Rikki Lieberth

June 4, 2019

Dental assistants are responsible for preparing as well as breakdown duties in the dental office. They work closely with both the dental hygienists and dentists. While both of them have the same responsibilities, there are two types of dental assistants: registered dental assistant (RDA) and certified dental assistant (CDA). A RDA needs to pass a written and clinical exam, they also need to apply for a state license in order to practice professionally. A certified dental assistant, on the other hand, only attends and passes a dental assisting program, at the end of which they receive a certificate of completion.

A dental assistant in Nebraska may perform basic supportive dental procedures specified by the state dental practice act under the supervision of a licensed dentist. There are no education or training requirements for this level of dental assisting.

What Can An Unlicensed Dental Assistant Do?

The unlicensed dental assistant is restricted to performing certain duties. When a supervising licensed dentist is present, the unlicensed dental assistant may: Monitor nitrous oxide if the dental assistant has a current CPR certificate, place topical local anesthesia, perform dental x-rays or coronal polishing, upon meeting the education requirements.

How Can I Become a Licensed Dental Assistant?

To qualify as a Licensed Dental Assistant in Nebraska, a dental assistant must: Graduate from an accredited dental assisting program or school or earn 1,500 hours of experience as a dental assistant within the past five years.  All applicants are required to successfully complete the Nebraska dental assistants jurisprudence exam with a minimum score of 75 percent.

Coronal Polishing Requirements

In order for a dental assistant to become qualified for coronal polishing they must: 1. Be at least 18 years old, and graduate from a CODA-accredited dental assisting school OR 2. Complete one year (1,500 hours minimum) of clinical work experience as a dental assistant and pass a Nebraska Board-approved course in polishing procedures.

X-Ray Requirements

To legally operate dental x-ray equipment and take dental radiographs in Nebraska, a dental assistant must be 18 years old and have either:

a. Successfully completed one of the following schools’ Dental Radiography courses that is approved by the state of Nebraska:

i. University of Nebraska College of Dentistry, Lincoln

ii. Creighton University School of Dentistry, Omaha

iii. Central Community College, Hastings


b. Passed the national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam, OR

c. Successfully completed an ADA-accredited dental assisting course which provides training in dental radiography.