GRADE DETERMINATIONS. In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates:
GS-03 Dental Assistant (Entry Level):
Experience or Education. None beyond the basic requirements.
Assignment. Employees at this level serve in dental assistant career development positions. It is expected that they receive guidance from more experienced staff members for more complex patient issues, and require daily close supervision.
GS-04 Dental Assistant (Developmental Level):
Experience or Education. In addition to the basic requirements, one year of experience at the next lower level, OR two years of education above high school that included completion of a dental assistant program accredited by the American Dental Associations Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs):
- Basic knowledge of infection control and safe instrument handling.
- Basic knowledge of dental procedures and medical emergencies.
- Ability to perform basic radiographic image capture and processing/retrieval.
- Basic knowledge of maintenance, care and storage of dental equipment.
- Basic knowledge of patient privacy requirements.
Assignment. Employees at this level serve as developmental staff dental assistants. It is expected that they receive guidance from more experienced staff members for more complex patient issues and require daily and direct contact at the site of work from the assigned supervisor. Assignments at this level include but are not limited to: receiving and preparing patient for treatment including seating, positioning chair, placing napkin, performing disinfection and sterilization procedures; performing basic chair side assisting with direct instruction from treating dentist; reporting medical emergencies to dentist; preparing procedural trays/armamentaria set-ups; exposing and processing basic dental radiographs with direct supervision; mounting and labeling dental radiographs and/or saving digital images to the electronic medical record with direct supervision; complying with standard recommendation for equipment maintenance; retrieving all pertinent patient records prior to seating the dental patient; directing patient to appropriate staff for the intent of scheduling visits.
GS-05 Dental Assistant (Developmental Level):
Experience or Education. In addition to the requirements listed at GS-04 above, applicants must demonstrate at least one year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-04) that demonstrates the core competencies described at that level; OR, successful completion of a full 4-year course of study that included or was supplemented by completion of a dental assistant program by CODA. In addition to meeting experience or education above, the applicant must demonstrate the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs):
- Knowledge of anatomy and ability to evaluate diagnostic quality.
- Broad knowledge of common medical emergencies and vital signs measurement.
- Basic knowledge of instruments, materials and standardized dental procedures.
- Ability to learn and utilize software programs used within VHA.
- Basic communication skills to provide patient instructions according to established protocol.
Assignment. Employees at this level serve as staff dental assistants for routine dental procedures. Direct supervision is given for any complex patient procedures from more experienced dental assistants or the treating dentist. Assignments at this level include but are not limited to: responds to basic medical emergencies; measures and records vital signs; provides pre- and post-operative instructions; maintains a field of operation during dental procedures through the use of retraction, suction, irrigation, drying, placing and removing cotton rolls; using the concepts of four-handed dentistry, assists with basic restorative procedures; mixes basic dental materials; assists in preparation of laboratory prescription forms; applies pressure indicator paste to removable prostheses; exposes and processes basic dental radiographs; mounts and labels dental radiographs and/or saves digital imaging to electronic medical records; evaluates radiographs for diagnostic quality; maintains routine dental equipment per manufacturer and dental service standards.
GS-06 Staff Dental Assistant (Full Performance Level):
Experience. At least one year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-05) that demonstrates the core competencies described at that level. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs):
- 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.
Grade and Salary: The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-06. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-03 to GS-06. The Professional Standards Board (a peer-review group) will review the selected candidates education and experience and recommend the grade and step at which the candidate will be placed. The salary is based on the grade and step approved for the selected candidate and may be at any point in the range listed for this vacancy.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE WILL NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. If your resume/application does not support your questionnaire answers, we will not allow credit for your response(s).
References: VA HANDBOOK 5005/46, PART II, APPENDIX G36, dated: April 19, 2011.
Education and/or Experience Combination. Equivalent combinations of experience and education are qualifying.
Experience. Six months experience that demonstrates the applicants 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 Associations Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
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).
Exception. 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-0681 series and may result in termination of employment.
Certification in basic life support methods is highly desirable.
Certification by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes DANB as the national certification for Dental Assistants. DANB certification is not required, but highly desirable for the appointment of Dental Assistants up to and including the full performance level, and is required for all positions above the full performance level.
Language Proficiency: Must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. 7402(d), and 7407(d).
Physical Requirements: The work requires regular and recurring physical exertion such as prolonged standing, bending, reaching for supplies or materials and lifting moderately heavy items. The work may require specific physical characteristics and abilities such as dexterity and color vision.
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
Your application, resume and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect consideration for employment.