Undergraduate study

Course overview

This course is ideal if you are looking to pursue a career in dental nursing. You study the foundations of dental care and learn and develop practical skills specific to your profession. The course is perfect if you want to gain an academic qualification while providing support to the dental team and reassurance to patients in our student dental facility and on dental practice placement.

The role of a dental nurse includes:

  • providing reassurance and support to patients
  • preparing and maintaining the clinical environment
  • providing a high standard of cross-infection control
  • assisting with taking and processing dental radiographs
  • preparing instruments, materials, medicaments and equipment
  • recording assessments spoken by the dental team
  • assisting the dental team throughout all aspects of dentistry.

As with all healthcare professionals the public place a high level of expectation and trust in their dental nurse. So to work in this sector it is essential that you are able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitutional:

  • working together for patients
  • respect and dignity
  • commitment to quality of care
  • compassion
  • improving lives
  • everyone counts.
  • Throughout the course, as part of the placement experience, you will be required to participate in a shift pattern rota or work weekends.

    Professional accreditation

    On successful completion of the course you will be eligible to register with the General Dental Council as a dental nurse.

    Please note 100% attendance is expected during this programme.

    Supporting information for applicants

      Our School feedback policy (word - 278kb)
      Our School reference policy (word - 276kb)


Course details

You undertake a modular course, designed to run over one academic year. You study four modules, three of which are shared modules with student dental hygiene-therapists. These modules introduce you to dentistry and provide you with the theory which underpins the clinical aspect of the course. Research methods and study skills are introduced in the first few weeks; this provides a sound basis to ensure maintenance of continuing professional development. The fourth module is exclusive to this course for you to learn and develop practical skills specific to your profession. Throughout the course you focus on dental health, communication and the prevention of dental disease. Public health and oral health promotion are fundamental to the role of a dental nurse.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Clinical Concepts of Dental Nursing

You focus on the practical aspects of dental nursing, providing chair-side assistance to support all members of the dental team. You develop knowledge of instruments: selecting and preparing a wide range of dental equipment relevant to clinical dental procedures. You grade X-rays to promote quality assurance throughout your clinical practice.

You are introduced to your new clinical role in the ‘Phantom Heads Skills Laboratory’ prior to developing these skills within the clinical dental environment.

The development of learning skills continues throughout the course, as you are required to find and analyse information.

Foundations of Dental care

We introduce you to the importance of health, safety and security within the workplace, particularly the dental environment.

You develop knowledge about the implications of relevant legislation for your own role and the implementation of policies and systems within your working environment. The importance of record keeping, monitoring and the review of health and safety policies and procedures is also included.

You explore legal, ethical and professional aspects of dental care professional practice. High standards of cross- infection control within the workplace are emphasised.

Principles of Evidence-based Practice

You are provided with the foundation for lifelong learning, by focusing on how to learn, and beginning the development of critical thinking, reasoning and reflection. Key study skills are also incorporated into this module.

You explore the role of evidence-based practice in the policy context of health and social care. You develop knowledge and skills in formulating questions and literature searching in the evidence-based practice process.

Theoretical Concepts of Dentistry

We introduce you to all aspects of dentistry, from dental procedures to the instruments and bio-materials essential for patient care. Emphasis is placed on oral physiology and craniofacial, oral and dental anatomy, pathology and microbiology, also general anatomy, physiology and biochemistry relevant to dentistry.

We take into consideration the relationships between oral health and human diseases and disorders to enable the promotion of oral health in the context of the patient’s general health, as well as the main medical disorders which may impinge on dental treatment and patient management. You are introduced to pharmacological properties as used in the treatment of human diseases which have side effects that may affect the oral tissues.

The dental anatomy aspect of this module includes the structure and morphology of both the deciduous and permanent dentition, allowing you to recognise, identify and describe individual teeth, discuss their functions and list their eruption dates. It also provides you with the knowledge of local anaesthesia, general anaesthesia and sedation.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You spend 50% of the course gaining clinical skills, initially in the phantom head skills laboratory. After an intense two week induction and successfully passing a clinical assessment you will acquire your clinical skills within a dental practice placement. There is a diverse range of learning and teaching methods used during the course which includes lectures, seminars, e-learning, case studies and assignments. You are supported and given constructive feedback by personal tutors to ensure your learning experience is enjoyable.

How you are assessed

Assessments vary and reflect the learning outcomes of the different modules. Emphasis is placed on practical skills and you are assessed through methods including oral and practical examinations and written assignments.

Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Call us on 0800 952 0226 about our entry requirements

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

Opportunities are available for employment within NHS and private dental practices, hospitals and in the community. Once qualified you can work in the UK and overseas as a dental nurse. Successful completion gives you the opportunity to further your career if you wish and progress to study the BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy and various other career opportunities.



Entry to 2018/19 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£6,150 a year

More details about our fees

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 1 year
  • UCAS code: B751 CertHE/DNP
  • Call us on 0800 952 0226 about our entry requirements

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



  • Not available part-time

Choose Teesside


Are you eligible for an iPad, keyboard and £300 credit for learning resources?



Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus



Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment


Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses


Get in touch



The School of Health & Social Care has amazing purpose-built facilities simulating practice environments such as hospital wards, dental clinics and social care settings. See how students benefit and prepare for practice.


Open days

18 August 2018
Clearing fair

Book now