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How to become a Dentist

Dentists are primary healthcare professionals who treat, repair, and help prevent diseases and other conditions that affect the teeth, gums, and mouth. They also carry out surgical and cosmetic procedures.

If you are kind and empathetic, can handle any problem that comes your way, and are dedicated to improving people’s health, becoming a dentist could be ideal for you.

What skills do I need as a dentist?

  • Caring and compassionate
  • Dextrous
  • Good attention to detail
  • Calm in difficult situations
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • Excellent communicator
  • Great problem solver
  • Can work independently

What tasks can I expect to do?

  • Examine teeth, gums and mouth
  • Diagnose dental and oral diseases
  • Perform treatments and procedures
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Educate patients on dental care
  • Prescribe medications and treatments
  • Administer anaesthetics
  • Lead teams of other dental workers

What industries do dentists typically work in?

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Manufacturing
  • Education and Training

What kind of lifestyle can I expect as a dentist?

Full-time roles tend to be more common for dentists. You can expect to have fairly regular working hours, with only the occasional need to work overtime or on holidays.

Dentists typically work in private clinics and as part of other healthcare centres. Performing examinations and procedures for patients will require you to work on-site, so opportunities to work from home are extremely limited.

Most dentists earn an above average wage.

How to become a dentist

To become a dentist, you must complete a bachelor or master’s degree in dentistry. After completing your degree, you must also complete an internship or residency program, where you will receive hands-on training in a dental clinic under the supervision of experienced dentists.

Additionally, you must obtain a license to practice by passing other theoretical and practical examinations.

If you’re in high school now and are thinking of becoming a dentist, here are some steps you could take:

  • See if you can find work experience in a dentist’s office or other health-related setting. This can help you decide whether or not the career is right for you and can help you start building connections.
  • Browse courses and make sure you know the entry requirements for the degree you would like to study. A lot of them have certain subject prerequisites, such as Maths or Chemistry, and other additional entry requirements like external testing and interviews.
  • Talk to a dentist and get an insight into what a day in their life is like. They may also be able to provide you with some tips when it comes to choosing a degree or a place to work.

Find out more:

Similar careers to dentist

  • Orthodontist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Medical Doctor
  • Registered Nurse
  • Dental Assistant
  • Surgeon
  • Aged Care Worker
  • Support Worker

Find out more about alternative careers.


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