Dentists and dental practitioners in Australia

We ensure dentists and dental practitioners meet certain standards to practice in Australia. We work with a number of organisations to regulate the dental profession.

Dentist and dental practitioner registration

To practise in Australia, all dentists and dental practitioners must:  

Those who want to broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence can also undertake continuing professional development

There are additional requirements that must be met for dentists and dental practitioners to access Medicare

Regulation of the dental profession

A number of bodies work side by side to regulate Australia's dental profession. 

National Registration and Accreditation Scheme

Australia has a single National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for registering health professionals. It operates independently of the Australian Government under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009. 

Dental Board of Australia

The DBA is responsible for:  

  • registering dental professionals and students who must practise within a scope of practice according to their education, qualifications, training, experience and competence 

  • developing standards, codes and guidelines for the dental profession 

  • handling notifications, complaints, investigations and disciplinary hearings 

  • approving accreditation standards and accredited courses of study 

  • assessing the skills and qualifications of overseas trained dental practitioners wanting to practise in Australia.

Find out more about the DBA.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (Ahpra)

This independent statutory agency supports the DBA by: 

  • processing applications for registration 
  • maintaining a public register of registered health practitioners.  

Find out more about Ahpra.

Australian Dental Council (ADC)

This independent authority is responsible for: 

  • accrediting education providers and programs of study for the dental profession 

  • assessing international dental practitioners.  

Find out more about the ADC. 

Dentist and dental practitioner workforce in Australia

Registered dental professionals make up about 3% of Australia’s health workforce. In Australia, between April and June 2021, there were:  

  • 16,055 dentists 

  • 2,298 oral health therapists 

  • 1,405 dental hygienists 

  • 1,227 dental prosthetists 

  • 745 dental therapists. 

The majority of Australia’s dental workforce are dentists who work in: 

  • general dental practice 

  • the private sector  

  • urban areas, largely capital cities.  

See our health workforce data about dentists and dental practitioners.

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