What is a Dental Therapist?
Dental Therapists are highly valued members of the dental team, providing high quality oral health care for children, adolescents and young adults, including examination, treatment and prevention.
All Dental Therapists are University trained and graduate with a degree or diploma in Applied Science (Dental Therapy).
Dental Therapists possess strong focus on preventative measures for continuing good oral health.
Dental Therapists are committed to educating and motivating children, and their parents, to maintain good oral health. This may be done both by classroom ‘talks’ and within the practice.
They provide all the necessary routine dental treatments including examinations, radiographs, cleaning, polishing and fluoride application, fillings in both permanent and deciduous (baby) teeth, local anaesthetic, fissure sealants and extractions of deciduous teeth.
They will bring more complex dental problems, such as root canal treatment, cosmetic dentistry and extractions of permanent teeth, to the attention of the dentists, and can provide referrals to orthodontists and oral surgeons if required.
What is a Dental Hygienist?
Dental Hygienists are specially trained members of the dental team who work together with your dentist to provide fully integrated dental care. They play an important role in dental health, preventing dental disease by providing individual oral hygiene care and instruction to patients.
Hygienists perform four main functions:
- Teaching patients oral hygiene techniques on an individual basis. This one on one instruction includes care for your gums and teeth, and advice on a healthy diet to prevent dental disease.
- Evaluation and assessment of your periodontal (gum) tissue, including x-ray, discussion and review of medical history.
- Scaling and polishing of teeth.
- Application of decay prevention agents.
ls there any discomfort?
Usually dental hygiene is pain free. lf you find treatment uncomfortable it is important that you discuss this with your hygienist. Various techniques are available to help.
ls it expensive?
Any preventative care will ultimately lead to savings. Depending on the type of treatment carried out and the length of the appointment, costs may vary. lt is important to agree and confirm the cost of the visit before the hygienist begins treatment.
Why doesn’t the dentist do the work?
The hygienist has been specially trained in the cleaning and maintenance of the mouth, teeth and gums. A dentist will refer a patient to the hygienist for more specialised oral care, while they provide complex restorative care.