So why bother taking the quiz?

With the loss of the dental benefit scheme in the last Budget and a competitive jobs market out there, dental practices are looking at all factors that affect their viability and profitability. It is important that patients are receiving quality dental treatment delivered by professionals who are knowledgeable and interested in their field.

As dental nurses we need to keep abreast of current and relevant dental topics and news. We need to consider the external and internal factors that may influence patients feeling at ease in the dental clinic and choosing to stay with your practice. As a dental nurse you have an immense input into the internal factors that will guarantee a quality service for your patients and whether they feel happy, secure and confident when attending for treatment.

Dental nurses are core figures in the dental practice, often multi-tasking between administrative and clinical duties, and they need to be an organised, informed and articulate individual with a deep level of clinical knowledge and patient management skills in this competitive market. An educated and skilful dental nurse is a huge asset to any practice, and you need to consider keeping your knowledge current, relevant and in use. So try out the dental quiz and see – do you need to head back to school?

On the following self-assessment quiz each question is followed by four alternatives, of which one is correct?

1. Impressions are best disinfected by:
(a) Rinsing and immersing in hypochlorite for 10 minutes      
(b) Rinsing under the hot tap for 30 seconds   
(c) Spraying with isopropyl alcohol      
(d) Rinsing and spraying with chlorhexidene

2. A used pair of extraction forceps is best sterilised by:
(a) Scrubbing off the debris, then autoclaving
(b) Soaking in hypochlorite then running under the tap
(c) Autoclaving               
(d) Passing through a naked flame   

3. A micro-organism capable of producing a disease is known as:
(a) Pathogenic               
(b) Bacteriostatic               
(c) Autoimmune              
(d) Non-pathogenic

4. Sterilisation is the killing of all:
(a) Bacteria and viruses               
(b) Fungi and bacteria               
(c) Viruses, fungi and bacteria           
(d) Viruses, bacteria, spores and fungi  

5. The vasoconstrictor used in the majority of dental local anaesthetics is:
(a) Lidocaine               
(b) Prilocaine             
(c) Adrenaline               
(d) Octapressin  

6. A patient who has fainted will exhibit the following:
(a) Slow pulse and rapid breathing       
(b) Blue lips               
(c) Muscle spasms           
(d) Weak pulse and clammy complexion   

7. Opposing arch impressions during crown preparation are usually taken in:
(a) Alginate                
(b) Silicone putty               
(c) Impression paste           
(d) Opposing arch impressions are not required

8. The normal concentration of adrenaline present in a 2.2ml local anaesthetic cartridge is:
(a) 1: 8000                   
(b) 1: 100,000                   
(c) 1: 80,000                   
(d) 1: 1000   

9. Local analgesia is:
(a) The complete loss of all sensation locally   
(b) The loss of all touch sensation, locally   
(c) The local loss of pain sensation only   
(d) All of the above   

10. The dental nurse’s most vital role during the placement of a filling is:
(a) Having the necessary radiographs available       
(b) Adequate moisture control           
(c) Ensuring the appointment does not overrun   
(d) Mixing the correct amount of material     

Once you have completed the questions, please seel below for answers and explanations.

Okay, so how did you do?

Ideally you have been able to answer at least 50% of the questions on the previous page. If you have over half of the answers wrong, maybe you need to consider updating your knowledge through continuing professional development (CPD), in order to keep your patients, other staff members and yourself safe at work. Below are the answers and some extra facts to add to your dental knowledge.

Answer 1 = (a)
While rinsing an impression under hot water will remove debris, the hot water will distort the impression. Isopropyl alcohol and chlorhexidine may disinfect impressions but will not do so as well as hypochlorite.

Answer 2 = (a)
Autoclaving without prior use of a washer disinfector or manual cleaning can allow viable debris to be left on the instrument and hence the offending micro-organisms beneath it.

Answer 3 = (d)
Autoimmune relates to a group of diseases that act by destroying the person’s own body tissues. A non-pathogenic organism is one incapable of producing a disease. Bacteriostatic is a term used to describe a group of antibiotics that act by preventing the growth of bacteria.

Answer 4 = (d)
Disinfectants do not kill spores, and they also do not kill some viruses

Answer 5 = (c)
Vasoconstrictors reduce or ‘constrict’ the size of blood vessels in the immediate vicinity of its use; this helps in controlling bleeding and prevents its rapid removal from the area by the bloodstream. Octapressin is also a vasoconstrictor, but not the commonest one used.

Answer 6 = (d)
Blue lips are only evident when the patient’s respiration is poor or absent. Muscle spasms are usually a diagnostic sign of an epileptic fit.

Answer 7 = (a)
The full opposing arch has to be recorded to allow the models produced to be articulated into the correct biting position. Alginate is an expensive product and will record the arch accurately enough.

Answer 8 = (c)
Higher doses would be dangerous due to the action of adrenaline on the cardiovascular system, whereas lower doses would be ineffective

Answer 9 = (c)
Analgesia means ‘loss of pain’ and is the correct term to describe the effect of routine local dental anaesthesia.

Answer 10 = (b)
Poor moisture control will inevitably result in failure of the restoration at some point, and then the whole procedure has to be repeated. Radiographs would be viewed before the procedure begins, not after the cavity has been cut. Whether an appointment runs over time or not, it must be completed and is sometimes unavoidable. The correct amount of material is mixed first time to avoid waste and unnecessary expense.

Hollins C (2008) Questions and answers for dental nurses. Second ed, Blackwell Munksgaard, Oxford, UK