Dental Board of Australia - 2021/22 annual summary
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2021/22 annual summary

Dental practice in 2021/22


26,038 dental practitioners

  • Up 4.2% from 2020/21
  • 3.1% of all registered health practitioners

0.6% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

54.3% female; 45.7% male


Age: <25 3.1%, 25-34 28.9%, 35-44 27.8%, 45-54 17.7%, 55-64 14.5%, 65-74 6.7%, >75 1.3%


Divisions: 74.5% dentists, 9.9% oral health therapists, 5.6% dental hygienists, 5.0% dental prosthetists, 2.9% dental therapists, → 2.1% registered in multiple divisions



725 notifications lodged with Ahpra about

592 dental practitioners

  • 1,249 notifications about 1,021 dental practitioners made Australia-wide, including HPCA and OHO data
  • 3.9% of the profession

Sources of notifications

Sources of notifications: 63.7% Patient, relative or member of the public, 22.5% Health complaints entity, 4.7% Other practitioner, 1.8% Employer, 1.0% Board initiated, 6.3% Other

Most common types of complaint

Most common types of complaint: 59.0% Clinical care, 7.3% Communication, 4.0% Documentation, 2.6% Health impairment, 2.2% Behaviour, 2.2% Breach of non-offence provision - National Law, 1.9% Offence against other law, 1.7% Medication, 1.0% Boundary violation, 1.0% Confidentiality, 17.1% Other

17 immediate actions taken

22 mandatory notification received

  • 11 about professional standards

Notifications closed

Notifications closed: 749 notifications closed, 9.5% conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted, 6.4% cautioned or reprimanded, 33.9% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity, 50.2% no further action


193 practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year

149 cases being monitored at 30 June:

  • 10 for conduct
  • 13 for health
  • 84 for performance
  • 11 for prohibited practitioner/student
  • 31 for suitability/eligibility for registration

Criminal offence complaints

24 criminal offence complaints made

  • 9 about title protection
  • 11 about practice protection
  • 4 about advertising breaches

24 closed

Referred to an adjudication body

3 matters decided by a tribunal

1 matter decided by a panel


2 appeals lodged

From the Chair

The Dental Board of Australia achieves its role of protecting the public by setting standards to enter and remain in the dental profession, and by supporting practitioners to practise professionally. We focused on achieving these goals by working collaboratively and consultatively with the profession, our stakeholders and the public.

Highlights this year

The Board held its fifth biennial national conference, hearing from several presenters on the theme of Trust and confidence through better understanding. Engagement with stakeholders continued through regular meetings of the Dental Stakeholder Liaison Group. The Board’s reviews and evaluations were highly consultative, incorporating the feedback of practitioners, stakeholders and the public. In May, the Board held its first face-to-face meeting since February 2020.

Regulatory response to COVID-19

Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and support for practitioners to comply with their regulatory obligations in a rapidly changing environment continued. This included publishing information to help practitioners understand the impact of COVID-19 on continuing professional development requirements for maintaining an endorsement to practise conscious sedation.

Dental practitioner support

This year marks the second year of operation of the Dental Practitioner Support Service, the first 24/7, free, confidential, nationwide telephone and online service for all dental practitioners and students.


The Board continued to work closely with its accreditation authority, the Australian Dental Council (ADC), to oversee accredited programs of study that, when approved by the Board, lead to registration as a dental practitioner. The Board contributed to the ADC’s review of the Professional competencies of the newly qualified dental practitioner, which will come into effect for the ADC’s accreditation processes in 2023.

Policy updates

The Board evaluated the implementation of its revised Scope of practice registration standard and Guidelines for scope of practice. The evaluation, which considered the views of stakeholders and practitioners, found no adverse impacts on patient safety or the quality of care provided by practitioners following the introduction of the revised standard.

Following consultation with other regulators, industry groups and professional associations, the Board released an updated fact sheet on teeth whitening.

The Board released the cross-profession
Supervised practice framework.

New registration standards, guidelines and codes

The Board completed its review of the Guidelines on infection control, following public consultation. The outcome of the review was to replace the guidelines with supporting resources for practitioners, which were refined through dental practitioner user testing.

The Board’s review of its Specialist registration standard is in its early stages.

The Board released a revised Code of conduct
in partnership with several other Boards.

Other news

The Board welcomed two new members, Mrs Julia Christensen (community member) and Dr Simon Shanahan (practitioner member). We thank outgoing members Winthrop Professor Paul Abbott (practitioner member) and Ms Alison Faigniez (community member) for their commitment and contribution to the work of the Board.

Dr Murray Thomas

Page reviewed 9/11/2023