Why do we need an Oral Health Therapist (OHT)?



January 13, 2021

An Oral Health Therapist (OHT) plays an important role within a dental practice. OHTs assist dentists to provide the best possible dental care whilst making the practice run more efficiently. By undertaking treatments such as check-up and cleans, dentists can have more time to focus on more complex treatment cases such as dental crowns or emergency dental treatments.

What is an Oral Health Therapist?

An Oral Health Therapist is a trained and registered dental professional. Our OHTs are able to deliver children and adult dental services which include:

Children services

For children, OHTs can provide preventive dental services such as full check-up, diagnosis, taking x-rays and photographs, treatment planning.

In addition, if further treatment is required your OHT can provide additional dental treatments for children under the age of 18, which include:

  • Fillings
  • Extraction of baby teeth
  • Fissure sealants
  • Stainless steel crowns and much more

There will always be situations where some treatments require referrals to another health practitioner and we can arrange those referrals as needed.

Adult services

For adult patients, your OHT can also provide full check-up, diagnosis, taking x-rays & photographs, as well as:

  • Filling
  • Management of periodontal disease (ie. gum disease)
  • Tooth whitening procedures
  • And general oral health care

Where patients require more complex restorative treatment such as larger tooth build-ups, crowns, root canals or extractions; that’s when the oral heath therapist work with your dentist to provide comprehensive care and organise any appointments required.

Patient education

Oral health education is a large part of what OHTs do and allocating time for this with our patients is a priority. The dental therapists take the time to discuss and demonstrate techniques of toothbrushing, flossing, using interdental brushes, dietary risk factors and specialised cleaning tools and aids.

This ensures our patients have the best chance of maintaining the health of their teeth, gums and mouth. The oral health therapy team are also involved in delivering community oral health programs including schools and kindergarten visits and other community events.

How we work as a team

By having a diverse and expanded team, we have found this has really helped us to:

  1. Improve the flow of appointments
  2. Reduce the risk of running late
  3. Improve the overall patient experience

Dr Norah and Samantha Nowlan assessing a patients oral scan images

Our OHTs will often see our patients immediately prior to a dental treatment with our dentists, for administering local anaesthetic (ie. numbing up), taking impressions, photographs or x-rays.

In addition, by working as a team to manage patients we are able to ensure appropriate availability in our appointment books for patient emergencies and treatment needs.

Do I still get to see my regular dentist?

Seeing one of our experienced Oral Health Therapists does not mean you will have to stop seeing your regular dentist. Moreover, your dentist will still be involved in your comprehensive care which including regular check-ups, touching base and completing any required treatment.

Check-up and clean in Burleigh Waters

If you would like to book in for a check-up with Dr Norah Ayad, Samantha Nowlan or any of our Burleigh Waters team, contact our friendly staff today.

Alternatively, you can book an appointment online 24/7.