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Position Classification Description

Position Class Code / Title: T0038 / Dental Assistant
Recruitment Tier: Tier 1
FLSA: Non-Exempt
Grade: 07

This is a description of a Staff Position Classification. It is not an announcement of a position opening. To view descriptions of current openings, please go to UNMJobs and Search Postings to view positions that are currently accepting applications.

The following statements are intended to describe, in broad terms, the general functions and responsibility levels characteristic of positions assigned to this classification. They should not be viewed as an exhaustive list of the specific duties and prerequisites applicable to individual positions that have been so classified.


Provides a range of clinical, administrative, and staff support to a full-range dental services operation. Assists in the performance of dental and radiography procedures; prepares and maintains dental equipment and supplies in accordance with established protocol, procedures, policies, and standards, and assists in the coordination of day-to-day patient administration, records management, and office support activities.

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Provides chairside assistance to dentists and/or dental hygienists in the performance of dental procedures, to include operative, preventive, periodontal, endodontic, prosthetic, surgical, implant, and anesthesia procedures in both the general dental office setting and hospital operating room.
  2. Prepares, sterilizes, organizes, and sets up dental equipment, ensures that all dental instruments are cleaned, dated, and processed according to established clinic guidelines and standards.
  3. Monitors and maintains dental equipment, such as patient delivery units, evacuator systems, compressors, digital and traditional radiographic equipment, sterilizers, electrosurge unit, implant unit and implant instrumentation, light curing units, model trimmer, vacuformer and all other dental lab equipment, in accordance with manufactures guidelines.
  4. Maintains compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, infection control techniques and regulations by reviewing dental material safety data sheets, statistics, labeling hazardous material, disposing of sharp and infectous waste, and maintaining autoclave sterilization log.
  5. Develops and processes dental radiographs in accordance with provider orders; assists in the monitoring and maintenance of radiation safety procedures and protocols with both digital and traditional methods.
  6. Follows and maintains inventories of dental clinic supplies.
  7. Follows and maintains all relevant federal, state, and institutional regulations, guidelines, policies, and standards for the provision of dental clinical services.
  8. Maintains and assists with computerized data and charting, probing, and digital x-rays.
  9. Maintains dental laboratory slips and checks in lab cases.
  10. Assists with training of student dental assistants and staff.
  11. Assists with taking patient's blood pressure and documentation.
  12. Assists with medical stabilization devices; transfers patients from wheelchair using a Hoyer lift or gait belt.
  13. Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.

Minimum Job Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED and successful completion of a Dental Assistant program from an accredited institution; at least 6 months of experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities specified.
  • High school diploma or GED ; at least 6 months of experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities specified.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required

  • Knowledge of four-handed dental techniques.
  • Knowledge of dental assistant techniques, practices, and materials.
  • Knowledge of health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Knowledge of Occupational and Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards of dental infection control.
  • Ability to work as a team member within a clinical environment.
  • Records maintenance skills.
  • Current knowledge of and ability to follow a full range of dental clinical procedures and protocols.
  • Ability to set up and prepare dental equipment and instrumentation in accordance with established regulations and guidelines.
  • Knowledge of patient evaluation and triage procedures.
  • Ability to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot a wide range of dental equipment in accordance with prescribed procedures and standards.
  • Knowledge of radiation safety procedures, standards, and protocols.
  • Ability to develop traditional and digital radiographs.
  • Knowledge of sterile procedures.
  • Ability to organize dental materials and projects.
  • Ability to review medical histories, observing and documenting observations.
  • Ability to work with aggressive, difficult, or special need patients.
  • Ability to perform dental radiology, coronal polishing, topical fluoride procedure, pit and fissure, and sealant applications.
  • Knowledge in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid.
  • Ability in operating a computer and applicable software.
  • Knowledge of Federal, State, and institutional regulations and guidelines for the provision of dental outpatient services.
  • Knowledge of supplies, equipment, and/or services ordering and inventory control.
  • Knowledge of the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care Rules and New Mexico Health Care Act.

Conditions of Employment

  • May be required to submit to annual TB and rubella screening.
  • UNM will provide Hepatitis vaccination, candidate may decline vaccination through declination form or may provide record of vaccination from previous employer.
  • Successful candidate must submit to post-offer, pre-employment physical examination and medical history check.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

  • Work is performed in an interior medical/clinical environment.
  • Work environment involves some exposure to hazards or physical risks, which require following basic safety precautions.
  • Will work with blood or blood-borne pathogens and will require OSHA training.
  • Work may require assisting with stand-up dentistry on patients unable to move from prone positions.
  • Work involves repetitive hand and wrist movements.
  • Extensive physical activity. Requires handling of objects up to 50 pounds or standing and/or walking for more than six (6) hours per day.

The University of New Mexico provides all training required by OSHA to ensure employee safety.

Revised Date: 03/20/2017