If your child needs some dental work done, then you'll go out to reception to make a follow-up appointment with your dentist for the treatment. However, the receptionist tells you that the dentist has asked that the clinic's dental therapist does the work instead.
What is a dental therapist and why does your general dentistry office want them to treat your child?
What Is a Dental Therapist?
Dental clinics don't just employ dentists. Some also employ oral hygienists, denture technicians and dental therapists. These members of staff have all had professional training and take on different tasks in the clinic.
Dental therapists are trained to do certain types of dental work. For example, they can give fillings and take out teeth. They also specialise in educating patients in oral care and hygiene. Some are also qualified to work as hygienists. Dental therapists often focus on working with children and teenagers. Some are also qualified to work with adult patients.
Why Does Your Child Have to See the Therapist?
Not all dental clinics employ dental therapists. Those that do often split work between their dentists and therapists. If your child's treatment is complex, then your dentist would do it. However, if your child only needs a simple filling or fissure sealant, then the clinic's therapist can do the job perfectly. This frees up your dentist's time to work on more complex treatments.
As well as spreading workload more effectively in the clinic, some dentists prefer children to see dental therapists when they can. Therapists are usually good at building relationships with children and young adults; they are also trained to help children deal with general dental problems. This can be helpful if your child has dental anxieties or special needs that make treatment more difficult for them. Dental therapists often have more time to get to know their patients and to work with them on managing problems.
Finally, if your child is having problems learning how to look after their teeth well, then your dentist may think that some sessions with the therapist will help. Dental therapists are trained in dental health education and can give children practical training and advice on oral hygiene.
There's no need to worry if your child is passed over to your clinic's therapist, either temporarily or permanently. If your therapist notices that your child has a problem they can't handle, then they'll involve your dentist immediately.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved stories about the past. Whether the stories were about horses, wars, exploration or even dentistry, I loved to hear them. I find that knowing the history of something helps it to make sense and feel approachable. I know that some people have dental anxiety, and I too have suffered, but I also feel like the more you know about dental work and its history, the easier it is. This blog is dedicated to exploring the history of dentistry – What did ancient people use for fillings? How did early dentists numb their patients? Who was the first dentist? Those are just some of the questions I plan to answer here. Ready? Okay, let's dive into the history of dentistry together!