How to Select a Career in Oral Health

  • Julie SaturEmail author
  • Yoko Kawaguchi
  • Nelson Herrera
  • Rodrigo J. Mariño


Oral health care offers a wide variety of roles for those considering a career in the oral health professions. Although the titles and definitions of these professions vary between countries, they are generally described as dental surgeons or dentists, specialist dentists, dental therapists/oral health therapists, dental hygienists, dental technicians, dental prosthetists, and dental assistants. Students considering a career in oral health should note the various different professions and understand that each one is defined by the education and training required. The educational pathway for each profession also varies considerably between countries. For example, in many countries, dental surgeons or dentists are required to complete a 5 or 6 year full-time university degree. In the USA and some European countries, students must undertake a two-part or graduate degree structure, completing a Bachelor degree (e.g., Bachelor in Biomedical Sciences) before progressing to a 4-year professional degree with a more specialized focus, which usually culminates in a professional doctorate. Oral health professionals may work in the private or public sector, and prospective students should take every opportunity to familiarize themselves with potential career paths through programs such as internships.


Oral health profession Oral health workforce Dentist Dental hygienist Dental therapist Oral health therapist 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Satur
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yoko Kawaguchi
    • 2
  • Nelson Herrera
    • 3
  • Rodrigo J. Mariño
    • 1
  1. 1.Melbourne Dental SchoolThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Oral Health Promotion, Graduate School of Medical and Dental SciencesTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.ValparaisoChile

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