Dental Assistant

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: https://dacc.nmsu.edu/vd/GEI/DA-DAS-CT/Gedt.html

Course Fees

In addition to tuition, a course fee of $250 is charged for DAS 115 Dental Radiology.

Required Skills and Abilities

Students will need to demonstrate good oral expression (speech clarity) and written comprehension in English, critical thinking skills, near vision, and physical stamina (e.g., the ability to stand for long periods of time), as well as the ability to manipulate dental/medical equipment, move/lift patients and equipment up to 50 pounds without assistance, and perform patient care procedures with manual dexterity.

Program Admission Special Requirements

The Dental Assistant program is a limited-entry, special-application program. When a candidate is considered for acceptance into the program, the following factors are taken into account:

  • High school and/or college transcripts and GPA
  • Proof of residence
  • Copy of current healthcare provider CPR card and immunizations
  • Completion of English, communication, and biology courses are required prior to applying (completion of other general education and related requirements also considered)
  • Completion of program application (submitted before deadline)

DAS 101. Introduction to Dental Assisting

2 Credits

An introduction to the duties and responsibilities of a dental assistant. Includes brief lessons on head and neck anatomy, chair side assisting, sterilization techniques, dental office emergencies, and dental office management. Restricted to: Community Colleges only.

DAS 111. Bio-Dental Science

4 Credits (3+3P)

An introduction to biomedical and dental sciences with emphasis on head and neck anatomy and tooth morphology. Includes microbiology, general anatomy and physiology, histology and embryology of the oral cavity, pathology and pharmacology as they relate to dentistry.

Corequisite(s): DAS 113, DAS 115, and DAS 117.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): PSY 201G, PHLS 150G, and HNDS 251. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 111G, BIOL 154, and (COMM 253G or COMM 265G). Restricted to: OEDA majors. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

DAS 113. Dental Assisting I

4 Credits (2+6P)

Introduction to chair side assisting procedures, instrumentation, infection control, equipment safety and maintenance, dental office emergencies, and management of pain and anxieties.

Corequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 115, and DAS 117.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): PSY 201G, PHLS 150G, and HNDS 251. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 111G, BIOL 154, and (COMM 253G or COMM 265G). Restricted to: OEDA majors. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

DAS 115. Dental Radiology

3 Credits (2+3P)

Radiation physics, hygiene, and safety theories. Emphasis on the fundamentals of oral radiographic techniques and interpretation of radiographs. Includes exposure of intra-oral radiographs, quality assurance, radiographic interpretation, patient selection criteria, and other ancillary radiographic techniques.

Corequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 113, and DAS 117.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): PSY 201G, PHLS 150G, and HNDS 251. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 111G, BIOL 154, and (COMM 253G or COMM 265G). Restricted to: OEDA majors. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

DAS 117. Dental Materials

3 Credits (2+3P)

Composition, chemical and physical properties, manipulation and uses of dental materials. Laboratory experiences include the application and manipulation of various materials used in dentistry.

Corequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 113, and DAS 115.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): PSY 201G, PHLS 150G, and HNDS 251. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 111G, BIOL 154, and (COMM 253G or COMM 265G). Restricted to: OEDA majors. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

DAS 123. Dental Assisting Practicum

6 Credits (1+15P)

This course is the clinical component of the program that combines general practice and experiences in the work place. Seminar topics focus on the practicum experiences and critique of performance. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

Prerequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 113, DAS 115, and DAS 117.

Corequisite(s): DAS 125, DAS 127, and DAS 129.

DAS 125. Professional Concepts

3 Credits

Emphasis on the development of professionalism for the dental office. Includes oral communication, psychology, patient relations, problem-solving skills, stress management, and employability in addition to dental jurisprudence and ethics. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

Prerequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 113, DAS 115, and DAS 117.

Corequisite(s): DAS 123, DAS 127, and DAS 129.

DAS 127. Dental Office Management

2 Credits

This capstone course is an introduction to business office procedures, including telephone management, appointment control, accounts payable, completion of third party reimbursement forms, inventory control data entry for charges and payments, management recall, basic dental computer software and operating basic business equipment. Restricted to: OEDA majors. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

Prerequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 113, DAS 115, and DAS 117.

Corequisite(s): DAS 123, DAS 125, and DAS 129.

DAS 129. Preventive Dentistry

2 Credits

Prevention of dental diseases, oral hygiene instruction, fluoride, community dental health, and nutrition. Development, implementation and evaluation of a community dental health project. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

Prerequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 113, DAS 115, and DAS 117.

Corequisite(s): DAS 123, DAS 125, and DAS 127.

DAS 130. Dental Assisting II

4 Credits (2+6P)

Continuation of chair side assisting skills and techniques with a major emphasis on four-handed dentistry. This capstone course includes specialties within dentistry and expanded chair side functions. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

Prerequisite(s): DAS 111, DAS 113, DAS 115, DAS 117, DAS 123, DAS 125, DAS 127, and DAS 129.

DAS 131. Dental Office Management I

3 Credits

Introduction to the field of dental office management with emphasis placed on professional verbal and written communication skills utilized within the dental office. Content includes dental terminology, charting, and back office experience as they relate to dental reception and management.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): DAS 101, AHS 120, and AHS 202. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 111G. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

DAS 133. Dental Office Management II

3 Credits

Places emphasis on computer programs specifically designed for dental office management (Dentrix, Sof Dent, etc.) Expanded course content on oral communication and telephone skills, appointment scheduling, patient relations, stress management solutions, and comprehensive critical thinking/problem solving skills.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): AHS 202. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 111G, DAS 101, and AHS 120. Restricted to Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Dona Ana campuses.

DAS 155. Special Topics

1-6 Credits

Specific subjects to be announced in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

Name: Martha McCaslin, Program Director

Office Location: DASH 98D

Phone: (575) 527-7653

Website: https://dacc.nmsu.edu/das/