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.
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.
- Examining teeth
- Scaling and fluoride treatments
- Treating gum disease and tooth decay
- Formulating treatment plans
- Tooth extraction
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.
- Good eyesight
- Manual dexterity
- Intense concentration
- Genuine care for patients
- Able to use specialist equipment
The dental industry is a large one, with a variety of career paths and specialisations to pursue. Here are some popular choices for dentists.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To work as a dentist in Australia, you need a relevant tertiary qualification and must register with the Australian Dental Association.