A Day in the Life of a Dental Nurse

Susie has been a Dental Nurse with Sussex Dental Group since September 2016 and currently works at the West Hove and Portslade Village centres. Here she tells us about her typical day…

Everyone at the practice has a key role to play to help patients and staff receive the best care and the most accurate information available.

The role of the dental nurse is to support the dentist in all aspects of the patient’s care, ensuring the patient feels comfortable and to offer assistance when needed. We help the dentists as well as the patients to ensure that they feel supported throughout, are at ease and help ensure their appointment runs smoothly.

For a dental nurse, our first job of the day is ‘setting the stage’, otherwise known as opening up the surgery, that’s where the magic happens after all!

After changing into our (bright and colourful) uniform and disinfecting my hands, I proceed to open up the surgery I am to work in that day with the dentist. I arrive early before the patients arrive to make sure the surgery is clean, disinfected and all materials are accounted for.

dental surgery

Surfaces and equipment are cleaned and prepared the surgery for the day. This includes setting up the dental chair, switching on equipment as well as preparing items such as gloves and disinfectant baths for instruments and dental impressions.

I check the day’s list of patients appointments as it is important to check that all lab work made outside of the surgery such as dentures and crowns have arrived before the patient arrives. The receptionists are very good at keeping our  systems up to date with cancellations, reminders for patients as well as indicating lab work returned.

dental staff

I set up clean instruments on trays for the day’s treatments and exams and store some ready in our cabinet in the room. These instruments have been sterilised in our decontamination room in the centre of the building. We are lucky enough to have a nurse working throughout the day in the decontamination room to ensure all reusable instruments are cleaned and sterilised properly and carefully packed for collection. She is the backbone of the practice!

Once the room is clean and the instruments and equipment are ready, the dentist will have checked details of the first patient and will let me know when they are ready to be called in.

dental instruments

I greet and collect the patient from the waiting room then it’s my role to support the patient and the dentist throughout the appointment, making the patient feel comfortable during their visit and monitoring them throughout as the dentist carries out treatment. I provide chair-side assistance to keep the patient’s mouth dry and pass the dentist any instruments he may need. I assist with recording notes during an exam or mix materials for impressions. All these will need to be disinfected and instruments sterilised after every use. After every appointment I will make sure the patient is clean and safe to leave before cleaning the chair and surgery before our next patient, which I will prepare more instruments and equipment for.

dentist and dental nurse

We stay in contact with reception throughout the day for any patient queries and updates in the appointment book. We may need to contact laboratories or patients if any changes need to be made and this may be done by the nurse or reception.

I really enjoy being part of the team here at Sussex Dental Group, we are like a busy family that support each other and I hope the patients see that we really care about our work and their well-being.

I am very lucky to get to work with such fantastic people and get the opportunity to observe and work on so many kinds of treatments as a dental nurse. I genuinely find my job to be very rewarding with the chance to engage with patients as well as assist in treatments and have the responsibilities of helping keep the practice going.”

Thank you for sharing Susie!