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Dental nursing (diploma)

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

    What is a Dental nurse?

    The dental nurse plays an important role in the organisation and management of the dental practice, assists the dentist in all aspects of patient treatment and plays a vital role in patient care. The main duties of a dental nurse include: infection prevention and control, chair-side assistance, preparation and maintenance of the dental surgery and patient care.

    This course gives you the skills and practical competence needed to work in a dental surgery. You will learn about the day-to-day running of a dental practice and acquire the qualifications for entry to the Dental Council Voluntary Register of Dental Nurses.

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

    Skills required of students considering dental nursing include communication and organisation skills, the ability to use initiative, and ability and willingness to work closely with the dental team in providing support and assistance during the provision of dental treatment. The dental nurse may also be involved with the administration of the dental surgery.

    Is this the right course for you?

    Yes, if you have an interest in working as part of a dental team in the delivery of oral healthcare.

    You will need to be able to develop good patient skills and be able to communicate effectively. Having a caring and understanding personality is an advantage.

    Course overview

    This two-year course is divided into practical and academic components. Both academic teaching and practical clinical experience are gained at the Dublin Dental University Hospital (DDUH) at Trinity.

    Dental nursing students will attend DDUH from Monday to Friday. Attendance is usually from 8.30am to 5pm, but there will be opportunities to enjoy college life at various times during the week. The first year will be a combination of lectures and clinical practice, which will provide students with a variety of learning opportunities.

    In the second year of the programme the students will have the opportunity to work with various dental clinicians in a wide variety of disciplines. Clinical experiences will be gained within the DDUH environment, external institutions and private practices.

    The programme consists of lectures, tutorials, demonstrations and practical experience. 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. You will be integrated with undergraduate dental science, dental hygiene and dental technology students for some elements of the course to ensure effective teamwork throughout the dental profession.

    Course content

    First year modules

    • Microbiology and pathology
    • Physiology and medical emergencies; clinical dentistry I
    • Anatomy, public oral health and social concepts in dentistry
    • Clinical dentistry II and computer skills
    • Clinical placements I

    Second year modules

    • Clinical dentistry III, practice management and health psychology
    • Clinical placements II
    • Case study


    Year 1 is assessed by written examinations, practical examinations, continuous clinical assessment and an oral presentation.

    Year 2 is assessed by written examinations, objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), a portfolio of clinical experience, case study written report and an oral presentation.

    Career opportunities

    As a graduate of Dental nursing, you will be able to find work in a variety of working environments including dental hospitals and Health Service Executive dental clinics, as well as in general and specialist dental practices. Depending on the work setting, advancement in the field may include: senior dental nurse, clinic nurse manager, practice manager, marketing representatives for relevant companies, dental nurse tutor, course coordinator, lecturer in dental nursing, and the area of health promotion. Further courses of study are available to dental nurses, including the Diploma in Orthodontic therapy. Orthodontic therapists are registered dental healthcare professionals who carry out certain parts of orthodontic treatment, as indicated by the orthodontist.

    Further information

    Please contact the Dental Nurse Tutor

    Tel: +353 1 6127238


    Specific Entry Requirements

    Leaving CertificateA pass in English, mathematics and in four other subjects, one of which must be physics, chemistry, biology, agricultural science or physics/chemistry.
    Of the six subjects presented, two must be of a standard of at least grade C3 on ordinary Leaving Certificate papers. The remaining four subjects must be presented to a standard of at least grade D3 on ordinary Leaving Certificate papers
    GARDA VETTING:Students will be required to undergo Garda vetting.
    See Garda vetting for further details