For the upcoming dental graduates, part 1.

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Congratulations for the upcoming dental graduates!

For you have survived the clinical, the tutors, the patients and the difficult OSCEs, EXAMS and everything life can throw at your at your four (or five) years within the dental school system.

You’ve gone through a very difficult (and expensive) journey, finally got your degree (DMD, DDS, BDS etc.) and ready to take over the world as a Dr. XX or Dr. XY!

Then you realise: oh great! I’m not under the wing of the dental school anymore. I’m going out into the “real world”, I’ll need to find a job, get my AHPRA license, radiology license, medicare provider number etc. etc.!

Don’t worry, ADA NSW has got you covered! They’ve made a real good starter pack for you to go through the list. I’ll go through some of the few important points that is also covered in the documents:


1. Register with the Dental Board of Australia (DBA)

Pretty straightforward, you need a license to practice dentistry and be able to call yourself a doctor. Get your graduate registration by going to the AHPRA website and pay more money to get your license to practice.


2. Apply for Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)

Under s. 129 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW), a registered dental practitioner may not practice unless they have professional indemnity insurance that meets the DBA’s minimum terms and conditions. These are listed in the professional indemnity insurance registration standard that, with other registration standards, is found at

This is pretty important. If you have PII and you get in trouble the PII will cover you. If you don’t then you get a double whammy from your case and also from AHPRA. The main recommended PII that I recommend is the ADA NSW’s Guild Insurance. For the 18 months your insurance will be free and the Advisory services team are a real gem!


3. Apply for a Provider Number

Note: provider number are LOCATION based, therefore if you are practicing in two different physical locations (despite being a branch practice) you still need TWO separate provider numbers as an example!

The links in the ADA form are out of date, so apply for your initial medicare number by clicking here.

Afterwards get your Public Key Infrastructure (I recommend the USB key!) so that you can APPLY FOR YOUR FUTURE MEDICARE NUMBERS ONLINE.

4. Apply for a Dental Prescriber Number

You need a prescribe number in order prescribe those antibiotics and cortico-steroid creams. Prescriber numbers are not location based so you only need one for the whole of Australia.

Once you have it, you can order your own CUSTOM prescription form with your name and degree (How cool is that?) But it takes at least 28 days for it to get to your place. So, in the meantime, use your practice’s pad and just cross the name out and add your name and PBS number.


5. Apply for a Radiology Licence

Note: in NSW you only need a radiology license if you are going to take OPGs/Lat Cephs or CBCTs. You do not need one if your practice only has an x-ray machine which lets you take PAs, PBWs etc.

But it doesn’t hurt to get one anyway, as most practices do have OPGs. Note: it’s buried in the website, but the ” proposed licence conditions” under section 3 is “IA-20


6. Ensure you have studied the DBA Policies, Codes and Guidelines

It’s boring, but just read through it. It’s pretty much the rule book for what you can and cannot do.


7. Join ADA

This is very important. ADA NSW can offer a huge range of member benefits including introductory new graduate member rates and free professional indemnity insurance via Guild Insurance.

Plus, our recent graduates committee are here to represent you we organize social events to allow you to get free CPDs and catch up with your friends and socialise to establish better contacts and give you peer support!

We are here for you, to represent our generation of new dentists! Our recent advocacy is the establishment of the mentor support program to further help you in your dental journey! Any questions or queries can be emailed directly to me via this contact form! 


8. Sign up for an ADA NSW Centre for Professional Development (CPD) course

Ben Campbell is a great general manager of the ADA NSW CPD and the courses which ADA offers are very practical, balanced and provides a good environment to socialise and know more of your fellow peers (as compared to other courses which I have been too- honestly). If you see a theme of knowing your peers, you’ll get my drift. I’ll cover WHY it is important to socialise to other dentists as a dentist in part 2.


9. Get a blood test and make sure your immunizations are up to date

Not covered in the ADA pamphlet, but get it done, if you don’t have your usual immunizations (e.g. Hep B, MMR, Chicken pox, tetanus) get it done as well. With the recent infection control scare all employers require you to have at least a blood test or immunization record in place!


This is quite a long post, but it covers the basic documents of what you need to get started in the real world. I’ll be writing a part 2 of the tips and tricks in surviving the hard world of….Fallout 4, kidding, dentistry.


Any questions or comments you can contact me privately or discussions can be posted in the comments section below.


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