Differences between a Dental Assistant and an Expanded Function Dental Assistant

HealthcareMay 22, 2017

----Editor's note: Updated 9/14/2018---

What’s the difference between a dental assistant and an expanded function dental assistant? Many students ask this question. Is there a benefit to embarking further studies to become an expanded function dental assistant? Read on to learn the key differences.

Dental assistants primarily help dentists with patient care. Specifically, their duties include scheduling appointments, preparing patients for treatments, sterilizing equipment, processing billing and payment, passing equipment to dentists during oral procedures, instructing patients on proper oral hygiene, and processing x-rays and lab samples.

Depending on the state in which they work, dental assistants can become expanded function dental assistants, which allows them to perform advanced duties under a dentist’s supervision. According to Chron, some of these advanced duties include applying anesthesia, removing prosthetics, coronal polishing, applying sealants, and applying fluorides.

Certifications and Training

However, these duties may vary, depending on the certification obtained and specific concentrations. For example, Chron also notes a dental assistant can become a certified preventive functions dental assistant, certified preventive orthodontic assistant or certified restorative functions dental assistant.

Salaries differ between dental assistants and expanded function dental assistants. Just like any other career, performing advanced duties will result in increased pay. According to the Dental Assisting National Board, certified dental assistants tend to earn more money per hour than a non-certified dental assistant.   In fact, many dental assistants go back to school to get the extra training necessary to become and expanded functions dental assistant.

Overall, furthering one’s education to perform advanced duties at a job is always a good call. Fortis prepares students for entry-level dental careers as a dental assistant and expanded function dental assistant. To learn more, please visit our site

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