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Dental Assistant

Company: Department of Veterans Affairs
Location: Palo Alto
Posted on: June 7, 2021

Job Description:

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This is an Open Continuous Announcement that will be used for filling GS-06 Registered Dental Assistant positions for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS), Dental Service. Qualified applicants will be considered and referred as vacancies become available.

We utilize, Open Continuous announcements to accept applications in anticipation of vacancies. Extended announcements provide us a readily available source of applicants for when vacancies do occur and are approved.

Learn more about this agency


This position is located in the Dental Service with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). As a Registered dental assistant, the incumbent independently plans and completes tasks based on

established protocols accepted in all dental practices. The assistant sets up and cleans the

operatories utilizing all infection control techniques available for planned surgery procedures without or little supervision. The dental assistant conforms to Dental Service policy and requirements.

Major duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

Chair-side Assisting:

  • Sets up operatory and/or surgery suite for planned dental procedure and cleans dental unit for timely turnover;
  • Passes instruments safely, accurately, and efficiently;
  • Keeps operative field clear of debris and retracts oral tissues effectively and comfortably;
  • Prepares dental medicaments and impression materials per manufacturer's instruction;
  • Accomplishes all intra-operative procedures within standard infection control protocols;
  • Assists in routine general dental procedures;
  • Assists in specialized dental procedures, such as oral maxillofacial surgery, dental implant placement, complex endodontic, surgical, periodontic and prosthodontic procedures;
  • Treats medically complex patients including disabled and wheelchair-bound patients.

Direct Patient Care/Maxillofacial Surgery:

  • Prepares treatment operatory for planned procedures prior to seating the patient;
  • Accurately takes and records patient vital signs;
  • Demonstrates knowledge of and prepares medication impression materials per manufacturer's instructions;
  • Adequately prepares the treatment room for the operative procedures;
  • Correctly monitors the patient before and after the surgical procedure;
  • Provides proper supervision of the patient following the intravenous sedation and does not leave the patient unattended - Adequately prepare the surgery room for scheduled procedure;
  • Correctly maintains sterile field;
  • Accurately maintain needle and sharps and verifies count with circulator;
  • Correctly disposes of sharps, needles, and pharmaceutical waste in appropriate containers;
  • Maintains record of medication amounts and irrigation amounts utilized during the surgical procedure;
  • Appropriately labels all medication within the surgical field;
  • Tracks implants placed in the oral surgery room;
  • Compliant with infection control protocols in all aspects of the care process;
  • Demonstrates knowledge of reusable medical equipment (RME), devices, and instruments in use in the clinical area;
  • Follows Standard Operation Procedures for all RME in use in the clinical area.

Dental Imaging:

  • Secures digital, extraoral and intraoral, and other clinical images as ordered by a physician or dentist;
  • Images are characterized by diagnostic quality, accurately oriented, and exposed;
  • Dental imaging safety techniques are utilized and retakes are minimized;
  • Imaging request are accomplished within the desired timeframe.

Infection Control and Equipment Sterilization:

  • Demonstrates proper infection control procedures in setting up and cleaning up operatory;
  • Instruments are properly prepared for sterilization by SPD standards;
  • Instruments are prepared in a manner that does not delay clinical care;
  • Demonstrates proper infection control procedures in exposing images.

Patient Safety:

  • Modifies care as appropriate for patient's age and abilities (patient transfer and position);
  • Provides accurate and understandable instructions to patients;
  • Participates in patient identification and time out per JCAHO requirements;
  • Monitors patient condition during treatment, being alert for signs of physical distress;
  • Monitors patient (BP, pulse EKG, pulse oximeter), and condition during moderate sedation and recovery period following procedure.

Dental Laboratory Functions:

  • Pours impressions and prepares study models;
  • Makes final denture impression trays and prepares bite rims;
  • Performs other dental laboratory functions as time and skill levels allow.


  • Remove temporary crown/bridge and clean tooth preparation of debris;
  • Re-cement and fabricate temporary crowns;
  • Coronal polishing of teeth;
  • Place rubber dams and matrix bands;
  • Provides post-operative and other appropriate patient education.

Administrative Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Clerical Functions with appointments, cancellations, eligibility, patient counseling and patient forms completion;
  • Information Management, patient confidentiality per HIPAA, release of information, computer security and basic computer skills requirements;
  • Maintains employee education requirements and completes mandatory safety training.

Work Schedule: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


  • Job family (Series)

0681 Dental Assistant

Similar jobs

  • Assistants, Dental
  • Dental Assistants

  • Requirements



Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period
  • Subject to a background/security investigation
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process


Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met.

Basic Requirements:

United States Citizenship. Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.

Experience and Education:

  • Experience. Six months experience that demonstrates the applicant's ability to perform the work, or provides familiarity with the work. OR,
  • Education. Successful completion of a 1-year dental assistant program accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). OR,
  • Experience/Education Combination. Equivalent combinations of experience and education are qualifying.

Certification. Public Law 97-35 requires that persons who administer radiologic procedures meet the credentialing standards in 42 CFR Part 75. Essentially, they must have successfully completed an educational program that meets or exceeds the standards described in that regulation, and is accredited by an organization recognized by the Department of Education, and be certified as radiographers in their field.

  • Provisions for Certification of Radiologic Competence
  • Successful completion of the Dental Radiation Health and Safety Examination administered by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.; OR,
  • Successful completion of the Principles and Practice of Dental Radiology and Radiographic Safety courses and examinations developed by the Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Dentistry. OR,
  • Successful completion of a radiation health and safety program or examination approved by a state board of dentistry or the Department of Defense (DoD).
  • Non-certified applicants who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for certification of radiologic competence may be given a temporary appointment as a graduate dental assistant under the authority of 38 U.S.C. 7405(a)(1)(D). Failure to obtain certification during that period is justification for termination of the temporary appointment. This [will result in removal from the GS-681 series and] may result in termination of employment.

Grandfathering Provision. All persons employed in VHA in this occupation on the effective date of this qualification standard are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series and grade held, including [ ] certification [(for positions above the full performance level)] that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements required in this standard, but who met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed to it, the following provisions apply:

  • Such employees may be reassigned, promoted up to and including the full performance (journey) level, or [changed to lower grade] within the occupation, but may not be promoted beyond the journey level or placed in supervisory or managerial positions. Such employees MUST meet the [certification] requirement before they can be promoted to those higher grade levels.
  • Employees who are appointed on a temporary basis prior to the effective date of the qualification standard may not have their temporary appointment extended or be reappointed, on a temporary or permanent basis, until they fully meet the basic requirements of the standard.
  • Employees initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain additional education and/or licensure/certification/registration that meet all the basic requirements of this qualification standard must maintain the required credentials as a condition of employment in the occupation.
  • If an employee who was retained under this provision leaves [the] occupation, the employee loses protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry to the occupation.

May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria).

Physical Requirements. A pre-employment physical is required.Physical requirements include the ability to lift and carry 15 pounds or less; Reach above shoulder; Use both hands and use of fingers; Use both legs; Walk, stand, kneel and bend up to 8 hours a day; Rapid and simultaneous mental and muscular response; see with both eyes, with or without correctable vision; to distinguish shades of colors; to hear with or without a hearing aid.

English Language Proficiency. Dental assistants must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with chapter 2, section D, paragraph 5a, this part.

Preferred Experience: Certification in basic life support methods is highly desirable.

Grade Determinations:

GS-6 Staff Dental Assistant (Full Performance Level)

  • Experience. At least 1 year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level, GS-5, that demonstrates the core competencies described at that level. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the following technical KSAs:
  • Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  • Ability to identify normal oral anatomy.
  • Advanced knowledge of instruments, materials, and standardized dental procedures used in all phases of restorative, surgical, endodontic and periodontal care and procedures.
  • Ability to monitor and perform basic interpretation of vital signs.
  • Ability to independently provide procedure-specific patient education and appropriate referral of patient concerns to treating dentist.
  • Ability to capture standard and special dental images of good diagnostic quality in traditional or digital formats.
  • Ability to perform maintenance on dental equipment used for routine and specialty dentistry.
  • Ability to enter and retrieve data utilizing electronic dental records.
  • Ability to perform dental assistant-appropriate laboratory procedures.
  • Assignment. Employee serves at the full performance level with the ability to perform full range of duties with some independence in assigned specialties, with indirect supervision from the lead dental assistant, dental assistant supervisor or treating dentist. Assignments at this level include, but are not limited to: using the concepts of four-handed dentistry; assists with specialty procedures including oral surgery, periodontal therapy, endodontic, prosthodontic and implant placement and restoration; anticipates surgeons/specialists needs at each stage of treatment; takes preliminary impressions; selects and manipulates a variety of gypsums and waxes; pours, trims and evaluates the quality of diagnostic casts; fabricates custom trays.

References: VA HANDBOOK 5005/46 PART II APPENDIX G36, APRIL 19, 2011

The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-6. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is GS-6.


IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit:

Keywords: Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto , Dental Assistant, Other , Palo Alto, California

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