Everything you need to know about becoming a dentist in Australia – Part 1
October 17, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
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- Part 2 – Essential attributes in dentistry & list of dental schools
- Part 4 – Specialty options
Dentistry is a rewarding profession that offers immense job satisfaction along with numerous other perks. Are you considering a career in this field but are not completely sure about it? Below you will find all you need to know about what is involved in a fascinating dental career, helping people in the field of oral health and education.
Detailed dentist job description
If you’ve never had a cavity or needed to get a tooth extracted, chances are the only reason you would have visited a dentist would be twice a year for your regular oral check-ups or to get your teeth cleaned. But that’s only part of what a dentist does.
A dentist is a highly qualified registered primary healthcare practitioner who specialises in the care of teeth, gums, mouth and oral bone support. Dentists help people maintain and improve their oral health, which in turn helps enhance their appearance and also improves their health and quality of life because of the ability to chew better and thereby get all the nutrients their body needs.
In addition to providing direct dental care, dentists also provide education and instruction aimed at preventing the loss of teeth rather than focusing on repair and restoration of the teeth. Huge strides that have been made in dental technology over the past few years are allowing dentists to offer less painful and more effective treatment to their patients.
Some of the dental services that are provided by a dentist include:
- Performing various dental diagnostic examinations and developing an appropriate treatment plan.
- Performing comprehensive oral health assessments. This includes dental charting, health history, screening for decay, screening for oral cancer, jaw analysis, periodontal disease screening, tooth staining and saliva testing.
- Educating patients on oral health prevention and care, particularly in areas such as plaque control, smoking cessation, good nutrition and systemic health.
- Informing patients about their oral condition and the treatment options that are available so they can make informed decisions.
- Taking vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure and blood glucose levels before performing any major procedure.
- Prescribing, exposing, processing and interpreting X-rays.
- Making impressions of the teeth for oral application.
- Performing clinical treatments as agreed upon by the patient to repair, restore, retain, realign, replace or remove teeth.
- Administering local anaesthetics, conscious sedation or nitrous oxide sedation and monitoring the effects before, during and after the procedure.
- Prescribing medications to reduce or prevent infection.
- Maintaining accurate, detailed dental records for each patient.
- Staying up to date with new developments through continuous professional development.
- Referring patients to specialist dentists or physicians when necessary for further examination and treatment.
- Supervising allied dental health professionals working in the dental practice.
- Conducting staff recruitment, training and management.
- Disseminating oral health educational messages to the public.
A career in dentistry gives you the opportunity to be your own boss and to own your own dental practice. As an independent entrepreneur, you can set and maintain your own regular hours. The dentist has a legal responsibility to ensure best practice is achieved in all aspects of the dental practice.