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20 Mar 2024

Meet the speaker – Q&A with Rebecca Silver

Meet the speaker – Q&A with Rebecca Silver

With the 2024 edition of the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show fast approaching, we wanted to introduce you to some of our wonderful speakers who will be presenting at this year’s show.

Rebecca Silver is a dental nurse and dental nurse educator with over 14 years of experience in dentistry. With a passion for dental nurse education and mentoring, we caught up with Rebecca to get her reflections on her journey in dentistry so far and her advice for the next generation of dental nurses.


How did you get started in dental nursing and what made you want to pursue this career path?

I started working as a dental nurse in 2009. I had just moved to London and needed a job. Dentistry was never talked about as a profession at the school I attended, and it tended to be careers in medicine or law that were encouraged. But I saw the job advert one day and thought it was something I could do. And the rest is history!


What inspired you to get involved with education for dental nurses?

My mum always used to say that I would make a great teacher, and I adamantly refused to go to university to pursue this. So there is some irony in the fact that I have ended up in education and am so passionate about it! Dental nurses receive a lot of information pertaining to career pathways, but traditionally dental nurses have be shoehorned into dental hygiene. I always thought we were doing such a disservice to our dental nurses. Why would we continue to make it appear that the job is so dissatisfying that the only way we can find enjoyment in it is to leave the profession? Dare I say it, I think I am quite good at my job and so I set about trying to help dental nurses realise they could stay in the profession and make a career of it. I believe that not everyone should feel that they need to move away from dental nursing. This isn’t to disparage those that have done so and I have the utmost respect for anyone in an education setting doing something they love, but as a profession, the peer pressure to leave dental nursing can be overwhelming.


What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned during your time as a dental nurse?

  • Don’t take everything that patients do or say to heart – some patients will be scared or in pain, and sometimes we can misinterpret this as rudeness
  • Ask for help – don’t expect to know or understand everything the first time you are told. It’s ok to ask for help when you need it
  • Own up to what you don’t know – even with all my experience, there are aspects of dentistry that I don’t do often, and therefore I need explanations about how the treatment should go and what materials or instruments are required.


What advice would you give to dental nurses just starting out in their careers?


Starting a new career can be quite daunting, especially one where we learn on the job. I would suggest giving yourself dedicated study time, but also dedicated relaxation time. It is important we learn how to forget about work so it doesn’t burn us out.

And also ask for help when you need it. Most people working in dentistry are happy to assist and support trainee dental nurses.


You’ve spoken at the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show many times in the past – what do you like about speaking at events and why do you think it is important for dental nurses to attend?

I’m very passionate about making relevant CPD accessible for dental nurses.

I also think it is especially important that we attend dentistry shows as dental nurses because they are very important places to network. Since Covid, a lot of dentistry has moved online, and this has affected the ability to engage meaningfully with other members of the profession. It also means that, as dental nurses, we lose the chance to meet with other dental nurses and associations like the British Association of Dental Nurses. Creating these relationships is especially important when you work in a profession like dentistry which be quite insular and lonely.


You can see Rebecca deliver her session, ‘The crucial partnership: fostering trust between dental colleagues for optimal patient care’, in the Dental Nurses’ Forum on Saturday 18th May at 14:45 at this year’s British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show.
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