Dental Nurse careers

What can a qualified dental nurse do?

Your Interest

    Where can dental nurse training take you?

    Once you complete your dental nurse training there is an abundance of options as to which career path you take as a dental nurse. Your dental nursing diploma can be the first step towards developing your skill set in the wide range of areas which dentistry has to offer. Some of the career pathways below will need further nurse training and study in addition to your trainee dental nurse training foundations, but there is a vast range of dental nurse courses available in each area throughout the UK.

    Dental nurse career paths are exciting and rewarding!

    Below we listed some of the exciting things a qualified dental nurse might chose to do:

    General Dental Nurse
    the Dental Nursing diploma and registration with the General Dental Council are a great achievement and a huge asset. Most dental nurses work in general dental practices and with time they become experts in their field. In general dentistry you gain a wide range of dental nursing experience caring for patients of all ages and demographics undergoing routine dental treatment including examinations, fillings, crowns and bridges, endodontics and extractions.

    Dental Nurse in the Armed Forces
    Whether a part time reservist or a full time dental nurse, the dental nurses in the armed forces can progress to other roles including practice manager and further rank progression as well as benefitting from worldwide travel, a generous pension scheme and even sports and fitness training.

    Hospital Dental Nurse
    Working with patients under general anaesthetic or sedation and assisting in procedures like maxillofacial surgery, complicated extractions and orthodontic treatments to name the few is an everyday life of a hospital dental nurse. If you are looking to work in a very clinical environment this career pathway is for you.

    Special Care Dental Nurse
    Some patients need special adjustments for their oral health provision due to disability, impairment, mental health conditions or medical conditions. These patients require a multi-disciplinary team to support them, their families and carers with the special care dental nurse playing a key role in its delivery.  This career pathway sure comes with its challenges, but it is extremely rewarding.

    Sedation Dental Nurse
    Sedation is particularly helpful to patients who find dentistry challenging, including nervous patients. The patient can be consciously sedated by drugs which reduce anxiety and help them receive dental treatment by making them feel relaxed and drowsy. A sedation Dentist and Dental Nurse usually work alongside an anaesthetist and together they treat patients who otherwise may not have been able to tolerate having treatment.

    Orthodontic Nurse
    Working as an Orthodontic Nurse brings a jot of joy; seeing the transformation of a patient’s smile over time and using the latest dental technology to straighten people’s teeth and give them back their confidence. Orthodontic patients very often confess that the treatment changed their life; if you want to contribute to transforming smiles – and lives, then orthodontic nursing is for you. This area of dentistry which was once reserved for children and teenagers, thanks to technological advance, now has a private patient base of all ages, wanting to reposition their teeth for that perfect smile.

    Dental Implant Nurse
    Because the environment during an implant placement must be as sterile as possible, implant specialists often work with two dental nurses: one will look after sterile, and one after contaminated instruments and equipment. This minor, routine oral surgery is a fascinating mix of cosmetic and surgical dentistry; procedures like extractions, sinus lift, bone graft are an everyday life of an implant dental nurse,  More often than not, dental implants are placed in private, specialist clinics. Find out more about implant nursing here 

    Endodontic Nurse
    A mention of a ‘root canal treatment’ is enough to chill most people’s blood, but for a dental nurse endodontics can be both rewarding and fascinating. Patients are often worried about having the treatment, and this is where your warmth and compassionate, reassuring attitude comes in handy. Endodontics also require precision and specialists endodontists often use dental microscopes in their daily work. Treating the soft tissue inside the tooth can prolong its life, reducing or delaying the need for its removal, so we often say that the endo team ‘saves’ teeth. Do you want to be a saviour? – If so endodontic nursing is a perfect career choice for you.

    Oral Health Educator
    Dental nurses can undertake training to become and oral health educator. This involves direct communication and contact with patients to promote good oral health care, a s well as to instruct to prevent or stabilise oral disease. Nowadays many dental nurses share their knowledge not only in the dental settings, but through various social media channels, helping thousands of people achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. If you are passionate about dentistry and want to share your professional knowledge with the wider public, becoming an oral health educator will be a fulfilling career.

    Charity work
    Beside paid work, a dental nurse can offer your professional services to many charities including bridge2aid, Dentaid, Dental Wellness Trust and Crisis.  Some projects are run within local communities, but many, like Dentaid, help to improve oral health of people in over 70 countries around the world. Volunteering is extremely rewarding but it can also be a real once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

    Senior Dental Nurse
    Senior dental nurses lead the dental nursing team in a role which varies from to practice. Senior dental nurses hold a position of responsibility and leadership in dental nursing team in a hospital or practice and normally undertake roles relating to staffing cover, compliance and training.

    Impression Taking and Topical Fluoride application (Extended Duties)
    A dental nurse can achieve training in extended duties where they can take a more hands on role with the patients. Dental nurses can apply fluoride to the teeth and take impressions for patients after undergoing a dental nurse training course in these areas. It can be very rewarding to see your own list of patients in more of a practitioner role where you will develop excellent communication and dexterity skills. Find more information on our impression taking course here. Find more information about our topical fluoride application course here:

    Practice Manager
    A dental nurse will already have a vast understanding of both the clinical and non clinical operations of the practice making them excellent candidates to become practice managers. The role of the manager varies from practice to practice and involves overseeing the daily the running of the practice. The duties of the practice manger may include but Are not limited to business planning, handling financial aspects of the practice, monitoring the success of the practice, recruiting, training and supervising team members, overseeing compliance in the practice as well as many other aspects of the daily running of the practice.

    Your dental Nurse training is an ideal foundation of skills and knowledge which can make you an ideal candidate for further study to become a dental hygienist. The dental hygienist has an important role in team led dentistry. Hygienists carry out cleaning and scaling of teeth and treat and maintaining the patients’’ gingival and periodontal health as well as providing oral health education.

    A dental nurse would have an invaluable insight into how dentistry works in practice to go on and study dentistry at university level. The dentist heads the team providing all treatment and consultation appointments. The dental nurse’s practical experience would give a distinct advantage when applying for dentistry degrees if they meet all the other entry criteria.