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D E NTAL AUXI LIARI E S Registered Dental Assistants Are in Demand! By Kathleen Weber, CDA, RDA, BAS D ental assisting programs in Michigan accredited by the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) are being inundated with phone calls from local dentists who are frustrated because they aren’t able to find skilled Registered Dental Assistants. There simply aren’t enough to go around. Licensed RDAs are in demand! Yet at the same time, however, it seems that many dentists are unaware of what dental assisting credentials mean, and which duties their dental assistant(s) may legally perform. It’s important that dentists and dental team members alike understand the laws regarding the delegation of duties. These laws aren’t merely guidelines. They are clearly defined in the Administrative Rules of the Michigan Board of Dentistry, and because dentists are responsible for all treatment that takes place in their offices, every dentist has an obligation to make certain that proper delegation of duties is taking place. Illegal delegation can result in liability and penalties, including loss of license. But when laws are followed, optimal care can be provided and public safety maintained. With that in mind, you may find yourself asking the following questions: n What credentials do my dental assistants possess? n Are my dental assistants Certified Dental Assistants (CDA), Registered Dental Assistants (RDA) or On-the-Job Trained (OJT) dental assistants? n What is the difference between each credential? n How can I confirm what credentials or licenses my dental assistants have? n What duties can my dental assistants legally perform? n Am I delegating duties that are illegal? n How can I assist my dental assistant in obtaining his or her RDA license? n How can I become more familiar with the law? What the different dental assisting credentials mean, and why it’s important for all dental offices to understand the state of Michigan’s delegation of duties rules. (Continued on Page 40) JOURNAL OF THE MICHIGAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION • JUNE 2016 39