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Becoming an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant

Expanded functions dental assistant (EFDA) are dental assistants with the appropriate certification or licensure that is required to practice expanded functions. Some examples of expanded functions that may be practiced by an EFDA include:

  • Coronal polishing
  • Fluoride application
  • Sealant application
  • Topical anesthetics application.

Not all states restrict these functions to EFDAs, but some do. Aside from preventative dental expanded functions, there are many other duties such as performing x-rays, root planing, and removing calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains, which may require additional licensing in order to practice.


Expanded Functions Dental AssistantYou can check this DANB application form to view a full list of which states allow and prohibit each of the four listed expanded functions.

This covers the preventative dental expanded functions but there are many other expanded duties as well. You can view DANB’s state-specific list for more information on dental assisting functions. Find your state on the list and check the dental assisting functions and requirements chart to see which expanded functions you can practice and what additional licensing may be needed.

How to Become an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant

If you have determined your career would benefit from becoming an EFDA then you will want to take the necessary steps. Before getting started, you will want to make sure that you know exactly which expanded functions you want to become qualified for. Generally, these requirements will arise within your workplace, so talk to your employer to find out exactly which expanded functions you should become certified for.

Most EFDA courses will cover all expanded functions that require licensing in your state. However, it may be possible to receive certification for specific expanded functions through DANB if their certifications are recognized in your state. This alternate pathway would be very beneficial as you would be a DANB certified EFDA.

Currently, the only expanded functions exam offered by the DANB is the Certified Preventative Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) exam. If you require other expanded functions certifications then you may be able to become a CDA and complete your CPFDA as well to cover all the necessary expanded functions. If this is not a viable option, then you will want to look into EFDA programs and exams in your area. Here are the general steps that you will have to take to do so:

  • Have a high school diploma or obtain grade 12 equivalency
  • Complete the necessary pre-requisite courses
  • Graduate from a board-approved EFDA course
  • Complete EFDA exam and receive certification

To further your qualifications as an EFDA you will want to diversify the list of expanded functions that you are qualified to practice. You may be considered an EFDA with only one expanded function that you can practice but there are many other expanded duties that you may benefit from being able to perform.

A good plan would be to obtain your CDA, RDA, and CPFDA. The CDA will give you DANB certification which covers certificates in Radiation Healthy and Safety (RHS), Infection Control (ICE), and General Chairside (GC). The RDA will register you with your state and will provide you with licensing to legally practice various expanded functions. Lastly, by obtaining your CPFDA you will have added four major expanded functions to your list which you may not have been qualified to perform otherwise.

Getting Certified For Expanded Duties Will Benefit Your Dental Assisting Career

An expanded duties dental assistant will have additional credentials which will make them a valuable asset in any dentist office. With the capability to perform additional dental assisting functions, you will be a stronger candidate when applying for a dental assistant job or when negotiating a salary increase.

The average EFDA salary is higher than a dental assistant without expanded function licensing. Becoming an expanded functions dental assistant will make you more valuable in the office, so it’s a great move for anyone looking to move forward in their dental assisting career.