Everything you need to know about becoming a dentist in Australia – Part 3October 17, 2014
Career options and job settings
Once you have obtained a dental degree, you will find that you can choose from among several different job settings.
General dentistry practice
The majority of dentists work as self-employed practitioners in general practice providing a full range of dental care services to their patients. The more common areas of work involve identifying any dental diseases as well as providing preventive oral health services to protect and save teeth. Many dentists also work in multiple sectors within their working week.
Hospital dental clinics
Hospital dental clinics typically offer special needs dental care to members of the community with mental, physical and medical challenges. At hospital dental clinics, you would typically treat patients alongside physicians. This is often in the operating room or the emergency department. Hospital dental clinics also often form part of the clinical training facility for students in dental programs. Dental professionals who work in these clinics usually have recognised qualifications as researchers and academic educators.
The Australian Defence Force (Air Force, Navy and Army)
Each of the armed services provides a comprehensive range of dental care for all members of the service and in some circumstances their families. Dental graduates generally enter the armed services with the officer rank as a Flight Lieutenant, a Navy Lieutenant or an Army Captain, while specialist dentists enter the armed forces with a higher rank.
Public sector dental health services
General as well as specialist dentists work in community dental clinics in regional, rural and remote areas where they provide routine as well as emergency dental services.
As an experienced dentist, you can apply the skills and knowledge from your work experience in teaching dentistry to students. An academic dentistry career combines teaching, research, patient care and community service. Career opportunities for academic dentists are in great demand at this time.
International health care
There is ongoing need for general as well as specialist dentists to provide dental services to underserved populations in several resource poor countries around the world. During the course of their career, several dental professionals volunteer in developing countries for a few weeks a year to offer routine dental services to these communities and also in response to manmade or natural disasters.
A career in research offers plenty of scope to be on the cutting edge of dental discoveries. Research is usually conducted in a hospital, dental laboratory or university training program. Many dentist researchers hold faculty positions at universities.
Professional relations managers
Product and service companies in the dental industry often hire qualified dentists as professional relations managers to communicate and promote brand alliance.
Specialty dentistry practice
Specialty dental practice focuses on any one specialised area of oral health care, which could be orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, pedodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery or special needs dentistry. Before you can practice as a specialist dentist, you would generally need some experience as a general dentist before attaining a higher degree.