About Your Teeth Is there any difference in seeing a specialist dentist?

Q & A's

So is there really any difference in seeing a specialist dentist?


Unfortunately, the difference is not immediately obvious.

So is there really any difference in seeing a specialist dentist?

Well, in a word, yes.

Newly qualified graduates in Dentistry, leave dental schools with a basic skill set. They can manage most general day to day dental problems. Dental specialists on the other hand concentrate on specific areas of dental care.

There are thirteen recognised specialist fields in dentistry.

Dental specialists are general dentists who undertake a further three or more years of full time study in a particular field in dentistry.  This is on top of the original five years it takes to become a dentist. They may specialise in areas of facial and dental defects (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons), restoration and replacement of teeth (Prosthodontists), treatment of gum disease (Periodontists) or prevention and correction of crooked teeth and misaligned jaws (Orthodontists).

The additional study and training means your specialist acquires more knowledge, skills and expertise in their area of specialty. It is also reassurance that you, as the patient, will receive the best professional advice and highest-quality dental treatment.

Not everyone needs to see a specialist. However, if you are considering complex and expensive treatment, visit a registered dental specialist and discuss your specific treatment needs with the experts.  Ask your dentist for a referral. We’ve listed a few questions below to help you make the right decision about the right dental specialist.

Top 5 questions to ask your ‘dental specialist’:

  1. Do they advertise as one of the thirteen specialties?
  2. How long have they been a specialist?
  3. Are they registered as a specialist with AHPRA?
  4. Do they belong to one of the recognised specialist peer organisations?
  5. Can they provide you details of another specialist colleague?

To find out if your dentist is a qualified specialist, visit the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) at www.ahpra.gov.au/registers. Navigate to Registers of Practitioners and search the database for your dentist. Here you will find details of your dentist’s qualifications and registration.



This was posted by:
Dr Markijan Hupalo – Prosthodontist
Originally from Brisbane, Dr Hupalo is a Sydney-based Prosthodontist. He obtained his primary degree from Queensland University and graduated with Honours in 1988. He commenced his dental practicing career as a Dental Officer with the Royal Australian Air Force, where he worked for almost ten years. In 1996 he completed his military service and returned to Sydney to begin specialist training in 1996. He gained specialist registration in 1999 after graduating from the specialist clinical training programme in prosthodontics at the University of Sydney. He has a specialist private practice in Sydney with an international reputation for quality dental solutions and patient care. Apart from the traditional dental restorative solutions, Dr Hupalo has a special interest in adhesive dentistry and conservative dental solutions. Dr Hupalo holds a teaching appointment with the University of Sydney and is involved in Prosthodontic education at the undergraduate and post graduate level.  He is an advisor to tertiary institutions, industry and is a consultant to the legal profession. Visit: www.sydneyprosthodontics.com
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