training,

OR

  • The dental assistant must prove to the Board certification in another state to assist in administering and monitoring nitrous oxide, after completing the proper training and testing

AND

  • The dental assistant must obtain a permit from the Missouri Dental Board to assist and monitor nitrous oxide analgesia
    • Use the Application for a Permit to Assist the Administration of and Monitor Nitrous Oxide Analgesia-Dental Assistants
    • Include a $10 application fee via check/money order payable to the Missouri Dental Board
    • Attach a copy of a certificate that specifies nitrous oxide training and competency testing, including the course name, sponsor, date of course, and numbers of didactic and clinical hours, and documentation of competency testing
    • If applicable, attach a copy of certification from another state’s dental board in administration/monitoring of nitrous oxide analgesia
    • Mail the completed form and attachments to Missouri Dental Board, 3605 Missouri Blvd, P.O. Box 1367, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1367.

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant The next level of dental assisting recognized by the Missouri Dental Board is expanded functions dental assistant. This category of dental assisting allows the dental assistant to perform expanded functions under a licensed dentist’s direct supervision. Expanded functions permits are available in five different areas:

  • Restorative I
  • Restorative II
  • Orthodontics
  • Fixed Prosthodontics
  • Removable Prosthodontics

The following requirements must be met in order to obtain an expanded functions permit in Missouri:

  • Complete ONE of the following educational options:

  • Option 1: Graduate from a dental assisting program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and includes clinical and didactic competency testing in the expanded functions category in which a permit is sought, AND pass the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam.

    • CODA-accredited dental assisting education programs in Missouri are in the following cities:
      • Linn
      • Penn Valley
      • Forest Park
      • Brentwood
      • Springfield
    • The DANB’s CDA Exam is in three parts:
      • 120 multiple-choice questions on General Chairside Assisting
      • 100 multiple choice questions on Infection Control
      • 100 multiple-choice questions on Radiation Health and Safety
    • The CDA Exam is offered in these Missouri cities at Pearson Vue test centers:
      • Columbia
      • Louis
      • Springfield
      • Kansas City

  • Option 2: Hold DANB CDA certification (involves completing a CODA-accredited dental assisting program and passing the CDA exam) AND complete a Board- approved expanded functions training course (a list of courses and dates can be found at the Missouri Dental Association website)

  • Option 3: Pass the Missouri Test of Basic Dental Assisting Skills AND complete a Board- approved expanded functions training course.
    • The Missouri Test of Basic Dental Assisting Skills is administered through the DANB.
      • Complete the Exam Application Form
      • Include $200 fee via check or money order payable to the DANB
      • Mail the application and fees and any necessary documentation to Dental Assisting National Board, 444 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60611
      • Schedule the test at a Pearson Vue testing center in Missouri (located in Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis and Columbia)
      • Prepare for the exam, which consists of 133 multiple-choice questions in the following areas:
        • Oral Disease Prevention
        • Dental Materials
        • Medical Emergencies
        • Charts/Legal/Jurisprudence
        • Radiation Health and Safety
        • Infection Control
        • Tooth Morphology

  • ALL expanded function dental assistants must also hold current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification through the American Heart Association

  • ALL expanded function dental assistants must submit proof of meeting the educational requirements through one of the options above along with the correct expanded functions application form and fee to the Missouri Dental Board
    • For all expanded functions permits, use the Application for Expanded Functions Permits
    • Attach copy of BLS certification and proof of CDA certification, or proof of passing the Missouri Test of Basic Dental Assisting Skills and completion of expanded functions training course
    • Include the $10 permit fee per permit applied for, payable via check/money order to the Missouri Dental Board
    • Mail application, documentation and fee(s) to Missouri Dental Board, 3605 Missouri Blvd, P.O. Box 1367, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1367.

Maintaining Dental Assistant Certification and Permits in Missouri

CDA Certification

In order to maintain CDA certification, the DANB requires that all CDAS complete at least 12 continuing dental education credits each year. All CDE must be relevant to the practice of dental assisting in order to be applicable. CDAs may complete the following amounts and types of CDE:

  • Clinical Practice – at most, 12 CDEs during every two –year certification period
  • DANB and other dental related exams – at most, 12 CDEs during every two –year certification period
  • Dental Office Management – at most, 3 CDEs during every two –year certification period
  • Volunteer service or scholarly activity – at most, 3 CDEs during every two –year certification period
  • The DANB specified that all CDE programs must be at least 45 minutes in duration
  • CDE may be earned online or in-person

Missouri Expanded Function Dental Assistant Permits

All expanded function dental assistant permits in Missouri are valid for five years, at which time they must be renewed. The Missouri Dental Board requires expanded functions permit holders to complete 16 hours of continuing dental education every five years, regardless of the number of expanded function permits they hold.

CDE must be directly relevant to updating and maintaining knowledge and skills in safety, health and treatment of dental patients.

Additionally, all Missouri dental assistants must maintain BLS (Basic Life Support) certification. Online BLS courses are not accepted.

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