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Some international dental graduates seek employment as allied dental personnel until they succeed in attaining dental licensure.
Three categories of allied dental personnel are recognized in the United States:
A dental assistant supports a dentist directly inpatient care.
A dental assistant works under the supervision of a dentist and duties may include performing such chairside functions as instrument exchange, exposing and processing radiographs, sterilizing instruments, preparing tray set-ups, maintaining patient records and performing business office procedures.
Although formal education in dental assisting is available, neither formal education nor licensure is required by law for employment in most states.
Some states register dental assistants to perform intraoral functions specified in the dental practice act.
Employment opportunities may be found in classified sections of professional publications and local newspapers.
Persons seeking employment may also place advertisements in such publications.
Dental laboratory technician
A dental laboratory technician works with dentists by following the specifications described in authorizations from the dentist to create a variety of dental prostheses including complete dentures, fixed bridges, removable partial dentures, crowns, inlays and corrective appliances.
Although formal education in dental laboratory technology is available, neither formal education nor licensure are typically required for employment.
Most dental laboratory technicians are employed in commercial laboratories or operate their own laboratories, but dentists and various government agencies might also employ dental laboratory technicians.
Opportunities can be sought through advertisements as described for dental assisting or by contacting commercial laboratories in the area.
To work as a dental hygienist an individual must be licensed by the appropriate state board of dentistry.
The usual dental hygiene educational requirement for licensure is graduation from a dental hygiene education program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Such a program is conducted at the post-secondary level and is a minimum of two academic years in length.
The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and a clinical examination are also required.
A dental hygienist assumes delegated responsibilities for patient care under the direction and supervision of a dentist.
The scope of a hygienist's work is dependent upon the jurisdiction's dental practice act, but typically includes collecting diagnostic data; performing an oral inspection and oral prophylaxis; and providing fluoride treatments, dental sealants and oral hygiene instructions.
Generally, states do not have provisions for dental hygiene licensure for international dentists.
Florida, however, grants eligibility status for the Florida clinical dental hygiene examination to international dentists who wish to obtain a dental hygiene license.