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National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland (NDNTP)

The National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland is a joint initiative between the Dublin Dental University Hospital and Cork University Dental School & Hospital and starts in September each year.

On successful completion of the National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland (NDNTP) undergraduate programme, dental nursing graduates will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and competence to work within a dental team, contributing to a patient centred approach to the delivery of dental care. Students wishing to enrol in the NDNTP are required to be employed as a dental nurse and must have daily computer and internet access, broadband connections are desirable.

Trinity College Dublin confers the Diploma in Dental Nursing which entitles the graduate to register as a Dental Nurse on the Voluntary Register of the Dental Council of Ireland. The curriculum of the NDNTP delivery is blended in design, utilising conventional learning methods such as traditional face-to-face sessions as well as videoconferencing and online technologies. Course contents are delivered via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Blackboard Learn. Students of the programme will be given access to this VLE at the beginning of the programme. In order to participate in the required online activities and find their course materials, students are required to use the internet on a daily basis and have good computer skills. This course is divided into practical and academic (modular) components. The academic teaching will take place in the Dublin Dental University and Hospital on Trinity College Campus, and students’ clinical skills and practical training will take place in their dental surgery.

During the NDNTP students are required to complete the equivalent of 16 months full time practical experience in a dental surgery. They must be employed throughout the duration of the programme as this allows the completion of the student portfolio in conjunction with practical experience. Workplace training allows flexibility to learning and harnesses the expertise of the dental practitioner.

The programme consists of lectures, tutorials, demonstrations and practical experience. Students will be assessed on a continuous basis regarding suitability and application of theory to practice. By the end of the course, they will have developed appropriate skills in patient and team management.

Dental Nursing students will attend the Dublin Dental University Hospital (or GMIT for the Galway centre) on Wednesday evenings, various Fridays and Saturdays. We also offer a distance learning option for geographically remote students (outside of Dublin, Cork and Galway areas). Please click on Distance Learning information for students for further information. Students from the Dublin and Galway centres (and distance learning students) must come to the Dublin Dental University Hospital for a one week full time practical session in April.

The course fee for 2018 was €2,500. This fee is subject to change.

Frequently asked questions

What does a dental nurse do?

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 modern dental nurse trains in all aspects of clinical practice and dental health education. This course gives students the skills and practical competence needed to work in a dental surgery. They 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 the dentist in the delivery of dental treatment. Main duties include infection control, chair-side assistance, preparation and maintenance of the dental surgery, and patient care.

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

What are the career prospects?

As a graduate of dental nursing, students will be able to find work in a variety of working environments including dental hospitals, 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 oral health promotion. Dental nursing provides graduates the opportunity to practice worldwide, although some countries require the completion of examinations for registration.

Successful completion of this programme will permit entry onto the Dental Council Voluntary Register of Dental Nurses, Ireland.


Candidates must be employed as a Dental Nurse at time of application and throughout the duration of their study. If for any reason employment ceases, the student must inform their Tutor and will be given a time period appropriate to the situation to resume employment.

The following requirements are necessary for entry into the programme:

Have completed a Leaving Certificate with a minimum of a Grade D3 at Ordinary Level in five subjects.


Be over the age of 23 years. Such students may be interviewed at the discretion of the Dental Schools. Students with other qualifications (e.g. qualifications from outside Ireland) will be considered on an individual basis and may be interviewed.


For application information on this course please visit the Dublin Dental University Hospital website.