Oral health industry opening more doors than ever before
SYDNEY, Australia: Most often, the images associated with the word dentistry are a chair in a room, bright lights and two or three sets of eyes peering into the mouth of a patient. However, as the industry grows, so too do the career options. A recent article from the University of Sydney featured staff and alumni who have forged interesting careers outside the clinic.
A degree in dentistry or oral health can lead to any number of careers in areas such as research, the corporate sector, public health, health policy and even forensics. There is much more to the profession than even students and professionals in the industry may be aware of.
Dr Christina Adler, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Dental School, said: “I am attracted to working in science because it enables me to try and help solve significant health problems, such as the issue of dental decay.” Adler’s research is focused specifically on the oral microbiome and on understanding how it evolves from a state of health to the current highly prevalent state of chronic infection and disease.
Common pathways into other fields of the industry such as product manufacturing, accreditation agencies, insurance companies and other healthcare service providers might not seem as surprising as the profession of forensics does. Perhaps tasked with some of the most difficult work in dentistry, the forensic odontologist assists with investigations into unnatural deaths, homicides and cases where the deceased person is unknown. It can be a demanding career.
As reported in the article, Dr Russell Lain is a forensic odontologist, who after working in regional private practice dentistry for twenty years, was looking for a way to get back into the science behind dentistry. “I went to a forensic conference and realised that this was a unique way that dentists help people and that only dentists can do this particular job of identifying people by their teeth,” noted Lain.
In an ever-expanding industry that is growing at a speed never seen before, the possibilities and variety of avenues available for those dentists thinking about a new career are also expanding. These opportunities are also available for current and prospective oral health students.