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Dental nurse

Alternative titles for this job include

Dental nurses support dentists in all areas of dental care.

Average salary (a year)

£23,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a dental nurse

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You could do a course at college that would give you the skills and knowledge to become a dental nurse.

Courses include a level 3 diploma in dental nursing and a T Level in Health. 

The courses will usually be a mix of full-time study with work experience in a dental surgery.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

More Information


You could do a dental nursing advanced apprenticeship. You'll need to be working in a dental surgery to do an apprenticeship.

Armed forces

You could also do a dental nursing advanced apprenticeship in the armed forces.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as a trainee at a dental practice. You could then study for a dental nurse qualification on the job. This is a common route to take to become a dental nurse.

More Information


Professional and industry bodies

You can join The British Association of Dental Nurses for professional development training.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a dental nurse from Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • sterilise instruments and pass them to the dentist
  • prepare materials to make fillings
  • remove water and saliva from the patient's mouth during treatment
  • make sure the patient is comfortable
  • tidy the surgery and keep records about each patient

Working environment

You could work at a dental practice, at a health centre or in an NHS or private hospital.

You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could:

  • move into a team leader, manager or dental practice manager position
  • serve in the armed forces as a dental nurse
  • become a dental hygienist or dental therapist with further training
  • become an orthodontic therapist to help dentists improve the look and position of patient's teeth

You can find information in all areas of dental medicine from Health Careers.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Dental Nursing Apprentice

  • Wage: £10,158.72 Annually
  • Location: SUNDERLAND

Dental Nurse Apprentice

  • Wage: £10,982.40 Annually

Courses In England


  • Provider: EXETER COLLEGE
  • Start date: 16 April 2024
  • Location: EXETER

Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing

  • Start date: 26 March 2024
  • Location: Eastleigh

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