What make a excellent dental nurse?

By Dr Glaucia Minei DBS
Dentist at Smilepod

I had a good think about this, and there are a few fundamental points.


Do not let your colleagues work harder because of your lack of professionalism. Always be on time or even early. Be critical of yourself, and this will help you to grow. Be honest to your colleague who comes slightly late. If one person does not perform well this affects the entire team.


You can be the best nurse in the world, yet if you are not prepared, it won’t go well. Be organised. It is better to have a full table and use 80% of the material laid out, then missing 1 item and you have to spend time looking for it.


It’s 11:55am, your lunch break is at 12 noon, yet the dentist is running late. ‘Here we go’ you think and start rolling your eyes up. This is time to FOCUS. You are helping a client who is in pain and you want to support your dentist who started to get stressed. There is not much you can do about that, yet you can choose to either be angry or change your attitude and actually accomplish something greater. Great teams don’t care how hard it takes to get results. Excellence is the most important thing.


Have you ever met someone and in 1 second you have a feeling that something is not right? This is the feeling patients get when you let your frustrations show. Be genuinely passionate about what you do, even on a bad day or if you have a hangover! If the dentist is in a bad mood be stronger than him or her, and do your very best because the patient sitting in your chair does not deserve to feel bad because of you.


Remember, someone coming for a filling is scared, uncomfortable and is your job to make them feel they are in good hands. It is not just about a client coming in, sitting down and we do the work. SMILE and be friendly! Good service always starts with a nice honest smile. Listen to the dental patient; help them getting comfortable (giving them the eye glasses and a bib is just a service. Asking how they are, opening the door for them, bring water; reassuring that everything will be fine is an extra mile).


Never skip steps, as this will turn into a bad habit. Come out of your confront zone and practice not just what you like but also what you don’t like over and over again until you become good at it.

Tips: Try to work in the same way and same order. When you lay your instruments, start from left to right or right to left in the sequence you will need them throughout the procedure.

Predict what the dentist needs before they ask. What comes after Etch, and after Bond? It is obvious but if the dentist has to ask for that you are not doing 100%. A procedure should flow almost in silent. Oh, and if you don’t have a material or the right composite shade, never say ‘we don’t have’. Write down, wave discreetly, but don’t let the client notice. Clients will perceive we are not using the right composite shade. In the client’s minds, we should have everything ready, with no excuses.

If you handle materials, pass in the correct way. There’s is nothing more difficult for a dentist to hold the mirror, focus on the tooth and you pass the putty wash gun the wrong way around.

Start paying attention to the small details. Ask your dentist how we can improve.



A good dental nurse is always a good leader. Good leaders work at the same level of other leaders. They have initiative and are constantly looking for ways to improve. Leaders help each others, and are never ashamed of making mistakes. If you make a mistake let your dentist know so you both can improve.

Something went wrong? Don’t blame others but rather help to find a solution. Be strict,people will always respect you if you are doing the right thing.


Sometimes everyone knows what to do but they don’t communicate well. If you are in doubt, ask. If the dentist you work with is not communicating well, and just expects you to know and do everything to perfection, tell him/her. Sometimes they just assume you know.


Long hair should be ‘up’. Minimal make-up. No perfume and no nail polish. Be elegant with a perfectly clean uniform.


Join SmileWisdom Academy of Dentistry and dental nursing and you will learn these tips and many more. SmileWisdom is based in Central London offering dental nurses training courses and dental nurse CPD courses.


Contact: becky@smilewisdom.co.uk or call 0207 205 2299 www.smilewisdom.co.uk