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The dental therapist's role in a 'shared care' approach to optimise clinical outcomes


Introduction Dental therapists have a key role to play in the provision of dentistry in the UK. The Dental Workforce Advisory Group has reported this is relevant in multiple areas, including prevention and care in young children, and to support dentists in providing advanced and routine treatment for complex adult patients within the wider collaborative dental team. There remain diverse and multiple barriers and challenges to utilising the optimal scope of the dental therapist in general practice. In 2013, the General Dental Council introduced direct access (DA) legislation in the UK. By utilising the potential of dental therapists, some of the above challenges could be overcome and the DA approach optimised.

Aims The purpose of this article through presenting clinical cases is to demonstrate the full scope of practice of the dental therapist and highlight how clinical outcomes can be optimised for patients when a 'shared care' approach is followed.

Conclusions Notwithstanding the complexities of the financial implications practice owners face, through knowledge and understanding of the role and scope of the dental therapist within the wider dental team, optimal treatment of dental patients in the UK can be encouraged.

Key points

  • Demonstrates full scope of practice of dental therapists.

  • Presents examples of dental therapy student clinical cases.

  • Demonstrates clinical cases of 'shared care' team approach between dental therapist and dental undergraduates.

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Correspondence to Sally Hanks.

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Sadura, Z., Hanks, S., Tredwin, C. et al. The dental therapist's role in a 'shared care' approach to optimise clinical outcomes. Br Dent J 231, 104–108 (2021).

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