Accredited courses from leading Australian universities, TAFEs and colleges

How to become a dentist in Australia: careers in dentistry

Dentists improve their patients’ quality of life by treating and preventing oral disorders, involving the teeth, gums, mouth and related areas. They carry out examinations and x-rays, repair or extract damaged teeth and treat tooth decay. They educate their clients about oral healthcare, create treatment plans, keep records and manage staff. Dentists may work in a dental practice as a staff member, or may own their own. They can also be employed in larger dental centres or hospitals, or in the health insurance sector. Many areas of dentistry require additional specialist training.
Search for courses >

Being a dentist: daily duties

Dentists perform examinations of the mouths and teeth of their patients and diagnose dental problems and oral diseases. They formulate treatment plans and educate patients about the best practises in oral care. Other tasks include screening for periodontal disease and oral cancers, jaw analysis, saliva testing, teeth whitening, dental charting and keeping detailed records.

Tasks:

  • Examining teeth
  • Scaling and fluoride treatments
  • Treating gum disease and tooth decay
  • Formulating treatment plans
  • Tooth extraction

Being a dentist: skills for success

An aptitude for and proficiency in science and medical studies are vital to become a dentist, as well as the completion of a tertiary qualification in dentistry. Dentists should be patient and have a calming demeanour to soothe patients who are nervous about dental treatment. They should be comfortable performing medical procedures like oral surgery or administering injections.
Skills/attributes
  • Good eyesight
  • Manual dexterity
  • Intense concentration
  • Genuine care for patients
  • Able to use specialist equipment

Specialised roles within dentistry

The dental industry is a large one, with a variety of career paths and specialisations to pursue. Here are some popular choices for dentists.
  • Orthodontist
    Orthodontists straighten teeth using equipment like braces, retainers and orthodontic bands. They diagnose oral diseases and treat injuries, deformities and abnormalities of the teeth, mouth and jaw. They can use surgery and other procedures and need postgraduate study, licencing and registration to practise in this field.
  • Paediatric dentistry
    Working with children from birth to adolescence, paediatric dentists examine their teeth and mouths, diagnose oral health issues and devise treatment plans. They are also involved in educating children about oral hygiene such as brushing techniques and the effects of diet on tooth decay.
  • Periodontist
    Periodontists treat gums and bone structures that support the teeth. They need a high level of training and expertise. They might perform oral surgery, or treat diseases and conditions like gingivitis. Periodontists are usually employed in private practices and have patients referred to them by other dentists.

Educational pathways for dentists

Dentistry courses are competitive applicants must perform well in the Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admission Test before embarking on a tertiary course in dentistry.
  • Start your career
    Find a vocational course to allow you to join the dental profession in an entry-level role such as a dental assistant.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Qualify as a dentist or dental hygienist or pursue a career specialisation.
  • Build your resume
    Find a study option to allow you to pursue high-level employment options that require extensive qualifications or a specialisation in a particular industry.
  • Industry requirements
    To work as a dentist in Australia, you need a relevant tertiary qualification and must register with the Australian Dental Association.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your dentistry career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Dentists are in high demand, and because there is an increasing focus on physical appearance, cosmetic dentistry is booming.

Resources for dentists

Career FAQs makes every effort to ensure the information we provide is correct at the time of publication. We welcome your input to help keep our career profiles as accurate and up to date as possible. All queries and feedback will be taken into consideration as we conduct periodic reviews of our content. Add your voice to the conversation!


comments powered by Disqus

Get the career you've always dreamt of with our expert tips and advice!

WELCOME!

we'll be in touch

Over 1,000 accredited online courses from leading Australian universities, TAFEs and colleges