An EFDA, or expanded-function dental assistant, is a trained medical professional who performs certain duties in a dental office in order to allow the dentist to concentrate on complicated procedures. An EFDA has a higher level of training than a conventional dental assistant, and therefore has a higher certification in most states. This means the EFDA can perform a range of functions that are not within the scope of a conventional dental assistant's duties.
Removal of Orthodontic Appliances
An extended-function dental assistant is often called on in an orthodontist's office to remove braces, bonds, and other orthodontic appliances that the dentist has placed in the patient's mouth. This is a complicated procedure, because bonds and braces are usually chemically affixed to the patient's teeth, and there is a risk of enamel cracking or other problems if they are not removed by a trained professional.
EFDAs are also provide palliative care, or upkeep, to a patient's orthodontic appliances. This could include fixing broken wires in braces or retainers, reaffixing a broken bond to the patient's tooth, or changing the bands and bonds in the braces so that they can be moved to the next level of care.
An EFDA may work with removable prostheses, such as retainers or other devices. The EFDA might make the casting of the patient's teeth for the initial retainer or prosthetic device, or might be called upon to repair or replace a device.
There may also be other duties for the EFDA, such as sealing a child's teeth to prevent decay or monitoring the dosage of nitrous oxide. Ultimately, it is the prerogative of the dentist in charge of the practice to determine whether the EFDA will actually have any expanded functions, or play the role of a conventional dental assistant.
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