Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsI'm Adrian. I'm a dentist. I'm responsible for leading the dental team and undertaking the examination and diagnosis of any oral and dental disease. I also prescribe work to be done by other members of the dental team. So x-rays can be taken by a dentist or a dental nurse. I prescribe work to a therapist or a hygienist. And I also request work from dental technicians who'll make up crowns and bridges and dentures and things to a prescription that can then be fitted. By coordinating all of this care, the idea is to improve the patient's general oral health in a patient-centered manner for whatever's most appropriate for them. My name's Sarah.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 secondsI'm a dental nurse, qualified dental nurse, and I'm here to chaperone the dentist when he's working and to health and safety, cross infection control. I'm working part as a team, because that's what it is. It's the whole teamwork thing to make the patient's experience a more happy one. If dentists need x-rays then I'll take their x-rays and follow up appointments with patients and look after the patient and make sure that everybody's happy.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsMy name's Jill Rushforth. I'm a dental hygienist. My role in the dental team is I treat gum disease. I also give oral hygiene instruction to help prevent gum disease. I give dietary advice, smoking cessation, I can take radiographs. I can do fissure sealants, primarily on children. I take impressions, if needed, for study models or, if needed, to record recession. I can also apply fluoride. There's also an additional qualification called a dental hygiene therapist. And what they can do, they can do exactly the same as myself, but they can go on and they can do fillings on permanent teeth or deciduous or baby teeth. They can extract baby teeth, deciduous teeth, and they can also do pulpotomies on deciduous teeth also.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsMy name's Tony Johnson and I'm a dental technician. My job involves making appliances that fit in patient's mouths. There are four specialities in dentistry. Removable prosthodontics, which is dentures, partial dentures, full dentures, that sort of thing. Fixed prosthodontics, which is where we have crowns, bridges, et cetera, which stay permanently in the patient's mouth. Orthodontics, which is where we make appliances that straighten people's crooked teeth, to put it in simple terms. And then maxillofacial technology, which is where we make appliances such as false noses, false eyes, false ears, and any of the bits of the face that may be lost to either injury or cancer, et cetera. Our training is usually three years initially, where we get our basic qualification.

Skip to 3 minutes and 8 secondsAnd that's usually done in a college situation nowadays, although it can sometimes be done in conjunction with a dental hospital, training there, which is what I did. And then you usually, once you've qualified, got your basic qualification, you would go on and specialise in one or more of the two specialities that I mentioned earlier. My specialities are the removable and the fixed prosthodontics side. And I wouldn't ever make an orthodontic appliance or a maxillofacial appliance, because I'm not really trained in that area. And usually you find that that is usually the natural split. The orthodontics and the maxillofacial technicians tend to be in one area, and the fixed and removable appliance technicians tend to be in another.

Skip to 3 minutes and 53 secondsSo we very rarely get people who do sort of all four specialties together. And you then go and work in a variety of different environments. So a large number of technicians who qualify go and work in what we call the commercial sector, where they'll work in a commercial dental laboratory producing various appliances. The only area that doesn't tend to do that is the maxillofacial area, where that's usually confined to a general hospital where you've got oral surgeons who will perform the operations and then the technicians work closely with them in the hospital environment.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 secondsThe other areas all work either in the commercial environment or can work in dental hospitals where we have all the specialities catered for in the technical side.

Dental team: Talking heads

In this video we asked four members of the Dental Team to explain their role when providing patient care. When watching the video, here are a few things to think about:

  • What defines each role?
  • Is it clear what each person does?
  • What other roles might you expect to meet during a visit to the dentist?

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This video is from the free online course:

Discover Dentistry

The University of Sheffield