Dental Nurse

The Dental Nurse role complements the role of other dental professionals. One of the primary roles is to provide chair side support to dental professionals and deliver a high level of patient care. Dental Nurses may work in a variety of clinical environments and the Apprenticeship reflects all aspects of clinical responsibilities and duties of a dental nurse’s role and will provide the apprentice with the relevant qualification to apply to the General Dental Council (GDC) for professional registration as a dental nurse. Dental Nurses are registered professional and work within the standards and scope of practice defined by the GDC Scope of Practice document (Sept 2013) of Practice September 2013 (3).pdf


  • Advise patients on oral health maintenance.
  • Support members of the dental health care team in the delivery of health care advice and preventative support.
  • Recognise and comply with national guidance and best practice, and acknowledging local health initiatives.
  • Prepare and maintain the clinical environment before, during and after dental procedures.
  • Prepare records, equipment and resources for all stages of treatment including dental radiography.
  • Work in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Undertake audits, testing and maintenance of equipment and maintain appropriate records to reflect this
  • Manage and perform effective decontamination and infection control procedures complying with legislative, local and current best practice guidelines.
  • Provide chair side support to the operator during clinical dental procedures.
  • Prepare, mix and handle dental materials in correct manner whilst ensuring manufactures requirements for storage, usage and disposal are facilitated.
  • Record dental charting and oral tissue assessment carried out by other Registrants.
  • Recognise and comply with systems and processes to support safe patient care.
  • Recognise and take into account the needs of different patients throughout the patient care process.
  • Contribute to obtaining and recording patient clinical history
  • Monitor, support and reassure patients throughout all aspects and processes.
  • Give appropriate patient advice in relation to their needs and treatment plan.
  • Put patients’ interests first and act to protect them.
  • Act as an advocate for patients’ where appropriate.
  • Communicate with colleagues in relation to the direct care of individuals.
  • Demonstrate safe, prompt and effective first aid in emergency situations
  • Support patients and colleagues in event of medical emergency.
  • Discuss the health risks of diet, drugs and substance misuse and the use of substances such as tobacco, alcohol and drugs on oral and general health.
  • Act without discrimination, show integrity and be trustworthy at all times.
  • Be respectful of patients’ dignity and choices.
  • Manage own performance and development.
  • Manage the clinical environment within own scope of practice.
  • Recognise and comply with the team working requirements in the Scope of Effectively manage own time and resources.
  • Communicate with the dental team in relation to the direct care of the individual.
  • Implement correct methods of communication for spoken, written and electronic records.
  • Have open and effective communication methods with patients and the dental team.


  • A thorough understanding of dental / oral anatomy and physiology
  • How to recognise the range and functions of normal human structures
  • The basic principles of a population health care approach, including oral and general health care.
  • Factors that can affect oral and general health care.
  • Clear understanding of the role of dental professionals and healthcare teams during the delivery of health promotion.
  • The delivery of oral health care information and preventive information which encourages patient self-care and motivation
  • The potential routes of transmission of infectious agents in a dental environment and mechanisms for the prevention of infection.
  • The scientific principles of decontamination and disinfection and relevance to health and safety and current best practice guidelines
  • Commonly used dental materials and equipment and their uses and applications.
  • Correct usage, handling, storage and disposal of materials and equipment in accordance with workplace and legislative requirements.
  • How to select correct equipment, materials and instruments for all stages during general chair side procedures
  • The role of the first aider and understanding of equipment, record keeping, recommended good practice and maintaining hygiene throughout.
  • Recognise and support action to deal with medical emergencies
  • The appropriate Health and Safety guidance related to the dental environment and equipment, and how to follow these, including maintenance requirements of equipment and resources.
  • Current legislative and statutory requirements relating to personal information, including the recording, storage and protection of personal information.
  • A thorough understanding of the role and responsibilities of the Dental Nurse and other Dental Care Professionals involved in patient management.
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities involved in protecting and promoting the health of individual patients Communication
  • The methods of communicating with patients, the dental team and members of the wider healthcare sector.
  • Understand principles relating to evidence based approaches to learning, clinical and professional practice and decision making.
  • Know consequences of own professional actions, attitudes and behaviours and effects on the dental team, the workplace and public opinion.
  • How to assess own capabilities and limitations in the interest of providing high quality patient care; seeking and using feedback from colleagues or supervisors where appropriate


  • Commitment to the General Dental Council Standards for the Dental Team
  • Reliability, working to high standards
  • A commitment to excellent customer service
  • Effective time management and self-management
  • Appropriate use and storage of confidential information
  • A caring approach toward patients and colleagues
  • A commitment to striving for the best at all times
  • Take responsibility for own actions and act in accordance with GDC Standards.
  • Act and raise concerns as described in the Principles of Raising Concerns.
  • Be responsible for own development and currency of skills, knowledge and understanding whilst ensuring current guidelines and best practice guidance is adhered to.
  • Tale a patient centred approach to working with the dental and wider healthcare team
  • Recognise the impact of own personal behaviours and work/act professionally.
  • Recognise the signs of abuse or neglect and raise concerns where necessary.
  • Implement the processes of informed consent.
  • Recognise and act upon the legal and ethical responsibilities involved in the protection and promotion of health care to individuals
  • Awareness of own impact and influence when working with others.
  • An awareness of how to get the best from each individual
  • The ability to reflect on own practice to support self development


24 months (minimum 18 months) 

Professional Qualifications / Recognition

This apprenticeship is set at level 3.

A qualification which has been approved by the General Dental Council as meeting the requirements for entry to the professional register. On completion of this apprenticeship the apprentice can register with the General Dental Council as a qualified Dental Nurse.

Originally published on, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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