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Dental Assistant or Dental Nurse
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Dental Technician
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Forensic Dentist/Forensic Odontologist

Orthodontist

 

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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 ID & Description: 252312: 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.  

Specialisations:

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

 

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.

Equipment
(Source: Dental Care Glebe)

Duties and Tasks

Dentists may perform the following tasks:

  • 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.

 

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
     

  • Assistant
    (Source: Hot Courses)

    Duties and Tasks

    As a dental assistant, you would:

    • greet and prepare patients, sterilise or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentists during dental procedures
    • record treatment information in patient records
    • take diagnostic x-rays
    • take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients
    • provide post-operative instructions for patients undergoing general or local anaesthesia
    • maintain and restock dental supplies.

    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 5Skill Level 6

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

    ANZSCO ID:  Future Growth Very Strong252311

    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.

    Orthodontist
    (Source: Dunn Orthodontics)

    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.

     

    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.

    Dental Hygienist
    Community and Health

    Helping or advisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

    Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. FutureGrowthModerate

    Dental hygienists assist dentists in providing oral health therapies and education. They consult with dentists to determine the appropriate treatment for patients, but are able to carry out most procedures independently. They examine patients' teeth and gum for signs of disease, remove plaque build-up and stains, and advise patients on how to look after the teeth and gums to maintain oral health. These workers also take x-rays, make impressions of patients' mouths to make mouth guards and study casts, and select, size and remove orthodontic appliances, such as braces. In some cases, dental hygienists may also assist dentists in surgery.

    ANZSCO ID: 411211

    Knowledge, skills and attributes       

    To become a dental hygienist, you would need:

    • an interest and ability in science, anatomy and physiology
    • the ability to motivate clients to improve their dental hygiene
    • excellent communication skills to explain treatments and put patients at ease
    • the confidence to handle equipment
    • good eyesight and steady hands for carrying out precision work
    • the ability to concentrate for long periods
    • good teamwork skills.    

     

    Dental Hygienist
    (Source: Foundation Education)

    Duties and Tasks

    As a dental hygienist, your main role is to encourage patients to look after their teeth and gums. You would also give treatments to patients. You would use a range of dental instruments to:

    • remove plaque
    • clean and polish teeth to help prevent gum disease
    • apply antibacterial treatments to reduce decay
    • apply temporary coatings and sealants to protect teeth
    • encourage and demonstrate tooth brushing and flossing to individuals and groups.

    You would also maintain sterile conditions and occasionally take x-rays. A dental assistant or nurse may support you for some procedures.

    Working conditions

    You could work in general dental practice, community dental services and in hospitals. You would usually work standard hours, with occasional evening and weekend duties. If you were based at a hospital, you could work shifts or be on call. Part-time hours and opportunities for self-employment are often available.

    If you worked for a community based dental service, your day-to-day work would usually involve travelling.


    Tools and technologies

    Dental hygienists use a range of specialised dental equipment to look inside the mouth, remove plaque from teeth and help keep the mouth clear and relatively dry during examinations and procedures. They must also use sterilising equipment and protective clothing, such as gloves and a mask. When educating patients about correct oral health care they use models and charts to demonstrate the correct brushing and flossing techniques and the effects of different diseases.

    Education and training/entrance requirements

    To become a dental hygienist you usually have to complete a VET qualification in oral health (dental hygiene) or a degree in oral health or oral health therapy approved by the Dental Board of Australia. To get into these 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.

    Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Provide First Aid Certificate, a National Police Certificate, a Working with Children Check or equivalent, and fulfil immunisation requirements.

    It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Dental Board of Australia before practising as a dental hygienist in any state or territory in Australia.

    Employment Opportunities

    Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

    Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. As the large baby-boom population ages, and as people keep more of their original teeth than did previous generations, the need to maintain and treat teeth will continue to increase the need for dental care.

    People with new or expanded dental insurance coverage will also be more likely to visit a dentist than in the past. This will increase the demand for all dental services, including those performed by dental hygienists.

     

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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
    ; Dental Technician; Dental Assistant; Dental Hygienist]
    TheBalance [Forensic Odontologist; ]
    Best Accrediated Colleges [Dental Specialist; ]
    JobOutlook [Dentist; Dental Specialists (including Orthodontists; ]

     

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    Firefighter

    Garbage Collector

    Midwife

    Paramedic

    Teacher

    Dentist

    physio

    Optometrist

    Chaplain

    Nurse

    Early Childhood Educator

    Social Worker

    Real Estate Agent

    Special Care Worker

    Chiropractor

    Medical Practitioner

    Ophthalmologist

    Audiologist

    Podiatrist

    Medical Imaging Technologist

    Speech Pathologist

    Occupational Therapist

    Natural Therapist

    SES Officer

    Art Therapist

    Dermatologist

    Psychiatrist

    Plastic or Reconstructive Surgeon

    acupuncturist

    Osteopath

    Paediatrician

    Neurologist

    Indigenous Community Worker

    Oncologist

    Sports Doctor

    Retirement Nursing Home Manager

    Cardiologist

    House Parent

    Rheumatologist

    Community Worker

    Youth Worker

    Anaesthetist

    Intensive Care Specialist

    Surgeon

    Medical Radiation Therapist