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Glossary of Common Terms and Acronyms

Click on a term or acronym below to view its definition:

Board of Dentistry
LDRT
Bureau of X-Ray Compliance
License
CDA
Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist
Certificate
Limited Dental Radiologic Technologist
Credential
Limited RDA
COA
Medical Imaging
CPFDA
New Jersey State Board of Dentistry
DANB
NJDEP
DAS
OSHA
Dental Assistant
Radiation Health & Safety
Dental Hygienist
Radiograph
Dental License
Radiography
Dental X-Ray License
Radiologic
DRT
Radiology
Expanded Functions
RDA
General Chairside
RDH
Infection Control
RHS




Board of Dentistry
See New Jersey State Board of Dentistry.

Bureau of X-Ray Compliance
The Bureau is a part of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP).  Specifically the Bureau is responsible for protecting the public and employees from unnecessary exposure to radiation from x-rays and reducing misdiagnoses caused by malfunctioning equipment and/or operator error.  The Bureau of X-Ray Compliance also awards dental x-ray licenses and oversees license holders.  Click here to visit the Bureau's website.  See also Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist.

CDA
Certified Dental Assistant  [DANB Disclaimer].  Having your CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate is a way of communicating to prospective employers and the public that you are an educated, qualified, and knowledgeable professional.  Click here for more information.

Certificate
Evidence of certain educational standards.  A certificate proves to others (such as the public, potential employers, and governing agencies) that you have shown competence in a particular area.  DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certification is an example of a certificate.  See also credential and license.

Credential
A credential is either a certificate or a license showing evidence of having met certain educational and/or experience based standards that in turn entitle a person to certain privileges or responsibilities.  There are three main dental assisting credentials available in the state of New Jersey: a dental x-ray license, a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate, and an RDA license.

COA
Certified Orthodontic Assistant.  DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]COA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate requires either (1) graduation from an accredited DDS or DMD program, (2) 3500 hours of work experience as an orthodontic assistant in no less than two years and no more than four years, or (3) previous attainment of a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate and successful completion of an accredited orthodontic assisting training course.  These courses can be difficult to locate and the certificate is currently held by less than 200 individuals in the state of New Jersey.  A COA certificate does not permit you to perform any tasks that a CDA certificant or RDA cannot also perform in NJ.  As such the vast majority of dental assistants and employers prefer a CDA certification and/or an RDA license.

CPFDA
Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant.  The CPFDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate shows proficiency in four task areas: coronal polishing, topical fluoride application, sealants, and topical anesthetics application.  According the NJ State Board of Dentistry no New Jersey based dental assistant is permitted to do coronal polishing (prophy).  Thus in the state of New Jersey, the CPFDA certificate is essentially not applicable.  This certification was previously referred to as a Certified Preventive Dental Assistant (CPDA) certificate.  Click here for additional information about the CPFDA certificate.

DANB
The Dental Assisting National Board  [DANB Disclaimer].  This is the agency that creates the exams that you would take in New Jersey (and many other states) to obtain your dental credentials (x-ray license, CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate, and RDA license).  They also award CDA certificates and manage current CDA certificants with respect to issues such as maintaining active certification by meeting continuing education requirements and investigating allegations of behavioral misconduct.  Click here to visit DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]website.

DAS
Dental Assistant Services.  A family owned and run business with over 30 years of experience training individuals to become properly credentialed (certified or licensed) dental assistants.  DAS offers courses that will help you obtain a dental x-ray license, a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificant and/or obtain an RDA license.  We can also keep your dental office up to date with OSHA regulations and standards training requirements, help you maintain your credentials with our continuing dental education courses, assist in locating job openings and potential job candidates, and more.

Dental Assistant
Please click here for an overview of what a dental assistant is and can do.

Dental Hygienist (RDH)
Becoming a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) carries its own set of requirements and regulations, including an education of at least two years and as much as six years, along with a written national board examination, and a state or regional clinical examination.  Once licensed dental hygienists can perform tasks such as the removal of plaque and calculus, applying sealants and fluoride, educating patients, treating periodontal disease, exposing, processing, and interpreting radiographs, and administering local anesthesia.  Many people who want to become hygienists begin their careers as dental assistants.

Dental License
This is the license offered by the NJ State Board of Dentistry that you would pursue to become a dentist in the state of New Jersey.

Dental X-Ray License
See Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist.

DRT
See Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist.

Expanded Functions
Additional functions that a dental assistant can perform once they obtain an RDA license.

General Chairside
A dental assistant with education and/or experience in chairside procedures is one who is qualified to assist a dentist during actual procedures being performed on a patient.

Infection Control
The study of preventing infections in a healthcare environment, including how various policies and procedures can assist in preventing the transmission of infections.

LDRT
See Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist.

License
Permission from a governing authority to perform certain tasks or behaviors, obtained by meeting a series of requirements (such as education, testing, experience, and/or peer recommendations).  Both your dental x-ray license and RDA are considered licenses.  Once you obtain a license from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and/or the NJ Board of Dentistry respectively, you will be allowed to perform certain behaviors that without a license you could not legally engage in.
 
Unlike with a certificate, after passing the appropriate examination you must formally apply to the appropriate governing body in order to receive your license. 

Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist
This is the formal name of what is commonly referred to as a dental x-ray license.  A person holding this license is legally permitted to take dental x-rays.  In NJ the Bureau of X-Ray Compliance is responsible for awarding licenses and overseeing those who hold a license. 

A Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist may also be referred to as a Limited Dental Radiologic Technologist, where the word "limited" emphasizes the fact that someone with this type of license is limited to taking only dental radiographs as opposed to medical images on other parts of the body.  A Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist may at times also be abbreviated as LDRT or just DRT.  In practice however, most people will typically say that they do or do not have a dental x-ray license.

See also radiologic.

Limited Dental Radiologic Technologist
See Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist.  The two terms are often used interchangeably.

Limited RDA
This license was created by the NJ State Board of Dentistry as a means of expediting the process of obtaining an RDA license.  Only a small number of people have obtained this license and while it is still available today, it is limited in that it only permits a person to perform orthodontic procedures.  To perform all other expanded functions you would still be required to obtain a full (non-limited) RDA license.

Medical Imaging
The practice of taking images of parts of or the entire human body for medical purposes such as diagnosing, treating, preparing for surgery, and educational purposes.  Examples of medical imaging include x-rays, endoscopy, thermography (thermal imaging), and microscopy.

New Jersey State Board of Dentistry
The NJ State Board of Dentistry is a state-specific governing body that regulates dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, and others in the dental field.  Of particular interest is that they oversee individuals who are or would like to become an RDAClick here to visit the NJ State Board of Dentistry's website.

NJDEP
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  The NJDEP as an agency is responsible for managing natural resources and solving pollution problems.  As a part of that responsibility the DEP oversees the proper use of radiation, which includes processing dental radiographs.  See also the Bureau of X-Ray Compliance.

OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  They oversee the safety and well-being of employees (not patients), with specific attention and focus being paid to the potential for contracting and spreading viruses, infections, and other illnesses.   Click here to visit OSHA's website.

Radiation Health & Safety (RHS)
DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam tests an individual's knowledge about proper radiologic policies, practices, and procedures.  Passing this exam is part of the requirements for becoming a Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist and a Certified Dental Assistant  [DANB Disclaimer]certificant.

Radiograph
In practice the term radiograph is synonymous with the word x-ray.  Technically though, a radiograph is any photographic image produced by an x-ray or by the use of nuclear radiation.

Radiography
The practice of taking medical images.  While there are different types of medical images, in the dental assisting field we are typically talking about x-rays.  A radiographer works directly with patients to produce medical images (such as dental x-rays) that a radiologist can then later interpret.  See also radiology.

Radiologic
Relating to or pertaining to the use of radiographs, radioactive materials, and radiation based equipment.  A Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist is not the same thing as a radiologist.

Radiology
The study and interpretation of medical imaging.  While there are different types of medical images, in the dental assisting field we are typically talking about x-rays.  A radiologist is trained to read and interpret medical images such as dental radiographs (x-rays).  See also radiography.

RDA
Registered Dental Assistant.  This is a state specific license.  An RDA is the highest level of credentialing available to a NJ-based dental assistant and allows you to perform the widest array of functions and job tasks.  Click here for more information.




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