Dental therapists (sometimes also known as oral health practitioners) are dental care professionals and work as part of the dental team. They are one of the rarest members of the dental team. You are unlikely to work in a practice with a therapist as most work in the community dental service.
Role and responsibility
Dental therapists are the, with approximately 380 on the General Dental Council Roll in 2002. A registered dentist must examine the patient and indicate clearly in writing the course of treatment that the dental therapist needs to carry out.
Like the dental hygienist, the dental therapist has an important role in promoting dental health. However Therapists have a greater range of skills than hygienists.
A Dental therapist can carry out a range of procedures, including:
- intra and extra oral assessment
- providing dental health education on a one to one basis or in a group situation
- scaling and polishing
- applying materials to teeth such as fluoride and fissure sealants
- taking dental radiographs
- extracting deciduous teeth under local infiltration analgesia
- undertaking routine restorations in both deciduous and permanent teeth, on adults and children
- using all materials except pre cast or pinned placements
In addition a dental therapist may treat a wide range of high treatment needs patients such as -
- have learning disabilities.
- are physically disabled.
- are dentally anxious.
- are medically compromised.
- have high levels of untreated decay.
- are unable to access regular dental care in the general dental service.