Oral Health & Dental Jobs in Australia

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Oral health professionals and dentists are an integral pillar of Australia’s world-class healthcare system. They can be found working in busy public hospitals, remote community health clinics and private clinical practices across the country, promoting good oral health habits amongst their patients whilst providing preventative and remedial treatments concerning diseases of the teeth and mouth. Due to the complex nature of their work, these highly trained professionals work in multi-disciplinary teams with each member performing a specific task to ensure patients are as relaxed and comfortable as possible whilst medically-qualified dentists lead the treatment. For this reason, a range of oral health and dental jobs are available in Australia today, including medial and non-medical positions. All require some element of on-the-job training. Keep reading for more details on these positions, the responsibilities involved and the often lucrative salaries on offer:

NON-MEDICAL POSITIONS

  • Dental Assistant Jobs

Dental assistants are effectively the right hand men/women of the lead dentist, providing direct clinical support to medically-qualified staff in the treatment room by handling the necessary equipment for them, ensuring patients are properly positioned and comfortable as well as communicating with other dental staff to coordinate staff resources in a timely manner. Other responsibilities of dental assistant jobs include sterilising equipment before treatment, preparing patients for their treatment, taking X-rays and impressions of patient’s teeth and scheduling appointments.

Duties:

  • Provides direct clinical support to dentist and other staff in treatment room
  • Handles dental equipment, including pre-treatment sterilisation
  • Guides patients through their treatment and ensures their comfort
  • Takes X-rays and impressions of patients teeth
  • Schedules treatment

Education:

Unlike dentists and other field professionals, dental assistant jobs require no medical training, however a Certificate III in Dental Assisting – available from universities and TAFE institutions is a basic pre-requisite.  Further on-the-job training will usually be provided upon commencing this role.

Salary:

Salaries for dental assistants are quite modest when compared to medically-trained professionals working within this field and range between $22,000 per annum for a trainee to $54,000 per annum for someone working full-time.
  • Dental Hygienist Jobs

Whilst dental assistants work under the supervision of medically-trained dentists and other oral health professionals, dental hygienist jobs offer greater autonomy and more responsibility in terms of directly treating patients. Dental Hygienists are typically responsible for educating patients and the general public on good oral health practices to prevent conditions such as tooth decay, gingivitis and tartar occurring in the first place. After sufficient training, they can also perform simple procedures such as dental examinations and cleaning patient’s teeth without supervision. Due to the strong advocacy focus of this role, dental hygienists can often be found working in schools and community health clinics.

Duties:

  • Educates patients & members of the public on good oral health practices
  • Performs basic procedures including oral health examinations and teeth cleaning
  • Can often be found working in schools and community health clinics

Education:

Dental hygienist jobs is another position that doesn’t require medical training, however a bachelor or advanced diploma is a pre-requisite for applying for one of these roles. Common qualifications include an Advanced Diploma of Oral Health (Dental Hygiene) or a Bachelor of Oral Health Science.

Salary:

According to Payscale, the typical salary of Australian dental hygienists ranges between $53,000 per annum for an entry level position up to $120,000 for an experienced professional with considerable responsibilities.
 
MEDICAL POSITIONS
  • Dentist Jobs

Dentists (also known as General Practitioner Dentists) are the face of the oral health sector and perform a role with a similar scope to general practitioner (GP) doctors, obviously with an exclusive focus on their patient’s oral health. Given their medical qualifications and extensive training, dentist jobs are well paid and varied, with experienced dentists able to work within the public health system or opt to work in their own private practices. With clinical oversight for all patient treatments, dentists carry considerable responsibilities and perform a wide range of procedures, ranging from teeth cleaning, cavity fillings, root canal treatments, gum disease treatments to dealing with oral pain and other complex conditions. Dentists also work closely with other oral health professionals where necessary, including orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Duties:

  • Provides clinical oversight over other oral health professionals and all patient treatments
  • Performs dental procedures, including teeth cleaning, cavity fillings, tooth extractions, root canal treatments, gum disease treatments and oral pain treatments
  • Works closely with other oral health professionals such as Orthodontists, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Trains and supervises junior staff to ensure they meet necessary clinical standards

Education:

To qualify for dentist jobs in Australia, you must first complete a basic degree at dental school (which is similar to a typical bachelor-level medical degree). Popular pathways after graduating from high school include completing a 3-year undergraduate Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Biomedicine, before progressing to a 4-5 year postgraduate course like a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine. The 4-5 years at dental school will also include clinical training. The final step is to successfully meet the requirements of professional registration.

Salary:

Dentists earn very good salaries due to their extensive training and day-to-day responsibilities. According to Payscale, the typical salary of Australian dentists ranges from $57,000 per annum for students undertaking practical placements, up to $178,000 for experienced professionals. The median annual income for all dental roles is $97,000.

  • Orthodontist Jobs

Orthodontists are highly trained dental professionals who specialise in the correct alignment of patient’s jaws and the positioning of their teeth. They use a range of sophisticated methods to achieve these outcomes, including braces, retainers and other devices which they fit into patient’s mouths following thorough modelling. Given the highly complex nature of the treatments they provide, orthodontists tend to work with patients over a number of years, including follow-up consultations once the orthodontic devices have been removed. These professionals also work closely with dentists and oral health professionals.

Duties:

  • Specialise in correct jaw alignment and positioning of teeth
  • Consult with patients to correctly diagnose their orthodontic problem, before making measurements and taking models to develop personalised solutions
  • Fit orthodontic devices like braces and retainers to correctly align patients jaw and teeth and follow-up periodically to ensure treatment is working as intended

Education:

To qualify for orthodontist jobs in Australia, you must first complete a regular dental degree, like a Doctor of Dental Medicine for example – to gain a basic foundational knowledge in clinical dentistry. Following at least 2 years practice in a regular dentist job, you must then complete 3 years full-time study in orthodontics from an accredited university, such as a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orthodontics). The final step is to successfully meet the requirements of professional registration.

Salary:

Orthodontist jobs are amongst the best paid in Australia according to Payscale, with the typical salary for this role ranging from $59,000 per annum for orthodontists-in-training, all the way up to $302,000 per annum for highly experienced professionals working in private practice. The median salary for all orthodontist jobs is $99,000.