||Overview of Dentistry
Dentistry is an attractive industry for people with an interest in teeth, repairing things and interacting with people. Dentists examine, clean, diagnose and treat any problems with your teeth and gums.
People who want to become dentists, orthodontists or oral surgeons need to study a dentistry course. Other dentistry jobs include dental assistant, hygienist and technician.
There are six universities in Australia offering dentistry courses that satisfy the registration requirements of all Australian dental boards.
They are the University of Adelaide, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia, University of Melbourne and Griffith University.
An undergraduate dentistry degree should take five years but will take about seven years at postgraduate level (including three years for an approved Bachelor degree).
The courses cover oral science, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, dental surgery and dental practice.
To get into an undergraduate dentistry course, you need to get a high university entrance ranking, sit the Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) and in some cases, attend an interview.
Prerequisite subjects vary but may include English, maths, chemistry and biology.
You can become a dental hygienist or therapist by doing a Bachelor of Oral Health, dental assistant by doing a certificate or diploma, and dental technician by doing a Bachelor of Oral Health or Diploma of Dental Technology.
Careers in Dentistry
Dentists can work in general dental practice but they can also undertake further training after their degree to specialise.
Specialisations include orthodontist, endodontist, paedodontist, periodontist, prosthodontist and oral or maxillofacial surgeon.
As the name suggests, dental assistants help dentists do their job more efficiently.
Dental hygienists perform diagnostics and maintain oral health without cutting or removing teeth.
Dental therapists are usually employed by the public sector to provide dental care to children up to Year 12.
Dental technicians make and repair dentures, crowns and bridges, while dental prosthetists are technicians who are qualified to interact directly with the public.
The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) expects dentist jobs to grow strongly until at least 2015, and says dentists earn an average of $1925 a week, while dental assistants earn $807 a week.
Hygienists, therapists and technicians earn $897 a week, according to the DEEWR, and employment is expected to remain relatively steady.
Skills needed in Dentistry
People working in dentistry need to have good people skills, steady hands, patience, and strong knowledge of chemistry and biology.
Healthcare & Medicine
Food & Nutrition