Dental Nurse Training: Everything You Need to Know

There are a variety of reasons why one may consider a career as a dental nurse. Perhaps it’s a passion for science, a solid career path, or even the great salary and continued development this profession has to offer.

Furthermore, with the advancement of techniques and technologies, the dental industry is continually growing, especially cosmetic dentistry. With all that being said, now more than ever is a great time to study to become a dental nurse. With attitudes changing towards the profession, dental nurses are now being recognised with more respect than ever before – as they should!

How can you become a qualified dental nurse?

You can usually work as a trainee dental nurse without any academic qualifications, but to progress to being a qualified dental nurse, you will need to study for a course in dental nursing. This can be either part or full time and it has to be approved by the General Dental Council (GDC) which is the body that registers dental nurses.

Approved courses include:

  • Foundation Degree in Dental Nursing (Full-time course)
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Dental Nursing (Full-time course)
  • National Diploma in Dental Nursing (NEBDN)
  • NVQ Level 3 in Dental Nursing
  • QCF Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing

What qualifications and skills do you need to train to be a dental nurse?

There is no previous experience or background of dentistry required to study a dental nurse course, in fact, you can come from any field as long as you can understand, write, and read English.

However, if you are interested in applying then it’s a good idea to be proficient in some of the following skills.

  • Good people skills, including the ability to work with children and difficult patients.
  • Computer literacy.
  • Ability to work well under pressure.
  • Ability to work well in a team.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Organisation and a methodical approach to work.
  • Confidence and a calm manner.
  • Ability to multitask.

How long does dental nurse training take?

The route you take to study will determine how long it will take you to gain your qualification. For example, if you decide to study part-time this will obviously take longer than a full-time course. Other factors that can determine how quickly you complete your course can depend on whether you study online or by the good old fashioned bricks and mortar method of attending university.

Depending on your preferred route, dental nurse training can take anywhere from 12 months to 24 months. However, the course offered at Dental Arch only takes one year to complete, making it one of the more accelerated options.

How much does it cost to train as a dental nurse?

Again this can vary depending on the route you choose, however the National Diploma in Dental Training from Dental Arch costs only £980 if studying in Winchester and £1,100 if studying in London.

What can you expect from a dental nurse training course?

A dental nurse training course will cover a number of topics that will fully prepare you for real work in the dental field. For example, at Dental Arch our one-year diploma in Dental Nursing covers the complete NEBDN syllabus.

If you choose to study a course like this, you will cover the following topics;

  • GDC guidelines
  • Health and safety
  • Legal and ethical
  • Radiology
  • Infection control
  • Anatomy of the tooth and basic anatomy
  • Microbiology and pathology
  • Oral diseases
  • Patient and management
  • Assessing patients health and treatment planning
  • Oral health promotion and preventive diseases
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Oral surgery
  • Orthodontic procedures
  • Dentally related drugs, materials, and instruments

What does a dental nurse do on a day to day basis?

The role of a dental nurse can be quite varied, however general responsibilities will include the following;

  • Setting up the surgery for all types of dental procedures. This will include sterilising instruments, preparing filings, cleaning the dental surgery, and carrying out stock control.
  • Supporting the dentist or hygienist while they undertake their duties. This may include preparing and passing instruments, suctioning water, and saliva from a patient’s mouth during treatment, and finally providing support and reassurance to the patient.
  • Working in the reception area and supporting all admin. This role may include taking bookings and payments, and recording and filing information about the patients.

What is the average UK salary for a dental nurse?

The UK salary for a dental nurse can be dependent on a number of factors, including location and experience. However, according to a recent report by CV library, the national average was between £16,000 – £28,000.

Where can you work as a qualified dental nurse?

After qualifying as a dental nurse, most people will choose to work in a dental practice. This may be a private practice, an NHS practice, or even a practice that offers both services. However, this isn’t the only option. Many other qualified dental nurses prefer to work as a dental receptionist, and others even go on to further their career and become practice managers.

What further training is available for dental nurses?

The great thing about qualifying as a dental nurse is that there are a number of different career paths for you to choose from. This qualification will allow for further study and training in the following certificates;

  • Certificate in Dental Radiography
  • Certificate in Oral Health Education
  • Certificate in Orthodontic Nursing
  • Certificate in Dental Sedation Nursing
  • Certificate in Special Care Nursing
  • Certificate in Dental Hygiene / Dental Therapy

Why study with Dental Arch?

One of the main ways to become a dental nurse is to successfully complete a national diploma course in dental nursing. At Dental Arch, we offer two dental nurse training programs. They consist of our basic Introduction to Dental Nursing course and our recognised National Diploma in Dental Nursing.

Our Introduction To Dental Nursing program is for students who are not sure if they are ready to begin their national diploma. This short course provides the basics required before joining as a trainee dental nurse or a decontamination nurse and will help you to explore the content and scope of dental nursing.

Moreover, our National Diploma in Dental Nursing is a ‘Level 3’ diploma, which is a nationally recognised qualification within the UK. successful completion of this course will enable you to register as a dental care professional with the General Dental Council (GDC) and practice as a qualified dental nurse.

For more information, take a look at our dental nurse courses here.

Dental Arch is an Accredited Training Centre for the NEBDN. We ensure you get the best dental nurse training, whilst offering highly competitive rates.