Smile…and start a career in Dental Nursing!

May 30, 2019 - Ayrshire College

Andrea Livingstone left school at 16 and started a Youth Training Scheme at a dental practice in Irvine. She is now a Dental Nurse Assessor with NHS Ayrshire & Arran, and would highly recommend a career in Dental Nursing. Interested? 

We still have limited places on our brand new NC Oral Health Care (Dental Nursing): Preparing for Practice course! Apply now!

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“I worked as a Dental Assistant for 15 years. I loved chatting to people and dealing with the public. I was always very busy and every day was different.

While working full-time I attended an evening class at college. The qualification I gained allowed me to register as a Dental Care Professional with the General Dental Council (GDC).

I was keen to learn, and was fortunate to be trained with several experienced Dental Nurses. I took on new responsibilities with confidence, and in 2007 I started a new role as a Dental Nurse Assessor with NHS Ayrshire & Arran. I have gained further qualifications within this role, in which my colleague and I deliver SVQs and PDAs in Dental Nursing.

I also work as a Extended Duty Dental Nurse (EDDN) and carry out a clinical role as a Childsmile Dental Nurse, with the Childsmile Team, one day a week. This involves me visiting local schools and nurseries in North Ayrshire, applying fluoride varnish to children aged 2-8.

There are lots of opportunities within the sector. Many Dental Nurses move into roles as Dental Health Support Workers or Oral Health Assistants. For those thinking about pursuing this type of career, here’s what to expect…

A typical day in a surgery could mean dealing with up to 30-40 patients! You may start with reception work – making appointments, taking payments, dealing with paperwork, meeting and reassuring patients.

As a Dental Nurse you’ll work closely with the dentist, providing assistance throughout patient visits. The range of procedures is vast. You’ll prepare the materials required, ensure the proper instruments and equipment are available and clean and sterilise instruments.

You’ll learn all about the workings of different equipment and, with extra training, you could take x-rays and clinical photographs, take impressions, make models of teeth and apply fluoride varnish to prevent tooth decay.

Handling confidential information and caring for patients who are anxious are big parts of the job, so tact and discretion are important qualities to have. You also have to be thorough, to ensure high standards of cleanliness and control of infection.”

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