the Australian Dental Association
Written by the Australian Dental Association, Oct 31, 2023
Fact Checked

How are dentists trained?

In Australia, dentists must study a four year post-graduate or five year undergraduate university degree to have the qualifications required to register to work as a dentist. 

Are dentists regulated?

All dentists must be registered with the Dental Board of Australia and meet the Board's registration standards to work in Australia.
Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, a person cannot call themself a dentist or provide dental treatment if they are not registered with the Dental Board of Australia.
You can check that your dentist is registered here.

Do dentists have to do more training after university?

A dentist's never stops learning. Australian dentists are required to complete at least 60 hours of additional education every three years.

What is the difference between a dentist and a dental specialist?

A dentist can provide dental treatment for all areas of dentistry that they have been trained in at university. 
Dental specialists return to university and complete more study to get a qualification in a particular area of dentistry. This makes them a specialist in the area that they studied. A dentist cannot call themself a specialist unless they have completed the necessary specialist university education and are registered with the Dental Board of Australia as a dental specialist. 

What are the different types of dental specialties?

There are 13 dental specialties approved in Australia. These specialties are:

  • dento-maxillofacial radiology
  • endodontics
  • forensic odontology
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • oral medicine
  • oral and maxillofacial pathology
  • oral surgery
  • orthodontics
  • paediatric dentistry
  • periodontics
  • prosthodontics
  • public health dentistry, and 
  • special needs dentistry
In Australia, a dentist cannot register as a cosmetic dentist. 

A root canal treatment specialist who diagnoses and treats diseases affecting the dental pulp (tooth nerve), and tooth root.


A specialist in crown, bridge, and denture work.

Oral Surgeon

Provides diagnosis and surgical management of diseases and injuries affecting the mouth, teeth, and jaw sockets.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Treats conditions, defects, injuries and aesthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.

Paediatric dentist

A specialist dentist for children up to 17 years of age.


Specialises in the treatment of diseases affecting the gums and bones that support the teeth.

Forensic Odontologist

A dental specialist that work to identify human remains using dental records.

Public Health Dentist

Dental specialists that work with communities in a non-clinical capacity to improve their overall dental health through education and ongoing health programs.

Specialist in Special Needs Dentistry

Specialists that provide treatment to patients with intellectual disability or with medical, physical, or psychiatric conditions, requiring specialist care.

Oral Medicine Specialist

Provides diagnosis, and non-surgical treatment of diseases and pain in patients with chronic and medically-related disorders of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.

Dental-maxillofacial radiologist

A dental specialist that reviews and reports findings from x-rays of the head and neck, in particular the jaws and teeth.