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DClinDent in Paediatric Dentistry

Become a registered specialist paediatric dentist in New Zealand and Australia

Start your application on the DClinDent regulations page

What is Paediatric Dentistry?

Paediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. It encompasses all dental care and may include management of caries, periodontal disease, trauma and/or growth problems. It also includes management of the dental problems for children who may have developmental, behavioural or medical disabilities, and care for some older patients who have disabilities.

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DClinDent in Paediatric Dentistry

Duration 3 years full-time
Campus Dunedin*

* Near the end of your final year, you will complete a hospital placement  under the supervision of specialist paediatric dentist.

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Skills you will learn and develop

The programme covers all aspects of specialist dental care for children and adolescents with some aspects of care for special needs patients.

At the completion of the programme, you are expected to have developed the competencies and skills to enter practice as specialists in paediatric dentistry. You will have the skills to provide care for children and adolescents with complex dental and orofacial problems, and be able to work with, and advise, related health care professionals.

You will have developed competencies to conduct original research and perform clinical audit – to the level of being able to acquire funding and lead projects related to oral healthcare for children and adolescents.

Additional experience

You will be required to spend time in another paediatric dentistry unit or department attached to a hospital during the third year of the programme. Options can be discussed with the programme staff.

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Membership in Specialist Dental Practice (Paediatric Dentistry) with the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (MRACDS)

The University of Otago has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons. Postgraduate students of this programme can sit their final examination as a conjoint examination for Membership with the College (this will require the student to complete the subscription and application forms to enrol, and payment of associated College fees).

This allows postgraduates to complete both the DClinDent degree and gain College Membership (MRACDS) in a single step.

The examination will follow the University format, and will be conducted by University examiners along with a College-nominated examiner.

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Why pursue a DClinDent in Paediatric Dentistry?

The following unedited feedback from our students offers some insight into the benefits of pursuing a DClinDent in Paediatric Dentistry at Otago:

  1. New and modern facilities
  2. Experienced and research active staff
  3. Good research support
  4. Opportunity to work in ED at the hospital
  5. Exposure to rarer conditions in paediatric dentistry
  6. Multidisciplinary approach
  7. Specialist registration
  8. Exit exams can contribute towards membership of the Royal Australian College of Dental Surgeons
  9. Live in a lovely scenic town
  10. Opportunity to attend and present at international conferences
  11. Explore New Zealand’s amazing landscape, people and cultures
  12. New dental clinic and teaching facilities
  13. Experienced and research active staff
  14. Defined patient group: infants, children and adolescents
  15. A well-structured programme
  16. Clinical care
  17. Hospital based dental care
  18. Academic research
  19. Seminars allow students to develop presentation and effective communication skills.
  20. Specialist registration which is recognised in the region
  21. Work with anesthesiologist when children cannot cope
  22. Work with the orthodontist
  23. Exit exams can contribute towards membership of the Royal Australian College of Dental Surgeons
  24. You get invited to become members of professional bodies such as: Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry; Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry
  25. Dunedin is NZ’s student capital – a little cold yet a lovely city to live in and explore the natural landmarks in the South Island

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After course completion

This course prepares graduates for work in a specialist practice in paediatric dentistry or a specialist clinic in a hospital and also opens up further opportunities to pursue a career in research and clinical academic positions.

As a graduate of this programme, you can register with the Dental Council of New Zealand and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), enabling you to practice in Australia and New Zealand as a Specialist Paediatric Dentist.

Upon graduating, you will be continuously supported by a strong alumni relationship, and be well prepared for speciality practice and teaching / research in a dental faculty.

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Experiences from students

Yvonne Golpak

“I was able to come to New Zealand because I was able to acquire a New Zealand Scholarship. But even if there were a couple of other countries to choose from, I would still choose to come to the University of Otago to study. I find New Zealanders/Kiwi people in my country to be polite and friendly.

“Another reason for coming to the University of Otago is that the University is ranked in the top 50 in the world. Testimonials from International students in the University of Otago website speak highly of the study environment and student support.”

Read more about Yvonne's DClinDent experience

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Staff expertise

Mrs Alison Meldrum

Alison MeldrumMrs Meldrum’s main areas of research include the allied dental professionals workforce, childhood caries, and student learning and acquisition of knowledge.

Ms Dorothy Boyd

Dorothy BoydMs Boyd’s main interests are in children’s coping, acceptance, and preferences, anxiety related to dental treatment, and outcomes of dental care in primary care. A large part of her research centres on the use of the Hall Technique () to place stainless steel crowns to treat decayed primary molar teeth.

Dr Manikandan Ekambaram

Dr Mani EkambaramDr Mani’s research expertise is in remineralisation of early enamel caries lesions, enamel and dentine adhesion, molar incisor hypomineralisation (MIH), and paediatric oral health. Through his research, he has established a niche in experimental strategies for enhancing dentine bond durability, enhancing bonding to developmentally hypomineralised enamel, studying the remineralisation potential of various contemporary remineralisation agents on early enamel carious lesions. Additionally, his ongoing research projects are aiming at other novel experimental strategies to remineralise such lesions.

Dr Nivethanan Kamalendran

Dr Nivethanan KamalendranAs a specialist paediatric dentist, Dr Kamalendran provides comprehensive care, with a particular interest in dental trauma, dental management of medically compromised children, and children with special health needs. He is also very keen on prevention, diet, and good oral health, with a special interest in behaviour management of anxious children.

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Course content: Year 1

CLDN 910 Clinical Research


  • Position paper outlining potential research (10%)
  • Research proposal literature review (10%)
  • Mock written examination (3 hours) (formative)
  • Formal presentation of protocol (10%)
  • Research protocol plus viva (70%)

CLDN 920 Clinical Practice


  • Assignment 1 (7.5%)
  • Assignment 2 (ANZSP Essay Competition) (7.5%)
  • Clinical case presentation 1 (5%)
  • Clinical case presentation 2 (5%)
  • Clinical practice through the year (25%)
  • Clinical logbook (formative)
  • Written examination (40%)
  • Clinical oral (10%)

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Course content: Year 2

CLD9F Thesis Research, Clinical Research and Clinical Practice 2


  • Clinical practice through the year (25%)
  • Assignment 1 (10%)
  • Clincial case presentation (10%)
  • Clinical case presentation (10%)
  • Clinical logbook (formative)
  • Written paper (3 hours) (35%)
  • Clinical oral (10%)

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Course content: Year 3

CLD9F Thesis Research, Clinical Research and Clinical Practice 3


  • Thesis submission (pass required)
  • Assignment (10%)
  • Clinical case presentation (5%)
  • Clinical practice through the year (5%)
  • Clinical logbook plus clinical logbook viva (30%)
  • Written exam (3 hours) (40%)
  • Clinical viva (10%)

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Entry requirements

To be eligible for admission to the programme, you should fulfill criteria for study at the University of Otago as listed in the current University Calendar. You should hold a primary dental qualification that is acceptable to the University. You need to be able to demonstrate a strong interest in your chosen specialty. You should be at a minimum two years post-graduation of your primary dental qualification.

Applications close on 31 May of the year prior to enrolment.

Admission to the DClinDent programme is provisional and shall be confirmed after achieving at least a B+ (75–79%) grade in each of the first-year papers (CLDN 910 and CLDN 920).

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How to apply

Start your application on the DClinDent regulations page

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