Dental Nurse responsibilities and duties

If you are looking to become a dental nurse you might like to know more about the responsibilities and duties of qualified dental nurses. We aim to give you a clearer picture about the challenges you might face in your career.

Responsibilities of a Dental Nurses according to the General Dental Council
Dental nurses are responsible for providing clinical and other support to
registrants and patients. As a dental nurse, you will undertake the following duties if you are trained,
competent and indemnified:

  • Prepare and maintain the clinical environment, including the equipment
  • Carry out infection prevention and control procedures to prevent physical, chemical and microbiological contamination
    in the surgery or laboratory
  • Record dental charting and oral tissue assessment carried out by other registrants
  • Prepare, mix and handle dental bio-materials
  • Provide chair-side support to the operator during treatment
  • Full, accurate and contemporaneous patient records
  • Prepare equipment, materials and patients for dental radiography
  • Process dental radiographs
  • Monitor, support and reassure patients
  • Give appropriate patient advice
  • Support the patient and their colleagues if there is a medical emergency
  • Make appropriate referrals to other health professionals

Additional skills dental nurses could develop include:

  • Further skills in oral health education and oral health promotion
  • Assisting in the treatment of patients who are under conscious sedation
  • Further skills in assisting in the treatment of patients with special needs
  • Further skills in assisting in the treatment of orthodontic patients
  • Intra and extra-oral photography •
  • Pouring, casting and trimming study models • shade taking • tracing

Additional skills carried out on prescription from, or under the direction of, another registrant:

  •  Taking radiographs
  • Placing rubber dam
  • Measuring and recording plaque indices
  • Removing sutures after the wound has been checked by a dentist
  • Constructing occlusal registration rims and special trays
  • Repairing the acrylic component of removable appliances
  • Applying topical anaesthetic to the prescription of a dentist
  • Constructing mouthguards and bleaching trays to the prescription of a dentist
  • Constructing vacuum formed retainers to the prescription of a dentist
  • Taking impressions to the prescription of a dentist or a CDT (where appropriate)
  • Dental nurses can apply fluoride varnish either on prescription from a dentist or direct as part of a structured dental health programme.
  • Dental nurses do not diagnose disease or treatment plan. All other skills are reserved to one or more of the other registrant groups.

We hope this makes you feel more confident about the skills and responsibilities of a dental nurse