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Member FAQ: Additional Dental Team Education


What additional education is required for assistants and hygienists to administer anesthesia, caries prevention, polishing and X-rays? Dental team members must complete educational or testing requirements to perform certain delegated duties.

Anesthesia Permits for Licensed Dental Hygienists

An applicant for a dental hygiene anesthetic permit must complete a course in local anesthesia administration through an educational program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association. The course must include, at a minimum, 15 hours of didactic instruction and 14 hours of laboratory work. Dental hygienists who want to administer local anesthesia will be required to take and pass the North East Regional Board (NERB) local anesthesia examination, or another substantially equivalent regional or state examination,to obtain a permit. If you already have a hygiene license, you must still obtain a permit from the State Board of dentistry and fulfill the education requirements.

Caries Prevention, Polishing and X-rays for Dental Assistants

For application of anticariogenics, assistants must complete nine hours of didactic instruction, as well as two hours of lab work including two mannequin and two live patients. Upon completion of five patients under the direct supervision, the assistant will receive an affidavit of completion.

For polishing, an assistant who has been in practice for one year may take five hours of didactic instruction and two hours of lab work, demonstrate competency on five patients under the direct observation of a dentist or hygienist and get a signed verification of competency.

For X-rays, dental assistants have two options for meeting requirements: (1) Attend a CODA-accredited institution, or (2) complete a home self-study course. On-the-job training doesn’t exist, but distance learning opportunities do. The American Association of Dental Assistants provides a training manual for their members, and the IDA offers a home self-study program. All radiation technologists must pass the radiation portion of the Dental Assisting National Board.

Visit to for the Indiana State Department of Health, or for the Professional licensing agency for more information on any of the requirements, or to download related forms.

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