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Dental Prosthesist

Dental Prosthetists originally train as dental technicians but they are allowed to work independently and in public clinics, to provide complete and partial dentures and mouthguards to the public, consulting directly with clients about their dental prosthetic needs.

Overview

  • Where do dental prosthetists work?

    A dental prosthetics profession offers men and women of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds exceptional dentistry career opportunities to work as clinicians, technicians, educators, researchers, sales and marketing managers, inventors, editors and consultants in an array of flexible work schedules.

    Dental prosthetists are employed in commercial, public and private dental laboratories or self-employed as the owner of a denture clinic. There are many dental prosthetists job opportunities in the private and public sectors in regional and rural locations in most states and territories of Australia.

    Clinicians: The dental prosthetist can work in a variety of work settings to give a defined range of primary dental service to the public that includes a denture clinic, hospital dental laboratory, nursing home or within a progressive private dental practice. Being skilled in both the clinical and laboratory aspects of removable dentures allows the prosthetist to control and manage each case from start to finish giving the patient a personal and customised service.

    Dental Technician: Dental prosthetists can continue to perform the duties of a dental technician in commercial dental laboratories, private dental laboratories in general and specialist dental practices, hospitals, public sector dental health services and the armed forces. In many instances the dental prosthetist will undertake a role that combines the work of both a clinician and a technician.

    Educator: Dental prosthetists can apply the skills and knowledge from their work experience in teaching the clinical and technical aspects of dentistry to students in all of the dental sciences in the TAFE and University programs. This is a dental career avenue that can lead toward advanced degrees.

    Researcher: Dental prosthetists have a significant role to play in formulating new perspectives in dental materials and their influence in the oral cavity and on the environment, as well as general principles of dental treatments, mouth physiology and hygiene. Research is a component of advanced degrees and can be conducted in the dental laboratory, hospital or training program.

    Sales and Marketing Manager: Dental prosthetists can be employed as a technical advisor by product and service companies in the dental laboratory industry to lead product development and professional and public marketing campaigns. The work involves building customer relationships, identifying and presenting the market and the customer requirements as well as organising and participating in trade exhibitions.

    Inventors: Dental prosthetists are in a unique position to develop, patent and produce innovative dental appliances and new production processes that offer ethical and quality outcomes in dentistry. Self-motivation and building upon experience towards continual improvement are the key elements in this role.

    Editor: Dental prosthetists can apply their skills and knowledge toward informing and educating the dental profession on current issues, techniques and research. This position can involve a professional magazine, journal or textbook and requires writing skills, self-motivation, good organisational and time management skills (deadlines), attention to detail and creativity.

    Consultant: Dental prosthetists who have achieved clinical excellence and a high level of integrity and quality in their workmanship can choose to share their achievements with dental professionals on the speaker circuit to deliver educational lectures. Additionally, dental prosthetists can be employed by dental laboratory companies to create and deliver educational courses to healthcare professionals.

  • What do dental prosthetists do?

    A dental Prosthetists clinical role is focused on diagnostic, preventive and fabrication duties to provide a complete removable prosthetic service for the replacement and protection of natural teeth. The National Registration Act regulates the procedures that a dental prosthetist can perform.

    • As part of dental prosthetic services, a dental prosthetist career in New South Wales may include:
    • Perform oral health assessments that include taking a health history, dental charting, oral cancer screening, saliva testing and taking vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, blood glucose, respiration);
    • Perform a dental examination to develop a treatment plan;
    • Refer patients with complex dental conditions to an appropriate dentist or specialist dentist;
    • Identify, select and prepare instruments, equipment and materials as required;
    • Make impressions of the teeth for denture and sports mouthguard construction;
    • Make plaster and stone models of the mouth and teeth from impressions;
    • Measure and record jaw relationships;
    • Replicate the jaw positions using the plaster or stone models on articulating equipment;
    • Select and arrange artificial teeth for full or partial dentures;
    • Evaluate a dental prosthesis at try-in stage;
    • Insert and issue a completed dental prosthesis (denture and sports mouthguard);
    • Perform maintenance, repair and reline services on removable dental prosthesis required by the patient or a referring dentist;
    • Teach oral health hygiene techniques to help people maintain natural teeth;
    • Counsel patients on plaque control, good nutrition, smoking cessation and systemic health;
    • Manage the delivery of quality patient care;
    • Perform all procedures permitted by the dental technician

    Dental prosthetists have achieved versatile clinical and technical skills to replace or protect tooth function while preserving the oral soft and hard tissues that support the removable dental prosthesis. They are highly knowledgeable of the appropriate methods to construct oral appliances from a variety of materials.

    A dental prosthetist is registered by the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency. The DBA recognises the need for a high level of responsibility and accuracy from the dental prosthetist on the potential affects of their products and services on the health and appearance of a person.

    Registration to practice a dental prosthetist career requires proof of successful completion of an accredited post-graduate course in Dental Prosthetics. Dental Technology is a prerequisite to entering an accredited course in Dental Prosthetics. Registration, once granted, must be renewed annually.

    Working unregistered is an offence, which can carry a conviction and/or a fine for the unregistered dental prosthetist. If they are employed in a dental laboratory or dental practice their employer is also liable with the potential of a conviction and/or a fine.

  • What is a dental prosthetist?

    Dental Prosthetists, also referred to as Clinical Dental Technicians in some states, are Nationally registered primary healthcare professionals who are qualified dental technicians and have completed further dental studies in order to have direct patient contact for the construction and maintenance of removable prosthetic appliances and sports mouthguards.

    Dental Prosthetists have either an Advanced Diploma in Dental Prosthetics or a Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Prosthetics). They can work independently as the owner/operator of a denture clinic to assess, design, construct, fit and adjust removable dentures and sports mouthguard service to the public without the referral from a dentist. A dental prosthetist is a recognised provider by the Australian Government for services to war veterans, State Government dental programs and by all private health funds.

    A dental prosthetist career would be a good dentistry position for you if you like working with tools and equipment, can apply a high level of attention to detail and precision (accurate), have good time management (efficient) and possess good eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity. In addition, if you have an artistic ability to construct form and design and find being a good listener with sensitivity to the needs of others as personally rewarding, you have some qualities that make you well suited to pursue a dental prosthetist career.

Career Opportunities

  • How do you become a dental prosthetist in New South Wales?

    Dental prosthetics offers excellent career opportunities for the high school graduate and non-traditional student (i.e. an individual who is over 23 years of age, an individual seeking a career change or re-entry or an individual from a culturally diverse background).

    To become a qualified dental prosthetist and achieve a dental career, you must first attain a tertiary qualification in dental technology and fulfill the requirements to become a registered dental technician. A dental prosthetist qualification is a post-graduate advanced diploma in New South Wales. TAFE and Degree programs are available in other states.

    New South Wales offers a two-year part time Advanced Diploma in Dental Prosthetics at the Randwick Institute of Technical and Further Education – TAFE NSW Sydney Institute. Other courses are also on offer such as a bridging course. Visit Website

    Your entry to the New South Wales advanced diploma program is dependent on being a registered dental technician in NSW with a Diploma of Dental Technology or equivalent. Dental prosthetic students must be able to undertake their training in an accredited public hospital with a dental facility treating public patients. In NSW this was achieved at the Sydney Dental Hospital.

    Once a Dental Prosthetist is registered under National Registration of Healthcare Practitioners they are able to work in all States of Australia and New Zealand.

  • If you are considering a dental prosthetist career you should:

    • Take high school courses in health, biology, chemistry, mathematics, English, industrial arts, computers, speech and psychology
    • Apply for work experience in a Dental Prosthetist Clinic or a Specialist Prosthodontic dental practice
    • Have good near-sighted and colour vision
      • To perform independent detailed and precise work
    • Have good interpersonal communication skills
      • To give full attention to what others are saying
      • To provide information, education and advice to people of diverse cultural background
      • To instill motivation toward healthy goals
      • To explain clear ideas and details
    • Have good manual dexterity
      • To quickly move your hands to grasp, manipulate and assemble objects
    • Have a working knowledge of computers
      • To design, calculate and process using advanced technological equipment
    • Be able to prepare, understand and act on written materials (letters, reports, summaries)
      • To analyse, plan, organise and problem solve
    • Have good organizational and time management skills
    • Enjoy working with others in a team environment
    • Be interested in the delivery of oral health care

Career Paths

  • Dental Prosthetist Job Opportunities

    There is a high demand for dental prosthetists, especially but not limited to the aged population of Australia. Dental prosthetists enhance access to oral health care that improves the quality of life for people who have lost some or all of their natural teeth. The regional, rural and remote areas offer ample numbers of potential patients for the range of services that a dental prosthetist can offer.

  • What career paths exist for dental prosthetists?

    Dental prosthetists can complete further education to advance their career within the dental workforce. Education and training institutions are facilitating expanded and post-graduate qualifications.

    • Bachelor degree program (Dental Therapy)
      • Broadens knowledge and skills to provide operative and preventive treatment to children, adolescents and teenagers.
      • Recognition of prior learning taken into account
      • New South Wales offers a bachelor degree program where you graduate with a dual qualification of dental therapy and dental hygiene:
        • The University of Sydney; Cumberland, Sydney Dental Hospital and Westmead campuses - Bachelor of Oral Health. Visit Website
    • Bachelor degree program (Dental Hygiene)
      • Broadens knowledge and skills to provide preventive and therapeutic treatment to people of all ages.
      • Recognition of prior learning taken into account
      • New South Wales offers two bachelor degree programs:
      • The University of Newcastle, Ourimbah Campus 2 to 3 years full time study to graduate with a Bachelor of Oral Health degree. Visit Website
      • The University of Sydney; Cumberland, Sydney Dental Hospital and Westmead Campuses Visit Website
    • 2 to 3 years full time study to receive a dual qualification of dental therapy and dental hygiene with a Bachelor of Oral Health degree.
    • Master of Science Degree (MS)
      • 1 to 2 year course
      • Acquiring in-depth understanding of a specific area of knowledge through research, coursework or a combination of both
      • The University of Newcastle offers a Master of Philosophy Degree in Oral Health Visit Website
    • Master of Dental Technology in Prosthetics
      • 1 year full time or 2 years part time study
      • Upgrade a Bachelor degree to a Masters degree
      • Expand knowledge in biomedical and oral health sciences and development of advanced clinical skills
      • Course available to registered dental technicians and prosthetists
      • Griffith University, Gold Coast QLD Visit website​
    BDS Degree (dentist)  

More Info

  • A Rewarding Career

    Dental prosthetists have expanded their dentistry career within the technical environment to include a more patient-oriented direction. They have the ability to make independent and critical judgments that together with their highly developed skills in appliance design and construction allows them to offer tooth replacement and protective solutions for their patients.

    A dental prosthetics career offers personal satisfaction in providing a specific range of dental services that are congruent to the aim of dentistry in improving the health of Australians through good oral health.

  • Information Websites

    • The Australian Dental Prosthetists’ Association (National) Visit Website
    • The Australian Dental Prosthetists’ Association NSW Branch Visit Website
    • The International Federation of Denturists Visit Website
    • The Job Guide occupation information (specialisation of dental technician) Visit Website
    • The National Training Information Service
      HLT02 – Health Training Package; Volume 6: Dental Assisting, Dental Technology and Dental Prosthetics Visit Website
    • Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health Visit Website
  • Where can I get more dental prosthetics job information in NSW?

    • Your school careers advisor
    • Your local denture clinic
    • The Australian Dental Prosthetists’ Association NSW Branch
    • Email: admin@adpa.com.au
    • Dental prosthetist labour force in Australia, 2005. AIHW Dental Statistics and Research Unit, Research Report No. 25
    • The Australian Dental Association, Inc. (National) Policy Statement on Allied Dental Professionals in Australia