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Professional Responsibility of a Dentist

October 7, 2019

In order to practice as a dentist in NSW, a person must satisfy the following:

  1. Complete an appropriate degree of study at an approved university. There are now different types of degrees for dentistry that started with the original Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.D.S.) an undergraduate degree to Bachelor of Dentistry (B.Dent) a Post Graduate degree. This means you need a degree to get into the Dentistry degree in NSW. Just to confuse you more it is now a DMD.
  2. Undergo a criminal history check by the NSW police force. If a dentist commits a major criminal offence they lose their licence to practice.
  3. Be registered as a dentist with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). All practitioners that are registered to work in Australia can be found on the register of practitioners on the AHPRA website.
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  1. Be covered by professional indemnity insurance. The insurance is bundled with education as the insurance company is proactive in being educative to the profession in trying to prevent issues. This keeps the premiums down and prevention leads to better outcomes for patients.
  2. Complete continuing professional development (CPD) to the value of 60 hours during every three year period. This can include a broad range of activities including lectures, seminars, workshops and hands-on training sessions, for example infection control and medical emergencies. This allows dentists to keep their knowledge up-to-date, opens avenues of communication and discussion with others in the profession, and allows them to explore areas of interest within dentistry. There are various associations and societies that dentists can become members of, that provide regular seminars, meetings and send updates and journals throughout the year. Examples include the Australian Dental Association and the Australian Society of Endodontology (root canal speciality).
Australian Dental Association
Australian Society of Endodontology
  1. In order to work with children a dentist must hold a valid Working with Children check.
Working with Children check
  1. If a dentist operates an OPG (orthopantomogram) machine, they are required to obtain a licence to do so from the EPA (Environment Protection Authority). An OPG is an x-ray image that shows both the upper and lower jaws. These images are used for areas that the intraoral films cannot reach. You will know if you’ve had one taken before, as the machine rotates around your head during the scan.
Panoramic (OPG) X-ray machine
OPG with lower 3rd molars roots on the mandibular nerve canal

– Dr Esther

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