What is a Dental Therapist?
Periodontal (gum) disease is still by far and away the biggest single cause of tooth loss in adult patients. In the past, the progress of this disease was considered inevitable and the only treatment available was the extraction of the affected teeth and the provision of dentures. Happily today this is no longer the case and with early detection coupled with regular treatment, we are seeing an increasingly large percentage of patients preserving a full natural dentition into their seventies and beyond.
In order for this major dental problem to be adequately addressed, we employ dental hygienists and dental therapists whose main role is to support the dentists in the treatment and prevention of gum disease. Their job is to explain how dental plaque and calculus can lead to gum problems and most importantly how the patient can help themselves through a good regime of oral hygiene measures. They will also take the time to look at lifestyle issues such as diet and smoking which can have a major impact on oral health. Children and young adults will occasionally be asked to see the hygienist for dietary advice and fluoride treatment if they are suffering from tooth decay.
What treatments does the Dental Therapists provide?
Dental Therapists are able to provide many of the services that a dentist can provide, and work closely with the dentist to complete prescribed treatment on referral. Therapists have had advanced training in the prevention of oral disease and will give specific targeted advice regarding any of your dental concerns or problems. They are able to provide the following services:
- Fillings using amalgam, composite, or any other direct filling material; for adults or for children
- Scaling, polishing and Periodontal treatment
- Extraction of deciduous teeth in children
- Applying fluoride treatments to the teeth
- Local anaesthetic injections
- Dental impressions
- Taking radiographs
- Refixing loose crowns or bridges
Therapists are especially useful for those patients with high levels of oral disease or who are especially nervous. Your Dentist will advise you if your next appointment will be with our dental therapist.