Who are Oral Health Therapists?
Oral Health Therapists(OHTs) are licensed dental professionals who work together with dentists to maintain good oral health in patients. They work with a prescription and are under the direct or indirect supervision of a dentist. There are 3 different categories: dental therapists, dental hygienists, and a combination of both, which we call OHTs.
What do OHTs do?
Dental Hygienists help patients develop good oral health habits and manage simple gum problems in patients of all ages. Common procedures performed by hygienists include scaling, polishing, root planing, placement of dental sealants and providing instructions for oral hygiene.
Dental Therapists provide basic dental services such as scaling, polishing, fillings and extractions of baby teeth to patients 18 years of age or younger.
Oral Health Therapists are dually qualified to practice both disciplines of dental hygiene and dental therapy.
The detailed job scope of each discipline can be found here
How are OHTs different from dentists?
OHTs specialise in a limited scope of dental work, and their qualifications differ from dentists.
OHTs trained in Singapore hold a Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy from Nanyang Polytechnic, while Dentists are degree graduates from the National University of Singapore or hold an equivalent degree from a recognised foreign university.
Up till 2002, Dental therapists trained in Singapore undertook a 3-year certificate course in Dental Therapy that was conducted by the Health Promotion Board. This course has since ceased to be offered.
There are no courses available for training Dental Hygienists in Singapore; foreign hygienists working in Singapore possess either a diploma or degree in Dental Hygiene from a recognised institution.
Together the dentist, OHT, and dental assistant form the dental team. With OHTs undertaking the basic routine dental treatment, it allows more time for dentists to concentrate on complex procedures, and hence the concept of a team approach to taking care of patients. This therefore leads to the holistic management of patients.