Oral health is the prevention, education and therapeutic service for the control of oral diseases. Oral health educators or dental hygienists are licensed primary healthcare professionals. You will have the opportunity to promote oral health through public education and aid individuals and groups in attaining and maintaining optimum oral health.
What is a dental hygienist?
Dental Hygienists work with people of all ages from young children to the elderly, providing dental hygiene services essential for the total care program of each individual.
As a Dental Hygenist you may perform duties such as:
- Oral health assessments in a clinic
- Scaling and cleaning of teeth
- Exposing, processing and interpreting dental x-rays
- Administering anaesthetic injections
- Teaching oral hygiene techniques to help people maintain healthy teeth and gums
- Counselling patients on plaque control, good nutrition, smoking cessation and systemic health.
What will I study?
Oral Health is offered over three years, full-time. Mostly this will be completed at the Central Coast campus (Ourimbah), however you might have the option to spend some of your time at the Callaghan campus during first year. Clinical placements in third year are offered in a variety of public health dental clinics in Sydney, on the Central Coast and in Newcastle. You may also have the opportunity for a rural placement in your third year of study.
Integrated learning is a significant attribute of our courses. You will have the chance to relate oral health sciences and skills within a population health based approach to oral health. The courses contributing to the Oral Health program feature a dynamic combination of teaching and learning experiences, as well as clinical care experiences in professional practice settings.
You will study topics such as:
- Human bioscience and anatomy
- Assessment and health promotion
as well as the more specialised areas of Oral Health practice, such as:
- Oral pathology
- Indigenous oral health
- Oral health for children and adolescents
- Oral health for the elderly and special needs groups
There is a strong demand for dental hygienists in both the private and public sectors in regional and rural locations in most states of Australia. As a graduate, you will have the knowledge and the skills you need to work in more specialised areas of dentistry, such as:
- Aged care
- Special needs
You may choose to work as a clinician under the guidance of a dentist, or perhaps as an educator or researcher in a tertiary institution. Some Dental Hygienists may work as consumer advocates for specific oral health problems related to issues such as diabetes, sleep apnoea, fluoride, or childhood decay. You may be interested in sales and marketing, or get involved as an author/editor. Eventually you may use your clinical expertise to become a consultant in the field, delivering educational materials to healthcare professionals.
Academic staff in Oral Health
To view more information about a staff member, including research interests, please select the "web" option to visit that staff member's profile.