About Us

The National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN) is a leading provider of qualifications for Dental Nurses in the UK, delivering awards in both pre-registration and post-registration areas. As a registered charity, we’ve been examining and awarding dental nursing qualifications for over 80 years, and ensure that Learners’ knowledge, understanding and practical skills are assessed by highly experienced practitioners.

We work with key regulators – Ofqual and The General Dental Council, who recognise NEBDN’s National Diploma and Apprenticeship in Dental Nursing as meeting their Standards for Education, meaning that Learners who achieve it can apply to be registered and work as a Dental Nurse. By upholding these standards, we contribute to maintaining and enhancing patient safety and care.


Our Vision

‘To be the leading provider of qualifications in Dental Nurse education and development enabling excellence in practice’

Our Strategy 

  • Qualifications – innovative, diverse and appropriate for the needs of the profession
  • People – training and development for Staff and Associates
  • I.T- invest in strengthening and developing our technology
  • Engagement – improve stakeholder communications and promote profession
  • Quality – continuous review and improvement to provide accredited high standards

Our Mission To provide qualifications to enhance lifelong career development for Dental Nurses

Our Values

  • Fair
  • Professional
  • Collaborative
  • Innovative
  • Inclusive

As an inclusive organisation, NEBDN has joined with the Federation of Awarding Bodies in their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pledge. To read more, click here.


NEBDN is proud to work with the British Association of Dental Nurses as an affiliate.

History of NEBDN

NEBDN’s roots stretch back over 80 years to 1936 when Philip Grundy, a visionary dental practitioner, imagined creating a recognised qualification to regulate the profession nationwide.

With the support of the Dean of Birmingham Dental School, he founded the British Dental Nurses & Assistants Examining Board in 1943, comprising leading figures from the world of dentistry. Representing the three major dental organisations of the day, the new examination board set about creating educationally balanced written and oral examinations that could be replicated and regulated across the UK.

The first Dental Nursing examination was held in 1943 and has been repeated every year, (with the exception of 1947 and 1948). As the industry progressed and improved, a 15-minute practical session was included within the examination procedure. Over the years the examination has been tweaked and refined to fully test potential dental nurses, to ensure that only the very best Learners attain the NEBDN qualification. Back in 1943 the fee was one guinea, and a £10.00 prize was given for the highest mark. These days the number of Learners far exceeds 2000 examination entries every year and the number of NEBDN qualified Dental Nurses is now around 23,000.

The widely recognised NEBDN badge was first introduced in 1951 in credit of the National Certificate. The design was updated in 1967 to a silver oxidised badge, and in 1970 was also incorporated into a buckle to be worn with a belt.

1964 saw the name change to the Examining Board for Dental Surgery Assistants, 1987 saw it change to the National Examining Board for Dental Surgery Assistants and in 1995 the name was finally confirmed as the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN). NEBDN became a fully incorporated charity and a company limited by guarantee in 2005. NEBDN today operates in Preston, Lancashire, alongside a variety of accredited Provider Delivery Sites across the UK who teach the NEBDN qualifications.

Governance and Management

NEBDN is governed by a Board of Trustees comprising professionals from various backgrounds, including a number from the dental profession. The role of the Board of Trustees is to regulate standards and performance through the following Committees:

  • – Education and Standards Committee
  • – Finance & Business Effectiveness Committee
  • – Governance Committee

In addition to this, NEBDN has two further Qualification Committee groups listed below, who are responsible for the process and reporting of qualifications and ratifying results. As part of this process, NEBDN relies on a Subject Matter Expert group to provide support on reviewing and creating exam questions to ensure standards are met.

  • – Curriculum Steering Committee
  • – Ratification Committee
  • – Subject Matter Experts

Articles of Association 2020


NEBDN works closely with the General Dental Council (GDC), whose role is to examine existing and new courses that lead to registration for both Dentists and Dental Care Professionals. This is achieved through the consideration of new course submissions, an annual monitoring exercise and inspections.

The GDC has produced Standards for Education which include the requirements that apply to all UK programmes leading to registration with the GDC. They cover programmes in Dentistry, Dental Hygiene, Dental Nursing, Dental Technology, Dental Therapy, Clinical Dental Technology and Orthodontic therapy. A link through to the current guidance can be found below:

GDC Standards for Education

NEBDN also work with The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) who regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.

For further information on how the dental industry is regulated, please take a look at the below links.

General Dental Council website. 


Quality Assurance

As part of the organisation’s commitment to Quality Assurance, NEBDN is able to offer a bespoke consultancy service to new and existing Providers. Our in-house consultants have an in-depth appreciation and knowledge of the Quality Assurance standards, as well as a wealth of teaching practice, management experience and dental knowledge. This is especially beneficial to a new Provider who is considering delivering the NEBDN Diploma in Dental Nursing, Apprenticeship, or any of our Post-Registration qualifications.

NEBDN stipulates guidance which all Providers need to meet in order to deliver training towards any of our qualifications in line with the GDC standards for education:

Standard 1 – Protecting Patients

Standard 2 – Quality Evaluation and Review of the Programme

Standard 2 – Student Assessment

Accreditation of Provider Delivery Sites:

Providers must evidence that they can meet these standards prior to accreditation by NEBDN, and  before a Learner can be entered for a qualification leading to GDC registration or towards continuing professional development.

Accreditation of education and training programmes helps to ensure that Providers have the necessary systems for planning, delivering and evaluating their programmes to meet the requirements of:

•NEBDN in relation to the content, outcomes and structure of the programmes

•The GDC for the statutory regulation of Dental Nurse

•The diverse needs of Learners

•Education and training provision is educationally and socially inclusive and promotes equality

•There are sufficient resources and appropriate environments for the effective delivery of both academic and practical education and training

•Education and training provision is effectively managed and quality assured

This ensures that all Learners and Dental Care Professionals are provided with high quality learning opportunities and  experiences, enabling them to access the highest standards of training possible. Once you become an accredited Centre Delivery Site with NEDBN, we will have an ongoing collaborative partnership to ensure you are fully supported to maintain the required quality standards.

Role of Providers:

To provide the theoretical knowledge required to undertake the final examination and to support the Learner in achieving the clinical experience necessary to complete the relevant qualification.

Another integral element is to support new and existing registrants to undertake continuing professional development to maintain their registration in compliance with the standards of the GDC, ensuring that all patients are protected and that they receive high quality care in a safe environment.