What is the Average Dental Nurse Salary?

Data from the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Salaries publication from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) puts the average dental nurse salary at £15,024 in 2013. The figure in 2012 was £17,949, so there has been  a fairly significant drop. The median value comes in at a lower £14,581, another decrease from 2012’s £16,858.

In 2010, the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) responded to a demand for salary guidelines by issuing a document that sets out the minimum thresholds they consider acceptable. They mention that overtime should be paid at 1.5 times the normal rate and at 2 times the normal rate for Sundays and public holidays. The following guideline amounts provided by BADN are per annum, for a 37-hour week.

Position                                                                                              Minimum Salary    

Registered dental nurse                                                                           £20,000
Registered dental nurse  (extended duties)                                          £24,000
Senior dental nurse                                                                                    £28,000


As evidenced by the figures published by the Office for National Statistics, the average salary for a dental nurse appears to fall below the guideline amounts provided by BADN.


Dental Nurse Training

A dental nurse must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) to legally work in the UK. To successfully register, an approved qualification must be attained. This usually takes the form of the National Certificate awarded by the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN), NVQ level 3 in Dental Nursing, QCF Level 3 diploma in Dental Nursing or the level 3 VRQ in Dental Nursing. Many dental nurses began by taking on a part-time position as a trainee dental nurse, studying in their spare time for one of the qualifications listed above.

A small number of universities may offer full-time GDC-approved courses. For more information, check out what the GDC has to say.


Dental Nurse Jobs

A dental nurse will typically assist the dentist in all aspects of dealing with patients in the surgery. This includes preparing and sterilising equipment, making sure the patient is comfortable and settled, updating records and making notes where required.  As the demand for dentists and dental healthcare is ubiquitous, dental nurse jobs are generally available in many areas, including community surgeries, hospitals and the armed forces.

Experience as a dental nurse is considered valuable, especially if you intend to become a dental therapist or dental hygienist.


For more information on dental nursing, please visit the General Dental Council’s website.