Do your teeth feel fine, but perhaps they’re not quite as clean as you’d like?
Do you need a helping hand to get between the gaps, and make sure that there’s no plaque build up?
Updated – January 2019
Patients now have direct access to dental hygiene services. “Direct access” means that patient’s don’t have to see a dentist first.
Before 2013, the dental team used to work under the direction of a dentist. The dentist even had to write a prescription for the patient to have a scale and polish.
Now you can go directly to your hygienist or therapist for treatments that do not involve prescription drugs, and are within their scope of practice.
Our teams work closely, nevertheless. If the therapist spots something of concern that the dentist should check, you will be advised accordingly.
The advantages of direct access to oral hygiene:
- preventive dentistry is all about helping you, the patient, be in control of your own oral health
- there’s no one better to point you in the right direction and help you get to grips with those interdental brushes
- problems gums respond to regular care, and the therapist can help you to monitor progress
- if you’re planning expensive restorative treatment, your therapist will ensure your mouth is healthy before you begin so the treatments will be worthwhile and long-lasting
- therapists play an important role in building confidence, especially with children and nervous patients
Please note: an appointment via direct access to your dental therapist or hygienist is not an alternative to seeing the dentist on a regular basis. Rather, it’s a valuable addition.
The GDC states: “Hygienists and therapists practising under direct access are not expected to make a diagnosis beyond their scope of practice. They should refer to a dentist (or other relevant healthcare practitioner) when they identify areas of concern or when treatment is required that is out of their scope of practice.”
- External link: the role of dental therapists
The work of dental therapists nationwide is being recognised and valued. It’s a response to patients’ requests for increasingly effective oral care and higher standards of oral hygiene.