Dentist Career RouteJune 24, 2013
Over the past decade there has been a large amount of emphasis on studying and maintaining oral health in the context of overall health. Dentists have to perform numerous roles and be committed to enhancing the quality of life of their patients. They do this by adopting preventive measures and treatment of oral disorders and ailments.
To be a dentist, in addition to theoretical knowledge, you also need to have fine motor skills, excellent interpersonal skills and be a good communicator. In the course of your job, you will be dealing with all kinds of people, a lot of whom will have an innate fear of visiting a dentist. Being patient is therefore just as important.
Some of your responsibilities as a dentist will be:
-Devoting time to educate patients in maintenance of oral health.
-Diagnosis of dental diseases, which could range from cavities and tooth decay to gum disease and oral cancer.
-Diagnosing of general diseases that might have oral manifestations such as diabetes, leukaemia and AIDS.
-Providing health care in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.
-Prevention treatment of dental disease, which might involve clinical treatments like cleaning, scaling, use of pharmaceutical interventions, and application of fluoride as well as public health measures such as participation in community health programs.
Your Career Path
In order to become a qualified dentist, you will first need to obtain the necessary University Admissions Index mark, also called the UAI. This will help you gain entry into any degree in dentistry such as a Bachelor of Dental Science (B.D. Sc), Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.D.S), or Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Science (B.O.H.D.Sc) and Bachelor of Dentistry (B.Dent) – they all have similar training.
Dentistry programs are extremely competitive in nature. They generally have a high cut-off and you will have to perform very well in the UMAT or the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test in addition to a range of prerequisite subjects. Generally, an interview is also conducted.
Only seven institutions offer dentistry courses in Australia. This number does seem insufficient when you take the shortage of skills in the industry into consideration. Most shortages in the dental field exist in the public system. However as per the Australian Good Universities Guide, only 1/3rd of dentistry graduates start their careers in the public sector while 2/3rd start out in the private sector.
In order to gain a registration to practice as a dentist in Australia, you are required to submit proof of successful completion of a dental degree from an accredited university. In addition to this, you will also need evidence from the Dental Board of the territory and state that you intend to practice and reside in. Once the board grants this to you, an annual renewal is mandatory. This might mean participation in a continuing professional development (CPD) program.
Dentistry is a very clinically-focused career and practical work is the basis of it. Dentists need to be proficient in science and maths. If you choose to be a dentist you can have a private practice or you can work in a government service or in the defence forces too.