How to become a Dentist


Becoming a dentist is a very prestigious profession that generally means you become a key part of your local community. For children, adults and the elderly alike, dentists provide a range of services that help people care for their teeth. Dentistry can also be quite lucrative, whether you are running a single practice, or if you decide to expand.  If you’re interested in becoming a qualified dentist in Australia, there are certain steps and requirements that you must take. Let’s go through the list, so you are best prepared to take the next step in becoming a dentist.

Step 1: Complete a degree in dentistry

The first step to becoming a trained dentist in Australia is to complete an accredited degree such as a Bachelor of Oral Health, Bachelor of Dental Science or Bachelor of Dental Surgery. To meet the requirements of getting into dental degree courses you’ll need to have completed your High School Certificate of Education and undertaken certain subjects such as English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required.  Strong marks as required as courses are competitive. If you manage to make it through, the degree usually takes five years of full-time study and covers topics such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, pathology, dental materials science, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and prosthodontics.

Step 2: Obtain your AHPRA registration

For a dentist to start practicing they must obtain an Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration. The AHPRA is responsible for maintaining professional standards among health care practitioners by ensuring that only those who have met the necessary qualifications are authorized to practice professionally. To register with AHPRA as a dentist you must meet their education requirements which includes completing an approved qualification or having your qualification assessed by the Dental Board of Australia (DBA). You must also pass the National Registration Examination (NRE) administered by AHPRA and have at least two years of clinical experience before being eligible for registration. The stages are very stringent and for good reason. Once registered with AHPRA you will be issued with a dental practitioner licence which allows you to practice as a qualified dentist.

Step 3: Start your practice

Now that you have the skills and registrations to get started, it’s time to start your practice and begin getting clients. After you register for an ABN, and set up your bank accounts, you’ll need a way to invoice your clients and accept payments. Thriday is a perfect solution for dentists, because you can manage all your banking, accounting and tax in one place. Now that your finances are sorted, you’ll need to find a location to operate from. Do your research and look for a location where there is likely to be demand, and not too much competition. Being on a main road, or near schools or other medical services are advantageous. Once you move into your location, you’ll need to get the right equipment, hire staff, and start advertising your services. This stage can be a lot of fun, as you can get creative with your fit out, branding and marketing.

Step 4: Continuous learning and development

As a dentist, it’s important for you to stay up to date with the latest developments in dentistry through continuing professional development (CPD). CPD activities include attending conferences and seminars, participating in workshops or online training programs or reading journals related to your field. CPD activities help improve your professional skills and knowledge base so that you can provide better patient care.  Dentists must also complete at least 50 hours of CPD over three years or 100 hours every five years depending on the location where they are registered.  Dentists in Australia must also comply with the Code of Conduct for Dentists issued by the Australian Dental Association (ADA). The Code sets out standards of professional conduct and ethical behaviour that all dentists must follow.

Step 5: Specialise in a chosen area

One option for you as a dentist is to also specialise in a particular area of dentistry such as orthodontics, periodontics or oral surgery. To do this, you will need to complete additional training and examinations. The benefit of specialising is that you can carve out a particular niche that you become known for, you can also generally charge higher fees for the areas you specialise in. Other dentists can also refer clients to you, if you have a special service that they can’t offer.

Becoming a qualified dentist in Australia requires dedication and hard work but can be extremely rewarding when done correctly. The process involves completing an accredited Bachelor of Dental Surgery program followed by registering with AHPRA after passing all required examinations. Once licenced as a practicing dentist it’s important to maintain your licence through continuing professional development activities such as attending seminars or reading journals related to your field so that you can remain informed on new technologies and developments within the industry. With dedication and commitment anyone with the attitude can become a successful dentist in Australia.

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