What does it take to be a qualified dental nurse?

21st November 2023 | Posted by: SpaDental Administrator

Our dental nurses do a fantastic job! Not only are they the right hand of the clinicians they support, they are also brilliant at supporting our patients and boosting their morale. Becoming a dental nurse is like deciding to join a team as a player, a coach, a trainer and a cheer-leader!

Qualified dental nurses register with the General Dental Council. Throughout their career, they complete on-going professional training requirements to ensure the care and treatment patients receive is of the highest standard. In our practices, we also take on trainee dental nurses to learn alongside their experienced colleagues.

dental nurse and child in surgery

Becoming a dental nurse

Training as a dental nurse is open to people whatever their age. Some people begin their nursing training with us as soon as they leave school, while others come to us as a career change. What they have in common, first and foremost, is an interest in people and good attention to detail.

A route to becoming a qualified dental nurse is to join an apprenticeship training programme with a course provider, such as Progress to Excellence. The course is rigorous and student nurses are closely monitored during all practical aspects of the training, by mentors in the practice and by their course supervisor. It usually takes 18 to 22 months to two years to become a qualified dental nurse. A Level 3 nurses’ training programme is suitable for candidates starting out in the dental profession.

After qualifying, training does not need to come to a halt. Some dental nurses continue their professional development to become oral hygienists, therapists or dentists. Others discover they enjoy administration and move into practice management.

What our trainee nurses say:

“I am looking forward to the course as I am keen to see another side of dentistry and see what the dentist does in surgery.  I am also excited as I am hoping that on completion of this course I can progress further in dentistry. My long-term goal is to go to university to study so I can become a dentist.”

“In just one afternoon, I could see how much our dental therapist and nurse have to do to prepare and follow up, as well as doing the treatments. I’m very pleased to be part of the team and I’m enjoying my training. I can’t wait to get into surgery again to learn more!”

“Dental nursing has always interested me because the role is very varied. You can be surgery based, work in operating theatres, work in the decontamination room, or be front of house on reception, or all of the above! There’s always plenty of opportunity and no time wasted!”

“It is so valuable being involved in the day to day life of the surgery. I enjoy the on-the-job training as it gives me hands on experience working with the dentists, patients and other nurses. I love meeting our patients, and working alongside my colleagues.” CM – now a qualified dental nurse with SpaDental Plymouth

“I love being part of the SpaDental team and get a lot of support from everyone working here. The chairside training I do is really interesting. I particularly enjoy assisting the dentist with dental implants and working on Invisalign treatments. It’s great to see the results, which are as rewarding for us as for the patients! In the future, once I have qualified and I’ve had a few more years experience, I would like to learn more about the orthodontic side of dentistry.’

POSTED IN: Nurse, Training


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