Want to Become a Dentist?

What is dentistry?

Dentistry is defined by the World Health Organisation as 'the science and art of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth, jaws and mouth.' Over the last decade there has been a much greater emphasis on understanding and maintaining a person's oral health in the context of general health.

What is a Dentist?

As dentists are members of an ethical profession they are expected to place the welfare of their patients before any other consideration.

A successful dentist will need to enjoy interacting with people, have good interpersonal skills, be a good communicator, have good fine motor skills, enjoy working independently and accepting responsibility, enjoy working cooperatively with others and have a high level of aptitude in science-based subjects.

Why Become a Dentist?

A career as a dentist allows the flexibility to balance a professional and personal life, the opportunity to be your own boss, and to earn a good income. It is a rewarding profession that combines art and science, personal communication skills and high ethical standards.

What Does a Dentist Do?

Dentists aim to improve the quality of life for their patients by preventing and treating oral disorders.

  • Devoting time to patient education in maintaining good oral health.
  • Diagnosing dental disease such as tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. This may involve a thorough oral examination, the collection of the patient’s medical history, saliva tests, x-rays, lasers or biopsies.
  • Diagnosing general disease which may have oral manifestations such as AIDS, diabetes and leukaemia.
  • Providing health care to prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease. Prevention of dental disease may involve clinical treatments such as scaling, cleaning, application of fluoride, use of pharmaceutical interventions and public health measures such as involvement in community health programs.
  • Restoring teeth that are decayed or damaged and improving function and appearance. Restoration of teeth may involve amalgam or tooth-coloured restorations, crowns, bridges, veneers and root-fillings where the tooth pulp (nerve) is treated.
  • Replacing lost teeth. Teeth can be replaced by plastic or metal dentures or by implant-supported crowns and dentures.
  • Treating problems with the function of the mouth, e.g. during chewing.
  • Performing a variety of oral surgical procedures on the teeth and associated structures, e.g. the removal of wisdom teeth.
  • Being responsible for treatment delegated to allied dental personnel.
  • Referring treatment to specialist dentists and/or other health practitioners when necessary.
  • Dentists may provide orthodontic treatment to correct misaligned teeth and jaws and may also write prescriptions to manage or cure disease and control infection and/or pain.

Where Can I Study Dentistry in South Australia?

The University of Adelaide

Dental programs include the Bachelor of Dental Surgery and the Bachelor of Oral Health together with a range of postgraduate courses.

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), the five year program is the only professional dentistry program in South Australia.  Students are involved with clinical procedures from the outset of the program, with an emphasis on the recognition and prevention of oral diseases.  The curriculum enjoys a balance of problem-based, self-directed, traditional, and hands-on learning approaches with early exposure of students to clinical dental practice.  The curriculum provides students with a broad dental education that encourages continual professional development and produces graduates that are well-rounded, thinking, and mature clinicians.

Bachelor of Oral Health (BOralHlth), curriculum is based on a problem-based learning philosophy with early exposure of students to clinical practice.  There are around 30-35 students in each of the three years of the program, comprising both Australian and International students.  The Bachelor of Oral Health educates dental professionals for the future of oral health environment.

Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Adelaide SA 5005
P 08 8303 5336
F 08 8303 3788
E [email protected]
W www.health.adelaide.edu.au/dentistry


Dental courses will offer you the opportunity to pursue a career as a dental assistant, hygienist, or technician.  This is a growing area, which means that your prospects of employment once you have graduates are strong.

Dental courses offered at the TAFE SA Gilles Plains Campus:

Award Courses

Apprenticeships & Traineeships

 Certificate III in Dental Assisting

 Certificate III in Dental Assisting

 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting

 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting

 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting
(incl. Group A elective for dental radiography work

 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting
(incl. Group A elective for dental radiography work

 Diploma of Dental Technology


 Diploma of Practice Management


 Advanced Diploma of Dental Prosthetics


 Advanced Diploma of Oral Health (Dental Hygiene)


TAFES SA, Gilles Plains Campus
Blacks Road
Gilles Plains SA 5086
P 08 8207 1247
F 08 8207 1113
E [email protected]
W https://www.tafesa.edu.au/courses/health-lifestyle/dental/


For further information about "approved programs of study" in Australia visit the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) web site.