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|Title:||Applied scope of practice of oral health therapists, dental hygienists and dental therapists|
|Citation:||Australian Dental Journal, 2016; 61(3):342-349|
|DN Teusner, N Amarasena, J Satur, S Chrisopoulos and DS Brennan|
|Abstract:||BACKGROUND: Oral health therapists (OHTs) are an emerging workforce whose training incorporates the skills of dental hygienists (DHs) and dental therapists (DTs). There are concerns that OHTs are underutilised. This study compares the employment characteristics and applied practice scope of OHTs with those of DTs and DHs. METHODS: Members of two professional associations representing DHs, DTs and OHTs, were surveyed by mail. Data collected included demographic and employment characteristics and clinical activity on a typical practice day. Applied practice scope was described by calculating the proportion of practitioners that had provided ≥1 of a selected range of key services. Log binomial regression was used to compare OHTs to DTs and DHs. RESULTS: Response rate was 60.6% (n= 1,083) and of these 90.9% were employed. Preventive services dominated service provision. The proportion of OHTs that provided fluoride applications (77%) was higher than the proportion of DTs (53%, p<0.05), and was not significantly different from the proportion of DHs (70%). The proportion of OHTs that provided (48%) fissure sealants was lower than the proportion of DTs (70%) and substantially higher than the proportion of DHs (10%, p>0.05). CONCLUSION: Overall the applied practice scope of OHTs appeared to differ from DTs and DHs.|
|Keywords:||Dental Hygienist; Dental Therapist; Oral Health Therapist; dental services; practice activity; practice scope|
|Description:||Accepted manuscript online: 14 OCT 2015|
|Rights:||© 2015 Australian Dental Association|
|Appears in Collections:||Dentistry publications|
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