Members of the Oral Health Team in Australia
In Australia we have a wide range of dental professionals and specialists. These dental professionals and specialists are AHPRA registered health practitioners under the Dental Board of Australia.
In general practice, dentists perform tasks associated with diagnosing, treating and preventing disease and abnormalities of the teeth, gums and mouth.
Dental therapists examine and treat diseases of the teeth in pre-school, primary and secondary school children – and are no longer trained in Australia with this single scope of practice. Traditionally Dental Therapists worked solely in the public sector.
Dental Hygienist and Oral Health Therapist (OHT)
Dental hygienists and oral health therapists are professional, highly trained dental practitioners who focus on disease prevention and oral health promotion and maintenance, through clinical intervention and education. This is fundamental to the management of oral health. The difference between the two professionals is the OHT is recognised for their additional training in other aspects of dentistry such as some diagnostic and restorative dental therapy.
Engaged in the manufacture of partial and complete dentures, and mouthguards, consulting directly with patients.
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.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMFS)
Deals with conditions affecting the mouth, teeth, jaws, and face, providing a range of procedures for their patients including removal of problematic wisdom teeth, jaw re alignment, and reconstructive surgery following facial trauma. Oral maxillofacial surgeons are oral surgeons, but they have undergone additional training to address more complex dental and medical issues. These highly-skilled surgeons have extensive training in dental medicine, often addressing problems associated with the head, mouth, jaws, and neck. Surgeons who have earned this designation have obtained a medical license, which allows them to properly administer anaesthesia and perform more extensive surgeries. Ultimately, OMS surgeons treat various diseases, injuries, and defects of the head and throat – both hard and soft tissue regions
Deals with the diagnosis and surgical management of diseases and injuries affecting mouth, teeth and jaw sockets, place implants and wisdom teeth.
Deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the diseases and disorders affecting the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth.
Specialises in the restoration and replacement of teeth through procedures such as crowns, bridges, dentures and the use of dental implants. is the discipline of dentistry concerned with the consequences of congenital absence or acquired loss of oral tissues.
Deals with the structure, function, and diseases of the human tooth and, in particular, the dental pulp, root and diagnosis of tooth pain and performing root canal
Specialises in diagnosing and correcting alignment problems in growing and mature teeth and jaws, including treatment of crooked, overlapping and overcrowded teeth.
Focus on preventive and corrective dental care for children and adolescents as well providing oral hygiene education for parents.
Work to identify unknown human remains via dental records, analyse the source of bite marks and determine the cause of trauma to the face and mouth. Bushfires natural disasters such as MH17 when all that remains are the teeth, identify remains and trace. The forensic odontologist may be called in to do so by police officers, the medical examiner or the coroner. ... If a match can be made, the remains can be identified.
Oral Medicine Specialist
Deals with the diagnosis, and non-surgical treatment of disease and pain in patients with chronic and medically related disorders of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.
Forensically evaluates whether diseases of the teeth, jaws, gum and facial cavity are cancerous or infectious, and may advise on advanced procedures to treat them.
Public Health Dentist
Work with communities in a non-clinical capacity to improve their overall dental health through education and ongoing programs.
Specialist in Special Needs Dentistry
Focusing on the oral health care of patients with an intellectual disability, or those with medical, physical or psychiatric conditions, this specialty provides specially-tailored preventive and corrective dental treatment.
Uses diagnostic imaging procedures to identify conditions of the head and neck, with a particular focus on the jaws and teeth.
Non-Registered Oral Health Team Members
Dental assistants (sometimes known as dental nurses or dental chairside assistants) are key members of the dental health care team. They work with dentists and other members of the oral health team to deliver high quality dental care in dental offices.
Dental technicians construct and repair dentures (false teeth) and other dental appliances including crowns and bridges. Dental technicians work closely with dental prosthetists and dentists in the construction, modification and repair of dentures and other dental appliances.
Dental Laboratory Assistant
Dental Laboratory Assistants have no direct contact with patients, they are responsible for a range of duties in a dental lab, including pouring impressions, producing custom-made trays, manufacturing occlusal registration rims, transferring oral records, articulating models for a range of prostheses and constructing mouthguards.