Our Essential Dental Support Staff

The role of the dental nurse in our Bristol practice

Visiting the dentist has, over the past twenty years or so, become much more than simply having a check up and possibly a filling to keep a tooth sufficiently strong and functional.

These days, patients expect significantly more from their dentist and, accordingly, the role of a general dentist has developed to cover a wider range of procedures than previously.

Inevitably, this has resulted in speciality fields such as endodontics and oral surgeons and the role of the supporting staff has become even more essential than before to enable the dentist to focus on the complex job in hand.

Anxious dental patients

As with other dental practices across the UK, we see a significant number of patients who suffer with dental anxiety, varying from being mildly nervous to completely terrified of visiting the dentist. Whilst these nerves may be the focus of a number of jokes for some, for those suffering from it, it is anything but a joke.

In fact, nervous patients tend to put off visits and often cancel at short notice. This has a two fold effect in that cancellations often mean that someone else misses out on an appointment which otherwise may have been available. It also means that any relatively minor dental problems, often do not get treated early enough and can result in more invasive procedures further down the line. Gum disease and decay are good examples of this where early treatment can help to prevent the loss of teeth later on.

Helping these patients in a friendly manner, whilst quite time consuming, is extremely important. The dental nurse plays an important role here by talking the patient through what will happen and by helping to put them at ease whilst the dentist focuses on the clinical task in hand. Working as a team is essential to help ensure a successful outcome.

Our own dental nurse, Abigail Stevens, in fact finds this one of the most rewarding aspects of her position and enjoys helping people to relax sufficiently so that their treatment can be carried out.

Practical assistance

As well as helping to ensure that our patients are comfortable and relaxed, the dental nurse also has a practical role to play during the procedure. The role includes many functions which patients at our Bristol dental practice will recognise but probably rarely think about.

These roles include the passing of the correct implements, preparing materials for fillings and, of course, removal of saliva and debris from the mouth by using the suction tool. We think that most patients would agree that these are key roles and would not want the dentist to have to stop what they were doing to walk over to get a piece of equipment, for example.

Away from the procedures themselves, the dental nurse is also often involved in practicalities such as monitoring the stock of equipment and placing orders when necessary, helping to sterilise dental equipment, along with general tidiness and cleanliness to ensure a good standard of hygiene in the practice.

Six Month Smiles

In addition to the above, we have an added bonus with nurse Abigail in our team in that she has had her teeth straightened using the Six Month Smile orthodontic treatment. She is so pleased with the results that she is very happy to chat to patients who are considering this procedure and to give them her personal viewpoint of it. Beau Monde Dental is a recongnised Six Month Smiles provider so if after a chat with Abigail you would like to have your own teeth straightened, we’ll be very pleased to assist.