How to be a great dental implant nurse and help your team
As the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN) states, “Implant dentistry is a highly advanced, specialised dental skill…it combines surgical skills with restorative expertise”. The planning involved in such a procedure is extremely detailed and a great dental implant nurse is paramount to facilitating a successful treatment. Let’s take a look at what makes for an efficient dental implant nurse.
‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, as the saying goes. The success of an implant procedure rides heavily on the preparation by the dental team. This includes checking the patient’s records and consent forms, checking inventory and all necessary equipment for the procedure through to sterilisation of the surgical room and maintaining a high level of cross-infection control throughout. Implant surgery involves a different level of role in dental nursing meaning the preparation is significantly greater.
A great dental implant nurse is able to empathise with a patient who may be feeling extreme apprehension for what is about to happen. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you might be able to put them at ease. Even down to little things like asking them if they’d like some Vaseline for their lips; if you’ve ever been in the dental chair for a long period of time you’ll know just how dry and cracked your lips can start to get!
The detailed nature of implant surgery means anxiety levels for all parties may be running high. Having a good enough working relationship with the dentist to be able to recognise when they might be under pressure or needing further equipment is important. Learning to understand their requests and needs during treatment makes for a successful day in surgery. Being able to strike a balance between knowing when to stay quiet and when to pre-empt the needs of the dentist is an invaluable skill.
Understanding of protocols
Implant surgery is a much more hands-on procedure for dental nurses and for this you must have a good understanding of surgery and safety protocols. A great dental implant nurse will be able to swiftly recognise any potential health and safety issues and be able to mitigate them in line with their practice protocols. Understanding the protocols of the dentist is also key, everyone has a different way of working so taking the time to understand the way your dentist likes to work will make the whole procedure more likely to be trouble-free.