Dental practitioners' knowledge of, and attitudes towards employing oral health therapists

Helen Tane, Jackie Edmunds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Oral health therapists are dually qualified clinicians who graduate with skills in oral health promotion as well as dentaltherapy and dental hygiene, and can now work in either the public and/or private sectors. Since the introductionof these clinicians, there has been constant political debate over their role, their competency and their benefit to thecommunity. The following article presents current findings of research exploring the existing knowledge and attitudesof a sample group of NSW dental professionals towards oral health therapists in 2011.Responses were received from 34 of the 50 practitioners surveyed, a response rate of 68%. In general, dentalprofessionals responded as having positive attitudes towards oral health therapists, but many responses showed aclear lack of knowledge of their clinical skills and scopes of practise. This study provides evidence that the dentalprofessionals surveyed are not fully informed of the role of oral health therapists, which could be a major barrier totheir employment. Furthermore, this restricts underserved community groups from receiving oral health care whichcould be provided by oral health therapists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists' Association
Volume7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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