Choosing Dental Assistant as your career in Ontario

Choosing Dental Assistant as your career in Ontario

Choosing Dental Assistant  as your career

Dental assistant role is a vital element within the oral healthcare management. 

Dental assistants facilitate the work of dentists and hygienists. Clinical assistants work at chairside by assisting the dentist with dental procedures. Dental assistants may expose radiographs and perform other intra-oral duties. Dental assistants are responsible for infection control protocols within the office. They clean, disinfect & sterilize dental instruments and dental apparatuses.

Ontario Dental Assistants Association is the certifying body and membership association supporting Ontario dental assistants as respected healthcare professionals. More than 7,000 Ontario dental assistants belong to the ODAA. ODAA regards dental assistants as being both clinical and administrative assistants.

If you’re planning to pursue a career in the dental industry here’s what you need to know.

Ontario Dental Assistants – Scope of Practice


  • Preparation of the treatment/clinical area.
  • Cleaning and sterilization of instruments and hand pieces.
  • Passing instruments to the dentist or hygienist (single- and two-handed technique).
  • Proper use of High Volume Evacuator within the Oral Cavity.
  • Preparation of Restorative Materials.
  • Perform simple laboratory procedures such as the pouring and trimming of study models.
  • Maintains supplies and equipment (stocks and replenishes supplies).
  • Monitors inventory.
  • Assesses emergency situations, aware of emergency protocols, knowledge of First Aid and CPR.
  • Assists in maintaining emergency drug kits.
  • Ability to interpret Material Safety Data Sheets.
  • Conducts spore/biological indicator tests.
  • Recording data on patients’ record or chart as directed by the DDS.
  • Patient and community education on oral health (extra-oral).
  • Other extra-oral duties as required by the dentist.
  • Instruction in care and maintenance of pre-fitted appliances.
  • Expose, process, and mount radiographs as specified by HARP.
  • Obtains vital signs.



Please refer to the RCDSO website for further clarification.

A Level II Dental Assistant is a person who holds the certificate of the National Dental Assisting Examining Board issued on or before December 31, 2002, or who holds a certificate of the National Dental Assisting Examining Board issued after December 31, 2002 provided that the certificate was issued based upon successful completion of its examination(s).

A dentist may give direction to a Level II Dental Assistant to perform any of the following intra-oral procedures:

(1)   application and removal of rubber dam;

(2)   mechanical polishing of the coronal portion of the teeth, but not including any instrumentation;

(3)   taking extra-/intra-oral photographs;

(4)   taking alginate impressions of the teeth for study and working models;

(5)   taking digital/optical impressions of the teeth for study and working models;

(6)   oral hygiene instruction;

(7)   dietary counselling relative to dentistry;

(8)   fluoride application;

(9)   application of materials topically to prepare the surface of the teeth for pit and fissure sealants;

(10) application of pit and fissure sealants;

(11) application of topical anesthetics;

(12) application of desensitizing agents;

(13) polishing restorations;

(14) oral irrigation;

(15) whitening the coronal portion of the teeth using tray-based systems and materials generally available to the public without prescription;

(16) placing and removing restorative matrix bands and wedges;

(17) public health screenings to detect gross abnormalities[5];

(18) removing periodontal dressings that are uncomplicated[6]; and

(19) removing simple interrupted sutures[7].

Note: Dental office administration programs, also offered by Ontario colleges, focus on the clinical knowledge and administrative skills necessary to work in a dental practice. Also look for Ontario college denturism and dental technology programs for specialized areas of study in the dental industry.

Dental Assisting Program Requirements

Dental assisting programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. Additional program requirements may depend on the school or the program but generally would require you to have:
  • Grade 11 or 12 biology
  • Grade 11 or 12 chemistry
  • Grade 12 math

Please review the school application procedures to ensure you meet the requirements. 

Finding a job as Dental Assistant Jobs and Salary Range

You should first obtain certification from the Ontario Dental Assistants Association to be able to practise as a dental assistant. Once certified, graduates can work as dental assistants in clinics, public health units and dental practices.As a Dental assistants you will be asked to perform various tasks including: polishing, oral hygiene instruction, teeth whitening, operating dental radiographers, assisting dentists with procedures. Dental assistant hourly wage would generally start as $24 and can go up to $30 as you gain experience and seniority. Please see ODAA for further information. 

Sources: ODAA

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