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Dental Nurse Training

Dental nurses support dentists in the healthcare of patients. Their work includes helping to prepare the dental surgery and ensuring that equipment and working areas are sterile. While the dentist examines and treats a patient, dental nurses help by performing tasks such as making sure the patient is comfortable, recording the dentist's observations, passing instruments, using a suction device to remove saliva and debris from the patient's mouth, preparing materials for fillings and sterilization of instruments and infection control procedures.

Health and safety for staff and patients is an important part of the dental nurse's role.

Entry Requirements

Historically, formal qualifications have not been needed to begin training, but GCSE s/S grades or equivalent qualifications in English and mathematics can be an advantage. However, it would be better for you to contact your chosen training provider to ask what the entry requirements are for their particular course. There are several ways of gaining your qualification:


Since July 2008, you must be registered with the General Dental Council ( GDC ) before you can practise as qualified dental nurse. To qualify for this, you will need the Diploma in Dental Nursing, or a Certificate of Proficiency in Dental Nursing awarded by a recognised dental hospital. You cannot be registered with the GDC as a trainee, but once you have enrolled on an accredited training course, you can work as a ‘dental nurse in training’.

For more information please visit the GDC website.

Training Providers

Full-time courses in dental nursing last one or two years and are offered by various colleges and dental hospitals. Combining theory and practical work, the courses cover such topics as anatomy, physiology, the causes of decay and gum disease, control of infection, storage of drugs, preparing fillings, maintaining dental records and caring for patients.


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