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.
Sample course plan - 300 point plan
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- Society and Health 1A12.5 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 1A18.75 pts
This subject comprises three modules.
Anatomy and Histology: Microscopic structure of human body tissues; structure and function of vascular, muscular, nerve, skeletal, lymphatic and glandular body systems; surface anatomy of the head and neck; osteology of the skull; and myology of the head and neck.
Oral Anatomy: A knowledge of the hard and soft tissues and landmarks of intra and extra oral anatomy; morphological anatomy of the human dentition both permanent and deciduous; Palmer notation and FDI classification of the human dentition.
Preventive Dentistry: The epidemiology of dental diseases; the preventive philosophy and the aims of preventive dentistry; individual and community oral preventive measures; the anatomy and clinical appearance of the health periodontium; and the classification, examination and diagnosis of dental caries and periodontal disease.
- Society and Health 1B12.5 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 1B18.75 pts
This subject comprises four modules:
Anatomy and Oral Histology: Microscopic structure of human oral tissues; mucosa, enamel, dentine, pulp, cementum, periodontium, alveolar bone, salivary glands, TMJ; the embryology of the craniofacial region, the histology and physiology of the oral tissues and odontogenesis; the structure and function of the nerve and vascular supply of the head and neck; lymphatic drainage of the head; and the pterygomandibular space.
Physiology: The physiology of the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, endocrine and musculo-skeletal systems; the neurophysiology of pain and other sensory processes as well as taste and swallowing (deglutition).
Pathology: Inflammation and infections; defense mechanisms, immunology, healing and repair; pathological conditions causing abnormal bleeding; neoplasia and cardio-vascular disease; disorders of the nervous system and endocrine system; and infectious diseases and allergies.
Microbiology: An introduction to chemistry and its relevance to human mineralized tissues; the role of microorganisms in human infection; bacteriology of dental plaques, the microbiology associated with dental caries and periodontal disease; asepsis and infection control in dental practice; aspects of virology including hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus.
- Oral Health Practice 137.5 pts
This subject comprises four components.
Dental Materials: Classification of dental materials; polymers, amalgams; resin composites and adhesive materials; gypsum and agar products; glass ionomer and other dental cements; and abrasives.
Preclinical Procedures: rubber dam principles and application; scaling, tooth debridement and periodontal instrumentation; minimal intervention approaches to the management of dental caries; cavity preparation and restoration placement in deciduous and permanent teeth; polishing teeth and restorations; removal of overhangs; impressions and study models; and the clinical application of dental materials, maintenance of dental equipment; safe work practices; operator positions; principles of hand instrumentation.
Clinical procedures: Infection control in dental practice in accordance with the current NH&MRC guidelines; team dentistry; patient history taking and examination; and the provision of preventive dental services.
Oral Radiology: Forms of radiation; biological effects of radiation; radiation safety and protection measures; the dental X-ray machine; X-ray beam and image formation; techniques for producing radiographic images; intra and extra oral radiographs; radiographic film; film handling, processing and storage; digital radiography; indications for dental radiographs; radiographic interpretation; and common errors in radiographic techniques.
Other Costs - Dental Instruments: 1st year students are required to purchase dental instruments/equipment early in the first week of the course. The kit costs approximately $4,000 and will provide the required preclinical instruments for the 1st and 2nd years of the BOH program.
- Health Promotion 2A12.5 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 2A12.5 pts
This subject comprises three modules:
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 of haematological disorders; antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agents.
Pharmacology and Pain Management: Analgesics; local anaesthetic agents and drug schedules; the pharmacology of local analgesia; 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: The causation, natural history, clinical appearance and prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases.
- Health Promotion 2B12.5 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 2B12.5 pts
This subject comprises two modules.
Management of Compromised Patients: Management of patients with speech pathology; cardiovascular conditions; respiratory disease; endocrine, haematological, neurological, psychiatric and neoplastic disoders; and intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities.
Oral Biology: evelops knowledge in the areas of periodontal pathogenesis, systemic conditions and the periodontium; advances in periodontal diagnosis; periodontal treatment including the treatment of furcations, periodontal surgeries, antibiotic and occlusal therapies; periodontal regeneration; re-evaluation, maintenance and the determination of periodontal prognosis.
- Oral Health Practice 250 pts
This subject comprises two modules:
Clinical Practice: Dental materials and the principles and techniques of restorative dentistry in the deciduous and permanent dentition, scaling and root debridement; the prevention of dental caries and periodontal diseases in children, adolescents and young adults and the prevention and management of periodontal disease across all ages.
Specialist areas in Dentistry: Specialist areas of dentistry including periodontics, prosthodontics and paediatric dentistry.
- Oral Health Therapy Research25 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 375 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 clinical practice providing the full oral health therapy scope of practice within general and specialist dental practices in the public and private sectors, 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; treatment planning and evaluation of preventive and restorative treatment; 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
- dental therapy care for all children, adolescents and young people up to age 26
- dental hygiene care for people of all ages
- vital tooth bleaching and mouthguard construction
- management of 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, pedodontics and periodontics and special needs dentistry
- management of polypharmacy and administration of drugs according to regulatory frameworks
- recognition of pathological conditions requiring referral
- recognition of boundaries of professional competence and appropriate referral
- skills in collaborative practice and teamwork
- ethical practice
- evidence based practice
- respect for cultural and social conditions that contribute to poor health
- culturally safe and sensitive practice
care that considers family, carers and social conditions in the development of treatment plans