Unit of competency details

ACMVET410A - Carry out veterinary dental nursing procedures (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by ACMVET410 - Carry out veterinary dental nursing proceduresUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages Minor changes to clarify content Assessment requirements revised Work placement requirement included 10/Dec/2018
Supersedes RUV4610A - Carry out veterinary dental nursing proceduresUnit updated and equivalent RUV4610A 10/Nov/2010

ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 07/Dec/2012
(View details for release 1) 11/Nov/2010


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061103 Veterinary Assisting  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061103 Veterinary Assisting  11/Nov/2010 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Modification History


TP Version 




Reference to OHS legislation replaced with generic terminology



Initial release. Supersedes and is equivalent to RUV4610A

Unit Descriptor

This Unit of Competency covers the processes of performing a dental prophylaxis and assisting with simple extractions.

Application of the Unit

This Unit applies to a veterinary nurse working under supervision of a veterinarian in a veterinary clinic or similar practice. Dental prophylaxis involves the oral examination in the conscious and anaesthetised patient, sub- and supra-gingival tooth scaling and polishing and the subsequent development of a homecare plan. Veterinary dental nursing procedures are most often carried out on dogs, cats and horses. All procedures are carried out in conjunction with, and as an assistant to, the veterinary surgeon and in accordance with workplace health and safety requirements. In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all Units of Competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements may apply to this Unit. Therefore, it will be necessary to check with the relevant state or territory regulators for current licensing, legislative or regulatory requirements before undertaking this Unit.



Employability Skills Information

This Unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a Unit of Competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Perform oral examination

1.1. Extra and intraoral examination of the conscious patient is performed.

1.2. Patient is restrained and positioned for the subsequent examination and anaesthetic induction.

1.3. Anaesthesia is monitored and the patient is supported.

1.4. Extra and intraoral examination of the patient is conducted under anaesthesia.

1.5. Findings  identified during examinations are recorded and reported to the surgeon.

2. Complete dental chart

2.1. Patient details and current home dental care are recorded.

2.2. Recognised encoded system  is used under the direction of the surgeon.

2.3. Pre-treatment pathology and graphic treatment plan are recorded as directed by the surgeon.

2.4. Post-treatment dentition is recorded as directed by the surgeon.

3. Perform dental prophylaxis  under veterinary supervision

3.1. Routines are carried out and theatre equipment is provided to the veterinarian as instructed.

3.2. Personal protective equipment  is fitted and worn in accordance with clinic policy.

3.3. Teeth are cleaned and polished  using techniques and equipment  in accordance with Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Dental Policy and Guidelines.

3.4. Dental instruments and equipment are cleaned, maintained and stored according to manufacturer's specifications and clinic policies and procedures.

3.5. Post-operative patient management programs are completed in accordance with the veterinarian's instructions.

4. Assist in the performance of a simple extraction under veterinary supervision

4.1. Routines are carried out and theatre equipment is provided to the veterinarian as instructed.

4.2. Personal protective equipment is fitted and worn in accordance with clinic policy.

4.3. Assistance is provided for simple extractions  using techniques and equipment  in accordance with clinic policy.

4.4. Dental instruments and equipment are cleaned and stored in accordance with clinic policies and procedures.

4.5. Post -operative patient management programs  are completed in accordance with the veterinarian's instructions.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this Unit.

Required skills

Ability to: 

  • observe accurately and report concisely on animal condition and health
  • provide advice to owners
  • use interpersonal skills to relate to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities
  • use literacy skills to read, select and implement policies and procedures, including workplace health and safety, equipment maintenance and presentation, infection control and other clinic policies and procedures; coordinate patient admission and discharge; implement sequenced written instructions; and record patient details accurately and legibly
  • use oral communication skills language required to fulfil the job role as specified by the clinic, including negotiating and questioning techniques, active listening, asking for clarification from the owner, and acknowledging and responding to a range of views
  • use numeracy skills required to complete charts, calculate dosages and monitor anaesthesia
  • use problem-solving skills to use available resources and prioritise tasks
  • use recognised dental encoded system (e.g. modified triadan number system and symbols)
  • work closely with the supervising surgeon and as part of a team.

Required knowledge

Knowledge of: 

  • anatomy of oral cavity, including teeth, bone, gums and related basic embryology
  • AVA Dental Policy and Guidelines
  • good knowledge and understanding of homecare advice to reduce dental and gingival disease, including dietary recommendations, appropriate oral-care products and procedures available and the principles and practice of daily brushing
  • instruments and equipment required to perform a dental prophylaxis under general anaesthetic
  • instruments and equipment required for simple teeth extractions
  • maintenance of serviceability of instruments and equipment where required in sharp and/or lubricated condition
  • workplace health and safety and animal welfare legislative requirements and codes of practice
  • personal protective equipment required
  • techniques for performing dental prophylaxis and assisting with simple extractions
  • workplace hygiene standards, disinfectants, cleaning agents, cleaning techniques and cleaning equipment and materials, packing and autoclave surgical and dental equipment.

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this Unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this Unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this Unit. Assessors should ensure that candidates can:

  • implement clinic policies and procedures, including workplace health and safety
  • handle and restrain a range of patients (animals)
  • communicate effectively with the veterinarian and clients
  • observe, record and report on animals' condition and health
  • perform extra and intraoral examinations on conscious and anaesthetised patients
  • carry out techniques for dental prophylaxis, i.e. examining, charting, scaling (cleaning and polishing) and assisting with simple extractions
  • complete post-operative patient management programs in accordance with veterinarian's instructions.

The skills and knowledge required to carry out veterinary dental nursing procedures must be transferable to a range of work environments and contexts and include the ability to deal with unplanned events.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment for this Unit is to be practical in nature and will be most appropriately assessed in a veterinary practice with access to the appropriate equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.

Method of assessment 

To ensure consistency of performance, competency should be demonstrated, to industry defined standards, on more than two occasions over a period of time in order to cover a variety of circumstances, patients, cases and responsibilities and over a number of assessment activities.

The assessment strategy must include practical skills assessment. Suggested strategies for this Unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and first-hand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises that reproduce normal work conditions
  • third-party evidence
  • workplace documentation
  • portfolio.

This Unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other Units of Competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the Unit of Competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Workplace health and safety  risks associated with veterinary nursing practice include:

  • animal bites, kicks or scratches
  • biological hazardous waste and sharps disposal
  • handling of chemicals and medicines
  • gas leakage
  • inhalation of aerosol particles
  • intraocular contamination
  • manual handling and shift loading
  • needle pricks and cuts from other sharps
  • release of infective agents (animal and human)
  • zoonoses.

Findings  that may be observed during examinations may include:

  • acquired
  • developmental
  • inflammatory
  • metabolic
  • nutritional
  • tumours.

Encoded system  is used to:

  • record the presence and condition of individual teeth and the condition of the gums and oral cavity (e.g. modified triadan number system and symbols).

Dental prophylaxis  involves:

  • the oral examination in the conscious and anaesthetised patient
  • sub- and supra-gingival tooth scaling and polishing
  • development of a home care plan.

Personal protective equipment  may include:

  • eyewear
  • gloves
  • gowns
  • masks.

Cleaning and polishing  involves:

  • removing calculus
  • supra-gingival and sub-gingival scaling
  • teeth polishing.

Equipment  used for cleaning and polishing may include:

  • dental machine (veterinary nurse may or may not use all components, but must be able to set up for veterinary use) which usually includes:
  • air compressor
  • air flush
  • ultrasonic scaler
  • water flush
  • hand-held instruments:
  • scalers, curettes and dental forceps
  • ultrasonic scaler
  • rubber polishing cups and polish
  • paste and toothbrush.

Simple extraction  refers to:

  • non-surgical removal of broken or diseased single rooted teeth.

Techniques and equipment  used for simple extractions include:

  • manual extraction using dental elevator and dental extraction forceps.

Post -operative patient management programs  may include:

  • discharge instructions
  • oral hygiene advice
  • short and long-term home care programs for preventative dental health and medications.

Unit Sector(s)

Veterinary nursing