In addition to helping patients understand the connection between oral health and overall health, Dental Therapists help patients to improve their oral hygiene and treat periodontal disease to prevent the condition from advancing. Early detection by a dental therapist can lead to effective treatment and the control of periodontal disease, preventing many of the health, and potentially life threatening complications associated with this condition.
Dental Therapists are permitted to carry out a range of other procedures such as placing of fissure sealants, taking dental radiographs and dental impressions for study purposes. In certain circumstances they may also place temporary dressings in teeth. In addition dental therapists carry out a range of fillings for children and adults and extract deciduous teeth.
Regular visits to our dental therapist will result in us helping you to maintain a good standard of oral health. The dental therapist is also available to give oral hygiene instructions and advice when you need it. They will discuss various topics, such as tooth brushing techniques, recommended tooth brushes, mouthwashes, floss and interdental brushes where required.
Dental Therapist Career
A dental therapist has a role similar to that of a dental hygienist but with additional training, which allows them to place and monitor some fillings. They are also allowed to administer local anaesthetic, perform extractions on baby teeth, apply fissure sealants (a type of material which covers the natural pits on the surface of teeth to keep them from getting decayed) and fluoride varnish which helps keep enamel strong in situations where it has been weakened.
Much like a dental hygienist, a dental hygiene and therapist is a expert in the field of oral hygiene and works with patients through routine oral hygiene instruction and cleaning procedures to promote good oral health. In many situations, they are key in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease (the disease which destroys tooth attachment tissue, causing teeth to become loose and eventually fall out if left untreated).
One of the main roles of a dental hygiene and therapist is to perform a scale and polish which removes the plaque and calculus from teeth to help the gums remain healthy. In more advanced cases, a particular form of treatment known as root surface debridement is necessary; this sees the hygienist remove plaque deposits and bacteria from underneath the gum and along the roots of the teeth. They are also the main resource when it comes to instruction on how to maintain good oral health and are expected to teach the different methods of oral hygiene, from tooth brushing to various forms of interdental cleaning.
To study for your degree in dental hygiene and therapy you’ll need to apply to a dental school for a two-three year full-time course. The entry requirements are usually 6 GCSEs at grade C or above including English language and biology, with three A-levels (two Bs and an A), one of which is chemistry. It is also highly recommended to have undertaken some extra-curricular activities involving manual dexterity and to have completed a considerable amount of work experience and to be familiar with the role of a dental therapist. You will also be asked to complete a course of vaccination against hepatitis B, provide blood test results confirming a previous vaccination against MMR, a negative HIV, hepatitis B and C status and be able to show a TB scar. A CRB check will also be requested.