College of Alberta Dental Assistants


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Skills/Authorized Practice


Dental assistants may provide services that involve working in a patient's mouth, including Restricted Activities* if:

  • we have authorized them to provide the service,
  • they are competent after proper education, training, and experience, and
  • the service is prescribed and directed by a dentist, dental hygienist or denturist

Not all dental assistants are authorized to perform all services listed below. You can check our Dental Assistant Registry to see if a dental assistant has a current practice permit and what they are authorized to do.

Entry Practices

These services are typical for dental assistants. If a dental assistant is not authorized for a specific Entry Practice, it will show as a condition on our Registry. Beginning with our 2020 Practice Permit, it will also show as a condition on their Practice Permit.

  • dental radiographs* (RAD)
  • impressions (IMP)
  • dental dam (DD)
  • selective coronal polishing and anticariogenic agents (PF)
  • pit and fissure sealants (PIT)
  • desensitizing agents (DES)
  • matrices and wedges (MW)
  • topical anaesthetic (TA)
  • suture removal (SUT)
  • bases and liners (BL)

Advanced Practices

These services are not typical for dental assistants. If a dental assistant is authorized for a specific Advanced Practice, it will show as an authorization on our Registry. Beginning with our 2020 Practice Permit, it will also show as an authorization on their Practice Permit.

Orthodontic (ORTH)

Includes these competencies:

  • place and remove orthodontic separators
  • select, fit and cement orthodontic bands*
  • insert orthodontic appliances*
  • place and bond orthodontic brackets and bondable attachments*
  • insert, ligate and remove orthodontic archwires, which were formed by a dentist, using individual elastomeric ligatures, chain elastomeic ligatures, wire ligature ties (separate and continuous) and self-ligation mechanisms*
  • trim and or bend distal ends of orthodontic archwires
  • place and remove orthodontic accessories*
  • remove orthodontic bands, brackets and bondable attachments with hand-held instruments

Note: The dentist must perform the final fitting, adjustment and/or activation of any appliance and a final check of brackets, bands and attachments.

Preventive (SC)

Includes these competencies:

  • perform scaling using hand-held instruments and ultrasonic instruments*

Note: Scaling performed by an authorized dental assistant is limited to areas with a pocket depth of 4 mm or less, as directed by a dentist or dental hygienist provided that the prescribing dentist or dental hygienist assessed the patient, within the six months preceding the date of service, to determine the patient has healthy gingival and periodontal tissues, and no overt or radiographic signs of alveolar bone loss. If at the time of scheduled service, there has been any change to the condition in the oral cavity since the assessment such as evidence of any major dental restorations i.e. crown(s), bridge(s) and/or implant(s) or the initiation of orthodontic treatment, the patient should be reassessed by a dentist or dental hygienist prior to the dental assistant performing scaling.

Probing (PRB)

Includes these competencies:

  • full mouth periodontal probing*
  • periodontal screening and recording assessment

Prosthodontic (PROS)

Includes these competencies:

  • place intermediate restorative materials for temporary restoration of a tooth, and remove excess material from occlusion or contour with hand instruments and slow speed rotary handpiece
  • select or fabricate and fit provisional acrylic crowns, inlays, onlays and bridges intra-orally using self-curing or light curing materials, or prefabricated or custom fabricated acrylic shells, and remove excess material from occlusion or contour extra-orally with slow speed rotary handpiece
  • cement provisional crowns, inlays, onlays and bridges using temporary cement, and remove excess temporary cement with hand instruments
  • remove provisional crowns, inlays, onlays or bridges and cement with hand instruments
  • place and remove gingival retraction cord with or without hemostatic agents (no epinephrine) in sulcus
  • place and remove periodontal surgical dressing

Registration is mandatory when a person meets the requirements for registration and intends to provide dental assisting services directly to the public.1

*These services are Restricted Activities. Restricted Activities are health services that pose significant risk and require a high level of professional competence. Dental assistants who are authorized may perform restricted activities under the direction and supervision of a dentist, dental hygienist or denturist who is authorized to order and provide the service.2

Questions? Contact the Registrar.

  1. Health Professions Act, RSA 2000, c H-7, s 46.
  2. Government Organization Act, RSA 2000, c G-10, schedule 7.1; Dental Assistants Profession Regulation, (AR 252/2005) s 12-14.