What Are the Different Roles at a Dental Practice?

What Are the Different Roles at a Dental Practice?

When you visit the dentist, you’re often whisked from one room to the next, meeting one staff member after another, each of whom does something different from the last person. While every staff member brings a unique and essential skillset to Vitality Dental’s experienced team, we often find that many of our patients don’t know the differences in roles at a dental practice.

Our private dental practice in Pulborough, West Sussex, is staffed with some of the most skilled dental surgeons in the region. Our highly skilled dental team is complete with:

  • Dental Surgeons
  • Sedationist
  • Dental Therapist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Nurses
  • Receptionists

But what’s the difference between a general dentist and a dental surgeon? How does a dental hygienist differ from a dental nurse? Find out below!

Practice Principal

The practice principal is the owner of the private dental practice. Practice principals are experienced dentists that oversee the operation of the practice to ensure that patients receive high quality dental treatment, but also focus on the business side of the practice. This includes recruiting other dentists and hiring associates

At Vitality Dental, our practice principal is Dr. Arvin Mirzadeh, who founded the West Sussex dental practice in 2008. In addition to providing personable and advanced dental care, Arvin ensures that the office is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and the best staff in the industry.

Dental Surgeon

Dental surgeons are a wide class of highly educated dentists who as well as carrying out diagnostic and preventative treatment, specialise in a variety of medical procedures having to do with the teeth, mouth, face, and jaw area. Dental surgeons perform procedures like tooth extractions, removing wisdom teeth, soft tissue repair, removing oral tumors, and jaw realignment surgeries.

While some dental surgery is performed on an emergency basis, other dental surgeons perform cosmetic procedures such as dental implants and crowns and veneers.

To receive a consultation from one of our expert dental surgeons, contact Vitality Dental now.


At Vitality Dental, Dr. Jonathan Lee specialises in enthodontics. An endodontist is a special type of oral surgeon that focuses on the causes, diagnosis, and prevention of nerve-related issues. An endodontist is concerned with disease and injuries with the soft living tissue, or nerves within your teeth.

Most commonly, endodontists perform root canal treatments and other surgical procedures involving the root of the tooth.


sedationist, also known as an anaesthetist, has the goal of providing relaxing anaesthetics to patients before, during, and after dental surgery. This ensures that patients are completely pain free for the duration of the procedure, and can help reduce stress for nervous dental patients.

Other duties include observing and monitoring patients during surgery, managing pain, and preparing patients for surgery by explaining possible risks or side effects. Sedationists require extensive training, including a 5-year medical degree, a 2-year foundational programme of general training, and a 7- or 8-year training programme of specialist training.

At Vitality Dental, our dental sedationist is Dr. Joe Omar. He is one of the most respected anaesthetists in the country, holding the title of the President of the Association of Dental Anaesthetists.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are responsible for ensuring that our patients have clean and healthy teeth! They play two roles by cleaning patients’ teeth and also educating patients on how to ensure proper oral hygiene at home.

Dental hygienists will polish and de-scale your teeth using pain-free yet thorough treatments in order to prevent tooth decay and ensure healthy gums.

Hygienists also commonly run hygiene clinics in which they teach proper oral care techniques, including best practices for brushing and flossing.

Dental Therapist

Dental therapists are similar to dental hygienists, but perform a wider range of procedures. Many of the dental therapist’s roles overlap with that of hygienist, including procedures like applying fluoride treatments, removing stains and deposits, taking and developing X-rays, and conducting initial assessments of a patient’s oral health.

Dental therapists also perform certain procedures as requested by the practicing dentists, including simple procedures like teeth whitening, restoring teeth and extractions of children’s teeth.

Some dental therapists also specialize in other areas, including working with children, or treating anxious patients.

Dental Nurse

A dental nurse is a dental care practitioner that is not a fully qualified dentist, but assists a practice’s dentists to provide top-quality care to their patients.

One of the main roles of a dental nurse is to ensure absolute and total cleanliness in the dental surgery. Whether it’s sterilising equipment, disinfecting surgical tools, or preparing treatments and solutions, the dental nurse’s role is to make sure that every step of surgery is absolutely germ free and in mint condition!

Dental nurses often take part in administrative duties as well.


Likely the most familiar position to most of our patients, our receptionists are responsible for providing the best customer service in the business! From the moment you step in, their friendly smiles are there to greet you and to make sure you’re comfortable throughout your entire dental visit.

Receptionists are responsible for booking appointments and checking in patients.

For more information on Vitality Dental, a top private dental practice in Pulborough, West Sussex, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today! With a wide range of treatments available, including Invisalign braces, teeth whitening, dental implantscrowns and veneers, and even snoring reduction, we’ll be sure to have a procedure that leaves you feeling more confident.