The Importance of an Oral Health Therapist (OHT)
In the vast healthcare landscape, one often underappreciated yet crucial profession plays a pivotal role in safeguarding our overall well-being – the Oral Health Therapist.
Beyond the limits of traditional dentistry, Oral Health Therapists are entrusted with a multifaceted responsibility that extends far beyond routine check-ups and cleanings.
This article will discuss the importance of Oral Health Therapists, exploring what they do, the benefits of seeing one and what you can expect from an appointment.
What Does An Oral Health Therapist Do?
An Oral Health Therapist (OHT) is trained in dental hygiene and dental therapy, which means they can provide a range of care to people of all ages.
At Admire Dentistry, OHTs are integral to the practice!
Their expertise in oral hygiene and preventative care, as well as their ability to provide a range of dental services, contribute to the overall health of patients and are invaluable.
OHTs enhance patient education, promote preventative practices and enable collaborative and efficient dental care within the practice. Without them, we wouldn’t have a dental hygiene department, and our patients wouldn’t be fortunate enough to receive bespoke care in a safe environment.
Oral Health Therapists are trained to provide preventative care to patients of all ages. Think of it like this: your dentist studies for five years to learn all areas of general dentistry, while your OHT studies for three years to learn solely about oral hygiene and preventative dentistry. This training ensures patients of all ages receive appropriate and tailored care.
Our OHTs also aim to empower you with the knowledge to make the best decisions about your oral health. For these reasons, you’ll always see your OHT for your regular preventative and hygiene appointments at Admire Dentistry. Our OHTs provide you with the best oral hygiene maintenance so that our dentists can provide you with specialised care in all other areas.
What Is Involved in an OHT Appointment?
Dental fear and anxiety affect around 16% of adults in Australia, so much so that they skip appointments until it’s necessary. However, when it comes to appointments with your Oral Health Therapist, there is nothing to worry about!
Your initial appointment with the Oral Health Therapist at Admire Dentistry is typically stress-free. The appointment begins with the OHT assessing the status of your oral health. They will ask you various questions regarding your diet, lifestyle choices and dental hygiene habits. Once that is complete, they will assess the look and health of your teeth and gums.
During this stage, your OHT will take X-rays of your mouth and then complete a thorough clean of your teeth and gums. Then, your OHT will gather information, review your X-ray results, determine the risk of gum disease and report their findings to you. If they find any signs, they will take measures to improve the situation of your teeth and gums, usually in the form of calculus and plaque removal (which is usually pain-free).
At the end of your appointment, your OHT will then recommend an oral hygiene routine that suits your unique needs and a maintenance/preventative program to ensure your mouth stays healthy between visits to the dentist.
The Benefits of Visiting an OHT
An appointment with our Oral Health Therapist at Admire Dentistry is a fantastic step in the maintenance of your teeth. The main benefits of visiting an Oral Health Therapist include:
Receive a thorough clean
When you visit our OHT, the first thing that will be done is a thorough cleaning of your teeth to remove debris and stains. This comprehensive clean is a lot more effective than your usual at-home brushing, as it removes plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.
Early prevention of issues
The main focus of OHTs is preventative care, aiming to identify potential issues before they get any worse. Regular check-ups and cleanings can help detect early signs of dental issues, allowing for timely intervention and minimising the risk of more serious conditions.
One of the primary roles of Oral Health Therapists is to educate their patients about proper oral hygiene practices. They provide personalised guidance on effective brushing and flossing techniques, nutritional advice, and lifestyle factors that can impact oral health.
Treatment of gum disease
Another benefit of visiting an Oral Health Therapist is that as well as receiving routine cleanings, they can also treat various gum diseases.
How Do Dentists and OHTs Work Together?
Once you’ve met with your Oral Health Therapist for the first time, they usually schedule six-monthly visits.
During those visits, your OHT will clean your teeth and gums and check for signs of gingivitis and other gum diseases. Once they’ve done this, they will discuss the best ways to care for your teeth. Depending on the outcome of your appointment with your OHT, the dentist may also come in to see you during the same appointment.
Often, at the recommendation of the Oral Health Therapist, the dentist will be the sole practitioner to diagnose any problems and provide solutions, such as fillings, root canals, dental crowns and more.
Simply put, OHTs are the ones to check for early signs of dental issues and provide preventative care. However, if you need restorative care, your OHT will discuss it with your dentist, who will provide the necessary surgical or non-surgical treatment.
Book An Appointment with Admire Dentistry
When it comes to your oral health, the importance of Oral Health Therapists cannot be overstated.
Their unique blend of expertise in preventative care, patient education and specialised treatments plays a massive role in maintaining healthy smiles and preventing dental issues.
If you’re due for a clean and check-up and want to prioritise your oral health, book an appointment with our OHT at Admire Dentistry today.