it's important to note that In Canada some provinces do not regulate dental assisting and there are also non-certified dental assistants. So knowing the difference between a certified and non-certified dental assistant is key.
Depending on the province of practice, a certified dental assistant will have graduated from an accredited dental assistant program, be registered with his/her provincial professional association as well as possess a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NBAEB) certificate.
Again, non-certified dental assistants are not regulated and may practice without consistent provincial standards for education and competency.
Please also refer to the Canadian Dental Assisting Legal Scope of Practice by Province - 2018, which lists in detail the allowable skills in each province. These documents are for reference only.
NDAEB Dental Assisting Domain Description
The National Dental Assisting Examination Board provides this domain description, representing the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours the dental assistant should possess upon entry/re-entry into practice.
Dental Assisting Across Canada
Assistants are known as CDA-Certified Dental Assistant
Certified Dental Assistant Certification and Renewal CDAs are certified by CDSBC and are referred to as certificants. Assistants must also have NBAEB certification to practice
By Laws followed by Dentists https://www.cdsbc.org/CDSBCPublicLibrary/CDSBC-Bylaws-July-2020.pdf
Health Professions Act (HPA) – The HPA is umbrella legislation that provides a common regulatory framework for all self regulated health professions in B.C.
There are four classes of certification for CDAs, who must renew their certification with CDSBC each year in order to be able to practice.
- Limited – For certified dental assistants with core national skills, regulated in another Canadian jurisdiction, but who do not have the required additional skills to practice fully in B.C. They have up to one year to obtain the necessary education. Part 7 of the Bylaws specifies the requirements for certification in each category.
Duties for dental assistants and CDAs are described as "services". The Bylaws rely on the HPA -Health Professions Act concept of “restricted activities” in describing the services that may be performed by a dental assistant or CDA.
The requirement that a dentist who delegates, authorizes, or supervises the performance of a service by a person who is not a dentist is ultimately responsible for the standard of treatment provided by that person is unchanged
Dental assistants are regulated by the CADA - College of Alberta Dental Assistants and HPA- Health Professions Act and must also have NBAEB certification to practice.
There are 4 types of assistants
1. RDA (Registered Dental Assistant) – authorized to assist and has a Practice Permit, has Malpractice Liability Insurance and may use the protected titles “registered dental assistant/RDA” and “dental assistant/DA”
2. Provisional Dental assistant-- authorized to assist, while supervised by a Registered Dental Assistant, dentist, dental hygienist, denturist or other person approved by the Registrar: may use the protected title “dental assistant/DA”
3. Courtesy dental assistant- has practice permit for Courtesy Assistant and can practice at specific location sites, registered with the courtesy Register, malpractice insurance
4. Non practicing assistant- can not practice, can not use any title, does not have MPI
Assistants are known as CDA level I or CDA level II or CPDA
The ODAA lists detailed duties for level 1, level 2, and PDA's here
Preventive Dental Assistants (PDAs) listed with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) prior to January 1, 2000, may not require the NDAEB certificate to perform certain intra-oral duties.
All dental assistants wishing to perform intra-oral duties (Level II) in the Province of Ontario are required to hold the NDAEB certificate.
Assistants are regulated by RCDSO and HARP Healing Arts Radiation Protection (HARP):
Dental assistants trained in Ontario must provide: A diploma or certificate confirming successful completion of a dental assisting program that has been approved by the HARP Commission; A diploma or certificate confirming successful completion of an approved course in dental radiography, including an x-ray safety component.
Dental assistants must present proof of successful completion of such a program, when requested to do so by X-ray Inspection Service inspectors.
At the present time, most current Level I and Level II dental assisting programs in Ontario provide the appropriate training. A listing of programs that have already been approved by the HARP Commission, including private dental assisting programs, co-op high school dental assisting programs, and out-of-province programs can be obtained from the school itself or the X-ray Inspection Service.
MDAA - Manitoba Dental Assistants Association
Dental assistants are registered (RDA) and regulated by the MDAA College and the Radiation Protection Act
They must also have NBAEB certification to practice. To look up a license
4 types of Dental Assistants:
Manitoba Dental Assistant Association Bylaws here: MDA Bylaws
SDAA - Saskatchewan Dental Assistants Association
A Search to see if a DA is registered here
Assistants are registered (RDA) and licensed ( have a practice permit) and can use DA or RDA as titles
Assistants are regulated by the SDAA college and The Dental Disciplines Act
They must also have NBAEB certification to practice
For more information on registration requirements in each province or territory contact the Provincial/Territorial Regulatory Body of interest:
Alberta - Alberta College of Dental Hygienists (ACDH)
British Columbia - British Columbia College of Oral Health Providers (BCCOHP)
Manitoba - College of Dental Hygienists of Manitoba (CDHM)
New Brunswick - New Brunswick College of Dental Hygienists (NBCDH)
Newfoundland and Labrador - Newfoundland & Labrador College of Dental Hygienists (NLCDH)
Nova Scotia - College of Dental Hygienists of Nova Scotia (CDHNS)
Northwest Territories - Dept. of Health and Social Services, Government of N.W.T.
Ontario - College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO)
Prince Edward Island - College of Dental Hygienists of Prince Edward Island (CDHPEI)
Quebec - Ordre des hygiénistes dentaires du Québec (OHDQ)
Saskatchewan - Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists Association (SDHA)