Dentist

Community and Health

Dental Therapist
Dental Assistant or Dental Nurse
Dental Specialist
Dental Technician

Forensic Dentist/Forensic Odontologist
Orthodontist

 

Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs

 

Practical or MechanicalHelping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

Dentists take care of patients' teeth and gums by diagnosing and treating injuries, problems and abnormalities. Their wide range of duties includes repairing or removing broken and decayed teeth, Future Growth Very Strong treating infections and diseases of the roots or nerves, and cleaning teeth. Other tasks may include the design and fitting of dental crowns, bridges or dentures.

ANZSCO Description: Diagnoses and treats dental disease, injuries, decay and malformations of the teeth, periodontal tissue (gums), hard and soft tissue found on the mouth and other dento-facial structures using surgery and other techniques. Registration or licensing is required.  

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A dentist needs:

  • patience and understanding
  • the ability to undertake detailed work
  • high levels of concentration
  • good communication skills
  • good organisational skills.

Duties and Tasks

Dentists may perform the following tasks:Mouth examined

  • examine patients' teeth and gums using dental equipment and X-rays
  • diagnose dental conditions and plan oral health care in consultation with patients
  • clean teeth and cavities and provide preventive care, such as scaling, cleaning and fluoride therapy
  • repair decayed and broken teeth by rebuilding tooth structures and providing crowns and bridges
  • treat diseases of the roots, gums and soft tissues of the mouth
  • perform routine surgical procedures, such as extracting teeth, as well as complex operations on the jaws and soft tissues
  • give local anaesthetics when necessary for carrying out treatment
  • design and fit dentures, crowns and bridges for the replacement of lost or unsound teeth
  • refer patients to dental specialists for further treatment.

Specialisations:

Endodontist
An endodontist diagnoses and treats diseases and injuries to the soft tissues within the hollow core of the tooth.

Oral/Maxillofacial Surgeon
An oral/maxillofacial surgeon surgically treats diseases and abnormalities of the mouth and adjacent parts.

Orthodontist
An orthodontist diagnoses and treats badly aligned teeth and jaws.

Paediatric Dentist
A paediatric dentist deals with children's dental health.

Periodontist
A periodontist prevents and treats diseases of the gums and supporting tissues.

Prosthodontist
A prosthodontist restores and/or replaces teeth and their associated parts.

Public Health Dentist
A public health dentist works with the community, researching and facilitating community dental programs.

Special Needs Dentist
A special needs dentist treats patients with conditions which require special techniques to manage dental problems. 

Equipment
(Source: Dental Care Glebe)

Working conditions

Dentists work mainly in public or private dental clinics. Hours can vary according to the opening times of the clinic in which dentists are employed. Some dentists may be on-call 24 hours a day to attend to emergency dental work. Demand for dentists in Australia is high, with some being required to help in remote areas when necessary. A dentist’s work environment needs to be highly sterile to prevent infection to clients and themselves.

Tools and technologies

Dentists work with a large range of dental tools and equipment, such as drills, mouth mirrors, retractors, syringes and x-ray machines. Such equipment must always be clean and sterile to prevent the incidence or spread of infection.

Personal Requirements:

  • good hand-eye coordination
  • able to do precise and detailed work
  • good communication skills
  • able to concentrate for long periods
  • sympathetic and caring.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a dentist, you must complete a bachelor degree in any discipline and then complete postgraduate study in dentistry.

The Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) usually takes four years to complete. Entry requirements include the completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and attend an interview.

Graduates must be registered with the Dental Board of Australia to be able to practice dentistry in Australia.

 

  • good manual dexterity and the ability to perform precision work
  • good communication skills and the ability to work as part of team
  • a sensitive and caring nature
  • good organisational skills and the ability to perform a variety of tasks at once
  • an interest in health care
     

  • Working conditions

    Dental nurses may work with only one other person or as part of a team. They may also work under pressure as some treatments may have to be completed within a certain time frame. Generally, dental nurses work within normal business hours Monday to Friday; however, they may be required to work Saturday mornings.

    Tools and technologies

    Dental nurses work with a variety of equipment including hand pieces and rotary cutting instruments, diagnostic equipment including x-rays and oral surgical instruments. They are required to use personal protective equipment, which is also given to clients. They also need to know how to perform injections and sterilise equipment.

    Education and training/entrance requirements

    To become a dental assistant, you usually need to complete a qualification in dental assisting.

    The Certificate III in Dental Assisting is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia.

    You can also complete a Certificate III in Dental Assisting by doing a traineeship. A dental assistant traineeship usually takes 12 to 24 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

     

    Orthodontist
    Community and Health

    Practical or MechanicalHelping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

    Orthodontists are specialist qualified dentists who diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s jaw alignment and bite pattern.  Future Growth Very Strong

    Knowledge, skills and attributes


    To become an orthodontist., you would need:

    • a strong academic background and an interest and ability in science
    • good eyesight and colour vision
    • the ability to carry out delicate work with medical instruments
    • the ability to concentrate for long periods
    • excellent communication skills to explain treatments to patients
    • the ability to put anxious patients at ease.

    Duties and Tasks

    As an orthodontist, you would:

    • take X-rays and give local anaesthetic

    • fit dental aids and hardware such as headgear, braces or retainers

    • remove teeth

    • do small cosmetic procedures

    • provide estimates of treatment costs for patients

    • see patients at regular intervals to monitor progress

    • confer with a patient's regular dentist

    • keep accurate treatment records

    • usually have a particular focus on children and young people.

    Orthodontist
    (Source: Dunn Orthodontics)

     

    Working conditions

    You would usually work standard hours, Monday to Friday, although your hours of work will vary depending on the area you work in. Part-time hours are often possible.

    In a hospital setting, you might work more irregular hours, including night shifts.

    Most orthodontists are self-employed and work in private practice. Some work for dental services for government, hospital or private health care providers, or in the armed forces. Orthodontists need to be able to sit and stand comfortably for quite long periods of time.

    Education and training/entrance requirements

    To become an orthodontist you must first complete a bachelor's degree in dentistry, dental science or dental surgery at university. After completing your degree, you need 2 years of clinical practice as a dentist, followed by completion of a further 3-year full-time degree in orthodontics.

    To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university. Entry is highly competitive, and you usually need to sit the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) and attend a structured interview. You may also be required to complete a structured oral assessment.

    It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Dental Board of Australia before being able to practise as a dentist in any state or territory in Australia. Orthodontists must register as a specialist in Orthodontics.

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    Material sourced from the Job Guide;
    Jobs & Skills WA [Dentist; Dental assistant; Dental Specialist; Dental Technician; Dental Therapist; Dental Hygienist];
    CareerHQ [Orthodontist]

    TheBalance [Forensic Odontologist; ]
    JobOutlook [Dentist; Dental Specialists (including Orthodontists; ]

     

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