Friday, October 21, 2011

The main chairside assistant

I have been working as the main chairside assistant for about two years now.
It's important to understand that when you work together with another assistant the dynamics are totally different.
Usually, Doctors have two assistants. One is expected to take on more responsibilities, in that case, a RDA. The other has the duty of preparation of work station, instruments, and materials. Those are not followed at all times though, specially when plans can change quite often at a dental office. Both assistants duties end up being important the same.
Let's say the procedure was a common composite filling and it ended up turning into a BIG cavity with a pulp exposed! Instruments and materials will probably now be exchange. Will the RDA be waiting on the DA to set-up again? No. Both will communicate and "fix" the situation together. The important rule to remember is: WORK AS A TEAM. Don't have the mindset of "this is not my job". A good dental office team is the one with a mindset of "these are all our jobs". If one employee is free, he/she should ask what do to help.
 Also, remember dentists retain the authority to determine which new duties their staff members can perform and on which patients they are performed. In the case of a DA, the required supervision follows the statute, but for a RDA, general or direct supervision are determined by the supervisor (doctor or a Hygienist).

Thursday, June 30, 2011

RDA licence

I got my certification in the mail!
How exciting. I've been in the process since september 2010. Now, I'm done! Yay :)
Well, almost done. There's still one more course: "Pit and fissure selants". 
I will have to take this eventually. Can't wait to be able to legally be an RDA.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Become a RDA

To obtain a California RDA license, you must:
1) Successfully pass a hands-on practical examination performed on a typodont.
2) Successfully pass a State computerized written examination.
3) Successfully pass a State computerized law and ethics written examination.
4) Successfully complete Board-approved courses in coronal polishing and radiation safety.
5) Successfully complete and show proof of a Board-approved course in Dental Practice Act, an eight (8) hour Board-approved course in infection control and proof of basic life support (CPR) card.
6) Submit fingerprint clearances from both the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Identification. This process can take 60 days or more. If an applicant has a criminal history, arrest report and court records must be obtained and investigated before a decision is made to issue or deny the license. Live Scan locations

    So these are the requirements from the Dental Board of California. 
    It looks simple, but it's more complicated than you think.

    The office in Sacramento has around 80 thousand applicants being process per year. From Dentists to Hygienists, to Dental assistants, all the applications got to one place! That's a lot of work to those responsible, so have patience.

    Make sure you take all your courses and send everything together. Sending one at a time can give you some problems in the long run. Since I had to take another CPR course, I sent them a fax with a copy of my new, approved card, but it took them almost a week to actually find it! You can imagine how many they receive a day!

    Just take one step at a time and good luck!


    Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure which is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest. - wikipedia

    The grandpa who has high blood pressure forgot to take his medication before he came for an extraction. You, as a Assistant, have the responsibility to double-check if he took it, but you were having a bad day and totally forgot to ask him about it! Aiaiai.... Now he is complaining he can't breath well and fells like he's gonna faint! oh no!

    This course is very important since we are working with people with all kinds of conditions. From diabetes to heart stints, or Hepatitis to HIV+. All patients could have a reaction at a Dentist's Chair. 
    Plus, it's not only for your work, but for life! Let's say a kid gets stuck with some toy in her throat. Little later she's unconscious and unresponsive. Wouldn't be important to know what to do?

    It's also rewarding to be able to help someone in need.

    Now, during this course, one thing you will learn is the ABC:
    A- Airway (check if the airway is clean from any obstructions)
    B- Breathing (chin up, head tilted back - breath)
    C- Circulation (check pulse again - compressions)

    Also, you will hear "30 compressions and 2 breaths" a lot... 
    That's the type of procedure you will do on the person who's in need. 

    Another thing, make sure the course you take is American Heart Association/ American Red Cross approved. I took one online ( and ended up having to take it again at the right place! Lost money with that one. Gain more knowledge though.

    Okay, so have fun learning how to save lives :)

    8h Infection Control Course + 2h Dental Practice Act

    As some of you know, now all dental assistants have to take the 8h Infection Control also the 2h Dental Practice Act. There are more information about it below that I took from the California Government's website.

    I took both courses few months ago. They were schedule for all day Saturday, but since it was just another girl and myself, it ended up being around 5 hours. That was good, because I could get the attention as a student that I wanted plus got to enjoy the rest of my Saturday!

    There are many places who offer these courses, so the best thing it to check what's closer to you. The Dental Practice Act could be done online, which is very convenient.

    I took the infection control course in San Luis Obispo. You have to bring the usual: gloves, mask, goggles. You also have to wear scrubs. They will ask you for your immunization records and CPR card, so make sure those are updated before you schedule the date.

    Business and Professions Code, Section 1750.  (a) A dental assistant is an individual who, without a license, may perform basic supportive dental procedures, as authorized by Section 1750.1 and by regulations adopted by the board, under the supervision of a licensed dentist. "Basic supportive dental procedures" are those procedures that have technically elementary characteristics, are completely reversible, and are unlikely to precipitate potentially hazardous conditions for the patient being treated.
       (b) The supervising licensed dentist shall be responsible for determining the competency of the dental assistant to perform the basic supportive dental procedures, as authorized by Section 1750.1.
       (c) The employer of a dental assistant shall be responsible for ensuring that the dental assistant who has been in continuous employment for 120 days or more, has already successfully completed, or successfully completes, all of the following within a year of the date of employment:
       (1) A board-approved course in the Dental Practice Act.
       (2) A board-approved 8 hour course in infection control.
       (3) A course in basic life support offered by an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, or any other course approved by the board as equivalent and that provides the student the opportunity to engage in hands-on simulated clinical scenarios.
       (d) The employer of a dental assistant shall be responsible for ensuring that the dental assistant maintains certification in basic life support.
       (e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2010.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    A life of an Assistant

    Hello there,
    My name is Nathalia. 
    My husband and I moved to California about three years ago after I finished my Dental Bachelor's school in Brazil.
    At first I got the typical job for a foreign in America, a nanny, which by the way,  it was a blast! My goal though was to become the best Dental Assistant I could be since becoming a DDS here was really not my deal.

    After 15 months working as a DA,  I'm now in the process of getting my RDA (becoming Registered)! "But why?" you might be thinking. Well, why just be an Assistant if you can get to do more? The Dental Board of California changed a lot of the regulations, allowing RDA's to do more duties in the dental office. 

    With all my searching and difficulties (Portuguese is my first language!) I thought to start my own blog, where people can come, share their experiences and get more info so you won't be a lost bee like I was for so long. Maybe you will decide to become an RDA too... Because seriously, it can be fun :)

    Anyways,  I hope you find a good Dental Office to work. That really helps to be content and do your best at work. I also hope you enjoy my blog and find a lot of needed information to be the best assistant!