Explore a career as a dental nurse

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A dental nurse assists a dentist in all kinds of tasks, ranging from administrative work to clinical procedures. This nurse may work in private dental clinics, hospitals, various community services or even in the armed forces as a trained dental nurse.

Medical staff carrying out dental exam, Tanzania. Job Functions Of A Dental Nurse

A dental nurse must have very good communication and interaction skills. In this role, you will liaise with patients, schedule appointments, brief patients about impending procedures and keep them comfortable during any kind of dental treatment. Besides patient care, you would also handle various jobs to deal directly with dental procedures such as prepping the equipment that the dentist may need during the course of a procedure, sterilising equipment after it has been used and arranging all the instruments conveniently for the procedure.

Dental nurses also undertake administrative tasks, which would include maintaining patient files, keeping track of payments and preparing the bills for patients. A dental nurse usually runs the entire dentistry operation so as to facilitate smooth and easy working of the place.

Educational Requirements

A dental nurse does not need any specific educational requirements to get into this field as a trainee dental nurse. However, in order to continue working as a nurse and progress in this field, it is necessary to obtain certification from a recognised dental nursing course. There are part time courses as well as full time courses available for nurses. It is necessary to look at the different qualification criteria for all these courses as some may vary with regards to the entry requirements.

Training and Registration

It is necessary to be registered with the General Dental Council or the GDC in order to be allowed to practice as a dental nurse. It is also necessary to complete a GDC course in order to register with them as a nurse. There are two ways that you can go about getting this registration.

The first way is to become a trainee nurse and work part time with a dental clinic or at a medical institution. You can then sign up for part time classes for a Diploma in Dental Nursing which is approved. There are various diploma courses available through the NEBDN or the Dental Nurses National Examining Board. You will be awarded the NEBDN National Certificate after you complete two years’ work as a full time nurse or equivalent to that.

The other option is to go through a full time course that is approved by the GDC and get your registration that way. Whichever way you finish this course, you will be eligible to register with the GDC after completion and you will be a qualified nurse.

Job Opportunities

Dental nurses are given a number of job opportunities and all kinds of medical facilities and they have the option of working as a nurse or getting qualified further in various fields of dentistry. Once you become a qualified nurse, you can practice as a dental hygienist. You can also study further and become an orthodontic therapist. 

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