One of the fastest growing fields in the medical sector is dental education. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is the increase in mortality rates the world over resulting in an increase in the aged and the elderly group of population. This in turn has increased the need for dental care and has created an additional demand for dentists and dental care surgeons. The next is a growing awareness of the need for dental and oral hygiene thereby increasing the need for specialised dental care. The last is very important. Large scale advancements in tools of dental care have made dental technicians a crucial part of overall dental care, thereby facilitating the work of dentists and dental surgeons.
Dental education can be divided into categories based on the work done by each group. However, the future and opportunities are the same across all of them primarily because the success of each is interdependent on the others.
Dentists – Dentists are primarily concerned with diagnosing, preventing and treating any issues concerned with teeth or mouth tissue. Work involves filling cavities, removing decay, straightening and repairing fractured teeth. Dentists are also involved in performing corrective surgery and extracting teeth as well as making models and impressions for dentures. All aspects of dental care are also imparted to patients including diet, flossing, and the use of fluorides.
The future and opportunities for dentists are not restricted to dental care alone. Those setting up private practice have to oversee various administrative tasks including bookkeeping and managing supplies and inventories and supervising dental assistants. Once a dentist makes a mark in private practice it can become a very lucrative and well earning career opportunity.
Dental technicians – Dental technicians play a great supporting role in dental practice. They are experts in constructing and repairing dentures, crowns, bridges and partial dentures. Dental technicians are also well conversant with structuring and devising suitable maxillofacial surgical devices and other orthodontic appliances. Additionally, they have the required skill sets to design, manufacture and repair dental appliances and prosthetics.
Dental technicians have to complete a Diploma of Dental Technology from an institute that is accredited and certified by the Government of Australia. One of the premier institutes in the country is the Australian Centre for Further Education which offers a 96 week full time course consisting of classroom lectures and intensive training at their laboratory.
There is a bright future for dental technicians in Australia after they complete the course. Career opportunities are many. Freshers can opt to work in private or public laboratories under supervision. After gaining the required experience and hands-on expertise they can start their own laboratories and earn handsomely.
Other areas in the field of dental education include dental hygienists who teach people the various aspects of oral care and dental assistants who perform a wide variety of laboratory duties, patient and office care. Both of these groups are usually attached to full time practicing dentists at their clinics and earn well.