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A tour of the dental surgery

In this video Dr Adrian Jowett gives us a tour of Surgery 5.
This is a dental chair. This is important because it allows the patient to be moved into a position which is comfortable for them, but also allows the operator to work with good vision and to work unhindered. Also, we have a light. The dental light is important so we can see into the patient’s mouth and have very good visibility of the hard and the soft tissue, so that we know what we’re working on. The three-in-one air syringe is important so that we can dry the teeth, and wash them down as well, to give a clean and dry area for work.
We have a variety of air-powered instruments which we can change the speed of - [INSTRUMENT WHIRRING] - to decide how quickly we’re going to cut the hard tissues and things. There’s a spittoon where the patient can spit out if there’s any excess moisture or dental materials in their mouth. We also have a vacuum system - [INSTRUMENT WHIRRING] - which can be used by the dental nurse to remove any water or various contaminants from the patient’s mouth during procedures, both to make it easier for the dentist to see what’s going on and to make it more comfortable for the patient. We always have two chairs, one for the operator and one for the dental nurse.
Many modern procedures can take several hours to do, and so the operators do need to be comfortable. The dental nurse’s one is very often one of these round ones with the bar on it, and many dental nurses like to lean on the front of this whilst they’re working to support their weight, so they’re comfortable and can work through the longer procedures. There’s a whole variety of cupboards and drawers where instruments and materials are stored. It’s important that these are kept in a consistent manner, so the nurse knows where to find things very quickly during procedures. We’ve got gloves of various sizes and masks.
These are important in reducing cross-infection between the operator and the patient, to reduce the spread of especially aerosols if the patients or the dentist has a bit of a cold.
A barber’s mirror is an important part of dentistry today. Many patients are having work done to improve the appearance of their teeth, and patients do like to have a look before they leave the surgery to make sure they’re satisfied with the work that’s been done. It’s very important that the dentist knows that patient is satisfied before the patient leaves.
We also need to wear safety glasses. Most operators nowadays use glasses with some sort of magnification. I always use these with a through-the-lens magnification. This is because the work is quite intricate, and it’s less tiring if you can see it magnified and see it larger. The very least that you can wear are these little plastic safety glasses. These are very good at preventing splatter of particles onto the face, and we also give them to patients to wear as well, so that don’t get any droplets of any materials onto their face. Some of the materials we use nowadays are what’s known as command set.
This means that when you’ve dispensed the material and applied it to the patient’s tooth, it stays in the same state until we’re ready for the material to be hardened. There’s been quite an advancement in recent years, because it means we have longer to work and produce work at a higher standard. When you activate this light-curing unit, it produces an intense blue light. And this serves to cause the resin to polymerize and to harden so it is strong enough to withstand forces in the patient’s mouth. At the end of the procedure, there will be a variety of materials and instruments that we need to dispose of. And this needs to be done in an environmentally conscious and efficient manner.
So we have to do this into multiple routes. We have an ordinary dust bin, where we can put any clean paper and packaging. Any specialist waste, if we have possibly dental amalgam or old dental crowns, they need to go into these sort of little bins. Contaminated plastics and paper and things go into clinical waste. And used dental instruments go into a box, which is sealed and can then be moved around the building for decontamination. So those are the basic things you’ll find in a modern dental surgery.

In this video Dr Adrian Jowett, dentist and Head of the Academic Unit of Primary Dental Care at the University of Sheffield, gives us a tour of Surgery 5.

Adrian talks through the space and equipment, and offers insights into the surgery that you might not have noticed before.

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