Dental Board of Australia - Starting your dental studies? What you need to know
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Starting your dental studies? What you need to know

07 May 2018

Have you started your first year of dental studies? If the answer is yes, the Dental Board of Australia (the Board) has information on what you need to know about your regulatory obligations as a student.

Even though you have not yet qualified as a dental practitioner, and are very much at the start of your career, you already have responsibilities under the National Law1 that you need to be aware of and understand.

If you’re a dental student in Australia in a program of study approved by the Dental Board that qualifies you for registration in the dental profession; your education provider has already registered you with the Board. Many first year students are unaware of this fact.

Don’t worry. To help you out, the Board has published information on its website so you can you get your head around questions like, who are the Dental Board? What does being registered with the Board as a student mean?

What do students need to know about dental practitioner regulation?

Below are some of the basics you need to know:

  • The Board regulates dental practitioners in Australia and its functions include:
    • registering dentists, students, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists and dental prosthetists
    • developing standards, codes and guidelines for the dental profession
    • handling complaints against practitioners and students
    • assessing overseas-trained practitioners who wish to practise in Australia, and
    • approving accreditation standards and accredited courses of study.
  • The Board’s functions are set out in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (act) – what we call the ‘National Law’
  • The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is the agency that supports the Board to implement their duties in the National Scheme.
  • You don’t need to apply for student registration, your education provider does it on your behalf and there are no fees for registration as a student.
  • The Board may take action in relation to dental students in response to:
    • on impairment matters2 , or
    • when there is a conviction of a serious nature that may impact on public safety. Read the Board’s Criminal history registration standard carefully.
  • Anyone can make a complaint (what we call a ‘notification’) about a student regarding their health or a criminal matter and the Board can consider if regulatory action is required to protect the public.
  • The Board publishes an English language registration standard – you must meet this standard when you register as a dental practitioner at the end of your course.
  • The Board regularly publishes communiqués and newsletters on its website so you can keep up to date with what’s going on.

The Board has produced a vodcast to explain further your obligations as a registered dental student. The vodcast will tell you about the Board, give you some information on the National Scheme3, what the Board does as a regulator and what you need to know and do as a registered dental student, both now and before you complete your studies.

‘We all can recall what it was like in the first few months of dental study as you try and settle into university life and find your feet when it comes to your academic work. It is impossible to know everything straightaway. Students receive a lot of information; however information about their legal responsibilities is really important. Dental practitioner regulation is going to be an important part of their career on an ongoing basis, no time like the present to find out what it’s all about.’ said Dr John Lockwood AM, Chair of the Dental Board of Australia.

Students should go to for more information.



For more information

  • This video can also be found on the Board’s dedicated YouTube channel, and if you found it useful feel free to share using the #dentalstudent.
  • For more information on student registration, go to the Board’s website.
  • To find out more about the National Scheme go to the AHPRA website.
  • For media enquiries: (03) 8708 9200.

1 Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).

2 When we say “impairment” in relation to a student it means, according to the National Law, that this person has a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder, including substance abuse or dependence that detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect, a student’s capacity to undertake clinical training. It is important to note that if you do have impairment, the threshold for reporting is high.

3 National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme).

Page reviewed 7/05/2018