Bachelor of Oral Health
- CRICOS Code: 053176D
- VTAC Code: 3800538801
- International VTAC Code: 3800538803
What will I study?
The Bachelor of Oral Health is a three year degree that requires the successful completion of 12 compulsory (core) subjects over the first two year plus a year-long Oral Health Practice subject in first year and second year. Third year is made up of two year-long subjects.
The course has four main components:
Study subjects that provide a theoretical background to the procedures used in providing dental care, including: the structure and function of normal and abnormal tissues of the body, and principles of treatment of disease.
Social science and preventive dentistry
Take on subjects concerned with preventing dental disease in the community. Community studies and oral health promotion are a major feature of this component, but it also includes ethics, psychology, sociology and research methods.
Here you'll study subjects related to oral health therapy practice (which are common to dental hygienists' and dental therapists' clinical practice). Subjects span from infection control and instrumentation through to dental material and examination procedures.
Vocational clinical practice
Take on study involving clinical management of dental decay in children, adolescents and young adults. Clinical work is undertaken at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne in all years of the course and at other metropolitan and rural community health centres in the final year of the course.
Sample course plan
View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this degree.
300 point plan
- Year Long 37.5 pts
- Semester 1 31.25 pts
- Semester 2 31.25 pts
- Year Long 50 pts
- Semester 1 25 pts
- Semester 2 25 pts
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- Society and Health 1A 12.5 pts
This subject comprises two modules:
Community Health Studies: An introduction to health sociology; the influences of socio-demographic, cultural and economic factors on health; accessibility, utilisation and quality of health and welfare services; and an examination of selected contemporary health issues.
Human Development, Behaviour and Learning: The physical and psychological growth of children and adults; theories of cognitive, psychological and psychosocial development; and the theoretical foundations to psychosocial problems.
- Oral Health Sciences 1A 18.75 pts
This subject comprises three components.
General Anatomy and Physiology: this subject component integrates the struction and function of human body systems relevant to the oral health care of the dental patient. Topics to be covered include the structure and function of the cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.
Oral Anatomy and Histology: this subject component covers the hard and soft tissues of the human dentition. Topics to be covered include the morphological anatomy of both the deciduous and permanent dentition as well as the development and microscopic structure of the human oral tissues such as enamel, dentine, dental pulp and the periodontal ligament.
Plaque Related Diseases I: this subject component integrates concepts in microbiology, microbial ecology, biochemistry, immunology and physiology that are relevant to the understanding of oral health and disease. Throughout this subject students will develop knowledge regarding the common oral diseases that are caused by bacteria that are part of dental plaque, especially periodontitis and dental caries (tooth decay). Students will gain knowledge of the theoretical basis supporting the prevention of these diseases at an individual and community level.
- Society and Health 1B 12.5 pts
This subject comprises 3 modules:
Research Methods: Scientific enquiry, an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods and design; data collection and sampling methods; an introduction to data analysis and display; searching and using the literature; critical evaluation of published research and an introduction to evidence based practice.
Community Oral Health: The influences of socio-demographic, cultural and economic factors on oral health; dental health delivery systems and planning processes incorporating an introduction to epidemiology, utilisation and accessibility, quality of oral health services; and an examination of the roles of oral health therapists in improving the oral health of the community.
Applied Behavioural Science: The theoretical foundations to psychosocial problems; orofacial attractiveness; self identity and social functioning; behaviour management techniques; anxiety; fear and phobia; patient and parent management; and theories of learning.
- Oral Health Sciences 1B 18.75 pts
This subject comprises three components.
Head and Neck Anatomy: This subject component integrates the structure and function of body tissues of the head and neck including the embryology of the craniofacial region, the structure and function of the nerve and vascular supply of the head and neck, lympatic drainage of the head, osteology of the skull, myology of the head and neck and the pterygomandibular space.
Pathology: This subject component covers: inflammation and infections; defense mechanisms; immunology; healing and repair; pathological conditions causing abnormal bleeding; neoplasia and cario-vascular disease; disorders of the nervous system and endocrine system; and infectious diseases and allergies.
Plaque Related Diseases II: This subject component integrates concepts in microbiology, microbial ecology, biochemistry, immunology and physiology that are relevant to the understanding of oral health and disease. Throughout this subject students will develop knowledge regarding the common oral diseases that are caused by bacteria that are part of dental plaque, especially periodontitis and dental caries (tooth decay). Students will gain knowledge of the theoretical basis supporting the prevention of these diseases at an individual and community level.
- Oral Health Practice 1 37.5 pts
This subject will be commence as a pre-clinical laboratory subject, building practical skills to prepare students for dental clinical practice. Students will develop initial manual dexterity and self-evaluation skills using virtual simulation facilities. Students will apply knowledge of disease processes, anatomy, common materials, equipment and instrumentation, and techniques for the management of caries (decay) and periodontal (gum) diseases. Students will undertake tasks on manikins to develop skills in preparing and restoring lost tooth structure (fillings), and in periodontal cleaning. Students will learn about correct posture, safety, and working as a team (assistant and operator) in the dental operatory during the provision of these procedures.
Students will develop knowledge and skills regarding clinical dental practice. The clinical procedures of history taking, clinical examination, diagnosis and provision of simple treatment plans will be introduced and students will gain knowledge of dental record keeping requirements. Students will gain knowledge of their responsibilities under the law to provide a safe environment for their patients, staff and themselves, together with knowledge of the current published standards of practice. Students will also gain knowledge of infection control strategies, practice protocols and documentation required to provide a safe clinical environment. Clinical sessions will allow students to practise and reinforce the skills in safe work practices and infection control procedures while practising the clinical skills of history taking, clinical examination, plaque index, prophylaxis and application of topical fluoride. During these clinical sessions, students will develop skills in ergonomic work practices in a clinical environment.
Student learning will include patient-centred oral health care practice. They will learn to classify periodontal diseases and develop skills in non-surgical periodontal debridement. They will also be introduced to the concept and evidence of minimal intervention dentistry and how it relates to non-surgical management and surgical treatment of dental caries and restoration of teeth. Students will gain knowledge of dental materials commonly used for direct restorative procedures. Students will also be introduced to dental radiology, dental radiographic techniques and interpretation of radiographs.
- Health Promotion 2A 12.5 pts
This subject comprises two modules:
Health Promotion Principles: Public health and the social determinants of health, primary health care, health promotion and education; health promotion models and strategies; evidence-based oral health promotion; health promotion programs; health promotion program planning, implementation and evaluation.
Health Education: Health education in context; health behaviours, communication and counselling skills; teaching and learning methodology; interpersonal and group skills; health education models and frameworks; educational evaluation; and may include field visits and practical work.
- Oral Health Sciences 2A 12.5 pts
This subject contains two modules:
Pharmacology and Pain Management: Local anaesthetics agents and drug schedules; the pharmacology of local anaesthesia; applied anatomy relevant to local analgesia; administration of infiltration and inferior dental nerve block analgesia, complications of local analgesia; and the management of dental pain.
Oral Biology – cariology and periodontology: The causation, natural history, clinical appearance, treatment and prevention of the common dental conditions: caries and periodontal disease.
- Health Promotion 2B 12.5 pts
This subject comprises two modules:
Ethics and Professional Practice: Policies that affect oral health practice, dental professional practice regulation and legislation, the principles and application of ethics to health care and human research, privacy, record keeping and health consumer issues; ethics and professional practice.
Applied Health Education: School curriculum frameworks, settings and strategies for health education, educational technology and aids for oral health and applied health education experience via in-class practical sessions and field visits.
- Oral Health Sciences 2B 12.5 pts
Oral medicine and pathology: healing and repair in the oral cavity; developmental abnormalities of the dentition; microbiology, biochemistry and pathology of caries and periodontal diseases; pigmentation of the oral mucosa; oral ulcerations; premalignant oral lesions; cysts of the oral region; dysplasia and neoplasia of the oral mucosa; odontogenic neoplasms; dermatological and salivary gland disorders; infectious diseases and specific oral infections; oral manifestations.
Management of patients with complex and additional needs: management of patients with speech pathology; cardiovascular conditions; respiratory disease; endocrine, haematological, neurological, psychiatric and neoplastic disorders; and intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities.
- Oral Health Practice 2 50 pts
- This subject comprises lectures, seminars, preclinical practicum and clinical practicum. The preclinical practicum focuses on an update on dental materials and the principles and techniques of restorative dentistry in both the deciduous and permanent dentitions. The clinical practicum includes the prevention and management of dental caries and periodontal diseases across all ages. Topics include: advanced communication techniques; reflective practice; the principles of cavity preparation; minimal intervention dentistry; reasons for failure of restorations; cuspal overlays; stainless steel crowns; pulp therapy; exodontia technique; post extraction management; space maintenance; periodontics; traumatology; orthodontics within the scope of an oral health therapist (including: orthodontic materials and techniques required for an oral health therapist in orthodontic role; rationale for orthodontic treatment; cause of malocclusion; indications and contra indications for orthodontic treatment; role of the oral health therapist in orthodontics; identification of orthodontic instruments, bands, brackets and attachments; identification of removable appliances); treatment planning; evaluation of treatment; and clinical experience in oral health therapy patient care, including the administration of local analgesia and the management of dental pain, root debridement and sub‐gingival scaling, clinical photography, and the clinical management of dental caries.
- Oral Health Therapy Research 25 pts
This subject comprises three modules:
Health Policy: Policy making and organisations, stakeholders, processes and evidence, the influence of professions, public health policy and oral health and some current policy issues in oral health care.
Sociology: Concepts and theories on the arrangement of society and the influences that shape it; how people form values and cultures; class, status, gender and ethnicity; the influences of political, socio-demographic and socio-economic factors on health; the sociology of health and illness and its influences on research methodology.
Oral Health Therapy Research: Students to complete a project using a research framework (incorporating background review of the literature and evidence relevant to the project, a practical component and written reporting and presentation of findings) in one of the following units:
1. Health Promotion Project or
2. Elective Study Unit or
3. Research Project
Health Promotion comprises group project work in the field of oral health promotion. Students are allocated to a group to design, implement and evaluate a health promotion program for a community group. The student group will conduct a needs analysis using the principles of research methodology and evidence based practice to undertake a review of the existing knowledge and context for the program, formulate program objectives, design appropriate interventions to improve oral health status in the selected community group or setting; achieve ethical approval where required, implement and evaluate the intervention; analyse and present the results through an oral presentation and written report.
Elective Study Unit comprises development and project work in an area of interest to extend students’ expertise in one aspect of oral health therapy practice. This unit requires students to apply the principles of research methodology and evidence-based practice to undertake a review of the existing knowledge of the study topic, formulate learning objectives, undertake pre-determined activities to develop their learning and report their learning against their objectives in both written and oral forms. The unit may incorporate outreach work relevant to oral health therapy practice and education such as fieldwork placements in dental services, special needs or residential care settings, public health centres or visits/exchanges to other oral health therapy educational programs interstate or overseas.
Research Project comprises a group research project relevant to the field of oral health therapy. Students are allocated to a group to undertake a piece of original research under the supervision of academic staff of the school. The student group will conduct a literature review using the principles of research methodology and evidence based practice to undertake a review of the existing knowledge and context for the research, formulate study questions or hypotheses, design appropriate methods to collect data, achieve ethical approval, collect and analyse the data to answer the research question and present the results through an oral presentation and written report.
Appropriate academic supervisors will be appointed to work with students and support the projects.
A limited number of students may be able to undertake part of this subject as an Exchange with prior approval needed during 2 nd year BOH.
- Oral Health Practice 3 75 pts
This subject comprises lectures, seminars, on-line modules, preclinical and clinical experience and encompasses all aspects of oral health therapy patient care utilising student directed learning and self-assessment, reflective practice and problem-based learning.
Students will engage in supported clinical practice providing the full oral health therapy scope of practice within general and specialist dental practices in the public and private sectors, in rural and metropolitan settings, special needs and outreach dental care programs.
Topics of speciality to this subject are: aetiology and management of early childhood caries; oral health care for preschool children; continued development of diagnosis and treatment planning for oral health therapy care; further development in the provision and evaluation of preventive, periodontal and restorative treatment and orthodontic procedures; atraumatic restorative techniques; vital tooth bleaching and mouthguards; implant maintenance; advanced periodontal treatment planning and maintenance; aetiology, differential diagnosis and management of enamel defects; child protection and mandatory reporting; and advanced clinical experience in oral health therapy patient care.
This subject completes the clinical and educational preparation for full Oral Health Therapy (OHT) scope of practice including:
- care within a preventive, health promoting philosophy
- history taking and preparation of patients for oral health therapy care
- autonomous examination, diagnosis and treatment planning for patients of all ages
- intra and extra oral radiography and radiological interpretation and diagnosis
- preventive care for patients of all ages
- orthodontic procedures within scope of OHT practice
- restorative care (full dental therapy scope) for all children, adolescents and adults of all ages
- periodontal care (full dental hygiene scope) for people of all ages
- vital tooth bleaching and mouthguard construction
- management and oral health care for special needs patients
- provision of care under general anaesthesia within scope of OHT practice
- preparation for OHT practice in specialist areas of dentistry including orthodontics, prosthodontics, paedodontics, periodontics and special needs dentistry
- management of polypharmacy and administration of drugs according to regulatory frameworks
- recognition of pathological conditions requiring referral
- self- assessment and recognition of boundaries of professional competence and appropriate referral
- skills in collaborative practice and teamwork
- ethical practice
- evidence based practice
- respect for cultural social and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health
- culturally safe and sensitive practice care that considers family, carers and social conditions in the development of oral health care treatment plans