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Dental nurses usually work with either general dental practitioners or hygienists in clinics, dental practices and hospitals.
The work of a dental nurse might involve reception work (answering telephones, organising appointments, dealing with payments and welcoming patients into the practice) and administrative work.
They also assist dental healthcare professionals in surgery by sterilising dentists’ instruments, preparing tools and materials, mixing solutions and talking to patients.
All dental healthcare professionals need to ensure that standards of cleanliness and sterilisation of equipment and the workplace are maintained rigorously at all times.
Anyone who has been to the dentist will undoubtedly have heard the dentist dictating to the nurse using a code of numbers and letters – either the FDI World Dental Federation Notation or the Palmer Notation Method, a sort of dental shorthand if you will. It is the nurse’s job to note down these codes for the dental records of the patient.
To ensure patients are being given the best possible treatment, all dentists and dental care professionals are required by the General Dental Council to undertake a minimum of 250 hours of CPD across a five-year post-registration cycle. CPD could involve any number of activities, including attending seminars or lectures, distance or multimedia learning, private study, peer assessment or research.
Continual Professional Development covers a number of areas relevant to all dental care professionals, the three core subjects of which are dealing with medical emergencies, disinfection and radiography and radiation.
For more information about Continual Professional Development please visit the General Dental Council