Have you ever been to the dentist?

You might have at least once in your life. You also might have seen a person running things there called a Registered Dental Assistant.

You might have wondered what these people do.

Well, Registered Dental Assistants play an important role in making your dental visits comfortable and your smile healthy.

Let’s explore what it means to be a Registered Dental Assistant and how they make your dental experience better!

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Registered dental assistant

What is a Registered Dental Assistant?

A Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) is a trained dental professional whose role is to provide essential support to dentists during patient examinations, and dental procedures.

They also make sure that the dental office runs efficiently and that patients receive high-quality care. They are engaged in clinical as well as administrative tasks.

The duties of a registered dental assistant typically encompass a wide range of responsibilities within a dental practice:

1. Patient Care: Assisting dentists during procedures, preparing patients for treatments, and ensuring their comfort throughout the visit.

2. Instrument Preparation: Sterilizing and arranging instruments and materials required for dental procedures.

3. X-ray and Imaging: Taking and developing X-rays and other diagnostic imaging as directed by the dentist.

4. Record-Keeping: Maintaining accurate patient records, including treatment plans and dental histories.

5. Educational Support: Providing patients with information on oral hygiene practices, post-treatment care, and preventive dental measures.

6. Administrative Tasks: Scheduling appointments, managing billing, and handling administrative duties to ensure smooth operations in the dental office.

7. Infection Control: Adhering to strict protocols for infection control and maintaining a clean and sterile environment.

8. Assisting Specialty Procedures: Supporting dentists in specialized procedures or treatments as needed.

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How to Become a Registered Dental Assistant

Becoming a Registered Dental Assistant typically involves the following steps:

Education: The first step is to complete a high school diploma and after that, you must complete a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) or a similar recognized agency.

These programs are usually offered at different colleges, schools, or even at dental assistant schools and these programs generally take around one year to complete.

Clinical Training: After completing the educational program, all aspiring RDAs often gain hands-on experience through clinical training.

This allows them to practice and refine their skills to get themselves ready for operating in the real dental world.

Certification: After getting clinical training some states may require RDAs to pass a state-specific or national certification exam.

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) offers an exam that you must clear to become a Registered Dental Assistant, which can be a valuable credential in your career.

Registration: Only certification is not enough. In some states, RDAs are required to register with a state dental board or other relevant regulatory body.

Registered Dental Assistant Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for Registered Dental assistants was $42,930 in May 2020.

However, you must note that the salary of a Registered Dental Assistant can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the type of dental practice.

Certified Dental Assistant vs. Registered Dental Assistant

Earlier you must have heard about certified dental assistants and after knowing a registered dental assistant, there must be a question arising in your mind: How do they differ from each other?

While both Certified Dental Assistants (CDAs) and Registered Dental Assistants (RDAs) are members of the dental team still there are some key differences between the two roles.

CDAs have achieved a national certification (CDA) through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), whereas Registered Dental Assistants(RDAs) typically hold state-specific registrations. The specific duties and responsibilities may also vary by state, with RDAs sometimes having a broader scope of practice.

Dental assistant during treatment

Reasons to Become a Registered Dental Assistant

Below we have discussed various reasons to consider a career as a Registered Dental Assistant:

Let’s know them step by step.

Job Stability: The demand for dental services is expected to continue growing, ensuring a stable job market for RDAs. So, you don’t have to be worried about job stability.

Career Advancement: Registered Dental Assistants have an ocean of opportunities to advance their careers by specializing in areas such as orthodontics or oral surgery or pursuing additional education to become dental hygienists or even dentists.

Fulfilling Work: As a Registered Dental Assistant you always have the satisfaction of knowing your role in helping patients maintain their oral health and confidence.

Varied Responsibilities: RDAs perform a wide range of tasks, from assisting with dental procedures to managing administrative duties, making a dynamic and interesting work environment.

Registered Dental Assistant Duties

RDAs have a diverse set of responsibilities, including but not limited to:

  • Registered Dental Assistants help in preparing patients for dental procedures.
  • Sterilizing and maintaining dental instruments before and during the treatment.
  • Assisting the dentist during procedures by handing over the equipment.
  • Taking and developing dental X-rays.
  • Educating patients on how to maintain oral hygiene.
  • Managing patient records and scheduling appointments.
  • Handling administrative tasks such as billing and insurance claims.

Registered Dental Assistant Requirements

To become a Registered Dental Assistant you must fulfill certain requirements.
Remember these requirements for RDAs can vary by state, but generally include the following:

  • Completion of an accredited dental assisting program.
  • Passing a state-specific or national certification exam.
  • Registration with a state dental board (in some states).
  • Continuing education to maintain registration and certification.


In conclusion, a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) provides valuable support to both dentists as well as patients.

Their training and certification show their dedication to maintaining the highest standards of patient care and safety.

As integral members of the dental healthcare team, Registered Dental Assistants contribute to improving oral health and the overall well-being of the people.

Want to become a Registered Dental Assistant but don’t want the hassle of attending live in-person classes for years, in addition to paying hefty tuition fees?

Then, check out this Online Dental Assistant Training Program by Preppy>>

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