NZDOHTA is made up of Oral Health Practitioners. Oral Health Therapists (OHTs) work closely with other dental practitioners to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and are sought after in New Zealand and abroad.
In order to register as an OHT in New Zealand, you must have a Bachelor of Oral Health or equivalant qualifications and experience. The Dental Council has tools which can advise you on your eligibility, depending on your scope of practise.
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.
What is a Dental Hygienist?
Dental hygienists provide periodontal* care for all age groups
Dental hygienists educate patients about the health of their mouths and provide options for improving and maintaining oral health. Dental hygienists work closely with dentists in detecting and treating oral disease and in preparing mouths for complex restorative care.
Dental hygienists operate under a Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners approved by the Dental Council of New Zealand and may provide treatments such as:
- Examination of oral tissues and recognition of abnormalities
- Assessing and provisionally diagnosing disease of periodontal tissues
- Applying and dispensing non-prescription preventive agents and fissure sealants
- Oral health education information, promotion and counselling
*Relating to or affecting tissue and structures surrounding and supporting the teeth