Image: Dentist with patient

Improving access to
dental care: first steps
to reform

Marko, a recent Bachelor of Dental Science graduate, has decided he would like to build upon his university dentistry experience through the new dental internship year.

The program will allow him to spend a year working in the public dental sector, consolidating the skills he developed at university and accessing additional development opportunities and support from a mentor.

Marko gains from a structured transition to full time practice, and the public benefits through improved access to the dental care they need.

Immediate investment to support our dental workforce

Many Australians are able to access good dental health care; however there are some members of the community who are unable to access dental care in a timely manner.

The Government is investing $53 million over four years to introduce a voluntary dental internship year, as a first step towards more significant reform next year. The scheme will provide support for up to 150 internship places, as well as mentoring roles, targeted at public dental health facilities.

The internship year will offer greater opportunities for dentistry graduates, which have increased in number in recent years, to gain experience in the public dental system. This will help to increase the capacity of Australia's dental workforce to provide additional dental care services to the community, particularly for those on low incomes.

Funding will also be provided to equip dental facilities and to cover the costs associated with the development of the curriculum for the scheme to ensure participants receive clinically appropriate training.

Prioritising areas for future reform

The Government is determined to address the long‑term challenges in dental health and position the system for reform in the future.

It will establish a National Advisory Council on Dental Health to provide advice to the Government on dental health.

Dentistry graduates per year, 2001-2009

Photo: Dentistry graduates per year chart