Regulating the Profession
We regulate the profession of dental assisting to protect and serve the public interest and set standards for dental assisting practice.
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. This includes non-restricted activities (e.g. selective coronal polishing and application of anticariogenic agents), and basic chairside duties (e.g. maintaining operator’s line of sight through retraction and suction).
Dental assistants must:
- provide verification of meeting the entry-to-practice education and training required to provide competent and safe care to patients
- hold the necessary professional liability insurance coverage should a professional negligence claim arise
- provide their employers with evidence of a practice permit in good standing
- notify their employers of any conditions imposed on their practice permit
- notify their employers if their practice permit is suspended or cancelled
- notify their employers of any changes to their authorization to provide dental assisting services
When is registration mandatory?
Registration is mandatory when a person meets the requirements for registration and intends to provide dental assisting services directly to the public.
Under the Health Professions Act (HPA) we may use enforcement remedies when someone is:
- practicing as a dental assistant in contravention of the HPA (i.e. the person qualifies for registration but is not registered with us)
- using any of the protected titles in contravention of the HPA (i.e. the person is using the protected titles without our authorization)
The titles “registered dental assistant/RDA” and “dental assistant/DA” are protected under the HPA and may only be used with our authorization.
When can I start work as a dental assistant?
You may practice as a dental assistant when you are registered with us and have a practice permit.
Can I work as a dental assistant before I am registered and have a practice permit?
If you choose to practice without registration and a practice permit you are putting yourself, the patient’s well-being and your employer at risk. You are not covered by professional liability insurance and could be held personally liable for your actions or mistakes.
According to the HPA, no one shall knowingly employ, for the purpose of providing professional services, a person who meets the requirements for registration unless that employed person is a regulated member, or authorized to provide the services pursuant to another enactment. Anyone who knowingly employs a person in contravention of the HPA is guilty of an offence.
Our jurisdiction is limited to those who meet the requirements for registration as a dental assistant and who intend to provide professional dental assisting services directly to the public and/or who use the protected titles (registered dental assistant/RDA and dental assistant/DA).
Dentists have the right to choose to employ support staff without registration provided the employees do not represent themselves as dental assistants. It is illegal for someone who is not registered as a dental assistant to provide any restricted activities or use the protected titles.