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 75 years, and ensure that students’ knowledge, understanding and practical skills are assessed by highly experienced practitioners.

We utilise a network of subject experts and examiners who work in dental care, ensuring that our examinations are up-to-date and designed to meet the needs of organisations and the patients for whom they care.

The General Dental Council  recognises NEBDN’s National Diploma in Dental Nursing as meeting their Standards for Education, meaning that students 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 supporting excellence in Dental Nurse education and development in the UK’

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 deliver a Dental workforce to meet the changing oral health needs of the UK population

Our Values

  • Listen
  • Integrity
  • Collaborative
  • Progressive
  • Professional

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 candidates 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 students 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 course providers across the UK who teach the NEBDN qualification(s).

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

For further information on how the dental industry is regulated, please take a look at the 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 course 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 course provider who is considering delivering the NEBDN Diploma in Dental Nursing, or any of our Post-Registration qualifications.

NEBDN stipulates guidance which all course providers need to meet in order to deliver training towards any of our qualifications in line with the General Dental Council (GDC) standards for education:

Standard 1 – Protecting Patients

Standard 2 – Quality Evaluation and Review of the Programme

Standard 2 – Student Assessment

Accreditation of Providers:

Course providers must evidence that they can meet these standards prior to accreditation by NEBDN, and  before a student 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 course 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 students

•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 students 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 course provider with NEDBN, we will have an on-going collaborative partnership to ensure you are fully supported to maintain the required quality standards.

Role of Course Providers:

To provide the theoretical knowledge required to undertake the final examination and to support the student 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.