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A dental nurse is vital to the everyday running of a dental practice, supporting the dentist with check-ups and treatments, as well as supporting the day-to-day running of the practice. Dental nurses work across a wide range of different practices. For example, you may find a dental nurse in a denture repair clinic as well as in a traditional dental practice, as their skills are valuable and sought-after. If you have considered becoming a dental nurse, we have gathered all the information you will need to know if the job is right for you and how to make it happen.

What Does A Dental Nurse Do?

Dental nurses work closely with Dentists to support them in all aspects of patient care, anything from carrying out check-ups to seeing patients through operations. You can find a position as a dental nurse in a general practice or within a hospital and some dental nurses even work in the Armed Forces. The typical day-to-day responsibilities of a dental nurse are:

  • Setting up and sterilising equipment in the surgery ready for each patient
  • Reassuring patients and making sure they remain comfortable throughout any procedures
  • Recording information about each case
  • Ensuring the Dentist has everything they need to hand during the course of the appointment
  • Using dental tools to remove saliva from each patient’s mouth so the Dentist’s job is unhindered

Would I Make A Good Dental Nurse?

A large aspect to the role of a dental nurse is communication and people skills. You will be working with patients every single day and it is important to have a calm and caring bedside manner. If you enjoy caring for the people around you and generally have a sunny disposition this is a good sign that you might make a good dental nurse.

If the idea of looking closely into someone’s mouth disgusts you, it might be a good idea to reconsider becoming a dental nurse. Day in and day out you will be working around people’s teeth and you may well see some pretty poor displays of oral hygiene.

With this in mind, it is important to remain professional. You will also need to remain calm in the face of patients undergoing potentially painful treatments, someone with an unflappable temperament will be perfect for this job.

Some other examples of good qualities and sought after skills for a dental nurse are:

  • Good teamwork skills
  • Clear and professional communication with people of all ages
  • An interest in the science of dental hygiene
  • Calm and reassuring personality
  • Highly organised

How Can I Become A Qualified Dental Nurse?

There are a few different routes into dental nursing. There are two main routes into dental nursing; training at college or through an apprenticeship.

Going to College

Completing dental nurse training in a college will give you all the skills you need to become an excellent dental nurse. Courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing
  • T level for Dental Nursing
  • To apply for these courses, you generally need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)

Dental Nurse Apprenticeships

If college doesn’t seem like the route for you, you could take an advanced apprenticeship in dental nursing. You will still generally need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) to apply for an advanced apprenticeship.  However, choosing an apprenticeship means you’ll be working most days in a dental surgery and getting a huge amount of experience in the role.