Dental Hygenist

The role of the Dental Hygienist is to obtain and maintain good dental health amongst New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel through a combination of practical clinical skills and education.

As a Hygienist, you will mostly work on your own. However, the clinical skills that you provide are an important part of a team that aims to give an overview of the dental needs of NZDF personnel.

You will be responsible for scaling and debridement of deposits from teeth and gums, taking x-rays, making mouthguards, polishing teeth, fillings, advising patients on oral hygiene education, providing fluoride treatments and a variety of other tasks.

Dental teams are deployed overseas to support NZDF personnel on operational missions, some of which have been East Timor and Bougainville.

You will have the opportunity to attend courses and conferences relevant to the field of dental hygiene. These could be held within New Zealand, or overseas.

Aside from your ongoing professional development, you will also learn all the skills required to become a competent soldier. This will include weapons training, fitness, leadership and various other skills not provided to civilian dental workers.

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.

While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of  your Recruit Course you will be paid as a Private and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade
  • A Diploma of Dental Hygiene (or equivalent)
  • Registered with the Dental Council of NZ
  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you’ll be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have got what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness

You will be expected to attend a three-week Basic Dental Administration Course at Burnham.

After two years of service, you will be required to attend the Dental Managers Course, also at Burnham. You will also attend civilian organised continuing education courses each year to maintain your clinical education.

Your first posting will be to wherever the RNZDC most needs you. Unlike many other corps the RNZDC is tri-service, so you can be posted to a Navy, Army or Air Force Dental Team location throughout New Zealand.