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Dental Nursing Advanced Apprenticeship Level 3 at PETROC

Course description

The Diploma in Dental Nursing enables learners to become fully competent in dental nursing by giving them the knowledge and skills both for direct chairside work and for providing support in a range of dental treatments.

Lessons will be based in a classroom or a science lab for practical work. Students will have full use of the facilities at Petroc including the library.

Course content

Apprentices will learn new skills and knowledge whilst carrying out real work as part of the healthcare team.

The course includes practical sessions, such as growing bacteria in agar to demonstrate the importance of sterilisation. 
Trips and visits are also planned. Learners will learn about various aspects of dental nursing including first aid, providing chair side support to patients for a number of procedures and contributing to the production of dental images. 

There are four knowledge units and 11 competence units in this qualification, all of which are mandatory. 
Learners must complete all 15 units to gain the diploma.

Units include:

  • Health and Safely
  • Reflective Practice
  • First Aid Essentials
  • Preparing and maintaining the environment and instruments
  • Offering information and support to individuals on the protection of their oral health
  • Providing chairside support during the assessment of a patient's oral health
  • Dental images
  • Providing chairside support during the restoration of cavities
  • Providing chairside support during the provision of prostheses
  • Providing chairside support during non-surgical endodontic treatment
  • Providing chairside support during the extraction of teeth and minor oral surgery
  • Principles of infection control
  • Assessment of oral health and treatment planning
  • Dental Radiography
  • Scientific principles in the management of oral health diseases and dental procedures

Entry requirements

The course will require you to study science units at level 3 and to compile a portfolio containing written reports so you will need to have GCSE grade A*- C, or equivalent, in English Language, Maths and Additional Science or Biology plus a minimum of two other GCSEs or equivalent qualifications at grades A*- C. 

You will also need to have regular employment in a suitable setting but we may be able to help you with this if you aren't currently working in a suitable setting. Your qualifications and employment details will be discussed at interview.


The qualification is assessed by portfolios of evidence and through the e- assessment platform, e-volve. 
Skills are assessed in the workplace via observation of performance.

Future opportunities

There are a range of post registration courses available to Dental Nurses looking to progress in their career. These may include further QCF qualifications, a range of higher education qualifications or other work-related education and training to support Continuing Professional Development.

NEBDN (National Examining Board for Dental Nurses) post-registration qualifications include:
• Certificate in Dental Sedation Nursing
• Certificate in Oral Health Education
• Certificate in Special Care Dental Nursing
• Certificate in Orthodontic Nursing
• Certificate in Dental Radiography

Dental Nurses may move into other dentistry associated roles such as Head Dental Nurse or Dental Nurse Team Leader, Dental Nurse Tutors, Dental Hygienists or Therapists. They play a vital preventive and educational role, advising on oral and dental health.

Other opportunities include:
• Dental Technician
• Dental Health Educators/Oral Health Promotion Officers
• Dental Practice Managers and Receptionists
• Maxillofacial Prosthetists and Technologists
• or within related healthcare roles such as Nursing and Radiography

Higher Apprenticeships are not currently available but may be in the future. Apprentices who wish to progress into Higher Education are encouraged to complete GCSEs in English and Maths instead of Functional Skills. GCSE qualifications are widely recognised across the Higher Education Sector and support progression into healthcare undergraduate programmes.

Further detailed information and advice on careers as a Dental Nurse within the health sector can be found at:

Further information

Q. I don't have a work place, can you help?
A. We have contact details of local dental practices who are looking for apprentices. We will put you in touch with them. 

Q. What is the relationship between Petroc and my employer?
A. Your employer employs you. Petroc will deliver the course and assess you in the workplace.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact PETROC directly.

Last updated date: 17 February 2017

Key information