Many employers will ask for GCSEs in English, Science and Maths, and you will then need to study to become a Dental Nurse on a course approved by the General Dental Council.
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There are several approved courses including the Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing, and the Certificate of Higher Education in Dental Nursing. A full list of the approved courses available can be found on the website www.gdc-uk.org . There may also be the opportunity to train as an Apprentice and this would also involve working towards a diploma.
A Dental Nurse assists dentists by helping care for the patients. This will include removing saliva and liquid from patient’s mouth; passing the dentist instruments; preparing materials such as fillings and making the patient comfortable.
During busy periods, a Dental Nurse would also be expected to assist at reception by taking bookings and speaking to patients about their appointments. Other duties would include keeping the surgery tidy, carrying out stock control and sterilising instruments.
Related: Dental Nurse Cover Letter
The hours of a Dental Nurse are usually Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or sometimes evening work may be expected if the surgery you are working for is open in the evening.
Skills and Training Development
There will be a percentage of time dedicated to practical work whilst working towards a Dental Nurse qualification, and this can be done either at a private or NHS dental practise. Topics covered will include emergency first aid, hygiene, infection control, dental radiography and providing chair side support. This type of on the job training would usually take around 12-18 months.
Once qualified, Dental Nurses are expected to keep up their professional development by doing a minimum of 150 hours over a five year period. There are several post qualifying courses, including oral health education, dental sedation nursing and special care dental nursing.
A Dental Nurse must be able to keep calm so that patients are relaxed, and to keep patient during dental procedures. Dental Nurses need to be able to relate to people of all backgrounds, and to work as part of a team. Communication skills will be essential as you will be working closely with dentists and the rest of the team at the surgery.
Newly qualified dental nurses can expect to earn around £16,000 and this would usually rise to around £18,000 – £22,000 for dental nurses with more experience. For team leaders and dental nurse specialists, this can rise to around £27,000 a year.