The dental nurses at Teeth & Smiles are an integral part of the team, their responsibilities are complex. In this month’s blog we thought we would give you an insight into what our dental nurses do every day.
When we first arrive at the surgery, we have to get changed into our uniforms. Not wearing our uniforms outside the dental practice forms an integral part of our cross-infection control procedures helping to keep our patients, friends and families safe.
We then start setting up our surgeries ready for the day ahead. Being a dental nurse requires you to be very forward thinking to ensure you have everything ready when the dentist asks. We start by turning on all the equipment and making sure it’s in full working order. The dental chair water lines are flushed through with purified and treated water and we make sure our instruments are put into the correct places ready for the day ahead.
While setting up we also collect dentures, crowns and any other lab work ready for the day and we also check the list of patients and treatment planned for the day. To finish setting up we get the dentist’s, patient’s and our own person protective equipment out ready for use.
When a patient arrives to reception, we are notified in surgery via our computer software, we then call the patient through to the surgery and try to make them feel comfortable and at ease.
During the day we work between the surgery helping the dentist provide treatments and writing notes and our decontamination room ensuring that the cleaning and sterilising of the instruments is complete. Sterilised instruments have to be sealed in special pouches and stored away when not needed. Between patients we clean and disinfect all work surfaces in the surgery and the dental chair.
The smooth running of the practice has a lot of work behind the scenes. We try to keep on time as much as we can but sometimes things don’t always run on time as patients can be held up in traffic, procedures take longer than anticipated, or even patients come in with a different problem to the treatment that had been set up for. Every day we also allocate emergency slots throughout the day, patients are our number one priority and if someone comes down with toothache, we try to see them on the day – this can also mean double booking patients which puts a lot of stress on the dentist and dental nurse to try and see patients as soon as possible.
Another role of the dental nurse is to ensure the surgery has enough stock. Along with keeping the surgery clean and tidy if there’s no stock in your room treatments might not be able to be completed effectively.
At the end of a working day we all work as a great team and rally around helping each other shut down the surgeries, this includes flushing the water lines on the dental chair and flushing the aspirator lines with disinfectant, also wiping literally everything in sight with disinfectant wipes to make sure the surgery is clean and ready for the next person to use.
Being a dental nurse, we have learnt to multi-task to the extreme, to pre-empt the future and how to disinfect anything and everything. One of the best things about being a dental nurse and working at Teeth & Smiles is waking up in the morning and being happy to go to work, there’s nothing better!