Answer to Question #11012 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Worker Issues

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


How can the staffing agency that I work for go about certifying dental personnel in radiation safety? I understand that there is a minimum of six hours of course work in order to be certified, but can we simply compile six hours of instructional videos and then make a certificate or does someone here need to have a license of some type?


This is a “state’s rights” issue and every state has different regulations. For example, I live in Michigan and in 1992 the State Board of Dentistry passed rules for delegating dental radiography duties to those dental assistants who have “successfully completed a course in dental radiography which is substantially equivalent to a course taught in a program approved by the Board pursuant to R338.11303 or R338.11307.” These rules refer to formal programs in dental assisting or dental hygiene. I used to teach such a course at the University of Michigan for dental assistants, comprising 21 hours, about equally divided between didactic and clinical practice on manikins.

On the other hand, the State of Ohio has a special dental radiography license for dental assistants that requires a seven-hour didactic course, with a list of specific topics, followed by clinical practice in the dental office under the supervision of a licensed dentist. The assistant has to complete a two-hour continuing education class in dental radiography every two years. On the State of Ohio website there is a list of approved sponsors for such courses. I have been involved in both the initial and follow-up courses in Ohio under the auspices of the Ohio Dental Association. The following link will take you to a site that has the application for radiography licensure, including the list of requirements:

Thus, to answer your question, you need to check out the rules for the Board of Dentistry in whatever state your employees work. There is no blanket answer that will work everywhere.

Sharon L. Brooks, DDS, MS

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 13 June 2014. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.