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Dental Nurses

The Work of a Dental Nurse

Dental Nurses are a valuable member of the dental team. This is an auxiliary profession, supporting members of the dental team in the delivery of dental treatment.

Main Duties

  • infection control
  • chair-side assistance
  • preparation and maintenance of the dental surgery
  • patient care
  • and administration of the dental surgery

Skills Required

  • communication and organisation skills

  • the ability to use initiative
  • good manual dexterity
  • and be prepared to work closely providing support & assistance during the provision of dental treatment

Educational and Other Qualifications 

There are two programmes available in Ireland to train as a Dental Nurse:

Dublin Dental School & Hospital - Diploma in Dental Nursing 

Duration: Full time 2 Years

Location: Dublin Dental School & Hospital 

Description: Practical experience is gained within the Dublin Dental School & Hospital & external institutions, arranged by course tutor.

This course is divided into practical and academic (modular) components. Both the formal academic teaching and the practical clinical experience are gained at the Dublin Dental School and Hospital on Trinity College’s campus. During the Diploma in Dental Nursing Day Programme students will spend time on external placements in a health-service executive dental clinic and in general dental practices throughout the Dublin area. The programme consists of lectures, tutorials, demonstrations and practical sessions. You will be assessed on a continuous basis regarding suitability and application of theory to practice. By the end of the course, you will have developed appropriate skills in patient and team management.

This course is aimed at students wishing to attend full time education. This programmes does not require students to have prior experience or employment history in Dental Nursing.

To Apply: Check out the TCD Prospectus for entry requirements. School leavers should apply through the CAO system. Mature students (over 23 years) must apply through the CAO and directly to the Admissions Office in Trinity College 

National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland - Certificate of Dental Nursing

(This Certificate is awarded by Dublin Dental School & Hospital, or Cork Dental School and Hospital.) 

Duration: 1 Year (Employed experience combined with evening lectures)

Location:  Dublin Dental School & Hospital, Cork University Dental School & Hospital & regional centres located in Carlow, Galway, Tralee and Waterford.

Description: Practical experience gained during candidate’s employment, supervised by employing practitioner.

Aimed at students employed as Dental Nurses, who wish to attend evening training to gain a formal Dental Nursing qualification. Employing practitioners must support students wishing to enter this programme, as they are essential in the delivery of the practical training.

Students are required to be in employment as a dental nurse throughout the duration of the programme.

Students must have regular computer and internet access (broadband connection is desirable).

To Apply: Further information for prospective students is available on the National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland's website.

School leavers are required to have a completed a leaving certificate with a minimum 5 subjects at a minimum of D3 level. Mature students – over the age of 23 are considered on application and interview basis. 

Getting the Job

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Dental Nurses may choose to be employed in a variety of working environments, including General Dental Surgeries, Dental Hospitals, Health Service Executive Dental Clinics, Specialist surgeries, & general hospitals with dental theatre settings (may require post qualifications) & clerical positions. 

The Irish Dental Association's Classifieds section lists current available opportunities. 

Opportunities for Advancement 

Depending on the work setting, advancement in the field may include: senior dental nurse, clinic nurse manager, nurse tutor, practice management, marketing, representatives for relevant companies, and oral health promotion.

Post-Qualification Opportunities 

Post qualifications available for Dental Nursing include: sedation, radiography, oral health promotion and education qualifications.