What is a Dental Therapist?
The APEX Dental Therapist division includes Dental Therapists, Oral Health Therapists and Dental Assistants.
Dental therapy is a subset of the practice of dentistry which is defined as “the maintenance of health through the assessment, diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of any disease, disorder or condition of the orofacial complex and associated structures”.
In collaboration with dentists and other health care professionals, and in partnership with individuals, whãnau and communities, dental therapists provide oral health assessment, treatment, management and prevention services for children and adolescents up to age 18. Disease prevention and oral health promotion and maintenance are core activities.
Like most clinical practice, dental therapy involves obtaining medical histories plus examination of oral tissues, diagnosis of dental caries and recognition of abnormalities. We prepare oral care plans and are actively involved in oral health education and promotion, and working to prevent dental decay (cleaning teeth, removing deposits in association with gingivitis, fissure sealants, and fluoride applications).
Dental therapy practice includes teaching, research and management given that such roles influence clinical practice and public safety.
We are “small in number”, but our role is none the less important and we fully appreciate the support we receive from APEX in our professional lives.