Scope of Practice
*To confirm the scope of practice of dental assisting in a particular Canadian province or territory, please contact the provincial/territorial regulatory body directly.*
Intra-oral or Level II dental assistants are multi-skilled health care professionals with a variety of knowledge. They effectively perform clinical tasks, administrative procedures and are self-sufficient practitioners through delegation of duties and responsibilities sanctioned by provincial legislation.
Dental assistants are effective in their interpersonal relationships and maintain a collaborative relationship with all members of the dental care team in the administration of patient-centred care. In addition, they are skilled in the use of technology for communication, critical observation, initiative and decision-making. They apply their dental knowledge to clinical situations and demonstrate personal and professional management skills. Their education and training as well as their professionalism and experience, coupled with their work permit and provincial registration, confirm their ability to perform in direct patient care and support procedures.
Intra-oral dental assistants prepare and support patients for treatment by adhering to universal precautions and infectious disease prevention, preparing the necessary equipment to perform treatments, ensuring patient comfort, and taking and updating medical histories. Intra-oral dental assistants assist and perform a variety of clinical procedures. Using four- or six-handed dentistry, they assist the operator in the administration of anesthetics, specialized dental procedures and general dentistry procedures. They perform preventive, orthodontic and intraoral prosthodontic tasks, as well as post-treatment care. This may include procedures such as selective coronal polishing, preliminary impressions, dental damming and fluoride application.
Intra-oral dental assistants expose, process and mount a variety of radiographs used in dental treatment. They maintain information such as photographs and study models to assist in making a diagnosis. They assist in clinical treatment procedures by performing certain laboratory tasks. They fabricate study models and prostheses and perform minor repairs. They are also responsible for the daily maintenance of instruments and equipment in the dental office. It is vitally important that the instruments and equipment are in perfect working order to provide safe and effective patient care.
They perform basic office administrative procedures. These procedures may include maintaining inventory, managing the patient appointment book or maintaining financial records.
They provide instruction to patients and groups on dental hygiene, disease prevention, post-operative care, and nutrition and health counseling.
With the implementation of new technologies, the scope of practice of dental assistants is constantly evolving. For this reason, dental assistants have a professional responsibility to become familiar with new technologies, to consider the impact of these new technologies on the dental profession and on their scope of practice; to actively participate in their professional associations; and to update their knowledge as regulations change.