A typical day for our dental nurse begins at around 9am for a 9:30am start. We arrive early in order to ensure that all equipment and machinery is ready for use for the day ahead. The sterlisers are all tested to make sure they are functioning properly and the dental chairs are set up with purified water. We check the list of patients and procedures for the day; the trays and instruments are then set up for the planned procedures. We also check to ensure that any dental prosthetics required (Crowns, Dentures, Implants, Bridges) is available for use. When our patients arrive at the practice, they are shown to the waiting room; where they can listen to relaxing music and have a complimentary cup of tea or coffee. We take the time to get to know our patients and ensure that they feel as comfortable as possible. As dental nurses work very closely with patients, showing compassion and being a good listener is very important. We aim to put each patient at ease before they start treatment.
We work together as a team, while one nurse is allocated to work alongside a dentist; all nurses ensure that the cleaning and sterilisation of instruments is kept up to date throughout the day. All sterile instruments are put in individual sealed pouches, ready for use. We also ensure that each surgery is stocked and organised. We assist the dentist during procedures, for example passing instruments, mixing materials, getting supplies and taking x-rays which are carried out digitally, saving time and also reducing radiation exposure by up to 75%.
The smooth running of the dental practice involves a lot of work behind the scenes, before and after each patient. We clean and disinfect all work surfaces in the surgery and maintain strict sterilisation and infection control procedures. Our dental practice can be fast-paced, so being organised and being able to multitask is very important. We try to keep appointments and treatments running on time as much as possible, but sometimes delays can happen. We also allocate emergency slots during the day. Our patients are our priority and if someone is having problems, we will see them that day.
At O’Connor Moore Dental practice we have seven fully qualified dental nurses, working together and supporting each other as part of the team. We occasionally work in other areas within the practice, such as reception desk, answering phones and booking appointments. In all, it is a very rewarding and varied profession.