How to become a dentist

Everything you need to know about becoming a dentist in Australia
To practise as a dentist in Australia you must complete an accredited university degree in dentistry, be registered with the Dental Board of Australia and meet the standards for re-registration every year.
Dentistry student

Below we outline the two main pathways to studying dentistry at university, which on completion will enable you to register as a dentist with the Dental Board of Australia.

1. Complete a university degree in dentistry

Straight from high school

For a small number of high-achieving school leavers, direct entry into a double degree Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Dental Medicine (7-year degree) will give you the opportunity to study a three-year undergraduate science degree, before undertaking the four-year Doctor of Dental Medicine.

To enter via this pathway you must:

  • meet the minimum ATAR score, expected to be 99.6 or equivalent
  • achieve a satisfactory performance in the assessment process, including a written assessment and panel discussion session*
  • and meet the minimum English language requirements, where these are not demonstrated by sufficient qualifications.

Once you are enrolled, you will also need to complete the dentistry elective unit and achieve an average mark of at least 65.0 in each year of study during the Bachelor of Science study to progress into the Doctor of Dental Medicine.

*Due to high demand, the minimum ATAR score does not guarantee the opportunity to undertake the assessment process.

After completing a bachelor's degree from university

The majority of dental applicants apply for postgraduate entry into the Doctor of Dental Medicine (4-year degree) following the completion of an eligible university bachelor's degree.

To enter via this pathway you must:

  • meet the minimum GPA score for an eligible bachelor’s degree at the time of application
  • achieve a satisfactory performance in the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) or equivalent.*
  • achieve a satisfactory performance in the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI)*

*Satisfactory performance is defined in the relevant Domestic Admission Guide (pdf, 1.1MB) and International Admission Guide (pdf, 721KB).

2. Register with the Dental Board of Australia

Once you have graduated with a degree in dentistry, it’s a legal requirement to register with the Dental Board of Australia before you can practise.

Information on student registration and information for graduates registering with the Board for the first time can be found on the AHPRA Dental Board website.

3. Re-registration is required each year to remain a practising dental practitioner

To continue practising as a dentist in Australia, you will need to renew your registration with the Dental Board of Ausralia each year and complete a minimum of 60 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities over a three-year cycle.

Sydney Dental School offers a year round program of CPD events, seminars and short courses across many major cities throughout Australia to assist dental graduates in meeting their CPD requirements.

These courses assist practitioners in their obligation to provide high quality patient care in endodontics, general dentistry, hygiene and therapy, implants, oral surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics and more.

4. Pursue a specialty

Many of our graduates also go on to pursue further postgraduate study in clinical dentistry, specialising in a range of areas including sedation and pain control, oral medicine, implants, surgery, orthodontics, paediatrics, periodontics, population oral health, prosthodontics and special needs dentistry.

All streams of the Doctor of Clinical Dentistry prepare you for a career at specialist level in your preferred field, and provide a foundation to pursue a career in research and/or clinical academic positions.

To be admitted to one of our postgraduate dentistry programs, you must hold a qualification recognised by the Dental Board of Australia and have at least two years of general dental practice experience.

More specific admission criteria may apply to individual programs.

Transferring from overseas

Dental practitioners with overseas qualifications who wish to apply for registration with the Dental Board of Australia should refer to the Dental Board website and the General Registration for Overseas-qualified Dental Practitioners Registration Standard (321kb, pdf).

25 February 2020

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