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.