Practice FAQs

Registration is mandatory when you meet the requirements for registration and intend to provide dental assisting services directly to the public.

Learn more at Mandatory Registration.

You may practice as a dental assistant when you have a practice permit.

Learn more at Mandatory Registration.

You are not authorized to practice as a dental assistant until we issue you a practice permit.

Learn more at Mandatory Registration.

​If a dental assisting practice is not considered a restricted activity, it is said to be in the public domain, meaning that anyone can do it unless they contravene a provision of the Health Professions Act or the Dental Assistants Profession Regulation.

In the public’s interest, we only authorize Provisional and Registered Dental Assistants (collectively referred to as dental assistants) to provide dental assisting services directly to the public, including practices that are not restricted activities, because dental assistants:

  • have the entry-to-practice education and training required to provide competent and safe care to patients
  • must meet annual practice permit renewal and continuing competence requirements
  • must carry professional liability insurance (malpractice insurance)

According to the Health Professions Act, anyone who meets the requirements for registration and intends to provide dental assisting practices directly to the public must be authorized by us.

Yes, you can take impressions for dentures and appliances. Note: The dentist should be evaluating final impressions obtained by a dental assistant.

Dental assistants may not:

  • set, start or adjust flows and/or ratios of nitrous oxide
  • place the mask on a patient

These acts would be considered administering a drug. Dental assistants are not allowed to administer drugs.

Dental assistants may assist with the administration of nitrous oxide by:

  • preparing and checking nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation equipment
  • selecting mask size and placing the mask on the tubing
  • having the patient put on the mask and adjust the fit
  • tightening the tubing once the mask is comfortable for the patient
  • informing the patient about the effects of sedation
  • assisting with observing, documenting and reporting the patient’s condition
  • get first aid treatment according to your workplace policy
  • report the incident to the person responsible for occupational health and safety for your workplace
  • contact HealthLink (811) as soon as possible, preferably within an hour
  • tell the nurse at HealthLink you have experienced an occupational exposure and ask for contact information for the Medical Officer of Health for your zone
  • contact your Medical Officer of Health for details about your next steps

The nurses at HealthLink should have the Medical Officer of Health contact information for your area. It is important that you make the contact as soon as possible following the incident.

You can get an incident reporting form from the Alberta Dental Association and College website (members only) or by fax if requested by dental staff.

You can find the recommended immunizations in the Alberta Dental Association and College’s Infection Prevention and Control Standards and Risk Management for Dentistry.

No, we don’t set those guidelines.

Our Standards of Practice require that dental assistants meet or exceed the Alberta Dental Association and College’s Infection Prevention and Control Standards and Risk Management for Dentistry and any other guidelines or legislation necessary to meet the current standard of care.

No. Your practice permit and malpractice insurance are for Alberta only.

If you plan to practice dental assisting outside Alberta, check with that province/jurisdiction to find out:

  • what you need to do to be allowed to practice there
  • what you need for insurance coverage

Yes, the patient should wear dual (front and back) lead aprons.

Safety Code 30: Radiation Protection in Dentistry- Recommended Safety Procedures For The Use of Dental Equipment states:

“Since the radiation is also coming from the back of the patient, a conventional lead apron is not adequate and dual (front and back) lead aprons should be worn.”

Yes, it should be safe if you take proper precautions.

Important:

  • your dosimetry monitoring schedule is different when you are pregnant (much more frequent)
  • the allowable exposure is less than half when you are pregnant
  • let your employer know as soon as possible for your own protection and to get on the correct monitoring schedule
  • discuss any concerns with your doctor

Refer to these online resources for the legislated guidelines:

  • Safety Code 30: Radiation Protection in Dentistry- Recommended Safety Procedures For The Use of Dental Equipment (federal)
  • Alberta Radiation Protection Act
  • Alberta Radiation Protection Regulation

Your employer is responsible for ensuring the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is available for you to use.

You (i.e. the worker) have an obligation to use the PPE properly and consistently.

Duty to use personal protective equipment

228(1) If the hazard assessment indicates the need for personal protective equipment, an employer must ensure that

a. workers wear personal protective equipment that is correct for the hazard and protects workers,

b. workers properly use and wear the personal protective equipment,

c. the personal protective equipment is in a condition to perform the function for which it was designed, and

d. workers are trained in the correct use, care, limitations and assigned maintenance of the personal protective equipment.

228(2) A worker must

a. use and wear properly the appropriate personal protective equipment specified in this Code in accordance with the training and instruction received,

b. inspect the personal protective equipment before using it, and

c. not use personal protective equipment that is unable to perform the function for which it is designed.

From: OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE (Alberta)

With amendments up to and including Alberta Regulation 213/2018

Current as of January 1, 2019

http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/OHS/OHS.pdf Retrieved June 27, 2019

Yes, if you are authorized for the probing advanced practice.

Yes, if you are authorized for the prosthodontic advanced practice.

You may perform intra-oral occlusal checks and material reduction using a slow-speed handpiece. The dentist is responsible for the final occlusal assessment and adjustment.

Yes. Dental assistants are authorized to perform tooth whitening procedures.

No. Dental assistants may not perform bite adjustments on any permanent restorations.

Yes. Dental assistants are authorized to place paper points and trial points.

Yes, if you are authorized for the prosthodontic advanced practice.

Temporary fillings are meant to be in place no longer than 90 days. The filling material is selected by the dentist.

Yes. Dental assistants may polish restorations using slow-speed handpieces with rubber cups, rubber points and brushes.

Dental assistants may not use finishing burs.

You may use handpieces that operate at less than 50,000 RPM.

Yes. Dental assistants are authorized to remove supra-gingival cement.

If you are authorized for the prosthodontic advanced practice or the orthodontic advanced practice you may be delegated to remove sub-gingival cement.

You must be authorized for the orthodontic advanced practice to perform any of the services directly related to orthodontic treatment. This includes sequential aligner treatments.

You may provide these clinical orthodontic services under the direction and on-site supervision of a dentist:

  1. place and remove orthodontic separators
  2. select, fit and cement orthodontic bands
  3. insert orthodontic appliances
  4. place and bond orthodontic brackets and bondable attachments
  5. insert, ligate and remove orthodontic archwires, which were formed by a dentist, using individual elastomeric ligatures, chain elastomeic ligatures, wire ligature ties (separate and continuous) and self-ligation mechanisms
  6. trim and or bend distal ends of orthodontic archwires
  7. place and remove orthodontic accessories
  8. remove orthodontic bands, brackets and bondable attachments with hand-held instruments

The dentist must perform:

  1. the final fitting, adjustment and or activation of any appliance
  2. a final check of brackets, bands and attachments

Yes, if you are authorized for the orthodontic advanced practice.

The dentist must perform a final check before the patient is dismissed.

Yes, if you are authorized for the orthodontic advanced practice.

The dentist must perform a final check before the patient is dismissed.

Yes, if you are authorized for the orthodontic advanced practice.

The dentist must perform a final check before the patient is dismissed.

Yes, if you are authorized for the preventive advanced practice.

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