Everything you need to know about becoming a dentist in Australia – Part 4

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Dental specialties

A specialist dentist is a highly qualified dental professional who practises a recognised speciality and possesses an advanced qualification pertinent to this area of dentistry.

 

Current dental specialities recognised by The Australian Dental Council


The dentistry department Orthodontist

This dental specialty focuses on the study of the growth and development of the dentition and its related anatomical structures. As an orthodontist you would be trained to perform preventive and corrective dento-facial procedures. This could involve procedures aimed at re-positioning of the teeth, jaws, and soft tissues by functional or mechanical means.

Oral surgeon

Oral surgery deals with the diagnosis and surgical treatment of injuries and diseases.

 

Endodontist

An endodontist focuses on the morphology, pathology and physiology of the human tooth. In particular, it focuses on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries that affect the pulp, crown, root and peri-radicular tissues.

Prosthodontist

Prosthodontics deals with maintaining and restoring oral health, appearance and function by reconstruction of natural teeth, or the replacement of missing teeth.

Periodontist

The part of dental practice which deals with the prevention, recognition, diagnosis and treatment of the diseases and disorders of the investing and supporting tissues of natural teeth or their substitutes.

Forensic dentist

Forensic dentistry deals with examining and evaluating dental evidence, which may then be presented in the interests of justice. As a forensic dentist, part of your job would include identifying unknown human remains, identifying unknown deceased individuals following mass disasters and examining and assessing child abuse injuries, bite mark injuries and facial injuries following trauma or assault.

 

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon


An oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs surgical and adjunctive treatment of injuries, diseases and defects of the human jaw and associated structures. This is the only area of dentistry that requires training in dentistry as well as surgery.

 

Dento-maxillofacial radiologist

A dento-maxillofacial radiologist specialises in diagnostic imaging procedures to assess the damage or injuries to the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.

 

Paediatric dentist (Paedodontist)

A paediatric dentist focuses on the prevention and treatment of dental diseases and irregularities in children and their associated developmental problems.

 

Oral pathologist

Oral pathology deals with the study of the causes, pathogenesis and effects of diseases of the teeth, oral soft tissues, jaws and associated structures.

Special needs dentist

A special needs dentist treats patients who are intellectually disabled or have some physical or psychiatric condition that necessitate special dental treatment plans.

 

Public health dentist

A dentist who specialises in public health dentistry deals with the community as a whole rather than treating individual patients. They are concerned with oral health education of the public and administration of dental care programs that focus on prevention and control of oral diseases on the entire community.

 

There are certain criteria you will have to meet to be able to practice as a specialist in any of the dental specialties in Australia.

 

  • Successfully complete a recognised undergraduate course in dentistry.
  • Obtain the legal permits to practice dentistry.
  • Complete a mandatory period in the general practice of dentistry. This could be in private practice, hospital, the Armed Services, public health service or any other institutional practice.
  • Successfully complete a course of graduate education leading to an acceptable higher qualification pertinent to the area of specialisation.
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