The word specialist is often used liberally in the professional services industry however it can be inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally) used in a misleading fashion. The problem also extends to words like ‘specialist’, ‘specialty’ and ‘specialises’. Confusion can arise when a practitioner automatically advertises what they are registered in as a specialty.
This mistake appears to occur frequently in the denture making field. Under Australian national law Dental Prosthetists are not specialists and cannot refer to themselves as one. A dental prosthetist is not a dentist, nor a dental specialist, not a denture specialist or even a specialist denture repairer, and if found advertising themselves as one can be reported to the Dental Board of Australia.
What types of Dental Specialists are there in Australia?
Specialist qualification can be bestowed upon dentists who have completed specialised training and completed at least two years of general dental practice.
Dental specialist types are as follows:
- Dento-Maxillofacial Radiology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Oral Medicine
- Oral Pathology
- Oral Surgery
- Paediatric Dentistry
- Public Health Dentistry (Community Dentistry)
- Special Needs Dentistry
- Forensic Odontology
The National Board’s Specialist Registration Standard outlines the requirements for registration as a dental specialist.
The board also provides the details of each specialty.
Dental prosthetists are Independent Practitioners.
Dental prosthetists are viewed as independent practitioners whose work is involved in "the assessment, treatment, management and provision of removable dentures; and flexible, removable mouthguards used for sporting activities."
"Dental prosthetists may take impressions and records required for the manufacture of various types of splints; sleep apnoea/anti-snoring devices, immediate dentures and immediate additions to existing dentures. These procedures require written referrals to and from dentists and any appliance or device manufactured under such arrangement must be planned, issued and managed by the treating dentist."
"Dental prosthetists educated and trained in a program of study approved by the National Board to provide treatment for patients requiring implant retained overdentures must enter into a structured professional relationship with a dentist before providing such treatment."
Do I need a referal to visit a Dental Prosthetist?
No you don’t need a referral to see a dental prosthetist and can deal with them directly.
Frances Blane is a registered Dental Prosthetist (since 1980) and welcomes all calls.
Call 02 4739 0885 and talk to Frances and she will help you.
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency / Raise-a-concern: