1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Dental nurse

Dental nurse

Alternative titles for this job include

Dental nurses help dentists to treat their patients and do reception work and other tasks in the practice.

Average salary (a year)

£20,329 Starter

to

£31,533 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

College

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 in Health

Courses will combine 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

Apprenticeship

You can take an advanced apprenticeship in dental nursing.

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

You could also do this role 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

Work

A common route is to start with a dental practice as a trainee and study for a dental nursing qualification on the job.

More Information

Registration

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

You can get more details about dental nursing 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:

  • pass instruments to the dentist or hygienist
  • remove water and saliva from the patient's mouth during treatment
  • prepare materials to make fillings
  • 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

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 may be able to move into jobs like team manager, team leader or dental practice manager.

You could serve in the armed forces as a dental nurse.

With further training you could become a dental therapist, helping a dentist carry out the more routine dentistry work. You could also become a dental hygienist, helping people to look after their teeth and gums.

You might decide to train as an orthodontic therapist helping dentists to improve the look and position of a patient's teeth.

Health Careers has information on careers in all areas of the dental team.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Dental Nurse

  • Wage: £136.50 Weekly
  • Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Apprentice Dental Nurse

  • Wage: £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: Not known

Courses In England

CG DIPLOMA IN DENTAL NURSING - LEVEL 3

  • Provider: EXETER COLLEGE
  • Start date: 10 January 2022
  • Location: EXETER

Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing

  • Provider: EASTLEIGH COLLEGE
  • Start date: 29 March 2022
  • Location: Eastleigh

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.