Dental nurses play a very important role in dental practice. They work closely with the dentist, providing support throughout a patient’s visit.
The work of a dental nurse
Dental nurses are required to assist in many aspects of running a dental surgery. This includes:
- preparing the surgery
- passing instruments
- sterilising instruments
- preparing fillings
- maintaining sterile conditions
- ensuring health and safety policy is adhered to
- helping to record patient information
- carrying out stock control
Dental nurses may also undertake additional training in a variety of areas such as assisting with conscious sedation or the application of topical fluoride.
You will need a high standard of work and personal commitment. You will also require:
- a high level of manual dexterity (be good with your hands)
- good eyesight
- good physical health
- a friendly and sympathetic approach with a calm, confident and reassuring manner
- an ability to relate well to a wide range of people
- good communication skills
- good IT skills
You should also be able to work well in a team and have good organisational skills to manage the administrative aspects of the job.
To become a qualified dental nurse you must complete a dental nursing course that is approved by the General Dental Council (GDC). You can work as a trainee dental nurse while waiting to commence a dental nursing qualification
Approved courses available in Northern Ireland include:
- City and Guilds Level 3 Apprenticeship in Dental Nursing
- National Diploma in dental Nursing (NEBDN)
- Online dental nursing training courses (NEBDN qualification)
ApprenticeshipsNI Level 3 is open to employees aged 16-24 or those about to take up permanent paid employment with a Northern Ireland-based company and be contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week (including 3 hours of class in college) with one employer.
The route you take to study will determine how long it will take you to gain your qualification. If you decide to study part-time this will obviously take longer than a full-time course.
You can contact the Regional Colleges directly for entry requirements and details on how to apply.
A dental nurse has excellent permanent employment prospects in general dental practice and community clinics, and hospitals. There is also the opportunity to progress to a variety of post-qualification certificate courses. These include:
- oral health education
- dental sedation
- dental implant nursing
- dental radiography
- orthodontic dental nursing
- special care dental nursing
To practise in the UK in any of the Dental Care Professions you must register with the professional regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC).
To join the register, applicants need to meet the professional standards set by the GDC.