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Undergraduate study
Dental Nurse Practice

Dental Nurse Practice Cert HE

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.


B751 CertHE/DNP


Course overview


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 may be required to participate in a shift pattern rota or work weekends.

Download pdf Order prospectus

Supporting information for applicants

Our School feedback policy (word - 278kb)
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Course details

You undertake a modular course, designed to run over one academic year. You study five modules, four 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 fifth module is exclusive to this course for you to learn and develop practical skills specific to your profession. Throughout the course you focus on the preventive and restorative dentistry learning to support patients and dentists/dental care professionals throughout a range of common dental procedures. Effective communication 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.

Foundations of General Anatomy and Human Disease Applicable to Dental Care

Explore the foundations of general anatomy, physiology and human disease to consider its relevance to dental care.

Explore tissues and organ systems along with diseases and will consider the context of dental treatment and patient management. Consider how medical conditions or their treatment may cause oral manifestations as a secondary factor. You are introduced to pharmacological properties used in the treatment of medical conditions which have side effects impacting on the body systems and oral tissues.

Introduction to Dental Anatomy and Oral Disease

You explore dental, oral craniofacial anatomy in relation to patient management and their relevance to oral health and oral disease along with its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. You acquire an understanding of how these oral manifestations appear within the oral cavity, their aetiology along with preventative strategies and treatment.

For dental anatomy you examine 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. You are introduced to dental radiology and are enabled to identify the radiological features of oral conditions on various dental radiographs.

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.


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 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 provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
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

You are expected to have:

  • recent Level 3 Academic Study
  • a minimum of four GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above including English language, maths and science. Key Skills/Functional Skills Level 2 in Communication and Application of Number can be accepted in place of English and Maths GCSE. Please note these are not required if you are doing an Access course – however, you must have English and maths as listed below.*

Plus any of the following qualifications:

GCE and VCE Advanced Level
32-48 points from one A level in a science-based subject. AS levels are not acceptable.

BTEC QCF Extended Diploma
48 points (PPP) in a science, health or dental subject.

CACHE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care
72 points (d) in health and social care.

Foundation degree
A pass in a science, health or dental subject.

Irish Leaving Certificate
32-48 points from two or three Highers/Honours subjects.

Level 3 in a science or health and social care qualification.

Open University
K101 – An Introduction to Health and Social Care or SK277 Biology.

Scottish Highers
42 points from two Highers.

Advanced Scottish Highers
40 points from one Advanced Higher.

The selection process includes shortlisting of your application, following which, if successful you will be invited for an interview.

Shortlisting criteria

Your application will be measured against the following criteria:

  • your ability to complete all sections of the application form fully and correctly
  • the level of all your qualifications and grades are specified
  • appropriate academic entry requirements achieved or predicted
  • personal statement that supports your chosen course and demonstrates an understanding of the uniqueness of the profession and the role of the professional
  • motivation for completing the course is evident
  • satisfactory references.

If you are invited to interview and the date is not suitable, we may not be able to offer you an alternative date due to the high volume of applications received for this course - but it is important that you contact the Admissions Office immediately.

Interview criteria

At the interview you will be measured against the following criteria which is mapped against the :

  • knowledge of chosen profession/career
  • an appreciation of the demands of the course and chosen profession
  • enthusiasm for the course/profession
  • ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and non-verbally
  • potential to become a professional.

If you are successful in both shortlisting and interview you will receive an offer which is subject to the following:

  1. evidence of achievement of the required academic qualifications
  2. a successful work based risk assessment which will reflect the HEOPS recommendations - please read these here. For more information on all of the HEOPS standards click here
  3. an enhanced criminal history (DBS) check may be required for certain modules or placements which involve working with children and/or adults at risk. Where an enhanced DBS check is required, applicants will cover the cost of these checks which can only be processed through the University.
  4. satisfactory references.

Please note until 1 to 4 have been successfully completed the offer of a place on the course remains conditional.

International applicants

  • International applicants must have IELTS 7.0 with a minimal score of 6.5 in all sections before an unconditional offer is made
  • If you are successful at shortlisting, you will be invited to attend an interview (which may be in person OR Skype) in one of our international offices in either India, Malaysia or China, or through a secure web link (which will be arranged by the University).
  • If you cannot attend an interview as stated, you will be unable to proceed with your application.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

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.


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.


Entry to 2022/23 academic year

Fee for UK 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
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 32-48 tariff points and interview

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



  • Not available part-time

Choose Teesside

  • On video

    Dental courses at Teesside

    The School of Health & Social Care has impressive purpose-built dental facilities simulating practice environments. See how our dental students benefit and prepare for practice

  • Student and graduate profiles

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