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Dental nurses provide assistance to dentists, and other dental care professionals, throughout a patient’s visit.

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    7 Reviews
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      05.07.2010 20:34

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      Why i hate dental nursing

      I absolutely hate being a dental nurse. This is why!!!! you are expected to be a mind reader , servant and just general do all for your dentist, you get no thanks nor any gratitude.

      I am training at the moment and boy am i not getting any training at my surgery i have to sit, shut up and just fetch this, fetch that and clean, oh and when my dear dentist is working he will sit with his patients head between his legs so guess what i have no view of the mouth at all, so how the hell to you expect me to hold the suction if i cannot see.... And in between him mumbling to himself and mumbling to the patient i also have to guess when he is adressing me I DO ACTUALLY HAVE A NAME WHICH DOES NOT GET USED.

      I am so sorry i ever chose this profession, if he runs late so do you and boy oh boy you wont get paid for that 15-20 min overtime that you worked but beware if you are 1 hour late for work he will dock your pay.

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      21.07.2008 22:15
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      Only for the most committed

      Dental nursing, in the NHS in particular, is very hard work with long hours and a lot of walking. I covered many miles a day in my last position. The practice was in a run-down area with many patients who lacked education in even the most basic dental care so we had lots of fillings and extractions to carry out on very young children because their parents had no understanding of how diet can affect the teeth, especially in growing chldren. My job had as much to do with teaching the prevention of dental problems as helping the dentist to put them right.

      The pay is usually quite poor for the effort demanded and I often worked overtime without being asked simply because, at 'going-home' time there was still a patient in the chair and, of course, you cannot stop treatment simply because the clock says 5.30pm.

      When I first started dental nursing I didn't think I would last long because it is quite a distasteful job really but you do get used to the not so pleasant tasks. The most rewarding part of the job was helping someone who walked in through the door in great pain and left pain free having had the required treatment. The most unrewarding part, apart from the low pay, was the number of children in desperate need of a parent who would ensure that they had a healthy diet. I found it depressing to see a child in pain when it was not their own fault but that of their parents.

      It is an essential and valuable occupation - it's a shame that the pay does not reflect this but I do know some dental nurses who have remained in this line of work for years so it must suit some people.

      For anyone considering dental nursing I would simply warn them that it is not an easy job.

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      21.07.2008 18:21

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      Dental nursing is hard work, tiring, repetative and extremely boring. Your health is likely to suffer due to dentists working incorrectly and not adopting the correct seating arrangements. Dentists more often than not have huge egos and many are known to treat their Dental Nurses with little and no respect. Pay is poor and you may be expected to work overtime without pay. You are unlikely to have a pension scheme in place. You have to breathe in patients germs day in day out as well as amalgam. Unless you plan to become a hygeinist or a dentist in the long term then I would steer clear. It really is a horrible job.

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      06.02.2007 13:20
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      If you have thought about becoming a Dental Nurse -" NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO DO IT"

      I was reading the reviews about Dental Nursing and had to add my experiences.
      The Dental Nurse Profession has at last been recognised with Statutory Registration with the General Dental Council compulsory in 2008 it will raise the importance of the prorfession. I qualified back in 1971 and since then have worked in General Dental Practice, Hospital and the Community Dental Service. I have worked my way up through starting as a trainee to qualifying, become Senior, Principal and now a manager.
      Dentistry has changed so much over the years, now with so much legislation and regulations to not only safeguard the patients but also the staff.
      The role of the Dental Nurse has become so important and now carries a great deal of responsibility, especially as far as sterilisation and decontamination is involved. Dental Nurses can further their career with Post-qualification certificates in Oral Health Education, Sedation, Radiation, Special Care Dentistry and other management qualifications. In the future it is suggested that Dental Nurses have extended roles once trained to take impressions and remove sutures etc. This can only add to the importance of the role.
      Not forgetting Dental Nurses go on to study Dental Hygiene, and many become Dental Health Educators.
      It is now becoming a true profession and hopefully in years to come it won't be the "poor relative" that in the past it has been associated with.

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        13.02.2006 21:41
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        hospital training rocks!

        Hi, I trained as a dental nurse at Guys Hospital 1995-1997, so my experience maybe slightly out of date.
        I decided to train in hospital because i didn't want to have to work all day and then do evening classes. This is the one beauty of training in a hospital, all of you lessons are during the day. You genearly do 70% clinical traing and 30% lectures.

        The other great thing about hospital training is that you get to experience all aspects of dentistry, from prosthetics(dentures) to childrens to sedation to full on oral surgery and on. When you train at a dental surgery, you generally will not get to see much specialised work, especailly as general anaesthetics can not be given outside of hospitals these days.
        This also gives you the opportunity to decide if you want to specialse in any aspects of dentistry when you qualify, such as sedation nursing, theatre nursing, orthodontic nursing, etc.

        Also, you get paid! how many people who are on training courses can claim that!
        Plus, when you train in hospital and pass all the internal exams you will also recieve a qualification certificate and badge from that hospital aswell as your National Certificate. This sill serve you well when you are looking for jobs, as it puts you in front of girls who only have the National Cetificate! Plus you can also negotiate for better pay.

        The only downsides of training in a hospital is:
        1- having to put up with undergraduate dental students, most of them are full of themselves
        2-clinics can get very quiet and boring, especially when the students are on holiday

        Hope this is of some help!

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          07.01.2006 17:14
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          you need a sense of humour, patience be level headed, able to communicate and be confident

          I wrote a review on being a dental nurse a while ago and after reading it myself, it seemed lame and did not really give much insight into dental nursing or how you'd go about gaining employment as a d/n, so i have decided to try my hand at writing another one, and fingers crossed this one will hopefully be better and help anybody who is thinking of a career in dentistry.

          The dental team
          The team consists of the dentist, he/she really is the lynch pin in the surgery, without him you would not have me, the dental nurse, i basically provide the dentist an extra pair of hands,eyes and ears, i will be on hand to mix materials for fillings and impression taking, i also do suction (you know the big straw like thing that sucks out all the gunge?)
          retraction and illumination to keep the opretive field clean and dry for the dentist and comftable for the patient.
          You also have dental technicians, these lovely guys/gals are the ones who make you guys Crowns, bridges and dentures.
          Then we have the dental hygenist/therapist, i wont go into their roles as thats a whole other review.

          When any practice is looking for a dental nurse to employ they will look for somebody who has the following attributes, the ability to communicate, common sense, a sense of loyalty and responsability and the awarness that the most important person in the surgery is not the dentist but in fact the patient.

          Apperance
          The d/n should be smartly dressed at all times, and most practices will provide a uniform, mine is a white tunic with navy blue piping on the sleeves and collar, a navy blue cardigan and trousers and white nursing clogs, uniforms should never ever be worn out side the practice, this includes to and from work,( this will prevent your uniform becoming contaminated before you even reach work) and also includes popping out for lunch, i always change mine at lunch time even if i am staying in, i mean who really wants to eat their lunch in a unifrom thats just be worn to perform an extraction? YUCK!
          Hair should be worn short or tied back away from the face, this looks smarter and reduces the risk of contact with working areas or equipment during close chair-side assistance.

          Personality
          A calm, courteous and sympathetic manner are an all time must as is a friendly,cheerful approach, this really helps with patients that are slightly nervous.
          The voice should be calm enough to inspire confidence but loud enough to be heard.

          Duties
          Duties can range from clinical to non clinical, the non clinical duties can be helping out on reception, to filing, the clinical side takes place in the surgery.
          As i said before a d/n acts as an extra pair of hands, for instance some dentists will work in a manner called 4 handed dentisrty, this means all insrtuments are passed back and forth between d/n and dentist, simple to do but accidents will happen and your instruments can and will end up on the floor.
          Charting is also the d/n daily duty, this is when the dentist does a routine check up, he calls out the tooth number and the d/n will record the findings, most dentists will start charting from the upper right 8 and proceed to the upper left 8, then lower left 8 to lower right 8, base charting is also carried out, this is where the dentist tells the d/n what is already in the tooth being charted.
          As most practices use computers to chart i would advice any new d/n to learn paper charting, this will help when any exams are being sat as a charting exercise is included in the written paper and it helps to know how each symbol should be entered on paper as the computer will enter it for you, hope that makes sense.
          The correct names for instruments should also be learnt, one of my dentists did not know the name of any insruments and would ask for the bearing, turns out he wanted a ball burnisher!

          There are many ways to gain employment as a d/n, many of the dental hospitals take on girls/boys and train them in the hospital, many practices will also take you on and train you in house, there are no formal qualifications needed to become a dental nurse, although if you intend to make this your career you are expected to sit the National Exam for dental nurses, this means if you sit and pass the exam you are a qualified dental nurse, you need 6months chairside experience before applying to go on a course to study for the national certificate, i studied at Carlsalton College Nightingale Lane, Carlsalton Surrey, they take 2 intakes a year, september and you sit the exam in may, and january and you take the exam in November.
          Once your fully qualified the next step is to get yourself registered with the gdc (general dental council) they can be contacted at GDC 37 Wimpole street london W1G 8DQ 02078773800
          you can then go on and do post qualifaction courses, such as Sedation, oral health, special care dental nursing, dental radiography, and orthodontic nursing, although the last one to me is pointless unless your working in an orthodontic pratice.
          We as dental nurses also have our very own assocation, called British Assocation of Dental Nurses and can be contacted via email admin@badn.org.uk their aim is to assist, protect and represent its members, improve education training and career opportunities.

          I hope this has been of some help to any of you guys/gals who may be thinking of becoming a salivia sucking beauty, good luck and give it a go, its a great job and i could not picture myself doing anything else!

          Thanks for reading.

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            13.08.2002 04:28
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            dental nursing

            Hello there! Yes I am the girl you often see when you go to the dentist! You know the one who writes all the notes, mixes up fillings and sucks all that yucky stuff out of your mouth!! Yes I am a dental nurse!!

            I started this job about 2 years ago when I left college. I had been studying Health and Social Care and did originally plan to become a nurse, however I was a bit bored of studying and tried to find something where I didn't have to do another full time course....so here I am!

            I left college with a merit and applied to several places asking for a job, several places offered me one so I took one of them.

            I have learnt a great deal since I started and thouroughly enjoy my job.

            Dental nursing is a good job for those who want a job in the healthcare profession but don't necessarily want to study full time and want to start when they leave school/college. Most dentists will take people from the age of 16, of course this means that they can get away with paying the minimum wage and all that....and yes believe me they do.

            If you are thinking about dental nursing don't be fooled into thinking that you earn loads of money cos you don't! Most of the dentists I know are tight arses, althought there are a few out there who pay considerably better than others. I will just mention also that you have to work very hard at times for what seems like peanuts!

            You don't need any formal qualifications to do the job, just be ablr to speak english and be able to do basic maths and in some practices work a computer.

            Surprising as it may seem, dental nurses do not have to be qualified to work. There is talk about making it law that all dental nurses are qualified which I think is a very good idea when you think about what the job can involve e.g. making sure the correct anaesthtic is available. Most of the training you will recieve is done on the job. I have just passed my Dental Nurse NVQ
            level 3 and yes it was hard work as we only had half a day a week to attend lectures and the rest of the work had to be done in your own time, which I'm sure you will agree you don't always have much of when you're also working full time aswell. It was worth it in the end though as I have a certificate and yes even a badge!! Of course the best bit is you get to have a pay rise!

            So...What does the job entail?.....

            Well basically your job is to assist the dentist. This includes cross infection control, mixing filling and impression materials, charting teeth and making notes, assisting during fillings extractions - well everything basically, giving oral hygiene instruction and suction of yucky mouth stuff...yes this does include blood! It's also good to have a bit of first aid knowledge although most employers will send you on this as you may have patients who faint, etc so it's always good to know how to deal with this.

            Working with the general public, you get to meet a variety of people. It's good to use a bit of sympathy and empathy now and again especially when you have someone who is scared stiff.

            Some practices require you to also do reception work, as well as surgery work.

            Obviously reasonably good communication skills are a must, both written and verbal, and you must always maintain the patients confidentiality at all times.

            You do need quite a lot of patience to do the job and try to remain calm in stressful situations, but the job does offer a lot of job satisfaction.

            I do thouroughly enjoy my job and no two days are the same. It's very interesting most of the time and it's not always to do with teeth....you have to know also about x-rays, gums, the skull and tongue and plenty of other stuff you don't always associate with the dentist. I also get on brilliantly with the dentist I work with which I think helps a lot. We have a great laugh too.

            So.....once you are qualified you may want to further your career...options after dental nursing are....radiography course, dental hygienist, practice manager, dental therapist and if you want to go the whole way...then become a dentist.

            I would recommend this job to anyone who wants to meet different people, make new friends and enjoys learning lots of new things and having no two days that are the same. There is a lot of job satisfaction.

            I hope I have given you a little insight into my job and you have found it interesting, I won't waffle on any more but if you do want any extra info then please feel free to message me.

            UPDATE 2009 - Well, I have been dental nursing over 9 years now! Lots has changed in that time, I have obviously gained experiences in new materials and procedures and worked at several different practices. Since the birth of my daughter 3 years ago I have reduced my hours to 2 days a week and now work mainly on reception. I still love my job :D although I do miss the clinical side of it.

            The biggest change in dental nursing is the compulsary registration with the GDC. All dental nurses must now be registered and qualified whic I think is good for both the dental team and patients as it gives some quality assurance that you are being treated by a qualified professional person. Registration costs around £90 a year and without it we cannot work - just like the dentists. It also involves 150 hours of CPD (continuing professional development) which means 150 hours of study to show that you are still learning and developing existing skills. Obviously this does mean that we are now paid slightly better - hooray!

            Just thought I'd update my review - hope you;ve enjoyed reading!!

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