My dentist told me I should see a dental specialist.
He has suggested someone, but I wanted to know what my options were and I want to make sure I see the right dental specialist.
How do you know if a practitioner is specialised in their field?
There is a strict registration process.
Who is in charge of that process?
A body called the Australian Practitioner Regulation Agency or APRA for short. The acceptance criteria in Australia are tougher than in most other countries. Dentists that want to register as specialists are required to do years of extra training to qualify for registration.
What training do they need?
It really depends on their field of specialisation. The starting point for all specialists is a degree in general dentistry. Then most specialists go through an extra three to four years of full-time postgraduate university study to qualify for registration. Some specialist fields, such as oral and maxillofacial surgery need around 10 years of additional training beyond the training required to be a general dentist.
Is there a way you can check on their registration before you make an appointment?
You go to the APRA website and type a dentist’s name on the page headed ‘Practitioner Registration’. Then you can see their exact qualifications and whether they’re registered as a general dentist or a specialist in their field.
Do you need to get a referral to see a dental specialist?
No, almost all dental specialists will see you without a referral. Your dentist can provide the specialist with your dental history and x-rays which will save doubling up on diagnostic procedures.