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Patricia Bernal with head space

"We are proud to hire graduates from the 
NMSU Doña Ana Community College Dental Assisting Program. Some of their students have the opportunity to extern in our Las Cruces facility. The students come well prepared to face the challenges of a busy dental practice. As the largest private dental practice in the state of New Mexico, we have a responsibility to the communities we serve to hire and retain well-trained and educated staff. The Dental Assisting Program at DACC helps us to
do just that."

—Patricia N. Bernal

Certificate of Completion

Dental assisting is both a challenging and a rewarding profession. Dental assistants are people who like helping others, enjoy working closely with patients and other members of the dental team, and like working with their hands. In fact, assistants frequently are relied on as the dentist’s “other set of hands.”

There is no lack of variety in the types of tasks that dental assistants perform. They prepare equipment, materials, and instruments for patient care; perform sterilization and disinfection procedures; provide patients with instructions for dental procedures; create temporary crowns; provide coronal polishing and placement of sealants; take impressions of teeth; create study casts (molds); take and review patient medical histories; expose and develop radiographs; and perform a variety of other duties. They may also be responsible for administrative tasks, such as billing, patient verification, scheduling of various types of treatment appointments, and material inventory.

Assistants may work in a general-practice office where a dentist provides multiple types of treatment, including restorative/operative work (fillings), prosthetics (crowns, bridges, and dentures), and perhaps some surgery. They may want to specialize for work in periodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pedodontics, or orthodontics.

In the state of New Mexico, dental assistants can become certified to perform the following expanded duties: radiology (taking x-rays), coronal polishing (polishing of teeth and removal of stains), fluoride treatments (the act of placing fluoride on a patient’s teeth), and sealant placement (used to prevent decay). These certifications are obtained through the State Dental Board and are a portion of the Dental Assisting National Board Certification Exam.

The Dental Assistant program at DACC is nationally accredited by the American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Program Accreditation. It is also recognized by the New Mexico State Board of Dentistry as a continuing-education provider.

Important Facts About This Certificate Program

For information concerning the total cost, financing, time to completion, and job placement rates associated with this program, visit the following web page: http://dacc.nmsu.edu/gainfulemployment/das.html

For further information, call (575) 527-7653.