Dental therapists play a critical role in enhancing access to oral healthcare and contributing to the overall well-being of patients within their scope of practice. Within their competency, they can perform tasks such as conducting clinical examinations, diagnosing and treatment planning, taking X-rays, providing preventive care, and even carrying out minor restorative procedures. Dental therapists also play a crucial role in patient education, oral health promotion, and collaborating with dentists on more complex cases. 

Adopting a team-based approach by utilising dental therapists can be beneficial in the following ways.

1. Efficiency and Time Management

By delegating tasks like direct restorations on primary and secondary teeth, temporary dressings, hygiene treatments and/or preventive therapies to dental therapists, clinics can free up valuable time for dentists. During oral examinations, dental therapists are expected to reach prognosis for almost all major dental issues, advise patients, document it and if the problem is outside the scope of their practice, refer it to a dentist. Dentists can reallocate their time towards what they do best: complex treatments and procedures in addition to catering to a lot more private patients.

The result? A more efficient, well-organised practice where appointments run smoothly and on schedule. Patients appreciate appointments that aren’t rushed and that provide ample time for discussing their concerns, asking questions, and receiving personalised care. Dental therapists help in providing comprehensive care, and this patient-centric approach leads to higher satisfaction levels and better oral health outcomes.

2. Cost Reduction

Dental therapists typically receive lower pay than dentists, making them a cost-effective solution for performing routine and preventive dental procedures. 

Utilising dental therapists effectively can lead to significant cost reductions in your clinic, thereby enhancing your financial sustainability. 

3. Increased Access to Care

Dental therapists can help in expanding the clinic’s capacity to see more patients. This is especially crucial in the context of the NHS, where access to dental care remains a priority. Patients benefit from shorter waiting times and improved access to treatments.

Dental therapists can be effectively utilised in NHS dental clinics to improve patient care, streamline services, and ease the burden on dentists. 

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