Your Guide to a Career in Dentistry

How do you become a dentist? What does a dentist actually do? How much does a dentist earn? If you’ve got burning questions about a career in dentistry, check out our handy guide for all you need to know.

Your Guide to a Career in Dentistry

A career in dentistry can be extremely rewarding for the right person. In this article, we’re taking a look at what’s involved in becoming a dentist, the typical day-to-day duties of the role, and the benefits of choosing to become a dentist. 

What does a dentist do?

Dentists are primary healthcare professionals specialising in oral health. They focus on treating, diagnosing and helping to prevent oral diseases and other conditions affecting the mouth, teeth and gums.

In general, a dentist’s role will cover the following areas:

●    Conducting oral health assessments and examinations to diagnose oral diseases and conditions.

●    Creating treatment plans to maintain, restore or improve a patient’s oral health.

●    Performing clinical treatments and surgical procedures to the teeth, bone and soft tissues of the oral cavity in order to restore, remove, fix, replace, realign and resolve issues with the teeth, or with the form or function of the mouth.

●    Administering and monitoring local anaesthetics.

●    Prescribing medications to reduce or prevent infection.

●    Promoting and educating on oral health and disease prevention.

●    Monitoring growth and development of the teeth and jaws.

Why choose a career in dentistry?

There are many different reasons why someone might choose to pursue a career in dentistry. Here are some of the benefits of working as a dentist:

Help people achieve better oral health

As a dentist, you will play a key role in helping patients maintain, restore and improve their oral health outcomes. As a result, you can positively impact people’s lives and, in some cases, help them live without ongoing pain and discomfort.

Freedom and flexibility

Many dentists are self-employed, which provides the freedom of setting your own schedule and working around other commitments, such as parenting, family and travel.

High earning potential

The average salary for a dentist in Australia is relatively high compared to many other professions, making this an attractive career option for those who hold the relevant qualifications.

Improve people’s confidence

The state of our oral health can have a significant impact on our self-confidence and social activities. By helping people address their oral health concerns, you can empower them to feel more confident and get more out of life.

Combine science and creativity

Many dentists are attracted by the opportunity of combining their scientific and medical knowledge with a creative angle. For example, cosmetic dentistry often requires an artistic approach and creative vision to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing result.

How do I become a dentist?

To become a dentist in Australia, you’ll need to complete a degree course in dentistry.

Once you’ve obtained the required Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), you may also need to complete a University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT).  Some Universities require you to have completed another degree, before studying Dentistry, and that entry path has different requirements, often including the GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test) and a structured interview.

To work as a dentist, you’ll need to:

1.Complete a Bachelor of Dental Surgery or Bachelor of Dental Science (or equivalent).

Alternatively, if you have a previous tertiary qualification in a related field, you can apply for a postgraduate qualification in dental medicine.

2.Register with the Dental Board of Australia.

You must do this in order to legally practise as a dentist in Australia.

3.Renew your registration annually and complete a minimum 60 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities over a three-year cycle.

These activities may include attending or presenting at conferences about oral healthcare, undertaking CPR training, or reading relevant academic literature.

How much do dentists earn in Australia?

According to job website Seek, the most common annual salary for a dentist in Australia is between $170k and $190k.

What other career options are therein the field of dentistry?

The field of dentistry isn’t just made up of dentists! Aside from general dentists, here are some other roles you may want to consider if you’re interested in a career in the dental industry:

●    Dental Assistant

●    Dental Hygienist

●    Oral Health Therapist

●    Orthodontist

●    Periodontist

●    Dental Practice Manager

●    Dental Practice Support Role

Whatever dental role you’re seeking, we have a wide range of vacancies across Australia. Check out our list of current opportunities and find your ideal career in dentistry.

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