Rio completed Cert HE Dental Nurse Practice and is now studying BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy.
'Teesside University has one of the best student dental facilities with state-of-the-art equipment.'
From a young age I have always been interested in dentistry. I found it fascinating how various treatments and preventative measures can help patients to achieve the best oral care.
I chose to study at Teesside as I wanted to deepen my knowledge within dentistry, and develop my understanding of dental treatment. Teesside University has one of the best student dental facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, which I thought was great to help with my learning. I was offered a commissioned place, where I was paid an amount in monthly instalments. This helped me for my first year at University.
Dental nurse practice enabled me to assist with all dental treatments completed in general practice and it gave me the opportunity to communicate with patients effectively. It gave me an insight about what is expected in a dental practice and the varying roles in the dental team. The placement on this course is very early on in the programme, which enabled me to communicate with patients at an early stage as well as assisting various dental clinicians to help broaden my foundation knowledge of dentistry, outside my theory lessons. My placement for the year was in a general dental practice in Stockton-on-Tees. During this time I learnt so much and dramatically improved my clinical skills at being chair side with both a dental surgeon and dental hygienist and therapist. My knowledge of different materials and how to decontaminate and sterilise instruments increased rapidly when in placement as it is something I practised five days a week.
I also enjoyed my clinical lessons on the dental nurse practice programme, which helped me gain experience with different dental instruments and materials to help me prepare for general practice. I enjoyed the Theoretical Concepts of Dentistry module, which is biology based, as I love learning about the body and all its response mechanisms. I completed A-level Biology before both courses and I really wanted to deepen my knowledge as I found it invigorating and interesting.
Dental hygiene and therapy, however, became my ultimate goal as a career. I was completely engrossed and fascinated how preventative treatments provided on the student dental facility so early on in the programme can help patients to improve their oral health. Patient contact within this subject is very early which I thought was ideal when you can’t wait to get started.
After completing my dental nurse practice programme, I had a great opportunity to apply for the dental hygiene and dental therapy course, which is great if you want to further increase your practical skills, patient contact and theory. I was lucky to be accepted on the dental hygiene and dental therapy programme and the University offered me a £500 kickstart bursary.
The University campus is great as everything is situated close to each other, so getting to different places between lectures is stress free as buildings are only a short walk away. I spend my free time in the newly refurbished gym which has lots of friendly staff to help with all different parts of training services. The Students’ Union is also a positive attribute to the campus as it offers lots of different events suited to different people. I also enjoy socialising with friends from my course.
When I graduated, I worked as a qualified dental nurse at Station Road Dental Practice over the summer. I loved every moment of my short time at this practice and further developed my skills working with different clinicians through the week. I loved speaking and interacting with all the staff and patients. All the clinical and academic skills from my research module allowed me to implement the best care and assistance that I could give during my time at work. I worked alongside the clinician giving my opinions on oral health prevention, to help give patients the best gold standard advice when in surgery. Without my dental nursing qualification, I would not have been able to get this job. I would happily work there during any time off I have from my current course.
If you are looking for a chance to broaden knowledge in the dentistry field and not sure which place to go for, I would choose Teesside University every time. All the staff on both dental courses are perfectly approachable and offer any support necessary. The facilities here are gold standard to help ensure your learning is heightened to the best of its ability.
I loved every part of my dental nurse practice course, and I am excited to continue my learning and development in all aspects on the dental hygiene and therapy course.