In Summary - Dental Nurse / Surgery Assistant
The Work - Dental Nurse / Surgery Assistant
A dental nurse's main duties include infection control, chair-side assistance, preparation and maintenance of the dental surgery, and patient care.
While a patient is being treated the dental nurse passes materials and instruments to the dentist, as they are required. They also prepare fillings and dressings if they are needed and process any X-rays that are taken.
They sterilise instruments and are responsible for making sure that a constant supply of clean instruments are available. They are also responsible for the general hygiene of the surgery.
General administrative and office work, such as filing, is also part of their remit.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.
- Record treatment information in patient records.
- Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.
- Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.
- Assist dentist in management of medical or dental emergencies.
- Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.
- Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.
- Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.
- Fabricate temporary restorations or custom impressions from preliminary impressions.
- Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Interests - Dental Nurse / Surgery Assistant
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Dental Nurses must have good communication and organisational skills. They should be able to work under their own initiative, have good manual dexterity, and be prepared to work closely with patients providing support and assistance during the provision of dental treatment.
You should be confident, outgoing and sensitive - patients can be worried or frightened and you may need to reassure them.
Entry Requirements - Dental Nurse / Surgery Assistant
Pay & Salary - Dental Nurse / Surgery Assistant
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 22k - 48k
Dental Nurse: 22 - 42
Senior Dental Nurse: 39 - 48
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Dental Nurse / Surgery Assistant
Useful Contacts - Dental Nurse / Surgery Assistant
Irish Dental Nurses Association (IDNA)
Dublin Dental University Hospital
Irish Dental Association
Dental Health Foundation Ireland
Health Service Executive (HSE)
Dental Council of Ireland
Cork University Dental School and Hospital
National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland