New Mexico State Requirements

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Radiography Requirements

To legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures in New Mexico, a dental assistant must meet the requirements shown below.

  • Radiography Requirements

    A dental assistant must be certified. To obtain certification, one must:

    1. Study by independent preparation or in a training course on radiation health and safety within the past 36 months, AND

    2. Have assisted with or observed five cases of full mouth series intraoral radiographs (or five extraoral radiographs, if applying for limited certificate), AND

    3a. Pass the written exam on radiation health and safety administered by the NM Board of Dental Health Care, OR

    3b. Pass the national DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, AND

    4. Apply to the NM Board of Dental Health Care for a training permit, valid for six months, AND

    5. Pass a state radiography clinical exam, within six months of passing either of the written exams listed above, AND

    6. Pass the New Mexico jurisprudence exam (take-home), AND

    7. Apply to the NM Board of Dental Health Care for certification to perform radiography

    Learn more about DANB's Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam 

Dental Assisting Job Titles and Requirements for Each Level

  • Dental Assistant

    A dental assistant in the state of New Mexico may perform basic supportive dental procedures specified by the state dental practice act under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

    There are no education or training requirements for this level of dental assisting.

  • Dental Assistant with State Certification in Expanded Functions

    To perform expanded functions under the general supervision of a licensed dentist in the state of New Mexico, a dental assistant must earn state certification in each of the desired expanded functions. To qualify, one must:

    Rubber cup coronal polishing and application of topical fluoride:
    1. Study by independent preparation or in a training course in the functions and assist with/observe five cases of rubber cup coronal polishing on children or adults and five applications of topical fluoride on children, AND   

    2.  Pass DANB’s Coronal Polish (CP) exam and DANB's Topical Fluoride (TF) exam AND

    3.  Apply to the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care for advanced certification in coronal polishing and application of topical fluoride AND

    4.  Pass the New Mexico Jurisprudence (take-home) exam AND

    5.  Pass a clinical exam- perform each function five times under the personal supervision of a licensed dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant certified in rubber cup coronal polishing and application of topical fluoride.


    Pit and Fissure Sealants:
    1.  Have 2,080 hours of dental assisting chairside experience in the two years prior to application AND

    2.  Study by independent preparation or in a training course in the function, AND

    3.  Assist with/observe 12 cases of application of pit and fissure sealants on children and/or adults, AND

    4.  Pass DANB’s Sealants (SE) exam, AND

    5.  Apply to the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care for advanced certification in pit and fissure sealants, AND

    6.  Pass the New Mexico Jurisprudence (take-home) exam, AND

    7.  Pass a clinical exam- apply pit and fissure sealants under the personal supervision of a licensed dentist or dental hygienist on five patients.


    Note: The DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification automatically qualifies a dental assistant to apply for state certification for each of these expanded functions.

    A dental assistant who is certified to perform dental radiography, coronal polishing, pit and fissure sealants, and/or topical fluoride procedures in another state with requirements not less stringent than those in New Mexico may apply for state certification based on credentials.

    Learn more about DANB's Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification 

  • Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary

    To earn New Mexico certification as an expanded function dental auxiliary (EFDA), one must:

    1. Complete an accepted EFDA course in a program approved by the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care or accredited by CODA OR

    1a. Complete a minimum of five years, 1000 hours per year, continuous employment as a dental assistant or dental hygienst AND

    1b. Earn state certification in radiography, rubber cup coronal polishing and application of topical fluoride and pit and fissure sealant expanded functions (see above for requirements) AND

    1c. Complete a course of study in subject areas prescribed by the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care, including a post-test approved by the board AND

    1d. Obtain a recommendation for EFDA certification from a supervising dentist AND

    2. Pass a clinical exam accepted by the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care for EFDA certification AND

    3. Complete the New Mexico jurisprudence exam with a score of at least 75% AND

    4. Apply for an apprenticeship permit from the NM Board of Dental Health Care AND

    5. Complete a 180-day apprenticeship and submit a signed affidavit to the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care AND

    6. Return permit and signed affidavit to NM Board of Dental Health Care, which will then issue EFDA certificate

  • Community Dental Health Coordinators

    New Mexico CDHCs may perform specified preventive, restorative, and palliative procedures under general supervision of a dentist. To qualify, one must:

    1. Have a high school diploma or equivalent, or a college degree AND

    2. Have New Mexico certification in radiography, rubber cup coronal polishing and application of topical fluoride and pit and fissure sealant expanded functions (see above for requirements) AND

    3. Complete the New Mexico jurisprudence exam with a score of at least 75% AND

    4. Successfully complete a CDHC program approved by the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care.

Applications for DANB - Administered Exams Recognized or Required in New Mexico:

Expanded Functions Exams for New Mexico Residents Application (PDF)