Work Experience in O’Connor Moore Dental Practice by Rosie Wright

For my Transition Year work experience I spent three days working alongside Paddy O’Connor and Caroline at the O’Connor Moore Dental Practice and I found the whole experience both fascinating and rewarding. The staff at the practice were all incredibly inclusive and welcoming towards me. They all made an effort to get to know me which created a wonderful working environment.

On the Monday morning I entered the Dental Practice feeling quite nervous about the days ahead but as soon as I met the staff I felt at ease. On the first day I was given a tour of the practice and Caroline, the Dental Nurse showed me how to use all the equipment. This gave me a great insight into the world of dentistry! I learnt how to clean the equipment in the autoclave and how to carry out an x-ray.

Sitting in on patient examinations was one of the most valuable things I took away from my work experience. I watched Paddy do crowns, extractions, consultations and a filling. Being exposed to the modern technology in dentistry was extremely interesting. Especially the CEREC procedure due to how it’s designed to fit someone’s tooth precisely and it is done within one appointment.

Every step of the way, Paddy demonstrated and explained to me each procedure which really enhanced my understanding of dentistry. Aside from teaching me what he was doing, Paddy also talked his patients through the procedures so they were fully aware of what to expect. Seeing how well Paddy and Caroline interacted with the patients made me realise how vital the comfort of the patient is during an appointment.

Paddy utilises a camera to visually communicate the type of work he has to carry out. The majority of patients have minimal knowledge of dentistry so the camera allows the patient to grasp a deeper understanding.  I personally found the camera to be beneficial as it clearly demonstrated the work that has to be done.

During my few days at the practice I also ran errands such as going to the post office, changing batteries in the candles, and folding bibs. I also watched 3D videos on all types of dental surgery. The videos contained the series of steps carried out when doing each different procedure. As well as seeing the procedures, they were explained which was tremendously helpful.

Throughout my work experience I observed the significance of high levels of sanitation in the dental practice. I learnt about the autoclave which is used to sterilise the equipment. Before entering all the equipment is placed into a see through bag and then put onto a shelf inside the autoclave. The steam is at 120 degrees and it kills all the bacteria and germs. This procedure was unknown to me before doing work experience and it conveyed to me how essential sanitation truly is. Paddy and Caroline changed their gloves repeatedly during the day and Karoline wiped the chair before and after each and every patient.

My work experience highlighted how essential teamwork and social skills are in the workplace. From my work experience I began to recognise that trust plays a vital role in the relationship between a dentist and the patient. This experience has really inspired and encouraged me to pursue dentistry. I really valued this opportunity and I’m so grateful to have experienced first-hand the daily workings of a professional, caring and well run Dental Practice.