As a dental therapist, your work will be more of straightforward work. Most of the works are works that a dentist can do with you without referrals to other specialists in the field. The General Dental Council specifies your role; hence it is a formally recognized role in dental practice.
Recently, more dental doctors have started adding a therapist to their team. This work gives you the independence to act as a person with full responsibility. Dental therapist typical works in schools, care homes, hospitals, communities, NGOs and other practices.
The dental therapist has even become more valuable as they have an essential role to play in future NHS dental care.
Health education, patient handling and clinical knowledge are important for this role.
A dental therapist carries out these roles:
>Intra and extraoral assessment (verbal assessment)
>Polishing and scaling teeth
>Application of materials like fissure sealants and fluoride on the teeth
>Taking detailed dental radiography
>Extraction of deciduous baby teeth under local infiltration analgesia
>Using materials for dental care expect pinned and precast placemats
>Baby teeth routine restorations like permanent teeth, adults, and children’s teeth
If a therapist is highly trained; they can undertake duties such as:
Pulp therapy treatment of deciduous teeth (baby teeth)
Placing pre-formed crowns on deciduous teeth
Administering nerve block analgesia but this will be done under the supervision of the dentist
Emergency replacement of fillings, crowns and other dental materials
Treat patients who are under sedation; a dentist must be present and must remain present until the surgery treatment is over.
In a more broad sense, a dental therapist can also handle people are dentally anxious, physically disabled, have learning difficulties, have high levels of untreated tooth decay and patients who are unable to get a general dental service. A dental therapist can help people in rural areas where healthcare is not that topnotch.
Entry requirements, interests and skills:
To practice as a dental therapist, you must be registered with the General Dental Council. You will be recorded in the dental council role of the dental therapist. You must also obtain a diploma or degree in dental therapy.
The course requirements are:
Five GCSE subjects, grade A-C plus two A levels or a recognized qualification in dental nursing
You may also be asked to gain a dental nursing experience before you can become a dental therapist
The required skills are:
Good communication skills
Proficient and high technical, clinical skills
Confidence and always put patients at ease
Most of your work as a dental therapist will be with older people, children and other people with unique individual needs. Some patients may have developmental and personality problems; hence always learn to be patient with such people.
Organizational skills are essential, the same with proper time management. Patient’s confidentiality is a serious issue; hence it is important to be mindful of privacy.
Training and Development:
The time-frame for diploma in dental therapy is about 27months or more. Depending on the hospital, this time might vary a bit. Some dental schools offer part-time courses while others don’t.
Subjects studied in school are:
Dental health education
Simple restorative procedures for permanent teeth and deciduous teeth
Extraction of deciduous teeth and patient’s management
Dental therapy is a fast-growing practice with many dentists incorporating it into her practices. The training, development, skills, and devotion qualify one for this noble profession.