The Dental Council, in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Section 53 of the Dentists Act 1985 has, with the consent of the Minister for Health and Children, made a scheme for the establishment of a class of auxiliary dental worker to be known as a Dental Nurse.
In accordance with this Scheme, registered dental nurses are permitted to carry out the following dental work:
- Provide assistance, short of the practice of dentistry, to the dentist or dental hygienist in the delivery of dental treatments.
- Assist at the chairside during all dental procedures.
- Preparation of surgeries for dental procedures.
- Preparation and sterilization of dental instruments and the disinfection of equipment.
- Recording of dental charting and maintenance of treatment records.
- The care of patients including assistance in medical emergencies.
- Assistance in the care of patients receiving treatment under general anaesthesia and sedation.
- Assistance in the taking of dental radiographs.
- Reception, patient welfare and health promotion.
- Appropriate clerical and administrative duties.
In addition to the above, the Dental Nurse Scheme also specifies that:
Dental Nurses are permitted to carry out the aforementioned dental work only under the supervision of a registered dentist.
Supervision shall involve regular inspection of the dental nurse's work by the supervising dentist who shall retain overall responsibility for the patient. The supervising dentist shall accept full responsibility for the dental work carried out by the dental nurse under his/her supervision.
A dental nurse who has successfully completed a Dental Council approved course of training in radiation protection and techniques may take radiographs in the practice of dentistry under the direction and supervision of a dentist.
A dental nurse who carries out dental work amounting to the practice of dentistry or who presents or holds himself/herself out as being willing and ready to undertake dental work amounting to the practice of dentistry shall be guilty of an offence under the Dentists Act 1985.