The Dental Assisting Program offers an excellent opportunity for LCC | Community

Luna Dental Assisting students completed the program for the 2021-22 school year with a college pinning ceremony recently.

SStudents interested in getting into the dental field have a great opportunity to do so at Luna Community College, through the one-year dental assisting program.

The program begins in the fall, with sequential courses in the spring and summer semesters. The curriculum is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills that will prepare you for National State and/or Dental Assisting Boards, New Mexico State requires DAs to be licensed to expose dental x-rays , and to perform coronal polishes, topical fluoride applications, and the application of dental sealants, completion of the program prepares students to begin work as a dental assistant right out of school, with degrees.

Dental assistants are responsible for providing patient care, taking x-rays, maintaining records and scheduling appointments. Interested individuals must be passionate about their patients, as well as their profession.

Most dental assistants work in dental offices, as full-time employees. Other options include part-time, traveling dental assisting, and temporary positions. Dental assistants can choose to work in specialty offices such as oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatrics and more. In addition, assistants can choose other alternatives in dentistry, for example; dental insurance companies, dental office managers and laboratories.

The median salary for dental assistants nationwide is $38,660. In New Mexico, the average salary is $37,790. The profession is expected to grow 11% over the next decade, faster than most other professions in the United States. About 44,000 nationwide openings are planned each year.

Those interested in the dental assistant certificate program should be aware that the dental field has certain risks of occupational hazards. The nature of the occupation could involve contact with bloodborne pathogens. Students admitted to the program will receive appropriate training in standard biohazard precautions and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce risk.

Luna Community College’s program has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation since 2010. Entry to the program requires prerequisite AH113 Medical Terminology, also offered at Luna Community College. Completion of the Dental Assisting Certificate with additional coursework may be applied to the Associate of Applied Science degree in Vocational/Technical Studies or Allied Health.

Luna Dental teachers

Luna Dental Assisting students are taught by Denise Fox and Gloria Pacheco.

Luna Community College’s dental assisting program is led by program administrator Gloria B. Pacheco, CDA, MA, who has worked as a dental assistant for more than 30 years, in Las Vegas and Albuquerque. She has worked in Luna’s dental assisting program since 2001.

Instructor Devon “Denise” Fox, RDH, is also a big part of the program. She has 28 years of experience in the field, including 14 years at Mora Dental Clinic.

For more information about the program, please contact Gloria Pacheco at (505) 454-2528 or email

Luna Community College also includes a Student Dental Association, a student organization aimed at developing teamwork and team unity among dental assistants. The main objectives of the organization are to:

•Represent the Luna Community College dental assisting program.

•To encourage communication, cooperation, and team organization among DA students, faculty, administration, board members, and other campus organizations.

•To develop and strengthen skills in teamwork and team unity among LCC DA students, faculty and staff.

•Develop highly technically skilled dental assistants, strengthen responsibilities of working under the supervision of dentists with a wide range of duties in the dental office, ranging from patient care to administrative duties.

• Promote the preservation of education and support the achievement of goals.

• Signify and support the LCC and dental assisting program with language and actions that will provide an excellent witness for the college, students, and dental assisting program.

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