Level 3 Dental Nurse (Integrated)

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Entry requirements

Individual employers may set any entry requirements but these may typically include:

  • Be aged 16+ at the time of enrolment
  • Be a UK or European Economic Area (EEA), or have lived in the UK or EEA for the past three consecutive years
  • Not already be in full-time education at the point of enrolment
  • Not already hold a qualification at the same level or above in the same area that you wish to study
  • Apprentices without level 2 Functional Skills in English and maths or an equivalent certificate will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end point assessment.

What apprentices will learn?

This occupation is found in healthcare under the profession of dentistry. Dental nurses work in a clinical environment that could be located in a NHS general dental practice, hospital, private dental practice, specialist dental practice, community dental service or military dental clinic. The clinical environment is called a dental surgery and consists of a dental chair, x-ray unit and various equipment and instruments required for dentistry. An apprentice will predominately work with a dentist, dental hygienist, dental therapist, clinical dental technician or orthodontic therapist within a surgery environment with patients attending throughout the day.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to provide chair side support to all dental professionals and ensure high standards of cleanliness and infection control. Dental nurses prepare instruments, materials and medicaments for dental procedures, mix materials, sterilise instruments, keep records, note dictation, carry out stock control and ensure patient comfort and safety throughout their visit.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with patients of all ages, other members of the dental team, other health professionals and representatives of organisations providing support services to the setting. Depending on the dental setting the dental nurse could also interact with schools, the prison service, community dental service, individuals in their own homes and those in care home settings.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for providing care for people of all ages, different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs within a variety of clinical environments. Dental nurses must ensure that they only carry out a task, treatment or make decisions about a patient’s care if they are appropriately trained, competent, indemnified and have the necessary skills. Dental nurses are registered professionals and work within the standards and scope of practice as defined by the General Dental Council Scope of Practice document.

The Dental Nurse apprenticeship requires development of the following professional behaviours, skills and knowledge:


K1: Know and understand the General Dental Council Scope of Practice and Standards for the Dental Team for your role as a dental nurse and that of others in the team

K2: Know and understand legislation, policy and procedures related to your role as a dental nurse

K3: Know and understand the wider dental and healthcare system that dental nurses work in

K4: Know and understand the principles relating to evidence-based approaches to learning, clinical, professional practice and decision-making

K5: Know and understand the basic principles of a population healthcare approach including safeguarding, oral and general healthcare and your duty of care

K6: Know and understand how to raise concerns as described in the current General Dental Council guidance

K7: Know and understand dental and regional anatomy

K8: Know and understand the respiratory and circulatory system

K9: Know and understand legal and ethical responsibilities involved in protecting and promoting the health of individual patients

K10: Know and understand duty of candour

K11: Know and understand the principals of preventative dentistry

K12: Know and understand a range of communication methods, including verbal and non-verbal, listening skills, being aware of the barriers to communication and of how to check you have been understood

K13: Know and understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality and protecting all data relating to patients and their treatment

K14: Know and understand the importance of gaining patient consent

K15: Know and understand the equipment, instruments and materials used to provide chairside support to dental professionals, and operate in the clinical environment

K16: Know and understand how to assess, reduce and manage risks as outlined in current best practice guidelines

K17: Know and understand how to raise concerns that affect the running of the clinical environment in line with local policy and procedures

K18: Know and understand the potential routes of transmission of infectious agents in dental practice

K19: Know and understand the mechanisms for the prevention of infection

K20: Know and understand the scientific principles of decontamination and disinfection and their relevance to health & safety

K21: Know and understand local infection control protocols and your own responsibilities

K22: Know and understand the appropriate materials for different treatments

K23: Know and understand how to prepare materials in line with manufacturers recommendations

K24: Know and understand Health & Safety legislation relating to dental materials and other medication

K25: Know and understand the importance of maintaining accurate and current patient records in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements

K26: Know and understand the principles of information governance

K27: Know and understand the scientific principles of medical ionising radiation

K28: Know and understand the statutory regulations in relation to radiography

K29: Know and understand the different types of radiographs used in dentistry including how to process and store them

K30: Know and understand contributing factors that can impact on oral and general health

K31: Know and understand a range of conditions that could contribute to medical emergencies

K32: Know and understand the principles of First aid in the workplace

K33: Know and understand the regulatory requirements regarding documentation of medical emergencies and first aid incidents

K34: Know and understand your own competence and limitations in dealing with medical emergencies

K35: Know and understand ways to maintain your professional knowledge and competence including reflecting on your own practice

K36: Know and understand the importance of appraisal, training and ongoing review including ways to give and receive feedback

K37: Know and understand the consequences of own professional actions, attitudes and behaviours and their effect on own registration, other registrants, the dental team, the workplace and public opinion

K38: Know and understand audit and quality improvement processes

K39: Know and understand health and safety policy related to your role as a dental nurse

K40: Know and understand the importance of maintaining your own network of dental professionals and other stakeholders involved in the care and support of patients


S1: Adhere to legal and ethical responsibilities in line with General Dental Council requirements

S2: Take responsibility for the integrity of own actions and completed work, recognising the limits of your competence and experience

S3: Comply with current best practice guidelines

S4: Put patients’ interests first and act to protect them by working in a patient-centred way

S5: Effectively manage own time and resources

S6: Provide chair side support during dental procedures

S7: Monitor, support and reassure patients throughout all aspects of their treatment, ensuring patient-centred care

S8: Communicate appropriately, effectively and sensitively at all times and through all media

S9: Respect patients’ dignity and choices and act without discrimination

S10: Check that valid consent is obtained for all treatments and personal care delivery

S11: Maintain patient confidentiality at all times

S12: Work in the clinical environment in a safe and efficient manner

S13: Select and prepare the correct equipment, instruments and materials

S14: Carry out and record maintenance and testing of equipment in line with local policy, procedures and the scope of your own role

S15: Manage and perform effective decontamination and infection control procedures complying with legislative, local and current best practice guidelines

S16: Mix, handle, store and dispose of materials in line with manufacturers recommendations

S17: Create and update accurate and current patient records, including social, medical and dental history, storing and archiving them securely and in line with legislation

S18: Carry out processing of radiographs in line with local procedures and rules

S19: Make effective decisions regarding the safety of patients when taking a radiograph

S20: Deliver appropriate and current evidence-based oral and general health advice

S21: Recognise and support action to deal with medical emergencies

S22: Respond to medical emergencies and be competent in cardiopulmonary resuscitation

S23: Take part in appraisal and ongoing review processes

S24: Take part in continuous professional development activities

S25: Reflect on how your daily practice complies with the General Dental Council requirements for continual improvement

S26: Comply with personal development planning as specified by the General Dental Council

S27: Participate in quality improvement activities as required

S28: Be collaborative and work as part of the team


B1: Act in a manner consistent with the GDC standards for the dental team which include communication, professionalism, teamwork and clinical skills

B2: Act in a non-discriminatory manner respecting diversity and upholding the rights, dignity and autonomy of others

Occupation Duties

Duty 1 Work to current best practice for dental nurses

Duty 2 Use appropriate communication maintaining professionalism at all times and through all media to provide patient-centred care

Duty 3 Prepare and maintain the clinical environment

Duty 4 Carry out infection control procedures

Duty 5 Prepare, mix and handle materials

Duty 6 Keep accurate and current patient records

Duty 7 Prepare equipment and materials for dental radiographs

Duty 8 Give appropriate oral and general health advice to patients

Duty 9 Recognise and deal with medical emergencies

Duty 10 Take responsibility for your own professional development in line with General Dental Council requirements

Duty 11 Contribute to the quality improvement of the service

Download End-Point Assessment plan


Typically this apprenticeship will take 18 months


Outcomes of this standard include:

  • Level 3 Dental Nurse Qualification
  • Apprentices without Level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end point assessment.


On completion of this qualification, learners may progress into employment as a dental nurse or onto another career pathway (with additional entry qualifications)

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental therapist
  • Orthodontic therapist
  • Laboratory technician
  • Dentist
  • Senior Nurse
  • Practice manager
  • Tutor
  • Teacher and assessor of trainee Dental nurses

On completion of this qualification learners may progress to further qualifications in the following areas:

  • Dental sedation
  • Dental radiography
  • Dental technology
  • Oral health education
  • Special care dental nursing
  • Orthodontic nursing
  • Dental practice management