What is an Oral Health Therapist?
Our Oral Health Therapists are an essential part of our dental team.
Oral health therapists are dental professionals who have dual qualifications in dental therapy and dental hygiene which they obtained from University. They are able to provide a wide range of dental care to children, adolescents and adults. They are registered dental practitioners who provide diagnostic, preventive, and restorative dental services in collaboration with Dentists.
Our Oral Health Therapists also have an extended scope of practice which enables them to provide minor restorative services to patients of all ages.
At Clifton Hill Dental we recommend adults having a thorough examination with a Dentist before seeing one of the Oral Health Therapists for teeth cleaning or further treatment.
Oral Health Therapists provide the following treatments:
- Dental maintenance of the mouth (examinations, scale & cleans, x-rays)
- Assessment and treatment of gum disease (periodontal disease)
- Routine Dentistry on children- fillings, pulp therapy, extractions.
- Non-complex restorative service to adults.
- Saliva testing and diet recommendations.
- Custom made mouthguards.
- Teeth whitening (both take home and in-chair)
- Individual home care recommendations and oral hygiene advice.
Why should I see an Oral Health Therapist for certain treatment opposed to a Dentist?
Oral Health Therapists are specially trained at University, in the general maintenance (ie cleaning) of the mouth, teeth and gums and also in gum disease therapy. A dentist will refer a patient to an Oral Health Therapist for more specialised preventive oral care, whilst the Dentist will continue to provide complex treatment.
Some dentists will see you for hygiene appointments, however, many realise that Oral Health Therapists have been specially trained to carry out hygiene therapies. They can spend a longer amount of time demonstrating a maintenance program for you to continue at home to ensure keeping your teeth and gums healthy all year round.
What can I expect from my first visit to an Oral Health Therapist?
Each patient is individually assessed and treatment for your appointment will be tailored to suit your needs. The Oral Health Therapist may ask you a variety of questions related to your diet, lifestyle and oral hygiene habits. They will assess the health of your teeth and gums, gather information from the Dentist and read over x-rays to determine your risk of gum disease. They will remove the plaque and calculus deposits from above and below the gum line. You may also be given advice on products, diet and smoking or lifestyle risks. A home care maintenance program will be demonstrated to help keep your mouth healthy in between visits.
Depending on the Dentists recommendation and based on the status of your oral health, the appointment can take between 45 minutes to an hour. Scale and cleans are usually pain-free at our practice however we have different types of desensitising agents and anaesthetic gels if the procedure does become uncomfortable.
Your Oral Health Therapist will be open to any questions or concerns you may have regarding your oral health and dental treatment.
How often would I need to see an Oral Health Therapist for my hygiene appointment?
At Clifton Hill Dental we strongly believe in prevention over cure when it comes to oral health and we encourage regular hygiene visits. The benefits of seeing an Oral Health Therapist regularly is paramount to your oral health. Initially, your appointments may vary between 3 monthly to 6 monthly. Committed teamwork between you and the Oral Health Therapist will get your gum health back on track and time between appointments can be assessed and extended as your gums and teeth become healthier.
We have two wonderful Oral Health Therapists in our team at Clifton Hill Dental. You can find out more about them in our ‘ABOUT US’ section.