Dental Nurses are required by law to be registered with the GDC in order to work in England and Wales. Once you have enrolled on our NEBDN Diploma course, you can carry out paid work in a dental practice as a trainee dental nurse. Once you have completed the course and passed the exams you will become a qualified dental nurse and register yourself with the GDC; you will receive your unique GDC registration number – these numbers are awarded to trained dental professionals in England and Wales.
After completing our NEBDN course and qualifying as a Dental Nurse one can train/study further to become a Specialist Dental Nurse. Other pathways can lead to work as a Hygienist, Therapist, Dental Technician, Orthodontic Therapist or progress into dental practice management, treatment co-ordination or dental sales. There are also opportunities in teaching and assessment.
As business property advisor Christie & Co stated in their ‘Dental Market Review 2020/21’ report, “Considering the enormity of the pandemic and the huge disruption it has caused, the dental market remained remarkably resilient.” Research shows that more new dental practices opened than closed in 2020. If you’re looking for a career with job security and flexibility then dental nursing is it. As the Christie & Co report states, “ Dentistry is proving to be one of the most resilient sectors to the effects of COVID-19. This bodes well for 2021and beyond.”
What Is A Dental Nurse?
A dental nurse is a key part of any dental team both in the National Health Service (NHS) and in private practice. Dental nurses assist the dentist in clinical procedures and all aspects of patient care. The skills required to be a successful dental nurse are varied and you will need to undertake the necessary learning and qualifications to be able to perform this role. Below are a few examples of what a dental nurse job entails:
- Good rapport with patients
- Give appropriate patient advice and support
- Organisation of dental tools and instruments
- Sterilisation of dental equipment and tools
- Maintaining accurate patient records
- Provide chair-side support to the dentist in clinical procedures
- Maintaining excellent standards of hygiene, infection prevention and control
How do dental nurses help the dentist?
Dental nurses are the backbone of a good dental practice with much of their role dedicated to preparation and organisation. Having a good working relationship with the dentist is essential. As a dental nurse, it’s your job to make sure the tools that the dentist requires are available and ready for use. Being able to recognise when the dentist might be under pressure or needing further equipment during a procedure is really important. Learning to understand the dentist’s requests and needs during treatment makes for a successful day in practice. As such, being able to strike a balance between knowing when to stay quiet and when to pre-empt the needs of the dentist is an invaluable skill.
Who can become a dental nurse?
Training to become a dental nurse can be a very accessible course for many with minimal qualifications/requirements for enrolment. A good level of written and spoken English is required to become a dental nurse in the UK. It is also important those wanting to become dental nurses are protected from infectious diseases that may be contracted from their patients. Dental schools require entrants to produce satisfactory up-to-date evidence of immunisation against Hepatitis B.
Why start a career as a dental nurse?
Training or retraining to become a dental nurse has many benefits not only from a career point of view but from social, financial and moral aspects too.
A Career for Life
LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs special edition, ‘Jobs on the Rise’ report UK, looked at the rise in job categories during the height of the pandemic when compared to the previous year. They found that ‘Specialised Medical Professional roles grew by 58% in 2020’ along with a ‘104% growth in Healthcare Supporting Staff roles’. Dentalcare isn’t something you can do virtually so there will always be a need for your skills. If you’re looking for job security, then retraining as a dental nurse should be top of your list.
Good Career Progression
Dental nursing can be a very rewarding career. There are many options to further your career through added training and potentially increase your pay grade in the dental sector. For example, with some extra training you could be part of a team that deals with oral and maxillofacial surgery; working on life-changing procedures that have a profound effect on the patient.
A Social Career
Dental nursing is a very social profession. Meeting the needs of the patients is your priority, making them feel safe, secure and happy. You will get to meet a wide cross-section of people in your role and job satisfaction comes from having positive interactions with your patients and team. In addition, many dental nurses refer to their practice team as their ‘second family’. During the pandemic lockdowns, we lost the opportunity for social interaction, dental nursing allows you to reconnect with your community.
A Boost of Confidence
If you’ve outgrown your previous job or had the misfortune to have been made redundant, then learning the skills needed to become a dental nurse can rekindle your sense of achievement and give you a new sense of purpose. Adding strings to your bow will give you a certified future.
As a rough guide, a trainee dental nurse could expect to earn at least £17,000 a year, with the average salary being around £17,851. Once fully qualified and depending on any specialist extra training you might have (e.g. orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, sedation, radiography), you could earn up to £30,000.
A Career to be Proud of
The pandemic had us all thinking about where we can be of more help to other people in our lives, whether that’s friends and family or even complete strangers. Helping others not only makes them feel good but makes the helpers/carers feel good too. You can’t beat those feel-good vibes when you know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life, however big or small. With a career in dental nursing, you get to do that pretty much every day!
A Qualification That Leads to Employment
There’s no denying that the job market is tough at the moment. If you’re looking for a pandemic-proof career going forward then this is it. People will always need dental care and good dental nurses are at the heart of every practice. Healthcare is one of the top fields to be working in when it comes to a job that will provide for you and your family during unpredictable times.
How to Become A Qualified Dental Nurse
To work as a dental nurse in the UK you will need to join an approved course and register with the General Dental Council (GDC). The GDC is the organisation responsible for regulating dentists and dental care professionals in the UK. Getting good quality training and achieving your GDC registration is the first step to your new career as a professional dental nurse. At SmileWisdom, our Diploma in Dental Nursing is accredited by the NEBDN (National Examining Board for Dental Nurses) so you know you’re investing in a great course. Once you’ve passed your exams and graduated from your Diploma in Dental Nursing you can register with the GDC, start exploring some exciting career options and call yourself a professional Dental Nurse! What’s great about our NEBDN Diploma in Dental Nursing is that you can study and work as a trainee at the same time.
GDC approved courses include:
- City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing
- NEBDN National Diploma in Dental Nursing
- NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Principles and Practice of Dental Nursing
- Certificate of Higher Education in Dental Nursing
- Foundation Degree in Dental Nursing
Get Paid While You Study
While completing your dental nurse training on the NEBDN Diploma in Dental Nursing you will be required to work at least 16 hours a week as a student dental nurse where you can expect to be paid a typical student salary of £8-£10 an hour.
How long will it take to become a qualified dental nurse?
When you take the SmileWisdom NEBDN National Diploma you could become qualified in as little as 12 months with the support of your experienced mentors, tutors and support team. The NEBDN course takes approximately one year – 36 weeks of formal training and lectures with 6 weeks break around Easter, Summer and Christmas.
What skills do you need to be a dental nurse?
There are a number of skills and qualities that make for a good dental nurse, these are some of the most important ones:
- Expert multi-tasker
- Team player
- Warm and friendly manner
- Great organisational skills
- Calm under pressure
- Eager to learn
Find out in more detail what qualities make for a great dental nurse here
What salary can you expect as a dental nurse?
A trainee dental nurse can expect to earn at least £17,000 a year, with the average salary being around £17,851. Once fully qualified and depending on any specialist extra training you might have, you could earn up to £30,000 or between £15-£20 an hour. What kind of specialist training you may wonder? We’re talking areas like orthodontics, sedation, radiography and cosmetic dentistry. If you think a regular full time job as a dental nurse in the Armed Forces is for you, then you can expect to receive a salary of around £21,500, Just make sure you’re prepared for the fitness test that goes with it!
With further training, you could become a dental hygienist helping to make sure people’s teeth and gums are staying healthy. According to Indeed, the current average wage for a dental hygienist is £29.75 per hour.
How many hours a week might I work as a dental nurse?
A typical working week for a full-time dental nurse can be anywhere between 35-40 hours a week and may involve working evenings/weekends on a rota basis.
What kind of places can I work as a dental nurse?
A dental practice, whether NHS or private practice, is the first place you may think of but the opportunities are quite varied. Aside from the standard dental practice, you could take your role further and work in domiciliary dentistry, visiting care homes or patients who can’t leave their homes. Dental nurses don’t just work in high-street dental practices, there are many areas of speciality to explore. As a qualified dental nurse, the career options are diverse and exciting, you could even be in a dental practice onboard a cruise liner or in the Armed Forces.
What does career progression look like as a dental nurse?
Once qualified as a dental nurse the opportunities for career progression are wide-ranging, especially if you decide to undertake further training. Here are just a few of the roles you could progress into:
Dental Practice Manager
If you love the organisational side of a dental nurse role and are a strong team player then a Practice Manager role could be a good career progression. You will be responsible for handling the business side of the dental practice to make sure everything is running optimally.
Dental Nurse Team Leader
You may be a natural-born leader or you may have gained the skills required on the job as a dental nurse but building a great team around you is key for this role. This is a chance to showcase your leadership skills and manage a team that works harmoniously for the benefit of staff and patients alike.
With further training you could become a dental hygienist, helping to educate patients on looking after their teeth and gums. In this role you could have your own one-to-one patients.
With further training, you could become a Dental Therapist and take on some of the less complicated procedures usually performed by a dentist.
Oral Health Educator
As a qualified dental nurse, you have the opportunity to undertake extra training to be able to add oral health education to your skillset and become an oral health educator. Talking to patients of all ages about good oral health has the potential to impact their future health in a positive way while being hugely rewarding for yourself.
Is there any further training/education for dental nurses?
The most exciting thing about working as a dental nurse is that there are always opportunities to upskill and gain further qualifications to benefit your career. Once you have qualified as a dental nurse and registered with the GDC there are a wide range of specialised postgraduate courses available to take your job to the next level. Here are just a few of the options:
Why Choose the SmileWisdom Dental Nurse Course?
If you’re thinking about where to start your career as a dental nurse then you’ve come to the right place. A good education is important and you may be thinking, ‘why should I do my training with SmileWisdom?’. Aside from having the largest job board when it actually comes to securing your first job as a dental nurse, there are a few good reasons why training with us should be top of your list:
SmileWisdom is a leading dental nurse training institution with over 250 trainee students going through the NEBDN (National Examining Board for Dental Nurses) Diploma in Dental Nursing. On completion of the course, you can gain an internationally recognised qualification to work as a dental nurse in a variety of settings.
Delivered with dedication and passion
SmileWisdom was created by dental professionals for dental professionals, we know exactly what it takes to teach and create great dental nurses. We recognise the skills and value that dental nurses bring to the dental profession and are passionate about setting you up for success. Check out some of the great feedback we’ve received from previous graduates here. (hyperlink to Happy Students/Graduates page)
Outstanding pass rates
We’re pretty proud of the fact that we have over a 90% first-time exam pass rate, which just goes to show how engaged and successful both our students and tutors are. Every single staff member here at SmileWisdom comes from a dental background and our excellent tutors adhere to the highest educational standards.
We don’t just give you the course material and leave you to get on with it by yourself, we’re here to support you every step of the way. At SmileWisdom we’re one big family and love nothing more than seeing you thrive in your studies and careers. Alongside the training, we will coach you on the best interview techniques and help you write your CV so that you can nail that first job in no time.
Your new career starts here. Keen to find out more? Drop us an email at [email protected] or call us on 02067 205 2299