INFORM: Dental Nursing – what’s it all about?

The role of a dental nurse is to work alongside and assist dentists, therapists and hygienists in the care of patients.

In order to qualify as a dental nurse, you must pass the NEBDN National Diploma in Dental Nursing which takes 18–24 months.


What is Dental Nursing?

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Dental nurses are essential members of the dental team. They work closely with dentists to provide patients with high-quality care. If you’re looking for a rewarding career in healthcare, dental nursing is a great option.


Why become a dental nurse?

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  • Salary: a full-time qualified dental nurse at Frays Dental Centre (FDC) will start on approximately £27,000 (1); this compares to an average graduate salary of approximately £25,000 (2).
  • Student debt: in England, universities can charge student tuition fees of up to £9,250 per annum (3). Assuming a 3-year degree course and factoring in maintenance, this can easily lead to student debts of £60,000 or higher (4). By studying with Frays Dental Education (FDE), dental nurses will earn while they learn, accumulating zero student debt.
  • Flexibility: a dental nursing qualification is recognised nationally providing fantastic job mobility.
  • Career progression: post-qualification, there are a number of different pathways available. Dental nurses who have studied with FDE have gone on to have careers in management, teaching, specialist nursing, or general dentistry.


1 As of August 2023

2 Think Student (2022)

3 The Complete University Guide (2023/24)

4 Save the Student


How to qualify as a dental nurse?

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THE NATIONAL DIPLOMA – Explained in detail

There are other ways to qualifying as a dental nurse, although here at FDE we only teach the NEBDN National Diploma.

What is the NEBDN National Diploma in Dental Nursing?

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The NEBDN (National Examining Board for Dental Nurses) National Diploma is one of many pathways you can follow to become a dental nurse.

There are three sections which you must pass for the NEBDN National Diploma:

  1. A record of clinical procedures which shows that you know how to nurse (this is the Record of Experience ‘ROE’).
  2. A written examination consisting of multiple choice questions on the theory of nursing. Note; you cannot take the written examination until you’ve submitted your ROE to the NEBDN and passed this stage
  3. A practical examination (referred to as an OSCE) The OSCE cannot be taken until the written examination has been passed

Why just the NEBDN National Diploma pathway – is there no other way?

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  • There are other ways to becoming a dental nurse, although here at FDE we only teach the NEBDN National Diploma.
  • There is plenty of information online – here are some other routes you could investigate:
  • So, undertake plenty of research and do give us a call if you get stuck (although we can’t promise we’ll know too much about these other pathways!)


How to complete the NEBDN National Diploma?

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  • Find a course provider (you can attend online or in person) that can teach you the theory of dental nursing – this is in order to pass the multiple choice and practical exam part of the NEBDN National Diploma pathway.
  • Find an employer who will take you on and train you in the practical parts of dental nursing. This is to pass the Record of Experience section of the NEBDN National Diploma pathway.

COURSE PROVIDERS – The Process Explained

Many companies and some dental practices offer courses for the NEDBN National Diploma…but not all courses are created equal, so read this section before signing anything!

What to look for in a course provider?

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In the Pdf document below, we’ve listed the most frequent questions asked by past and present students undertaking our courses.

You may not find all of these answered by your preferred provider, but at least you can ask questions forearmed with relevant information!

Download the Pdf document

Why spend time finding the right course provider?

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Because you need to:

  • Reaffirm what works for you as an individual.
  • Find a provider who is going to help you progress in the profession after qualification.
  • Have all your questions answered in order to make a considered decision.

How to find the right course provider?

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  • Do your research! Use the questions in the Pdf document
  • Speak to previous candidates.

EMPLOYERS – For The Practical Part Of The Course

You cannot complete the NEBDN National Diploma without practical experience working in a dental practice and so will need to find an employer at some point.

What to look for in a Training Employer?

Why is it important to find the right employer?

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  • This is a long-term relationship in which you can give yourself a headstart in your career by training in as many aspects of dentistry as possible

How to find the right employer.

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Discover your new career in Dental Nursing with Frays Dental Education


“Working at Frays Dental has been the best decision I’ve ever made.” – SC