Welcome to the Dental Board of California

Registered Dental Assistant Applicants

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I get my exam results?

Practical Examination results are normally mailed approximately 4-6 weeks after the LAST exam date in the examination cycle. All candidates that fail will receive a score of 55% . All candidates that pass will receive a score of 75%.
Written examination results are given at the Psychological Services Inc. (PSI) testing site directly after the exam is completed. The Dental Board (Board) can only provide pass/fail results. The actual score on the exam is not released.

Why does my license expire in less than two years?

Your first renewal may be immediate depending on your birth date and the day you are licensed.

If your birth year is an even number you will ALWAYS expire in an even year on the day of your birthday.
For example:
Birthday: January 2, 1976
Licensed on: October 1, 2007 (prior to your next even year birthday)
Expirations would be: January 2, 2008; January 2, 2010; January 2, 2012...

-OR-
Birthday: January 2, 1976
Licensed on: August 1, 2008 (after your even year birthday)
Expirations would be: January 2, 2010; January 2, 2012 January 2, 2014...

If your birth year is an odd number you will ALWAYS expire in an odd year on the day of your birthday.
For example:
Birthday: May 21, 1981
Licensed on: January 1, 2007 (prior to your next odd year birthday)
Expirations would be: May 21, 2007; May 21, 2009; May 21, 2011...

-OR-
Birthday: May 21, 1981
Licensed on: August 1, 2007 (after your even year birthday)
Expirations would be: May 21, 2009; May 21, 2011; May 21, 2013...

I was previously licensed, but that licensed is now cancelled, how can I regain my RDA license again?

There are two options to begin working as a RDA again:

  1. Restart the process of RDA licensure as a new applicant. This includes taking the practical and written exams, fingerprinting, and providing a coronal polish and x-ray certificate and paying the initial application fee of $80.00. On the application under qualification the applicant would mark held a RDA license in the past and provide the old license number.
  2. Petition the Board to reinstate your previous license. This may include paying all back-due renewal fees including late fees, providing proof of continuing education courses for all missed renewals, submitting original wall certificate and most recent pocket license, Fingerprints, and proof of coronal polishing and X-ray certificates. Visit our web page to request an application to reinstate your license, please provide your mailing address.

 

May auxiliaries bleach teeth?

Dental Board regulations were changed effective February 23, 2000, to allow RDAs, under direct supervision, to apply bleaching agents, and to activate bleaching agents with a non-laser light-curing device.

Who may place fluoride varnishes?

A fluoride varnish is considered a non-toxic topical agent, and can therefore be placed by an unlicensed dental assistant under the direct supervision of a dentist. Registered Dental Assistants and Registered Dental Assistants in Extended Functions are permitted to place fluoride varnish under various supervision levels. Refer to our allowable duties web page for more information.

May auxiliaries use slow or high-speed hand-pieces?

The use of an slow-speed or high-speed hand-pieces by RDA's is not specifically prohibited by law or regulation, except that (1) those certified to perform coronal polishing are limited to using "an appropriation rotary instrument with rubber cap or brush and a polishing agent" (Regulation Section 1067(h); and (2) the procedure is not intended to cut hard or soft tissue.
However, law also prohibits dental personnel from performing any service which they are not competent to perform, or which is not in accordance with customs and standards of the dental profession, as provided in Section 1684 of the Dental Practice Act:
"1684. In addition to other acts constituting unprofessional conduct under this chapter, it is unprofessional conduct for a person licensed under this chapter to perform, or hold himself or herself out as able to perform, professional services beyond the scope of his or her license and field or fields of competence as established by his or her education, experience, training, or any combination thereof. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of any instrument or device in a manner that is not in accordance with the customary standards and practices of the dental profession..."

Therefore, it is up to the practitioner and his or her employer to assure that the above requirements are fully met before using a device to avoid disciplinary and/or criminal action.

Who may perform coronal polishing, and when? Is coronal polishing considered an oral prophylaxis?
An unlicensed dental assistant may not perform coronal polishing. Only a licensed RDA may perform coronal polishing, AFTER successful completion of a Board-approved course and submission of certification thereof to the Board.
A licensed dentist or registered dental hygienist must determine that the teeth to be polished are free of calculus or other extraneous material PRIOR to coronal polishing.
Coronal polishing may not be intended or interpreted as a complete oral prophylaxis, which is a procedure which can be performed only by a licensed dentist or registered dental hygienist.
An oral prophylaxis is defined in Regulation Section 1067(g) as:
"Oral prophylaxis' means the preventive dental procedures including complete removal of explorer-detectable calculus, soft deposits, plaque, stains, and the smoothing of unattached tooth surfaces. The objective of this treatment shall be creation of an environment in which hard and soft tissues can be maintained in good health by the patient."

May a RDA administer anesthesia, or insert or remove IV lines?
No auxiliary may insert IV lines, administer anesthesia and medicines via the IV, and or remove IV lines, unless the person possesses another license (such as R.N. or L.V.N.) that allows them to perform such duties.
While Regulation Section 1085 allows DA's to perform such basic supportive procedures as extra-oral duties, the "extra-oral" duties of inserting IV lines, administering anesthesia, or removing such lines do not meet the definition of a "basic supportive procedure", which is defined in Regulation Section 1067(l) as:
"Basic supportive dental procedures' means fundamental duties or functions which may be performed by an unlicensed dental assistant under the supervision of a licensed dentist because of their technically elementary characteristics, complete reversibility and inability to precipitate potentially hazardous conditions for the patient being treated."