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What is a Dental Therapist?

A dental therapist is a highly skilled professional member of the oral health team

 

Dental therapists provide oral health assessment, prevention, treatment and management services for children and adolescents up to age 18, in collaboration with dentists and other health care professionals, and in partnership with individuals, whānau and communities.

 

Some dental therapists are also registered to provide dental services to patients over 18 years in a team situation. This additional scope is known as a “Scope of practice for adult care in dental therapy practice”. For these dental therapists there is no age limit to the patient.

 

The Dental Council has defined a list of prescribed qualifications for all registered oral health workers and what their practice involves. For more information on dental therapist please click here.


Dental therapists are sometimes referred to as:

  • Community Dental Therapist
  • School Dental Nurse
  • School Dental Therapist

Dental therapists work under the Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners approved by the Dental Council of New Zealand and may provide treatments such as:

  • Examination, diagnosis, dental radiographs
  • Fluoride treatment, fissure sealants, sealed restorations
  • Fillings, dressings, extraction of deciduous (baby) teeth
  • Oral health education

You can find out more about becoming a dental therapist on our Become a Dental Therapist page.

 

Click here to find out more about dental therapists’ Scope of Practice.