How To Become A Dentist In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how they can become dentists in Australia and how long it will take.


Are you considering pursuing dentistry in Australia? Dentists are in high demand in Australia, and becoming a dentist is a popular career option. It provides a satisfying life and allows you to earn a high wage while helping and treating others. 


Additionally, a career in dentistry offers several opportunities for growth and development and the possibility of starting your practice.


In this blog, you will learn how to become a dentist in Australia, including how much it costs, how long it takes, and what dentistry courses you need to study to succeed.



1. What Do Dentists Do?


Dentistry is a branch of medicine concerned with the health and treatment of the mouth and teeth. Dentists can be specialists or general practitioners. 


The specialities in this profession may include the following:


  • Oral and maxillofacial radiology

  • Oral and maxillofacial pathology

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery

  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopaedics

  • Endodontics

  • Prosthodontics

  • Dental public health

  • Periodontics

  • Pediatric Dentistry



After finishing a bachelor of dentistry program, dentists generally attend dental school for four years. Dentists who want to advance their education in a specialist field need to continue schooling for a few more years.


Upon completing their program, they will obtain a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, enabling them to practise dentistry.


Dentists address issues related to the teeth, mouth, and gums by diagnosing, preventing, and treating them. They can help treat malformations, injuries, and different gum diseases. Dentists look at x-rays to see any underlying issues in a person's mouth and how to fix them.


They also apply sealants and fill cavities as required. Furthermore, dentists may use dental strengthening to strengthen crooked teeth or repair damaged or broken ones.


Dentists frequently use cosmetic dental procedures, such as teeth whitening, to help people enhance their smiles. They can make dentures for lost teeth using mouth moulds. Besides, they also educate patients on how to keep their teeth healthy through flossing, brushing and other dental care procedures.


Most dentists in Australia are self-employed, working full-time and building their practices. This generally necessitates an initial expenditure and hiring and training dental secretaries and hygienists


The role of a dentist also includes providing medical insurance and other benefits to their employees.



2. Major Duties And Tasks of a Dentist


  • Examine patients' gums and teeth using dental equipment and X-rays.

  • Treat diseases of the mouth's gums, roots, and soft tissues.

  • Clean cavities and teeth and offer preventive care such as cleaning, scaling, and fluoride therapy.

  • Design and fit dentures, bridges and crowns to replace unsound or lost teeth.

  • Provide consultation to patients, diagnose their dental conditions, and plan their oral health care.

  • Perform complex operations on the soft tissues and jaws and routine surgical procedures like extracting teeth.

  • Refer patients to dental specialists for further treatment.

  • Repair broke and repaired teeth with the help of bridges and crowns and by rebuilding tooth structures.

  • Provide local anaesthetics as needed for therapy and additional antibiotics or pain relievers when required.

  • Rebuild tooth structures and provide crowns and bridges to repair damaged and decaying teeth.

  • Diagnose dental diseases with the help of different methods, such as salivary tests, radiographs, and medical histories.

  • Led a dental team comprising dental assistants, therapists, dental hygienists, and other dental specialists.

  • Provide oral care, such as complex bridge and crown restorations, implants, and orthodontics.

  • Provide preventative oral health care, such as fluoride applications, periodontal treatments, and oral health promotion.

  • Aid in diagnosing illnesses with oral symptoms, such as diabetes.

  • Perform routine orthodontic treatment.

  • Provide oral surgical procedures, such as medication prescriptions and tissue biopsies. 

  • Educate patients to take care of their teeth and mouth.



3. Steps To Become A Dentist In Australia


Below are some common steps you can follow to become a dentist and register yourself as a dentist in Australia:



Step 1: Do Some Research And Find The Right Dental Course


The first step is to conduct thorough research and compare your study objectives to the options available. In other words, you must choose a dentistry course tailored to your personal preferences and academic goals. 


There are numerous universities in Australia that offer different dentistry courses, so you should be able to find something that suits your needs.


It is vital to take time and perform thorough research before selecting the course because the educational institution of your choice may determine the majority of your academic satisfaction.


You can scan through academic guidelines on different universities' websites and narrow down a selection of dental schools that are likely to meet your academic and personal choices. 


Consider factors such as the facilities available, the number of practical sessions in your course, the location, and more.



Step 2: Obtain A University Degree In Dentistry


Follow any one of the two study pathways to complete a university dental degree in Australia:



Pathway 1: Direct From High School


Direct entrance into a double degree program is only available to a small percentage of high-achieving high school graduates. 


A double degree in Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Dental Medicine (7-year program) allows you to complete an undergraduate science degree (three-year course) before beginning the Doctor of Dental Medicine program (four-year period). To follow this study pathway, you must meet the requirements below:


  • Achieve a satisfactory performance in the assessment procedure, which includes a panel discussion and a written assessment.

  • Obtain a minimum ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) score, which should be at least 99.6 or equivalent.

  • Meet the minimum English language requirements.


To proceed into the Doctor of Dental Medicine program, you must finish the dentistry elective unit with an average grade of at least 65.0 throughout your Bachelor of Science program. (Each Year)


Note: The minimum ATAR score does not ensure the opportunity to participate in the assessment process due to the high demand for dentistry courses.



Pathway 2: After The Completion of A Bachelor's Degree From A University


After completing an appropriate university bachelor's degree, you can apply for postgraduate entry into the Doctor of Dental Medicine, a four-year program. To follow this study pathway, you must meet the requirements below:


  • Achieve a satisfactory performance in the GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test) or equivalent.

  • Obtain a minimum GPA score for an approved bachelor's degree at the time of application.

  • Meet the DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) biology requirements.

  • Achieve a satisfactory performance in the MMI (Multiple Mini Interviews).



Step 3: Enrol In A Bridging Course or Foundation Studies


If you are an overseas student, you can take a foundation course or university preparatory course to get into a Bachelor of Dental Surgery. These preparation courses usually last 9 to 11 months. It combines English language studies with an academic curriculum tailored to your chosen degree.  


It is an essential first step in your educational journey. It will assist you in adjusting to the Australian educational system to become an overseas dentist in Australia.


Your dental institution may even offer an alternative packaged offer due to the particular criteria required to enter a Bachelor of Dental Surgery. This implies that you can combine your foundation studies with a Bachelor of Health and Medical Science degree.


Once you complete your foundation studies course, some universities may allow you to take a PQA (Personal Qualities Assessment) and go through an oral assessment and interview.


If you pass the evaluation, you can directly start your Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree in the first year.



Step 4: Register With The Dental Board of Australia


Before practising dentistry, you must register with the Dental Board of Australia immediately after graduating with a dentistry degree.


The Ahpra Dental Board website contains information on student registration, including details for graduates registering with the Board for the first time.



Step 5: Make Sure To Renew Your Registration


To continue your dentistry practice in Australia, you must renew your registration annually with the Dental Board of Australia. For that, you must finish 60 hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) activities within three years. 


These activities may incorporate reading relevant academic literature, undertaking CPR training, and attending a conference about clinical, scientific, or technical aspects of oral health care.



Step 6: Pursue A Specialty


After completing their graduation, students can also choose to pursue a postgraduate degree in clinical dentistry, specialising in the following fields:


  • Periodontics

  • Oral medicine

  • Prosthodontics

  • Orthodontics

  • Sedation and Pain Management

  • Special Needs Dentistry

  • Paediatrics

  • Surgery

  • Implants

  • Population Oral Health


All Doctor of Clinical Dentistry programs prepare you for a specialist-level job in your chosen discipline and provide a basis for a future in clinical academic and research roles.


Some Australian universities may require you to possess at least two years of essential dental practice experience and a qualification recognised by the Dental Board of Australia. Generally, admission requirements vary, depending on the program you choose.



4. How Long Does It Take To Become A Dentist In Australia?


You must obtain at least a Bachelor's degree in dentistry to practice dentistry in Australia legally. Undergraduate dentistry in Australia courses requires five to seven years of full-time study, including clinical experience as part of the curriculum. 


You can also choose to complete postgraduate dentistry courses in four years. You can become a professional dentist in Australia after 9 to 10 years of dedicated study.


It is important to note that you must register with the Australian Dental Board once you've completed your dental degree to practise your profession successfully.



5. How Much Does It Cost To Become A Dentist In Australia?


Medical degrees are considered highly expensive in Australia, and Australian dentistry colleges are no exception. This is because medicine courses, including dentistry being one of the medical fields, may require extensive clinical practice, resulting in additional costs.


International students pay higher fees than domestic students at Australian dentistry schools. The cost of international dentistry courses in Australia may vary, depending on the university you choose.


The average fee for international students may range between AUD70,000 and AUD140,000 per annum. You will likely have to spend more if other expenditures, such as meals or lodging, are added.



6. How Much Does A Dentist Earn In Australia?


Despite its high cost, a dental degree in Australia is worthwhile, especially considering the following financial rewards.


As per the official income reports, the average dentist salary in Australia is around AU$160,000 per annum. Your yearly wages may reach AU$200,000, depending on your experience and academic qualifications.


Dental specialists are among the highest-paid professionals worldwide. Furthermore, dental schools have received global recognition, meaning your payment will be far beyond your financial objectives. Also, your employability will remain high no matter where you go after earning your dental degree in Australia.


Now that you know everything about how to become a dentist in Australia, you are ready to explore this profession and reach greater heights.


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