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 Oral Health Therapists (OHTs).
Dental Therapists, formerly know as Dental Nurses were trained by Health Promotion Board under a 3 years certification programme to provide basic dental treatment to school children aged 18 years or younger. This includes scaling, polishing, fillings and extractions of baby teeth. As of Year 2002, the course has ceased to be offered.
Dental Hygienists are trained in management of gum problems in patients of all ages. They can perform scaling, polishing and root planning of teeth. There is no local training available for dental hygienists; foreign hygienists working in Singapore possess either a diploma or degree in Dental Hygiene from a recognised institution.
Currently, Singapore provides dual training for a combination of dental therapist and dental hygienist. They are called the Oral Health Therapists (OHTs). All OHTs are trained in Nanyang Polytechnic and hold a Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy. The detailed job scope of each discipline can be found here.
OHTs specialise in a limited scope of dental work, and their qualifications differ from dentists. 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.