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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Oklahoma

All dental assistants in Oklahoma must obtain a Dental Assistant Permit issued by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry within 30 days of being hired to work in a dental office. Oklahoma law generally permits a dentist to delegate duties to dental assistants as long as the latter has had adequate office-based training by the supervising dentist and is aware of the requirements as well as responsibilities of each duty.

There are a few exceptions to this that require dental assistants to meet specific requirements to receive an Expanded Duty Permit. Such permits are issued in the following four areas:

  • Radiation safety and protection
  • Coronal polishing and topical fluoride
  • Placement of pit and fissure sealants
  • Assisting in the administration of nitrous oxide

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Individual employers can specify the skills they are looking for in a dental assistant, and this often includes an Expanded Duty Permit in any of these areas, as well as CPR certification.

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Obtaining a Dental Assistant Permit in Oklahoma

To obtain a Dental Assistant Permit candidates will need to send a completed application to the Oklahoma State Board of Dentistry at:

2920 North Lincoln Boulevard, Suite B
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

Applicants will need to provide information about the following:

  • Current address and legal name
  • All addresses where a candidate has practiced as a dental assistant in the previous year
  • Any education, training, and certifications that relate to dental assisting, and official proof of these
  • Any cases of professional disciplinary action or criminal offenses
  • Proof of legal status to seek employment in the United States
  • Applicants will also need to include a color copy of their driver’s license or state-issued identification card

The fee for a Dental Assistant Permit is $50. There is an additional optional fee of $25 for a Dental Assistant ID Card. Upon receiving a permit, prospective professionals can begin their search for dental assistant jobs in Oklahoma.

Candidates should note that the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry issues new application and renewal forms each year. The most current versions of all official documents and applications can be found on the Board’s Forms Webpage.

According to state law, the dental assistant job description in Oklahoma cannot include any the following duties:

  • Diagnosis or treatment planning
  • Procedures that are exclusive to dental hygienists
  • Removal of hardened cement
  • Placement or adjustment of a fixed prosthesis
  • Prescription of medication
  • Surgery or the cutting of bodily tissues
  • Anesthetic injections
  • Administration of nitrous oxide or utilization of a laser
  • Anything that contributes to a permanent alteration of human oral anatomy

Qualifying for Expanded Duty Permits in Oklahoma

As mentioned, Expanded Duty Permits in Oklahoma are offered in four areas:

  • Radiation safety and protection
  • Coronal polishing and topical fluoride
  • Placement of pit and fissure sealants
  • Assisting in the administration of nitrous oxide

To obtain one of these permits candidates will need to send a written request for such, and the following items, to the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry:

  • Official transcripts from a completed dental assistant academic program that is approved by the Board and the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association – there are five such dental assistant schools in Oklahoma, located in:

    • Midwest City
    • Norman
    • Oklahoma City
    • Weatherford
  • Academic course outlines
  • Pretests
  • Methods on which candidates have been evaluated
  • Academic and training schedule, including clear documentation of clinical and didactic time
  • Proof of official clinical experience from an employing dentist
  • Proof of current CPR certification, if required by the particular expanded duty
  • Current dental assistant registration if a candidate already possess this in a different state

Applicants are instructed to compile all this information into a single envelope and mail this to the Board. If the Board determines a request is complete and valid, it will then send the candidate an official application for the Expanded Duty Permit(s) that are being requested.

From the time dental assistants complete an academic training program for a specific Expanded Duty Permit, they will have one year to file an application for such a permit.

Radiation Safety and Protection Expanded Duty Permit

Dental assistants with this permit may take oral x-rays of patients. To earn this permit candidates must:

  • Complete at least seven hours of approved coursework that includes the study of:

    • Radiation, biology, and physics
    • Radiation health, protection, and safety
    • Principles of radiographic techniques
    • Darkroom processing and film mounting
  • Pass a radiology exam with a score of at least 70 percent
  • Complete a clinical portion of the course that includes the taking of at least 200 radiographs, commonly referred to as x-rays

Coronal Polishing and Topical Fluoride Expanded Duty Permit

Holding this permit will allow dental assistants to perform three specialized duties:

  • Polish the coronal surfaces of teeth
  • Prepare teeth for the bonding of brackets or band cementation
  • Apply desensitizing agents and topical fluoride

To be eligible for this permit dental assistants will already need to have at least one year of work experience and must also complete an approved course of instruction that includes the following:

  • At least 14 hours of coverage in these three topic areas, with study including:

    • Principles of stain and plaque formation
    • Identification and understanding of plaque, intrinsic stains, extrinsic stains, and calculus
    • Clinical experience of polished and clean teeth
    • Anatomy of the oral cavity and tooth morphology
    • Principles of polishing
    • Principles of aseptic technique
    • Principles of applying and selecting disclosing agents
    • Principles fluoride administration preparation
    • Jurisprudence aspects of:

      • Legal limitation of dental assistants and penalties for the violation of these
      • Mechanisms for the reporting of violations
  • At least two hours of clinical experience
  • A final exam whose passing score is at least 70 percent

Placement of Pit and Fissure Sealants Expanded Duty Permit

Dental assistants who hold this permit are allowed to place pit and fissure sealants. To be eligible for this permit dental assistants must have at least one year of work experience and complete an approved course that includes at least 12 hours of instruction in the following subjects:

  • Preparation and isolation of teeth for sealants
  • Dental materials
  • Infection control
  • Tooth anatomy and armamentarium
  • A clinical portion of study that is at least five hours
  • Verification of the placement of at least eight sealants on patients under the supervision of a dentist

Before applicants can earn this permit they must pass a final exam that covers the content of this course with a score of at least 70 percent.

Assisting in the Administration of Nitrous Oxide Expanded Duty Permit

While by law there are no dental assistant training programs in Oklahoma that allow these professionals to directly administer nitrous oxide, candidates who hold this permit are allowed to assist qualified dentists and dental hygienists with the administration of this gas. Dental assistants will need to have at least one year of work experience before they can apply for this permit. To be eligible, candidates must complete an education program that includes the following:

  • Courses that provide detailed knowledge of nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation
  • History, philosophy, and psychology of nitrous oxide sedation
  • Physiological and psychological aspects of pain and anxiety
  • Stages of drug-induced central nervous system depression
  • Respiration anatomy and physiology
  • Nitrous oxide sedation advantages and disadvantages
  • Assessment of patient status
  • Advantages and disadvantages of nitrous oxide sedation
  • The recognition and prevention of life-threatening situations arising from the use of nitrous oxide
  • At least two hours of a clinical portion of study

Candidates must also pass a cumulative test at the end of their dental assistant certification program for the administration of nitrous oxide, with a passing score being at least 70 percent. Having a valid CPR certification is also required for this permit area.

Renewal of Oklahoma Dental Assistant Regular and Expanded Duty Permits

All Dental Assistant Permits expire on December 31st every year. To renew this, candidates will need to pay a $50 renewal fee and submit an Application for Permit Renewal by this date to the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry in Oklahoma City.

On this renewal application candidates can also indicate if they would like to renew an Expanded Duty Permit. Expanded Duty Permits also expire on the last day of each year, except for the Radiation Safety and Protection Expanded Permit, which does not expire.

Dental assistants who hold an Expanded Duty Permit must always maintain either of the following CPR certifications:

Prospective dental assistants can find additional information regarding employment opportunities and the latest developments in the dental assisting field through organizations such as the Oklahoma Dental Assistants Association (ODAA).

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