Dental Therapist

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What Does a Dental Therapist Do?

Dental Therapists are primary oral health care professionals who are trained to perform basic clinical dental treatment such as fillings, extractions and crowns and preventive services within a variety of practice settings. Preventive services could include oral health education, fluoride applications and applications of dental sealants. As members of a multidisciplinary team, Dental Therapists provide restorative dental treatment services, disease prevention and oral health promotion programs to maintain and improve the oral and general health of Saskatchewan residents. Dental Therapists also advocate for the needs of clients, assist them in accessing care and refer them to other health professionals for services.

What Training Is Necessary to Do Your Work?

A Diploma from a school of Dental Therapy in Canada.

Where Do You Work?

I can work in private practice, post-secondary institutions, for the federal or provincial government, in health regions and in First Nations communities. I can work in a health region as a Dental Therapist, Dental Health Educator, or Dental Health Coordinator in a dental public health setting.

Who Needs Your Services and Why?

A Dental Therapists provide dental services at no charge when they work in a health region/dental public health setting. This is important because services are provided to individuals at-risk or with high levels of dental disease. These children, youth, and adults may not be able to access any other dental services, so Dental Therapists are key in providing access to dental care.

What Is Your Favourite Part of Your Job?

As a Dental Therapist, I work with vulnerable populations, with the majority of clients having high levels of dental disease. It can be challenging to improve oral health, but it is very rewarding when you make an impact and see behaviours change, and health improve.

What Challenges Do You Have in Your Job?

Insufficient staffing levels to accommodate the oral health needs of the clients we serve. In health regions, the majority of our work is targeted to our high needs populations, but there are countless others who require dental services who have barriers of access to care such as no or limited dental coverage, language, transportation, etc.

What Are the Consequences When There Are Not Enough People with Your Training to Provide Service?

The oral health needs of children, youth, and adults will not be met. Oral health neglect can lead to diminished self-esteem, compromised nutrition, heart disease, respiratory problems, poor diabetic control, poor overall general health, and can be life-threatening.