What is a dental nurse?

Dental nurses play a very important role in dentist practices. They work closely with the dentist, providing support throughout a patient’s visit. They support the dentist in all aspects of patients’ dental care.

How to become a dental nurse?

You could do a course at college that would give you skills and knowledge for this role. Courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing
  • T level for Dental Nursing

Courses will combine full-time study with work experience in dental surgery. You can usually work as a trainee dental nurse without academic qualifications but to progress to being a qualified dental nurse, you’ll need to study for a course in dental nursing, either part or full time, that is approved by the General Dental Council. Exact course requirements will vary from provider to provider, but a minimum 2 GCSEs (4/C grade or above) in English language and maths or a science subject are usually required for part-time courses.

Dental nurse duties

Dental nurse duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Ensure all dental instruments are correctly decontaminated
  • Set up for every patient
  • Carry out stock control
  • Provide the Dentist with the correct instruments and equipment
  • Answer the telephone and receiving patients
  • Help in keeping the patient as relaxed and happy as possible.
  • Assist during dental procedures – passing tools, keeping the patient’s mouth clear of blood and/or saliva

Dental nurse skills

To be an effective dental nurse, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • High level of manual dexterity
  • Good eyesight
  • Good physical health
  • Friendly and sympathetic approach
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Ability to work under pressure

How to find a dental nurse job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the dental nurse jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for dental nurse jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

What does a dental nurse do?

The job of a dental nurse varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of dental nurse job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a dental nurse include;

  • Remove water and saliva from the patient’s mouth during treatment
  • Prepare materials to make fillings
  • Remove water and saliva from the patient’s mouth during treatment
  • Make sure that the patient is relaxed and comfortable at all times
  • Keep the surgery tidy and sterile
  • Sterilise instruments
  • Record information about each patient