How do I become a dental nurse?

“As a dental nurse, you play a vital role in supporting the dentist or hygienist and the patient during dental procedures. Not only is it a rewarding career which lets you directly contribute to people’s oral health, but it’s also a field with growing opportunities.”
Joy, Dental Nurse at Well:o

Dental nurses are a vital part of the team here at Well:o. They support our hygienists on every treatment, ensuring quality of care and patient comfort. If you’re someone with strong empathy, good communication skills and an eye for detail, with a passion for oral health and wellbeing, a career in dental nursing might be for you.

Here are some thoughts on how to get started:

1. To become a dental nurse in the UK, you’ll need to complete an accredited dental nursing qualification. The most common route is through a dental nursing diploma. These programmes are offered by various educational institutions, such as The School of Dental Nursing and Open Study College.

2. Look for opportunities to gain hands-on experience by working in a dental practice. Many educational programmes require students to complete a certain number of hours in a clinical setting, allowing them to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world environment.

3. Once you’ve completed your education and gained sufficient experience, you’ll need to register with the General Dental Council (GDC). The National Diploma in Dental Nursing is the official qualification for entry into the profession. Once you’ve obtained this, you’re able to register with the GDC, which confirms your ‘qualified’ status.

4. Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Engaging in CPD activities ensures you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements, techniques, and best practices in dental care. This ongoing learning is key to maintaining GDC registration and enhancing your skills.

5. Seek Employment Opportunities. With your qualifications and GDC registration in hand, explore job opportunities in dental practices, hospitals, or specialist clinics. The demand for skilled dental nurses is high, offering various pathways for career progression and specialisation.

6. Career development. You may choose to advance your career by becoming an Oral Health Educator, a teacher or senior nurse. You can also acquire a specialisation such as Sedation Nurse, Implantology Nurse or Radiographer. Developing specialist skills will also mean an increase in pay. With experience, you could train to become a dental hygienist and therapist, in Cambridge or elsewhere.

📸 Lily & Evie, Dental Nurses at Well:o