How much do you know about a Oral Health Therapist?
If you have ever been to see us here, at Urban Dental, chances are you may have already met our oral health therapist.
At, Urban Dental, we are so lucky to have Angela Nguyen as part of our team. However, often our hygienist is asked about her background and training.
So, how much do you really know about a oral health therapist?
Well, oral health therapists are actually highly skilled dental professionals.
At, Urban Dental, our oral health therapist has completed tertiary education to be able to practice.
Oral health therapists are also registered dental healthcare practitioners and are required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency and the Australian Dental Board. They are required to have professional indemnity insurance and maintain ongoing education by completing 60-hours of continuing professional development over a 3-year period… which is the same as dentists!
Anyway, now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, let’s see how much you really know about oral health therapists. So, try answering the questions before you read the answer.
What’s a oral health therapist’s professional expertise in?
Oral health therapists play a pivotal role in the dental team, as they focus on disease prevention and education. Hygienists work closely with the dentist to help in the delivery of care tailored to your needs.
That is why when you see the hygienist you still get to see your dentist!
What type of education and information can an oral health therapist give you?
A hygienist can advise and show you all the best ways to care for your mouth. From which toothpaste to use to the most effective ways to clean in between your teeth.
Hygienists can also discuss with you your treatment plan and treatment options that your dentist may have recommended. But because oral health and general health is so intricately connected, they can also educate you on how the two interact with each other.
What does a day of oral health therapists typically look like?
Most people assume that oral health therapists just clean teeth all day, and while they do most of the professional cleans in our practice, they do far more than that!
No two days are ever the same for an oral health therapist, as they can:
Assess the state of your gum and oral health
Remove calculus (tartar), plaque and stains from your teeth
Perform root surface debridement to assist in the management of gum (gingivitis) and bone disease (periodontist)
Can polish your teeth
Give tailored oral hygiene advice
Oral cancer and soft tissue screening
Can take dental radiographs (x-rays)
Apply high fluoride treatments
Administer and perform teeth whitening (bleaching) treatments
Take dental impressions and models
Do fissure sealants to protect teeth
Provide dental health education and counselling, including smoking cessation, diet and nutrition, disease prevention and management
While this is a list of the few things that our hygienist does each day, Angela brings a lot more to the team. And at Urban Dental, we wouldn’t be without her!
Can an oral health therapist give injections?
Yes, they can! Like a dentist, a hygienist can give local anaesthetics injections.
As some patients prefer to have anaesthetic before a clean to make it more comfortable for them. Especially, if they are having a deep clean, to help in the management of gum and bone disease.
Can an oral health therapist have any other qualifications?
Yes… some oral health therapists are dual trained!
This means that they have studied to be a dental therapist as well. Often though if an oral health therapist is dually trained, they are referred to as an oral health therapist.
Being an oral health therapist means that they are able to practice other aspects of dentistry, which is dependent on their scope of practice, while still performing the role of an oral health therapist. For example, an oral health therapist can do fillings and extractions too!
What are the best qualities of an oral health therapist?
Generally, at Urban Dental, we find that oral health therapists are very friendly, caring and compassionate.
They help put the most nervous and dentally anxious patient at ease.
Hygienists seem to have a special way of being able to just talk to people. And people often quickly build rapport with them… Maybe it is also because they aren’t the ones doing the drilling!
What is an oral health therapist's favourite saying?
“You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep!”
This is as cheesy as it sounds… and hygienists like it because it’s true!
You see, cleaning your teeth does not just help to reduce your risk of dental decay, it also helps to keep your gums and bone healthy. Which is really important if you want to keep your teeth.
As did you know, if the gum and bone are not healthy then they can start to recede and eventual be lost? This means that the foundations for your teeth are compromised and eventually your teeth may start to become wobbly or need to be extracted.
So, how well do you now know about oral health therapists?
Hopefully by now pretty well!
But if you have any other questions then just ask next time you are in or you can give the team at, Urban Dental, a call on 07 3839 9488.
They say teamwork makes the dream work and at, Urban Dental, we couldn’t agree more. By having a great team, which works together, it helps ensure that you always receive the highest level of care every time you come to see us.
So, the next time you are due for your routine dental check-up and clean make sure you book in to see Angela!