The scope of your practice is a way of describing what you are trained and competent to do. It describes the areas in which you have the knowledge, skills and experience to practise safely and effectively in the best interests of patients.

Dental therapists are registered dental professionals who carry out certain items of dental treatment direct to patients or under prescription from a dentist.

As a dental therapist, you can undertake the following if you are trained, competent and indemnified:

A dental therapist can also carry out the scope of a dental hygienist and dental nurse if trained and competent. 

• obtain a detailed dental history from patients and evaluate their medical history
• carry out a clinical examination within their competence
• complete periodontal examination and charting and use indices to screen and monitor periodontal disease
• diagnose and treatment plan within their competence
• prescribe radiographs
• take, process and interpret various film views used in general dental  practice
• plan the delivery of care for patients
• give appropriate patient advice
• provide preventive oral care to patients and liaise with dentists over the treatment of caries, periodontal disease and tooth wear
• undertake supragingival and subgingival scaling and root surface debridement using manual and powered instruments
• use appropriate anti-microbial therapy to manage plaque related diseases
• adjust restored surfaces in relation to periodontal treatment
• apply topical treatments and fissure sealants
• give patients advice on how to stop smoking
• take intra and extra-oral photographs
• give infiltration and inferior dental block analgesia
• place temporary dressings and re-cement crowns with temporary cement
• place rubber dam
• take impressions
• care of implants and treatment of peri-implant tissues
• carry out direct restorations on primary and secondary teeth
• carry out pulpotomies on primary teeth
• extract primary teeth
• place pre-formed crowns on primary teeth
• identify anatomical features, recognise abnormalities and interpret common pathology
• carry out oral cancer screening
• if necessary, refer patients to other healthcare professionals
• keep full, accurate and contemporaneous patient records
• if working on prescription, vary the detail but not the direction of the prescription according to patient needs. For example the number of surfaces to be restored or the material to be used.

Additional skills which dental therapists could develop include:
• carrying out tooth whitening to the prescription of a dentist
• administering inhalation sedation
• removing sutures after the wound has been checked by a dentist

All other skills are reserved to orthodontic therapists, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians or dentists.


In 2013 the GDC removed its barrier to Direct Access for some dental care professionals

Dental hygienists and dental therapists can carry out their full scope of practice without prescription and without the patient having to see a dentist first. The only exception to this is tooth whitening, which must still be carried out on prescription from a dentist.
Dental hygienists and therapists must be confident that they have the skills and competences to treat patients direct.

For further clarification please see: