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A dental nurse helps to ensure that the patient is well cared for in the dental team. Dental nurses are calm, effective and caring when dealing with patient care and therefore, they support the patient in the dental room. The nurse is the closest to the dentist, ensuring a patient is properly cared for. Assisting the dentist encompasses a wide range of procedures from preparing the various materials required and ensuring the right instruments and equipment is used.
They also must clean and sterilise the used instruments. They may have additional responsibilities such as maintaining records of patients’ oral health, processing radiographs and stock control. In a general dental practice, a dental nurse’s duties may also including helping at reception-such as making appointments, getting involved in the administration of the practice and collecting money. Rach practice assigns specific job roles to the dental nurse and therefore it may vary in each workplace.
As the dental nurse is in direct contact with the patient they must take responsibility for making sure the orthodontist has all the necessary equipment required to carry out the procedure. They must also sterilise the equipment before and after use to not pass on any of the bacteria. They must also file and sort all the necessary dental records for each patient and they must make notes when the orthodontist is conducting an examination on the patient. They must be highly vigilant and respond quickly to the orthodontist to avoid delay. The dental nurse is also responsible for maintaining a clean working environment to limit contamination. The dental nurse that is further qualified may also be told to carry it x-rays and create models of the gums and teeth. Most importantly, they must maintain a heightened degree of confidentiality for the patient as they will be handling sensitive information. In the UK, it is possible for the dental nurse to train without formal qualifications.
They must, however, have prior qualification if they wish to study a course approved by the General Dental Council. The course requirements do vary however English and Maths GCSE or equivalent may be required as well as a science subject to gain entry to these courses. They then must train for a certain period before they are fully qualified. The working hours are typically 37 hours on an average week. A dental nurse can train in a masters for Orthodontics Therapy, Dental therapy and dental hygienist.
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