Special Care Dental Nursing

Where can I study? | How do I apply? | Resources |  Mar 19 to Mar 21 Exam Schedule

Who is it for?

This qualification is ideal for registered dental nurses who help care for people whose health and social care needs may require special oral health care provision.

The course focuses on the important role of the dental nurse in organising care, arranging access, liaising with multidisciplinary teams, supporting the patient, families and carers, follow-on care and delivering strong relevant oral health care messages.

The qualification aims to improve the understanding of the impact that impairment and disability has on people and their families, helping to develop awareness of their barriers to oral health.

You will study the more common causes of impairment and disability that develop in childhood and progress into adult life e.g. Down syndrome, Autism and Cerebral palsy. You will study acquired disability in adults e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis and Multiple sclerosis, and study medically compromising conditions e.g. bleeding disorders and cardiovascular disease. You will aslo cover mental health impairments such as Schizophrenia.

You will develop an understanding of the barriers to oral health care that people with disabilities face and and learn how to reduce those barriers and improve access to oral care. Significant numbers of people in our communities live with disability and many have complex additional needs. Good oral health can make a real difference to quality of life especially in terms of self-esteem, appearance, social interaction, function, and comfort.


This qualification aims to provide you with:

  • a standardised and quality assured learning experience with one of our course providers accredited to provide the certificate course in special care dental nursing
  • an independent and objective assessment of knowledge
  • a portfolio of evidence of practical experience  in special care dental nursing in the form of a detailed record of competence
  • a nationally respected qualification in special care dental nursing
  • the knowledge and experience to fulfil the role of a special care dental nurse with confidence and competence.

What are the benefits?

  • Our qualifications are nationally recognised and instantly understood by prospective employers.
  • Our course providers are accredited against our standards ensuring that candidates get a fully supported learning experience and the best preparation for practice.
  • Our syllabus encourages a range of learning styles to suit the individual.
  • Our formal assessment and Record of Competence are based on the best modern educational practice giving you excellent evidence of your fitness to practice.
  • Practical skills are assessed on real life activities within the workplace using objective tools to ensure a standardised approach.
  • Candidates become part of the NEBDN Alumni ensuring ongoing support, information and networking opportunities.

Entry requirements

You must:

  • be registered with the General Dental Council or the Irish Dental Council
  • be enrolled with a course provider accredited by NEBDN
  • be sufficiently fluent in written and spoken English to communicate with patients, their relatives, the dental team and other healthcare professionals in the UK
  • be able to meet the work-based clinical requirements of the Record of Competence.

Record of Competence

You are required to complete a work-based Record of Competence (RoC). There are four sections to the Record of Competence:

  • Practical Competence Assessment Sheets (PCAS)
  • Case Studies
  • Directly Observed Clinical Skills (DOCS) Assessments
  • Supplementary Outcomes.


This is a 90 minute written examination composed of two sections:

  • Part A – 45 multiple choice questions (MCQ)
  • Part B – 30 extended matching questions (EMQ).

Examinations are held twice a year in March and September. Examination dates can be found on our website under the Qualifications section.

Award of qualification

In order to be awarded this qualification, you must:

  • complete and satisfy the requirements of the Record of Competence and
  • pass the examination.