Dental Assistant Requirements in North Carolina

By: Natalie Kaweckyj, LDA, RF, CDA, CDPMA, COA, COMSA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, BA

Are you looking to become a dental assistant or are moving as a current dental assistant? Make sure to check the dental assistant requirements in North Carolina to see if you are still qualified in the state to practice.

Each state has different requirements for dental assistants, here are the levels, and functions permitted for dental assistants in North Carolina.

Levels of Dental Assistants in North Carolina

There are three levels of dental assistants in North Carolina:

  1. Dental Assistant I (DA I)
  2. Dental Assistant II in Training (DA II in Training)
  3. Dental Assistant II (DA II)

1. Dental Assistant I (DA I)

A Dental Assistant I (DA I) in North Carolina is an individual who may perform basic supportive dental procedures under the direct control and supervision of a licensed dentist. To qualify to monitor patients under nitrous oxide, a DA I must:

  • Successfully complete a North Carolina Board-approved seven-hour course in nitrous oxide-oxygen-conscious sedation.

2. Dental Assistant II in Training (DA II in Training)

A Dental Assistant II in Training (DA II in Training) is an individual who is participating in on-the-job training to become a DA II.

Training consists of at least two years (3,000 hours) of chairside assisting, during which period the assistant may be trained and allowed to perform most of the functions of a DA II under the direct control and supervision of a North Carolina licensed dentist.

A DA II in Training may not monitor patients under nitrous oxide, take radiographs, or perform coronal polishing until he or she successfully completes the required courses in these topics.

3. Dental Assistant II (DA II)

To perform expanded functions under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist in North Carolina, one must be classified as a DA II.

To qualify as a DA II, one must:

  • Hold a current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification, AND
  • Successfully complete a CODA-accredited dental assisting program or one academic year or longer in a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program, OR 
  • Pass the national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examOR
  • Complete a 3-hour course in sterilization and infection control and complete a 3-hour course in dental office emergencies and, after completing these courses and Item (1) above, receive training in any dental delivery setting and perform the functions of a Dental Assistant II under the direct control and supervision of a licensed dentist.
  • To qualify to perform coronal polishing, a DA II must:
    • Complete a course in coronal polishing identical to that taught in a CODA-accredited dental assisting program, or by a licensed North Carolina hygienist or dentist lasting at least seven clock hours and meeting content requirements established by the North Carolina Board, before using a slow-speed handpiece with a rubber cup or bristle brush attachment.
  • To qualify to monitor patients under nitrous oxide, a DA II must:

Radiography Requirements for Dental Assistants in NC

To legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures in North Carolina, a dental assistant must meet the requirements:

Photo by Curtis Adams

Natalie Kaweckyj

Natalie Kaweckyj

Natalie Kaweckyj, BA, LDA, CDA, RF, CDPMA, COA, COMSA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, is a senior moderator of the Dental Peeps Network and a past president of the ADAA.