Dental Anesthesia Assistant - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get certification as a dental anesthesia assistant?

Chapter 18.350 RCW requires:

  • An application with fee; and
  • Satisfactory evidence of:
    • Commission-approved dental anesthesia assistant training course that includes intravenous access or phlebotomy. Training must include experience starting and maintaining intravenous lines. WAC 246-817-205 provides commission-approved training.
    • Commission-approved basic life support (BLS) cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course.
    • Valid general anesthesia permit of oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a dental anesthesiologist.

The application is available on our Applications and Forms webpage.

What can a dental anesthesia assistant do?

Under close supervision, the dental anesthesia assistant may:

  • Initiate and discontinue an intravenous line for a patient being prepared to receive intravenous medication, sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Adjust the rate of intravenous fluids infusion only to maintain or keep the line patent or open.

Under direct visual supervision, the dental anesthesia assistant may:

  • Draw up and prepare medication.
  • Follow instructions to deliver medication into an intravenous line upon verbal command.
  • Adjust the rate of intravenous fluids infusion beyond a keep-open rate.
  • Adjust an electronic device to provide medications, such as an infusion pump.
  • Administer emergency medications to a patient in order to assist in an emergency.
What is close supervision?

Close supervision is defined in RCW 18.260.010 and WAC 246-817-510 as a supervising dentist whose patient is being "treated" who has personally diagnosed the condition to be treated, and who has personally authorized the procedures to be performed.

The supervising dentist is continuously on-site and physically present in the treatment facility while the assistive personnel perform the procedures, and is capable of responding immediately in the event of an emergency. The supervising dentist isn't required to be physically present in the operatory.

What is direct visual supervision?

RCW 18.350.010 and WAC 246-817-710 defines visual supervision as "supervision by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or dental anesthesiologist by verbal command and under direct line of sight."

I work for several oral and maxillofacial surgeons or dental anesthesiologists. Do I list all of them on my application?

Yes, each oral and maxillofacial surgeon or dental anesthesiologist general anesthesia permit needs valid verification.

Do I have to maintain my dental assistant registration?

Yes, if you provide any identified dental assistant functions listed in WAC 246-817-520. You're not required to be a registered dental assistant to be a certified dental anesthesia assistant.

Do I have to renew my dental anesthesia assistant certification? If so, when?

Yes, the certification will be an annual certification and needs renewal on or before the individual's birth date. Continuing education will be required. Twelve hours every three years is required per WAC 246-817-445.

Do I have to complete continuing education?

Yes, 14 hours every three years. Continuing education must involve direct application of dental anesthesia assistant knowledge and skills in identified categories in WAC 246-817-445 (2).

  • General anesthesia
  • Moderate sedation
  • Physical evaluation
  • Medical emergencies
  • Healthcare provider basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), or pediatric advanced life support (PALS)
  • Monitoring and use of monitoring equipment
  • Pharmacology of drugs, and agents used in sedation and anesthesia
How much is the application and renewal fee?

The application fee is $100. Renewal fee is $85 annually. All applicable fees are listed in WAC 246-817-99005.

What dental tasks can an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or dental anesthesiologist delegate to certified dental anesthesia assistants?

State law lists allowable tasks (WAC 246-817-771). See dentist delegation chart (PDF).