This website places cookies on your device to help us improve our service to you. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies statement.

Skip to page content

Dental Nurses

Dental nurses are members of a group of Dental Care Professionals (DCPs). Registration with the General Dental Council (GDC) is mandatory for all groups of DCPs. Therefore dental nurses must gain a primary qualification to allow them to work as part of the dental team and register with the GDC.



The role of the dental nurse

The dental nurse assists the clinician in all aspects of patient care including preparation of equipment, instruments and materials, and ensuring patient comfort throughout the dental procedure. They are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment for both patients and staff.

Training as a dental nurse

Training will begin on the first working day in employment as a trainee dental nurse.  The GDC require that trainee dental nurses are either:
  • Employed and enrolled or waiting to start on a recognised programme that will lead to GDC registration; or
  • Studying on a recognised programme that leads directly to GDC registration.

Therefore trainee dental nurses must register and successfully complete of one of the following qualifications to enable registration with the GDC as a dental nurse:

  • Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Level 3 in Dental Nursing and Professional Development Award (PDA) in Dental Nursing, awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
  • National Diploma in Dental Nursing, awarded by the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN)

Entry Requirements

NHS Education for Scotland has five dental education centres across Scotland delivering the SVQ in Dental Nursing and Professional Development Award (PDA) in Dental Nursing.  The entry requirements for this programme are as follows:

  • Three qualifications at SCQF level 4 (e.g. Standard Grades at ‘General’ or above, or National 4 or above) in English; Maths; and a Science subject.  Equivalent qualifications and prior learning will be recognised on discussion with the centre.
  • Successful completion of our Dental Nurse Induction Programme within the preceding two years.
  • Employed in a dental practice environment working clinically alongside a dentist or hygiene therapist covering a full range of clinical dental procedures for a minimum of 15 hours per week. 

In addition to register for NHS Education for Scotland's SVQ and PDA in Dental Nursing programme prospective students must have successfully completed our Dental Nurse Induction Programme within the preceding two years.  

Education and Training for Dental Nurses

NHS Education for Scotland provide a wide range of training opportunities for dental nurses including:



Useful links: