Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary (EFDA)

Students working with manikins in EFDA simulation lab pre-COVID

Case Western Reserve University requires all students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including booster dose(s), if eligible. Individuals may apply for medical or religious exemptions. For more information, visit our COVID-19 website.

Established in 1976, the Case Western Reserve University Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary (EFDA) program was the first of its kind in Ohio. Located in our new state-of-the-art facility on the interdisciplinary Health Education Campus, we are proud of our reputation as the leader in EFDA education. Take a look at our groundbreaking facility.

Deadlines/Dates Estimated Expenses

What is an EFDA?

This program trains certified dental assistants (CDA) and registered dental hygienists (RDH) with a strong desire to further their dental expertise in the art of restorative dentistry. Learning to provide more hands-on care to patients, Ohio EFDAs specialize in the placement of advanced remedial intra-oral procedures—including the placement of preventative or restorative materials limited to sealants and metallic/non-metallic restorative materials (fillings). Review the tasks legally delegated by dentists to EFDAs by visiting the Ohio State Dental Board website.

Program Highlights

  • Rigorous, high-caliber education on a flexible schedule: Students attend class one day per week August through May, selecting Wednesday or Friday as the day they will attend each week. Classes are held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  • State-of-the-art learning facility: Learning takes place in our new Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion on the interdisciplinary Health Education Campus.
  • Hands-on experience: Students will become familiar with restorative procedures, learning to use both direct vision and indirect mirror vision to complete and evaluate restorations. Learning experience also includes perfecting fine motor skills to enable accurate and safe application of dental handpieces and instruments. 
  • Intimate class sizes: Enrollment is limited to 40 students, with a maximum of 20 students per class. 

View more information by visiting the EFDA Curriculum page and EFDA Tuition page.

Follow us on Facebook for a glimpse into the EFDA student experience.

Program Eligibility

Individuals applying for this dental certificate program must meet the following admission qualifications:

  • Employed auxiliaries will be given priority consideration.
  • Must have at least two years of chairside-assisting experience in general dentistry (within the past five years), unless RDH (however, strongly recommended).
  • CDA (Certified Dental Assistant): Proof of current CDA status (copy of current certification document showing certification expiration date is required) from one of the following:
  • RDH: Proof of current RDH status (license) is required.

Eligibility for Foreign-Trained Dentists

Requirements include:

  • Transcripts from the dental school attended that have been evaluated (U.S. course equivalency) by Educational Course Evaluators
    • Please choose ECE “course-by-course” evaluation type when ordering your report.  
  • Proof of TOEFL Examination results (English proficiency must be demonstrated by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language);
    • A minimum score of 577 (paper-based) or 90 (internet-based), no exceptions.
    • Applicants are exempt from the TOEFL requirements if they show proof of:
      • Speaking English as their native language;
      • A bachelor’s degree or higher at a U.S. college or university, or a foreign university where instruction was in English and is documented as such on the transcript.

Students enrolled in the EFDA Program are ineligible to enroll in any other programs in the university until completion of the EFDA Program.

The Ronald L. Occhionero and Family EFDA Award of Excellence

Established by Ronald Occhionero (DEN ’61) in 2020, this award recognizes a graduating EFDA student who exhibits passion and commitment to the field. Christine LoCoco (EFDA ‘24) received the 2024 award for her dedication to the EFDA profession and outstanding efforts in the face of adversity.

"There's much more to receiving an award or scholarship for either accomplishing the most restorations quantitatively or the best qualitatively, and which is even most critical for the EFDA concept to be a success in the dental office," said Occhionero. "Very simply and that is to be a team player, which Christine LoCoco exemplified in all her EFDA course encounters at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine."

See the list of previous recipients.


For additional information on the EFDA program or questions regarding the application process, please contact EFDA Program Director Shelly Feiwell at 216.368.3252 or by email: sxf35@case.edu.