Purpose and Mission
Dental specialists are dentists who have chosen to specialise in a specific area of dentistry. The primary responsibilities of dental specialists are to diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and congenital problems of the teeth, gums and other structures of the mouth.
Some choose to specialise in periodontics (preventing and treating diseases of the gums and supportive tissues). Other dental specialists choose to focus on prosthodontics (restoring or replacing teeth and gums), orthodontics (diagnosing and fixing poorly aligned teeth and jaws), or paediatric dentistry (dental care for infants and children).
Other dental specialities include in forensic dentistry, oral surgery, oral pathology and public health dentistry.
Most dental specialists work as part of a private practice. That means that dental specialists do not report directly to any specific individual in most cases. However, specialists employed at community clinics, nursing homes and large dental practises typically report to a department supervisor or office manager.
In many cases, dental specialists do have notable supervisory responsibilities. Those who run their own practice or participate in the management of a larger practice may spend up to a quarter of their working hours performing administrative duties. Senior dental specialists often oversee residents or junior colleagues just joining a practice.
Dentists have earned a bachelor’s degree and a four-year Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. The undergraduate degree can be in any field, but a natural science major is ideal to make sure you are ready for highly competitive dental school.
Of note, all dentists, including dental specialists, must register with the Dental Board of Australia to be able to practice.
Responsibilities of a Dental Specialist
Dental specialists undertake a wide range of tasks regarding preventing and treating of diseases of the teeth and gums. Common professional activities for dental specialists include: