The Role of a Dental Therapist


Most people know about the role of a dentist, dental hygienist, and a dental nurse, but have no clue about a dental therapist.

Consequently, I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about my position in a dental practice for all my lovely patients and all the people out there to learn all about my role.

What is a dental therapist?

A dental therapist is also a hygienist and fits somewhere in between a dentist and a dental hygienist. Is like the best of both!

Therefore, is call dental therapists and hygienist (DTH in short).

As qualified DTH, I can carry out dental examinations, cancer screening,  deliver diagnosis of dental diseases and frame-up a treatment plan for you.

I can also do dental filling (AKA restorative treatments), give you local anaesthetic, take x-rays, do referral to specialist, if you need one - for adults and children.

However, I do a wider variety of dental treatments for children then adults,  for example extraction of baby teeth.

In addition, I take particular focus on gum treatments.

And on top of that, I can get specialised on tooth whitening, deliver inhalation sedation, and remove sutures from wounds by taking further education.

In fact, there is so much more I can do as dental therapist and hygienist, but this piece is to small to write it all out.

Is this a new thing?

Not really!

Dental therapist profession was introduced in the 1960’ as a result of the high demand in dental treatments, especially because of the high increase on children dental needs, at the time. 

How do you become a dental therapist?

The Bachelor of Science (Hons) Dental Therapy and Hygiene (formerly named) takes three years, but no all dental universities in the UK run this course.

To apply, you would need some experience in the dental sector, for example being a dental nurse, and you will need A levels or an access course (for mature students) which it’s equivalent to A levels.

Some other countries also run this degree,  such as New Zealand, Australia, United States, Canada.

It would be great for other countries to adopt this doctrine, as it would benefit their population.

Do dental therapists work in hospitals?

Generally, no but thankfully in the UK the NHS is slowly approaching the idea to have a DTH as part of the dental team (in the maxillofacial department).

A DTH normally work in a general dental practice (also knows as primary care services) either under NHS or private bases.

Yet, a DTH can own a dental practice, just like a dentist.

Do you like being a dental therapist and hygienist?

Well, it would take me pages to express my passion for dentistry.

But I will try to make a quick summary,

  •   I love being the one who give the confidence back to the one lost in the shadows of their dental insecurities
  •  Listening and understanding the needs of an elderly and seeing how their eyes shine up when they realised the importance of their oral hygiene and how simple is to achieve this – gives me so much joy!
  • Making up fairy tales while removing a baby tooth without tiers – it's so rewarding!
  • Building up a broken tooth with perfect tooth-shape – make me feel like an artist – so fascinating!

Overall, I am so in love with my profession!

So, I would say, I am a specialist in prevention, I perform technique sensitive procedures, focusing on eliminating, reducing , and preventing inflammatory diseases that affect your mouth and the rest of your body.

My oral hygiene coaching lessens the risk of you developing systemic diseases (such as heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, , blood diseases, stroke) and help you to manage/control existing chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chon’s diseases amongst others).

My therapy treatments able you to keep your teeth for longer, eat without pain, let you smile  -with great confidence! -, and allows you to live a healthy life.

Believe it or not, the conditions of your mouth will depict the well-being of your body and the quality of your life.

To wrap it up – Prevention is Protection!

From now on, I hope you can say, I know what a DTH does!

But if you need a reminder, give me a shout on my Instagram account @smileofpearls

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