New Paper - General Dental Practices With and Without a Dental Therapist

12 October 2018

Dentist and assistant with a patient

Recently Emma Barnes, Alison Bullock, Jon Cowpe, Kirstie Moons, Wendy Warren, David Hannington, Ivor Chestnutt, Sue Bale and Ceri Negrotti published a new study in the British Dental Journal entitled “General dental practices with and without a dental therapist: a survey of appointment activities and patient satisfaction with their care”.

In the context of increasing workload and changing patterns of dental health, e.g. an ageing population keeping their teeth for longer, a teamwork approach to oral health provision with a preventative focus has been promoted. The study explored the range of treatment activities carried out in general dental practices with and without dental therapists (DTs) and patients’ satisfaction with their care. Data was gathered from case studies of six dental practices across South Wales, three with, and three without a DT. For each patient appointment, a patient satisfaction questionnaire and staff-member-completed appointment record form were completed.

Results gathered from 1,224 participants (314 DT and 910 dentist appointments) showed that preventative work accounted for nearly half of all treatments. Dentists in practices with a DT, undertook fewer preventative and restorative methods and performed more complex tasks than those without a DT. Patient satisfaction and confidence in dentists’ and DTs’ ability was uniformly high (97% and 99% for each group respectively) The authors concluded that practices with DTs provided a more preventative-focused approach to oral-care delivery with the redistributed workforce allowing both dentists and DTs to carry out their full scope of practice in a way that patients found acceptable.

You can find the full article here: https://www.nature.com/articles/sj.bdj.2018.522