A registered Dental Specialist is a dental professional who has completed a formal, university-based, post-graduate qualification in addition to their General Dentistry degree.
The average post-graduate Dental Specialist degree requires a minimum of three years, or 5000+ hours, of full time study and research. This is followed by a life-time commitment to specialty-specific training and education to reach the highest standards in a focused area of dental care. These skill and education standards must be maintained for a Dental Specialist to continue their registration with the Dental Board of Australia. A Dental Specialist is an expert in their field with a serious passion and dedication to their chosen specialty; they are armed with a wide range of advanced knowledge, equipment and techniques to ensure the very best care for you.
There are thirteen dental specialties in Australia that are approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council. These specialties are:
- Dento-Maxillofacial Radiology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Oral Medicine
- Oral Pathology
- Oral Surgery
- Paediatric Dentistry
- Public Health Dentistry (Community Dentistry)
- Special Needs Dentistry, and
- Forensic Odontology
Your General Dentist can perform many dental procedures, and they are the right professionals to see for regular check-ups and general dental treatment. General Dentists are your first line of defence against problems of the teeth and mouth. When treatment, or procedures, become more complex and/or medical problems complicate your care you may need to consult a Dental Specialist until you are dentally fit to continue regular care with your General Dentist. The very best General Dentists have a wide network of Dental Specialists with whom they collaborate and refer their patients to for complex problems and to ensure your treatment has the best outcome. The Dental Specialists Society of Western Australia is committed to enhancing these networks and optimising communication about your dental health.
As an educated consumer, it is important to understand that you have choices in your treatment decisions and that you can be involved in making the best choice for your health and well-being. Before committing to complex, expensive or irreversible dental procedures you should consider:
- Has my General Dentist completed appropriate training that enables them to carry out this procedure successfully?
- Is my General Dentist the best qualified person to carry out this procedure?
- How many times has my General Dentist carried out this procedure in the past as compared to a Dental Specialist?
- If my General Dentist says they are specialised in this procedure, are they a registered specialist with the Dental Board of Australia?
Armed with this knowledge, you can make an informed decision as to who can best help you meet your goals. If you are unsure then you are able to pursue your own consultation with the Dental Specialist of your choice, without needing a referral.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. The Dental Specialist Society of Western Australia is here to help you.