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Dental Nursing – Higher Certificate

  • CAO Points: 270

  • Campus: Athlone

  • years: 2

Course Overview

This course will give you the clinical competence to work as a dental nurse.  Students with an interest in teamwork and communication will be supported to assist within a dental team.  The dental nursing student will participate in dental placement enabling students to communicate, demonstrate clinical skills, administration duties and problem solve within their scope of practice under the supervision of a registered dentist.

Why take this course? 

Dental nurses play an essential role in the dental practice. They assist the dentist during dental procedures. Their duties include:

  • Preparing the surgery and assisting at chairside during dental procedures.
  • Infection, Prevention and control procedures including decontamination of dental instruments, equipment and dental surgeries.
  • Recording dental charting, maintaining treatment records and assisting with developing dental radiographs.
  • Liaising and supporting patients and dental colleagues in the case of a medical emergency and delivering appropriate oral health promotion advice.
  • They may also be responsible for administrative duties, such as making appointments and bookkeeping. Employment opportunities include private dental practice, dental hospitals, and the public sector (HSE).

Contact Details

Kellie O’Shaughnessy


What are the entry requirements?

Leaving Certificate

Grade H6 in higher level or O3 in ordinary level laboratory-based science in the Leaving Certificate, four subjects at Grade O6 at ordinary level, to include Mathematics and a language (English or Irish).


Any major QQI award with three distinctions and a pass in C20139 or 5N1833 or C20174 or C2017 or Leaving Certificate Maths at O6/H7.

Mature Applicants

A limited number of places are available for mature applicants (23 years of age or over on the first day of January on the year of application). Mature applicants must satisfy the minimum entry requirements for the Programme and will also be assessed through face-to-face interview.

International Applicants

International applicants should apply directly to the International Office at TUS, allowing plenty of time for completing the visa process. Applications for September start should be made by 1st June at the latest to ensure visas are processed in time. You should familiarise yourself with visa processing times for your country of origin to ensure you make a timely application. Find out more here.

Course Modules

  • Dental Anatomy & Oral Disease I

  • Infection Prevention & Control in Dentistry

  • Clinical Dentistry I

  • Learning & Development in Higher Education

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology for Healthcare

  • Clinical Dentistry II

  • Preparation for Dental Nursing Practice Placement

  • Clinical Dental Nursing Placement I

  • Dental Anatomy & Oral Diease II

  • Human Anatomy, Physiology & Pharmacology for Healthcare

  • Clinical Dentistry III

  • Clinical Dental Nursing Placement II

  • Sociology for Healthcare

  • Psychology and Communication

  • Dental Research (Evidence Based Practice)

  • Clinical Dentistry IV

  • Oral Health Promotion

  • Clinical Dental Nursing Placement III

  • Health & Safety in the Dental Practice

  • Dental Practice Management

What can you do after this programme?

Many dental nurses progress to Senior Dental Nursing roles and Clinical Dental Nurse managers. Other progressive parts include Dental Nurse Tutor / Educators, Practice Management, Treatment Co-Ordination, Marketing representatives within the dental field and Oral Health Promotion.

Further study pathways include; Orthodontic therapy, Dental Hygiene, Sedation training, Radiography, and Dental Implant nursing.

More Information

The Higher Certificate in Science (Dental Nursing) has the approval of the Dental Council of Ireland. 

All offers will be subject to Garda Vetting. Due to the risk of exposure to infectious agents in the clinical environment all applicants will be required to undertake a Hepatitis B vaccination. 

Student Testimonials

‘The dental lecturers supported and cared about every student throughout the two year course.’

‘I found the dental nusing course a perfect balance, balancing the serious aspect of study along with the study time needed. It made my experience so much easier.’

‘I cannot commend the dental team in Athlone enough. I am honoured to be a graduate with TUS and a now fully qualified Dental Nurse.’

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