Dental care is on the rise, as oral hygiene has never been more important. According to market research* dental nurses are in high demand.
You don’t become a dental nurse overnight. You may be asking, then, what are the roles, responsibilities, and requirements of a dental assistant? What qualifications and skills are necessary? How can I become a Dental Nurse?
The dental nurse role
The role of the dental nurse is multifaceted and goes far beyond just assisting dentists in routine check-ups.
Dental nurses are required to be able to communicate with dentists and assist them in providing patient care. This may include taking detailed notes, stock control and mixing materials.
Dental nurses can assist in patient care but also have other responsibilities. As a dental assistant, you will be responsible for reception. This may include scheduling appointments, collecting payments and filing paperwork.
What skills are required to become a dentist nurse?
Like all healthcare positions, you should be eager to learn as well as able to demonstrate an aptitude for dentistry nursing. Also, you should be passionate about dentistry.
A variety of skills are required for dental nurses to be successful. This includes the ability work well in a group and not succumb to pressure, excellent communication skills and the ability multitask. It also gives you confidence to work calmly and collected.
It takes a variety of personal skills to become a good dentist nurse. A good dental nurse must have empathy, compassion, and the ability to listen. Because many people are nervous about going to the dentist, they will need constant comfort. You must be able and willing to work with both children and challenging patients.
Aside from the clinical side, you need to possess the necessary skills to handle administrative tasks. You will need to have computer literacy and the ability to take notes for patient records.
Remember that most of your day will be spent standing, so it’s important to maintain a good level of fitness. It’s important to be tidy, organized, and willing to work in a small space for long periods.
What qualifications are necessary to become a nurse in dentistry?
For a trainee dental nurse to be able to start working, an academic degree is not required. However, you will need to complete a course in dentistry nursing to make the most of your career. You can take approved courses by the General Dental Council on both a part-time and full-time basis.
A level or AS-level education may be required to enroll in full-time programs. Part-time courses may require a minimum amount of GCSEs. Usually, these range from A-C in English language, maths, and science. As requirements may vary, it is important to confirm with the course provider any details regarding required qualifications or work experience.
If you are a trainee dentist and want to immediately start working, you will need training on the job while you work towards certification.
Dental nurse training
Dental nurses must register with General Dental Council (GDC). Once you have successfully completed a GDC approved training course, you can register. You can choose from the following training courses:
Foundation Degree In Dental Nursing
Certificate of Higher Education In Dental Nursing
National Diploma in Dental Nursing (awarded to dental nurses by the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses).
QCF Level 3-Diploma in Dental Nursing
NVQ 3 in Dental Nursing
If you are interested in becoming a dental nurse as a trainee, you can either choose the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses National Diploma in Dental Nursing or the Dental Nursing Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing.
These courses are available on a part-time or full-time basis at certain dental hospitals, further educational colleges, and external training providers.
If you prefer to take the full-time route, there are GDC-approved courses that can be accessed through various universities, such as the University of Northampton, and the University of Portsmouth.
There is no right and wrong way to learn how to be a dental assistant. Your financial resources and speed of qualification will dictate the method you use to train. These are the parameters that will allow you to choose which training method works best for you.
Once you have completed a recognized qualification, you can register at the GDC. The GDC is a regulatory body for dentists and other dental care professionals. Once you have completed your approved qualification, it is possible to start working in hospitals and general practices.
After you have gained a lot of experience, you are able to plan your career. As a dental assistant, the more experience you have, the easier it will be to move into other roles.
Locum work can be an option for a dental nursing career. This route offers many benefits such as flexibility, higher pay, and the ability to learn in a variety settings.
You might be interested in furthering your knowledge about dental science. If so, professions like dental therapist, dental hygienist and orthodontic therapist (often called oral health practitioners) may be a good option.