Provision of oral health care to adult patients by dental therapists without the prescription of a dentist Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • OBJECTIVES: Dental therapists are increasingly been seen as part of the solution to assist in improving access to dental care for underserved populations. The aim of this article is to report the outcomes of an educational bridging program designed to provide university-educated dental therapists with the appropriate knowledge and skills required to enable them to translate their current clinical scope of practice to adult patients aged 26+ years. METHODS: Ten dental therapists completed an educational program approved by the Dental Practice Board of Victoria as a pilot. Feedback from patients and supervising and supporting dentists was provided during the project. RESULTS: Supervising and supporting dentists rated the knowledge and clinical skills of participants as good to high at the completion of the education program and considered them safe to treat adults patients. Patients were very satisfied with the dental treatment provided. Eight participants successfully completed the assessment and were permitted by the Dental Practice Board of Victoria to extend their clinical scope of practice to adult patients. CONCLUSIONS: Feedback from patients and dentists indicated that, following the completion of an educational bridging program, dental therapists with a university education were able to develop the knowledge and skills required to treat adult patients aged 26+ years without the prescription or supervision of a dentist. Enabling dental therapists to treat adult patients may have a role to play in improving access to dental care for underserved populations.

publication date

  • 2012