Everything you need to know about becoming a dental prosthetist in Australia – Part 1November 6, 2014
A dental prosthetist is a qualified dental technician who specialises in the construction and maintenance of removable prosthetic oral appliances and sports mouth guards.
Dental prosthetists originally train as dental technicians and then undergo further training and specialisation that qualify them to provide diagnostic, preventive and fabrication services for partial and complete dentures and mouth guards.
Some of the tasks of a dental prosthetist include:
- Performing oral health assessments. This involves taking the patient’s health history, dental charting, taking vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, respiration, blood glucose), oral cancer screening and saliva testing
- Performing dental examinations and developing an appropriate treatment plan for different patients depending on the specific problem
- Identifying, selecting and preparing materials, equipment and instruments depending on the upcoming oral procedure
- Referring patients with complex dental problems to a specialist dentist or appropriate dental professional
- Making impressions of the teeth to be used as the base for constructing dentures or sports mouth guards
- Taking and recording measurements of the jaw
- Making plaster models of the mouth and teeth from the impressions taken
- Replicating the positions of the jaw using the constructed models on specialised articulating equipment
- Assessing and arranging artificial teeth for full or partial dentures
- Performing repair, reline and maintenance services on removable dental prosthesis as required by the patient or by a referring dentist
- Teaching patients oral health hygiene techniques that will help them keep their natural teeth for longer
- Advising patients on good nutrition, methods of plaque control, systemic health and smoking cessation as part of comprehensive dental care
- Performing all dental procedures permitted by the dental technician
Education & training requirements
To qualify as a dental prosthetist in Australia, you will have to successfully complete either a Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Prosthetics or an Advanced Diploma in Dental Prosthetics.
Dental prosthetists are trained in a wide range of technical and clinical skills pertaining to protecting or replacing tooth function and are highly knowledgeable about the appropriate methods of constructing oral appliances from a variety of materials.
All qualified dental prosthetists in Australia are required to be registered by the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency before setting up practice. You can only obtain registration to practice as a dental prosthetist on submission of proof that you have successfully completed an accredited post-graduate course in Dental Prosthetics, for which you will first need to have completed a course in Dental Technology. Once granted, registration needs to be renewed every year.
Working without obtaining registration from the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency is an offence. An unregistered dental prosthetist can be convicted and/or fined for illegal practice and their licence can be revoked.