The Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners permits dental assistants to perform basic, supportive dental procedures under the supervision of a licensed dentist. These dental professionals, according to the Board, may be trained by their employer or by an accredited school for dental assistants.
There are no licensing or certification requirements for dental assistants in Wyoming; however, dental assistants may only be permitted to perform the following duties if they meet the requirements set forth by the Board of Dental Examiners:
Dental Assistant Qualified in the Placement of Pit and Fissure Sealants: In Wyoming, to perform the placement of pit and fissure sealants under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist, dental assistants must:
- Complete at least 8 hours of clinical and didactic education in pit and fissure sealants within a dental assisting program that has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and/or approved by the Board; AND
- Apply to the Board for a Pit and Fissure Sealant certificate
Exposure of Radiographs by Dental Assistants: To place and expose radiographs in Wyoming under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist, dental assistants must:
- Possess at least four years of experience (at least 1,000 hours per year) in the last four years and can demonstrate proficiency; OR
- Pass the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Radiation Health and Safety exam (or a Board-approved course of instruction)
- Apply to the Board for a Dental Assistant Radiograph permit
CODA-Accredited Education Programs in Dental Assisting
Many dentists require candidates for dental assistant jobs in Wyoming to possess an appropriate level of training or education. The Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners requires dental assistants that perform pit and fissure sealants to complete a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited dental assisting program.
For dental assistants without prior experience in the profession, a formal program is also a direct pathway to earning a permit to expose dental radiographs.
A CODA-accredited dental assisting program is usually between 9 and 11 months in duration and results in a diploma or certificate. There are a few associate degree programs in dental assisting in the U.S.; however, the vast majority of programs are certificate/diploma level.
Dental assisting programs are both clinical and didactic in nature, and many end in a clinical experience. They may be offered through online institutions, community colleges, dental schools, and vocational schools.
For dental assistants who want to advance their careers, an associate degree in dental hygiene is often the choice. Dental hygienists, unlike dental assistants, are licensed healthcare professionals who are permitted to perform a number of unsupervised tasks within a dental office, including teeth cleaning.
Dental assistants also often choose to continue their education by pursuing an associate or bachelor degree in medical or business administration, both of which may prepare them to supervise a dental office.
DANB Certification for Wyoming Dental Assistants
National certification in dental assisting is accomplished through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). In addition to achieving national certification as to display a commitment to the profession and to earn advanced skills and knowledge in specialty dentistry, Wyoming dental assistants can take and pass the DANB’s Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) examination to become qualified in the exposure of dental radiographs.
The RHS examination may be taken alone or it may be taken as part of the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential, which includes three component examinations, including:
- General Chairside Assisting
- Infection Control
- Radiation Health and Safety
In addition to the CDA credential, dental assistants in Wyoming may seek one or more of the following DANB certifications:
Other dental assistant certifications offered through DANB include:
- Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA)
- Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA)
- Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)
All DANB certifications must be renewed on an annual basis, and all require the completion of at least 30 continuing education credits. Dental assistants must complete their continuing education in the following areas:
- Clinical practice
- Dental office management
- DANB and other dental-related exams
- Volunteer service or scholarly activity
Applying for a Dental Assistant Certificate in Wyoming
Upon meeting the minimum requirements for the Placement of Pit and Fissure Sealants and/or Exposure of Radiographs, dental assistants must complete the appropriate application:
- Pit and Fissure Sealant Certificate Application
- Dental Assistant Radiograph Permit Application: $30 application fee
Dental assistant radiograph permits must be renewed annually at a cost of $15.
Applications must be sent to:
Wyoming State Board of Dental Examiners
2001 Capitol Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Questions regarding the application process can be directed to the Board at 307-777-7387.
Standard Dental Assistant Job Description in Wyoming
Dental assistants are permitted to perform the following duties in Wyoming under general supervision of a licensed dentist:
- Take vital statistics and health histories
- Mix dental materials
- Instruct patients in dental care
- Fabricate and cement temporary crowns
- Replace/remove wires and/or elastic ties
- Place/remove orthodontic separators
- Remove broken wires, bands, and appliances in emergency situations
Dental assistants are permitted to perform the following duties in Wyoming under indirect supervision of a licensed dentist:
- Take impressions and/or digital scan impressions
- Apply topics medications, including pit and fissure sealants
- Place radiographs
- Insert arch wires that have been adjusted by the dentist into the brackets or attachments and secure in place
Dental assistants are permitted to perform the following duties in Wyoming under direct supervision of a licensed dentist:
- Remove sutures
- Assist the dentist in all operative and surgical procedures
- Place and remove rubber dams/matrices
- Remove excess cement from the coronal surfaces of the teeth
- Prepare/remove periodontal packs
- Polish the surfaces of the teeth (rubber cup only)
- Performing whitening procedures
- Take impressions for retainers and removable appliances
- Remove direct bond attachments and bands
- Place pit and fissure sealants (Board certificate required)
Resources for Dental Assistants in Wyoming
According to WyomingatWork.com, there were 527 dental assistants employed in Wyoming in 2011. By 2021, it is projected that the number of dental assistant jobs in Wyoming will increase by a rate of 72 jobs per year over the ten-year period ending 2021.
Professional associations may be an excellent resource for aspiring dental assistants in Wyoming:
- Wyoming Dental Association
- Wyoming Dental Hygienists Association
- American Dental Assistants Association