What does a dental nurse do?

Dental nurses support the dentist in all aspects of patient care. This includes getting the appropriate instruments ready, mixing materials for dental procedures and ensuring patient comfort throughout their visit. The dental nurse will also take notes from dentists’ dictation for personal records and after the patient has been treated, will tidy the surgery and sterilise all of the dental instruments.

In general dental practice, the dental nurse may help with reception work - making appointments, taking payments, dealing with paperwork and meeting and reassuring patients. Dental nurses can be employed in general practice, hospitals or the community dental services and can also train as a dental nurse in the armed forces.

There are usually no academic qualifications needed to work as a trainee dental nurse, however to progress, you will need to study for an approved course in dental nursing. Part-time courses will typically require GCSEs at grade D-G (or equivalent) for entry, although others may require GCSEs at grade A-C (or equivalent) as a minimum. Full-time courses may require evidence of A' level/AS level study. Potential applicants should always check with the course provider for details of entry requirements.

In addition to evidence of academic ability, employers will expect a friendly, responsible attitude and a willingness to study and keep abreast with changes in the profession.