Dental Assisting

The Road to Becoming a Certified Dental Assistant In Canada



Thinking about becoming a dental assistant? Awesome! It’s a pretty fulfilling and rewarding gig in the healthcare industry. These folks play a crucial role in making sure you get quality dental care. They assist dentists and keep dental practices running smoothly.

So, if you’re serious about becoming a certified dental assistant, there are a couple of steps you should take. First off, you need to complete the relevant formal education from a recognized institution. Once you’ve got that under your belt, you’ll need to ace the national dental assisting board exam. Trust me, passing that bad boy is a major milestone on your journey to becoming a full-fledged dental assistant.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through the whole process of getting your dental assistant certification, and tackling the national board exam too. So let’s get started!

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

Let’s talk about certified dental assistants – they’re the real deal! These guys go through some serious training and get certified for their dental superhero skills. They team up with dentists to take care of patients, doing stuff like putting sealant on teeth and taking those cool x-rays. 

Having that CDA certificate is like a golden ticket! It shows you’re not messing around – you’re a qualified and knowledgeable pro in the dental world. And guess what? While it’s not a must-have for an entry-level job, having that CDA certificate gives you a big boost when your future employer checks you out. You’ll stand out from the crowd, my friend! 

So, if you’re aiming for that CDA status, here’s the deal: you should complete a dental assisting program. These schools could either be accredited or non-accredited, but it’s best you check their status with the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Once you’ve rocked that program, it’s time to take on  the National Dental Assisting Examination Board (NDAEB) certification exam. Show ’em what you’ve got, and you’ll be a certified dental assistant in no time! 

All About NDAEB

What is it? 

The NDAEB operates as an independent entity and is supported by various dental assisting associations and regulatory bodies. It has representatives from several organizations, including:

  1. Canadian Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities (CDARA): Represents the regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing dental assisting practices across Canada.
  2. Canadian Dental Assistants’ Association (CDAA): Represents dental assistants and their interests in the country.
  3. Canadian Dental Association (CDA): The national professional association for dentists in Canada.
  4. Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC): Responsible for accrediting dental education programs in Canada.
  5. Dental Assisting Educators: Representatives from both accredited and non-accredited educational institutes that provide dental assisting programs.
  6. The Public: The NDAEB also includes representatives from the public, ensuring that the interests of patients and the broader community are considered in the board’s operations.

By having a broad representation of stakeholders, the NDAEB aims to ensure that the national examination for dental assistants in Canada meets high standards of competence and professionalism, and it aligns with the needs of the dental industry and the public.

NDAEB Certificate

The NDAEB certificate is pretty cool because it gives Canadian dental assistants the assurance that they’ve met all the educational requirements for getting registered, certified, licensed, or listed in their province. It’s like a ticket that helps them move around and work wherever they want in the country.

And the best part? You only need to get the certificate once! No need to worry about renewing it every year. Once you’ve got it, you’re good to go! So, it’s a real time-saver and a handy way to show that you’re qualified and ready to take on the dental assisting world.

Is The Certificate a Requirement Everywhere In Canada?

Hey there, recent dental assisting grads! If you’re planning to work in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador, listen up!

You’ll need to get your hands on that NDAEB certificate—it’s a must-have for registration or licensure in those provinces. It’s like your golden ticket to practice dental assisting in these places!

But hey, don’t worry! If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to the Canadian Dental Assisting Regulatory Authority in the province you’re eyeing. They’ll give you all the deets about the licensure requirements, and they’ll definitely talk about the NDAEB certificate too. And if you want more info, check out the “Registration and Licensure” section on their website. Happy dental assisting adventures!

For Ontarians

Ontario dental assistants! If you’re looking to perform intra-oral duties (Level II) in the province, you gotta have that NDAEB certificate. It’s a must!

Now, if you happen to be a Preventive Dental Assistant (PDA) listed with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) before January 1, 2000, you might not need the NDAEB certificate for certain intra-oral duties. Lucky you!

For all things certification in Ontario, get in touch with the Ontario Dental Assistants’ Association at or call 1-800-461-4348. They’re the ones who handle membership and certification for dental assistants in Ontario, and it’s a good idea to be part of it.

Oh, and heads up, the NDAEB certificate doesn’t cover the Healing Arts Radiation Protection (HARP) Certificate in Ontario. They’re separate, so check the “Registration and Licensure” section for more on that. Alternatively, you can get HARP certified separately by taking a course like the HARP1 Dental Radiography – HARP Approved Course offered by DDSMasters (P.S – All you need is a minimum of 1 year chairside assistance regardless of whether you are a level 1 or level 2 DA!

And if you’re moving between provinces in Canada, remember to reach out to the Dental Assisting Regulatory Authority to figure out the licensing and registration requirements. The “Registration and Licensure” section on their site will come in handy too. Stay informed and keep shining, dental assistants! 

Education Required

To be eligible for the NDAEB certificate, you must complete formal education in the following mandatory skills:

  • Chairside dental assisting (Level I)
  • Dental radiography
  • Oral hygiene instruction
  • Dietary counseling for oral health
  • Dental dam application and removal
  • Selective rubber cup polishing
  • Application of anticariogenic agents
  • Preliminary impressions
  • Matrices and wedges application and removal
  • Treatment liners application (no pulpal involvement), acid etch, and bonding materials
  • Pit and fissure sealant application
  • Desensitizing agents application
  • Topical anesthetic application
  • Tooth whitening using trays
  • Suture removal

Registration and Licensure in Canadian Provinces/Territories

Hey there, dental champs! So, here’s the scoop on the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) – they’re not the ones making all the rules, alright? In Canada, the real deal when it comes to dental assistant registration and licenses is the Canadian Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities (CDARA). They go by different names like “regulatory college,” “board,” “council,” or “association.” Fancy titles, right?

Now, in most Canadian provinces (except Quebec), if you wanna be a dental assistant, you should have that NDAEB certificate. It’s like the key to unlock the doors of becoming a licensed, registered, and certified dental pro.

But wait, before you jump into anything, make sure you’re sure! If you’re not sure if your province requires that NDAEB thing, no worries! Just hit up the CDARA and ask them. Better be safe than sorry before you sign up for the NDAEB written exam or Clinical Practice Evaluation (CPE).

Oh, and heads up, peeps! Each province does its own thing, you know? So if you’re curious about the details in different places, reach out to the CDARA for the 411. They’ve got all the info you need! 

News For Ontarians

In Ontario, dental assisting isn’t regulated, but here’s something important to know: if dentists are members of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO), they’re allowed to delegate Level II duties to dental assistants who hold the NDAEB certificate.

For those of you looking to get certified in Ontario, the go-to place is the Ontario Dental Assistants’ Association. You can reach them at or just give them a call at (800) 461-4348. They’re the ones who handle Membership and Certification for dental assistants in Ontario, and it’s a good idea to get onboard with them.

But hey, don’t get confused now! Having the NDAEB Certificate doesn’t automatically mean you’re HARP Certified in Ontario. Nope, those are separate things. For information on HARP Certification, send us an email at and we’d be happy to walk you through your options.

Canadian Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities (CDARAs)

BC College of Oral Health Professionals
1765 8th Ave W
Suite 110
Vancouver, BC V6J 5C6
(888) 202-0448
(672) 202-0448
College of Alberta Dental Assistants
14315 118 Ave NW
Suite 166
Edmonton, AB T5L 4S6
(800) 355-8940
(780) 486-2526
Dental Council of Prince Edward Island
184 Belvedere Ave
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 2Z1
(902) 628-8156
(902) 892-0234
Yukon Territories – National Health and Welfare
Government of Yukon
P.O. Box 2703
(867) 667-5111
Manitoba Dental Association
1735 Corydon Avenue
Suite 202
Winnipeg, MB R3N 0K4
(204) 988-5300
(204) 988-5310
New Brunswick Dental Society
570 Queen Street
Suite 504
P.O. Box 488
Fredericton, NB E3B 6Z6
(506) 452-8575
(506) 452-1872
Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Board
55 Elizabeth Avenue
Suite 204
St. John’s, NL A1A 1W9
(709) 579-2391
(709) 579-2392
Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia
210 Waterfront Drive
Suite 103
Bedford, NS B4A 0H3
(866) 326-1046
(902) 420-0083
(902) 492-0301
Saskatchewan Dental Assistants Association
845 Broad St.
Suite 307
Regina, SK S4R 8G9
(306) 252-2769
(306) 252-2089


Getting dental assistant certification and acing that national board exam, it’s no small feat! These achievements really show your skills, knowledge, and dedication to giving top-notch patient care. If you’re dreaming of becoming a certified dental assistant, you’ve got to do your homework and find out all about the requirements and rules in your area. Look for the right dental assisting programs that fit your goals, and get ready to soak up all that learning and experience. It’s the start of a fantastic journey towards an awesome and fulfilling career as a certified dental assistant! Go for it!