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What can Dental Therapists do?

 

As from the 1st of July 2002, legislation permits a Dental Therapist to work in any sector of dentistry. A registered Dentist must examine the patient and indicate clearly in writing the course of treatment that the Dental Therapist is to carry out.
These are the range of procedures which a Dental Therapist can carry out:

  • Intra and extra oral assessment
  • Record indices and monitor disease
  • Periodontal Treatment
  • Apply materials to teeth such as fluoride and fissure sealants
  • Take dental radiographs
  • Provide dental health education on a one to one basis or in a group situation
  • Routine restorations in both deciduous and permanent teeth, on adults and children, from Class 1-V cavity preparations.
  • Can use all materials except pre cast or pinned placements
  • Treats adults as well as children
  • Extract deciduous teeth under local infiltration analgesia
  • Pulp therapy treatment of deciduous teeth.
  • Placement of pre formed crowns on deciduous teeth.
  • Administration of Inferior Dental Nerve Block analgesia and Infiltration analgesia
  • Emergency temporary replacement of crowns and fillings.
  • Take impressions.
  • Treat patients under conscious sedation provided the dentist remains in the surgery throughout the treatment.

Currently a dental therapist can deliver local anaesthesia only from a prescription of the drug by a registered dentist. If there is a patient group directive in place a dental therapist may prescribe local anaesthesia in that particular dental setting.

A Dental Therapist must be registered with the General Dental Council and have appropriate indemnity insurance cover.
Additional skills which dental therapists could develop during their careers include:

  • administering inhalational sedation
  • can carry out IS/RA after appropriate training on a recognised and validated course varying the detail of a prescription but not the direction of a prescription
  • prescribing radiographs
  • carrying out tooth whitening to the prescription of a dentist
  • removing sutures after the wound has been checked by a dentist

The scope of practice for dental care professionals is to be reviewed in 2012 by the General Dental Council.
See:
therapist-foundation-training-blog.pdf