Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists provide supportive dental services in preventative and restorative dental procedures, and construct and repair dental appliances.

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed, with three in five workers having a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Even with a qualification, experience or on-the-job training is usually needed. Registration or licensing is also required.

Tasks

  • providing educational programs to motivate children, parents and the community in matters relating to oral health
  • providing fluoride therapy by applying remineralising solutions and desensitising agents
  • removing deposits from teeth
  • applying non-invasive fissure sealants to teeth
  • taking impressions of the mouth
  • taking dental radiographs
  • administering local anaesthesia by infiltration and mandibular nerve block
  • fabricating full and partial dentures
  • constructing mouth guards, crowns, metal clasps, inlays, bridgework and other aids
  • repairing and relining denture bases

Job Titles

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Prosthetist
  • Dental Technician
  • Dental Therapist
  • Dental Hygienist

    Carries out preventative dental procedures under the direction of a Dentist. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Dental Prosthetist (also called Clinical Dental Technician)

    Designs, constructs, repairs and fits dentures and mouthguards. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Dental Technician

    Constructs and repairs dentures and other dental appliances. Registration or licensing may be required.

    Specialisations: Dental Laboratory Assistant

  • Dental Therapist

    Examines and treats diseases of the teeth in preschool, primary and secondary school children under the general supervision of a Dentist. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Oral Health Therapist

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    Unavailable
  • Future Growth

    moderate
  • Skill Level

    Associate Degree or Diploma
  • Employment Size

    6200
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    53.2%
  • Female Share

    46.8%
  • Full-Time Share

    59.0%

Find Vacancies

This is a very small occupation employing 6,200 workers. The number of workers has grown very strongly over the past 5 years.
Over the next 5 years (to May 2022) the number of workers is expected to grow moderately to 6,500. Around 3,000 job openings are likely over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created (a large number for an occupation of this size).

  • While there are jobs in many parts of Australia, South Australia has a large share of Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists.
  • They mainly work in: Health Care and Social Assistance; Manufacturing; and Wholesale Trade.
  • Part-time work is fairly common, but more than half work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 39.6 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • The average age is 45 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 5 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • Around 5 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
20075500
20084900
20094000
20106200
20118000
20124900
20137400
20146000
20157600
20169700
20176200
20226500

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Hours

Full-Time and Part-Time Status (% Share) and Average Weekly Hours (Full-Time)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryDental Hygienists, Technicians and TherapistsAll Jobs Average
Full-time5968.4
Part-time4131.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)39.640

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Health Care and Social Assistance64.8
Manufacturing32.5
Wholesale Trade1.3
Other Services1.2
Other Industries0.2

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateDental Hygienists, Technicians and TherapistsAll Jobs Average
NSW27.931.8
VIC19.325.5
QLD20.419.8
SA17.66.8
WA7.411.2
TAS4.42
NT1.11.1
ACT1.71.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketDental Hygienists, Technicians and TherapistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190-5.45.4
20-2410.2-9.99.9
25-3425.1-23.423.4
35-4413.4-21.721.7
45-5427.6-21.121.1
55-5914.8-8.78.7
60-645-5.95.9
65 and Over4-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryDental Hygienists, Technicians and TherapistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males53.2Males53.6
Females46.8Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed, with three in five workers having a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Even with a qualification, experience or on-the-job training is usually needed. Registration or licensing is also required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists who are caring, compassionate and empathetic and can communicate clearly with a diverse range of people.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Medicine and Dentistry

    94% Important

    Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

  2. Customer and Personal Service

    88% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  3. English Language

    77% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  4. Psychology

    70% Important

    Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

  5. Biology

    68% Important

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-2021.00 - Dental Hygienists.

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Assisting and Caring for Others

    91% Important

    Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support to people such as co-workers, customers, or patients.

  2. Getting Information

    90% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  3. Documenting/Recording Information

    89% Important

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  4. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

    88% Important

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  5. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

    81% Important

    Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-2021.00 - Dental Hygienists.

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