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Washington State Dental Association

Regulatory FAQ on Dental Anesthesia Assistants

On March 7, Governor Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5620, requiring the certification of dental anesthesia assistants. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

For more information contact Michael Walsh at

Q: When will this law take effect?

A: The Dental Quality Assurance Commission (DQAC) has begun the rule making process. This process will take approximately one year.

Q: What do you have to do to become certified?

A: To become certified as a dental anesthesia assistant, applicants must complete a DQAC-approved dental anesthesia assistant training course, and provide proof that the office where the dental anesthesia assistant will work possesses a valid general anesthesia permit. 

Q: What is the curriculum for the dental anesthesia assistant training course?

A: The curriculum will include intravenous access or phlebotomy, training on starting and maintaining intravenous lines and completion of a DQAC-approved basic life support/cardiac pulmonary resuscitation course

Q: What is the scope of practice for dental anesthesia assistants?

A: CDAA’s may only work under the supervision of an oral maxillofacial surgeon or a dental anesthesiologist. Under close supervision, a dental anesthesia assistant may initiate and discontinue an intravenous line for a patient being prepared to receive intravenous medications, sedation, or general anesthesia and may adjust the rate of intravenous fluid infusion only to maintain and keep the line open. Under direct visual supervision, a dental anesthesia assistant may draw up and prepare medications, follow instructions to deliver medication into an intravenous line upon verbal command, adjust and intravenous line beyond a keep open rate, adjust an electronic device to provide medications, and administer emergency medications.

Q: Can a dental anesthesia assistant administer anesthetics without supervision?

A: No. The responsibility for monitoring a patient and determining the selection of the drug, dosage, and timing of all anesthetic medications rests solely with the oral and maxillofacial surgeon or dental anesthesiologist.

Q: Can registered dental assistants and licensed expanded function dental auxiliaries administer anesthetic?

A: No. Dental assistants and expanded function dental auxiliaries may not administer any general or local anesthetic.  

Click here to view a copy of the governor signed legislation.

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