Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary - Frequently Asked Questions

Continuing Education
Is continuing education required for EFDAs?

No. Law doesn't require continuing education for EFDAs (RCW 18.260).

Does an EFDA have to post their license?

Yes. Law requires all dental staff to post their credential, whether they have a license, certification or registration (WAC 246-817-301).

How do I request a duplicate of my license?

Check the fee page to find the correct payment. Send a check or money order to the Department of Health. Please note that you're requesting a duplicate license and remember to include your credential number.

If it's within 90 days of your expiration date, you may renew your license and receive an updated copy.

How do I update my mailing address?

All address change requests must be sent in writing. If you're renewing and have received your renewal notice, please complete the address change request on the back of the card.

If you're not renewing or don't have your renewal card, complete the online address change form. You may fax your change to 360-236-4818, or select the "Email" button on the form once you fill it out. Or print the form out and mail it to the Customer Service Office.

You must have your current mailing address. Otherwise, we cannot send you the courtesy renewal reminder.

The U.S. Postal Service won't forward state mail so it's your responsibility to inform the Customer Service Office of an address change.

What do I need to change my name on my license?

Please mail or fax a copy of your certified marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order showing your name change to the Customer Service Office. We won't send you a credential showing your new name until your next renewal has been processed. You may also include this request when submitting your renewal.

If I'm active military, how may I request military status?
  • Military service members retain their credentials during active duty status and are allowed to practice throughout the state.
  • We'll place the service member on "active military" status when he or she provides a copy of the service orders to our Customer Service Office.
  • We don't send a renewal card to these credential holders. They must send current orders to the Customer Service Office each year before the credential expires.
  • We don't charge renewal fees to credential holders in active military status.
  • If the credential holder doesn't submit current orders on the renewal, the credential expires.
  • We'll change a military status to active when the service member:
    • Provides a copy of the discharge papers (DD214).
    • Pays the renewal fee.
  • Continuing education hours, if applicable, aren't required upon return to active status.
  • Regular renewal fees and continuing education requirements apply after the first post-discharge update.
  • Military service members have a six-month period to update their credential after discharge.
  • If the credential holder doesn't renew within six months after discharge, the credential expires. If the credential holder later asks to renew the credential, the regular process applies, including penalties.
Do I have to be licensed to work as an EFDA?

Yes. As of December 1, 2008, you must be licensed to work as an expanded function dental auxiliary (EFDA) in Washington.

What are the requirements to become a licensed EFDA?

You must complete an approved education program, pass the approved written and clinical exams, complete application, and pay the application fee.

How do I apply to become a licensed EFDA?

You'll find the applications on our website.

Is there an exam I need to take?

Yes. The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) provides the written restorative exam (WARE). The clinical restorative exam is provided by either the Western Regional Exam Board (WREB) or Central Regional Dental Testing (CRDTS).

What schools are approved?

Education programs must apply to the commission to receive approval for an EFDA education. We've posted approved programs on our website.

I'm a licensed dental hygienist. Can I be licensed as an EFDA?

Yes. You must take a course in final impressions to obtain an EFDA license in addition to the the application and application fee. Expanded function dental auxiliary is a separate license from the dental hygiene license. You'll have to maintain both dental hygiene and EFDA licenses to provide both scopes of practice. Licensing requirements are different for licensed dental hygienists.

I'm licensed in another state as a dental auxiliary, can I practice in Washington?

You must have a Washington EFDA license to practice in Washington. To be eligible for an EFDA license without examination you must provide evidence of a current license in another state with substantially equivalent licensing standards as determined by the commission.

If I've been a dental assistant for years, can I just take the exam for EFDA?

No. You must have both approved education and examinations for an EFDA license.

Do I have to maintain my dental assistant registration if I'm a licensed EFDA?

No. Law allows a licensed EFDA to provide all the services a dental assistant may provide per RCW 18.260.070.

How do I renew my license?

EFDAs must renew their licenses annually on or before their birthday. They're required to submit the appropriate fee with each renewal cycle. Please keep your address updated to receive courtesy renewal notices.


By mail

In person

Come to our Tumwater location.

    Frequently asked questions about renewals

    Avoid an expired license

    Don't let your license expire. You must make sure we have your renewal before it expires. Otherwise, you won't be allowed to practice. A timely postmark on your renewal will not prevent an expired license. Renewals sent by mail take about two weeks to process.

    How long will it take to process my renewal?

    If you send it by mail it will take about two weeks to update.

    If you walk the payment to the front counter, it'll take about three to seven business days. This saves mail time and you'll receive verification during the visit.

    Our goal is to process all renewals within seven business days after we receive them. This includes payment and processing time.

    How do I know my expiration date?

    Your license lists the expiration date. It's your birthday. You may also look at our provider/facility search to see your expiration date.

    Scope of Practice
    What services can an EFDA provide?

    An EFDA can provide the same services as a dental assistant but can provide the following services under general supervision general supervision of a dentist:

    • Perform coronal polishing;
    • Give fluoride treatment;
    • Apply sealants;
    • Place dental X-ray film and expose and develop film; and
    • Give patients oral health instructions.

    In addition to all the dental assistant duties, an EFDA can provide the following under close supervision of a dentist:

    • Place and carve direct restorations; and
    • Take final impressions.

    The law provides a complete list of allowable EFDA tasks in WAC 246-817-525.

    How are EFDAs different from dental hygienists?

    Dental hygienists and EFDAs have different licensing requirements and different scopes of practice.

    What is close supervision?

    "Close supervision" means that a licensed dentist whose patient is being treated has personally diagnosed the condition to be treated and has personally authorized the procedures to be performed. A dentist shall be physically present in the treatment facility while the procedures are performed. Close supervision doesn't require a dentist to be physically present in the operatory; however, an attending dentist must be in the treatment facility and be capable of responding immediately in the event of an emergency.

    What is general supervision?

    "General supervision" means supervision of dental procedures based on examination and diagnosis of the patient and subsequent instructions given by a licensed dentist but not requiring the physical presence of the supervising dentist in the treatment facility during the performance of those procedures.

    What can an EFDA do?

    Law lists allowable and prohibited tasks in WAC 246-817-525 and 246-817-545).

    What dental tasks can a dentist delegate to licensed expanded function dental auxiliaries?

    State law lists allowable and prohibited tasks (WAC 246-817-525 and 246-817-545). See dentist delegation chart (PDF).

    May dentists delegate silver diamine fluoride to dental hygienists, dental assistants, or expanded function dental auxiliaries?

    Yes. Silver diamine fluoride is a fluoride preventative treatment. WAC 246-817-550 (5) and 246-817-525 (6)(b) allows dentists to delegate under general supervision to licensed dental hygienists and licensed expanded function dental auxiliaries. WAC 246-817-520 (f) allows dentists to delegate under close supervision to registered dental assistants.