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Dental assistants’ role praised

Luna program celebrates recognition week March 9

Luna Community College dental assisting students will celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week from Saturday, March 6, to Sunday, March 12.

The week has been designated by the American Dental Assistants Association. Dentists in the U.S. and Canada will celebrate by honoring their dental assistants for the variety of duties they perform and their help in providing patients with quality dental care.

As part of the celebration, dental assisting students are inviting Luna students and employees to have cake and refreshments at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 9, in the Allied Health Sciences Building.

Gloria Pacheco, whose own experience includes 12 years working as a dental assistant, has been teaching at Luna since Jan 15, 2001.

The theme for 2022 is “Dental Assistants: Passionate About Our Patients, Dedicated To Our Profession.” The organization acknowledges the growing importance of dentistry’s role in health care and the responsibilities of dental assistants. Dental assistants are a key part of the dental practice year-round, strengthen the entire practice and enhance patient satisfaction. Dental assistants are committed to professional development and quality dental care.

Gloria Pacheco, Luna dental assisting program administrator, said being a dental assistant is a prominent and rewarding career.

“Dental assistant (studies) can lead to a satisfactory, high-in-demand position in general, specialty practices or military branches,” she said. “Furthermore, dental assistants can go into other fields in dentistry, such as dental hygiene, doctor of dental science, lab technicians, and more.”

Pacheco worked as a dental assistant for 12 years and has taught at Luna since Jan. 15, 2001.

Luna dental assisting students recently gave an oral health presentation that included proper brushing and flossing technique, along with good nutrition, and exercise to Luna’s early childhood students. For more on Luna’s dental assisting program, call 505-454-5382.

“Individuals interested in dentistry should know that this career field is fast-paced and high in demand,” she said. “It presents itself with challenges —however rewarding and self-satisfactory in the sense that the work accomplished at the end of the day has made a difference for someone wanting to smile bigger and brighter. I need to mention the fact that we need to nourish our body; the best method is by having the tools to do so, and the tools I refer to here are your teeth. Many do not realize how important and valuable it is to have a skilled dental assistant in the office providing care. When you think about the duties of a dental assistant, they should be considered a dental nurse.”

Pacheco said that dental assistants must attain a New Mexico license to practice dental X-rays along with expanded functions, and Luna provides the quality training necessary to accomplish that.

For more information on Luna’s dental assisting program, please call 505-454-2528.