Palm Beach

Chirn Park

Difference Between an Oral Health Therapist and a Dentist


When you visit our Gold Coast dental practice for your general check-up and clean, most of the time you’ll be in the care of one of our amazing Oral Health Therapists, as well as your Dentist. Many patients ask us “What’s the difference between an Oral Health Therapist and a Dentist?”, so we’ve put together a few answers to these FAQs in our dental article below!

Article Summary:

  • What’s an Oral Health Therapist?
  • How do a Dentist and Oral Health Therapist work together?
  • Why see an Oral Health Therapist?

What’s an Oral Health Therapist?

Oral Health Therapists (OHTs) are dental clinicians who are dual qualified in dental therapy and dental hygiene. To obtain registration with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Association (AHPRA), OHTs must graduate from a 3 year university degree.

OHTs provide a wide range of dental care to people of all ages; children, adolescents and adults are all able to experience excellent dental care in the qualified hands of an Oral Health Therapist.

An OHTs duties include examination, routine dental treatment and preventative work. This includes taking X-rays, fillings, fissure sealants and extractions of deciduous teeth. They are also able to stabilise and maintain gum health in patients of all ages, including those suffering from gum disease. OHTs play an important role in oral health promotion. They work towards improving oral health in patients through education and therapeutic measures. OHTs create awareness, prevention and wherever necessary, an early intervention system for oral disease.

There are strict guidelines for OHTs to maintain their registration with the Australian Dental Board. This includes participation in theory and practical based learning annually. Continued professional development ensures OHTs are up to date with advances in dentistry. This encompasses clinical skills, new materials and theories to provide up to date and exceptional dental care to the entire community.

OHTs can provide complete care for children and adolescents. When required, they are able to refer specific cases to general dentists and dental specialists. This will always ensure optimal care. For adults, your dentist and OHT complement each other in the services and care they provide. While your Dentist will focus on diagnosis and the completion of routine or complex treatment plans, your Oral Health Therapist will assist in the stabilisation and maintenance of your oral health.

How do a Dentist and Oral Health Therapist work together?

Having a routine check-up and clean appointment will flow efficiently with 2 practitioners. The Dentist and Oral Health Therapist work together to ensure a thorough and gentle dental maintenance appointment. The Dentist will review X-rays and photographs taken by the Oral Health Therapist. They will then examine all teeth and surrounding soft tissues. The oral health therapist will spend extended time with each patient, creating a personalised experience and allowing educating on home care routines. They will check for gingivitis and other oral diseases. After the completion of an important hygiene clean, they will administer a fluoride treatment, discuss and plan for future maintenance appointments.

Why see an Oral Health Therapist?

  • They treat both adult and children
  • They prioritise oral health education and promotion
  • They diagnosis, stabilise and maintain disease in teeth and gums
  • They advise on preventative and therapeutic methods to control oral disease
  • They conduct dietary counselling
  • They place on emphasis on, and conduct pleasant dental maintenance appointments for long term oral health

Tooth and gum disease can be uncomfortable, expensive and create an unwelcome interruption to everyday life, or even worse – an important event or holiday! Prevention is the key to avoiding oral health concerns. The ability to prevent such disease relies on your knowledge of dental health and access to routine dental maintenance appointments. Oral Health Therapists have the skills to help you achieve the best dental health possible.

You can get to know all of the amazing Oral Health Therapists and Dentists at Oasis Dental Studio by visiting our About Us page.

Dental Check-Up and Clean at Your Gold Coast Dental Clinic

At the moment, our Gold Coast dentists are only able to provide emergency dental treatment to patients who are experiencing pain, swelling or dental trauma, while general and cosmetic dental appointments will need to be deferred until further notice due to COVID-19 operating restrictions. If you are experiencing a dental emergency, please contact our friendly team on 07 5526 8722 to find out if you meet the criteria for emergency treatment.⁠

To be notified as soon as we can offer all other dental treatments and for our best dental care advice, follow our social media pages below, sign up to our newsletter and check out our COVID-19 updates page.


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