What Makes a Good Dental Nurse – 3 Skills to Have

If you’ve clicked on this article, you’re probably looking into a career as a dental nurse. Needless to say, you’re probably wondering if the skills you have are perfect for this role. That’s good, because it gives a certainty that you are serious about looking into dental nurse jobs.

What is a dental nurse in the first place?

Of course, it’s necessary to be able to have a full understanding of what a dental nurse does. This includes knowledge of the day-to-day operations as they go along. Tasks include scheduling appointments, record keeping, patient care and taking x-rays.

Duties can include the likes of getting a patient ready for a specific procedure. This means being well-informed regarding dental treatments. When a dentist performs an operation, a dental nurse can actually be part of it. Aside from being support on a secondary level, they will also be responsible for giving the dentist the tools needed at that moment.

Dental Talent What Makes a Good Dental Nurse 3 Skills to Have
What Makes a Good Dental Nurse - 3 Skills to Have 7

There are also secretarial duties involved with being a dental nurse. Some of these include filing paperwork, handling company billing and getting appointments made. Patients that arrive are usually greeted by dental nurse as well. The office’s seemingly stiff, professional air is warmed by the smile of his or her dental nurse.

Usual tasks for dental nurses include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting dentists by giving them instruments when procedures are ongoing
  • Directing patients what to do in order to have proper oral hygiene habits
  • Communicating with patients regarding both payment and billing
  • Completing lab tasks and having x-rays processed under a dentist’s direction
  • Ensuring dryness of patient mouths through suction hoses and similar equipment
  • Making sure patients in the dental chair are actually comfortable
  • Prepping the work area and the patients for procedures as well as treatment
  • Properly archiving dental treatment records
  • Sterilising the instruments of the dentists

What skills make up a good dental nurse?


This probably goes without saying, but the ability to work well with one’s hands is key for a dental nurse. This is because the instruments and tools involved are incredibly specific, and the working area within the body is rather tight. Aside from controlling their fingers and hand’s small muscles, they’re also very coordinated.

Interpersonal Skills

As previously mentioned, this involves the way patients interact with the patients to be correct. It’s important for dental assistants to work closely with patients and, of course, the dentists they assist. Mediation skills are needed here, hand-in-hand with conflict resolution and genuine care for all parties involved. This is because the emotions of patients can swing, especially when they’re under a lot of mental stress and/or a lot of intense pain.


A dental nurse needs to be organised not only to ensure that the tools of the dental hygienist or dentist are in the right place. They also have to have stellar time management skills as well as dedication to keep the dental office neat and free of clutter.


Before approaching the dental job market in the UK, it’s key to have the right skills. Dental Nurses have to have certain crucial skills such as organisation, dexterity and interpersonal skills. They work closely with patients and dentists alike, so it’s a must that dental nurses are well-rounded and a great addition to the team.

Are you looking for dental jobs to take the next step in the dental industry? Dental Talent is a recruitment platform for dental practitioners in the UK. Check out our job postings today!