Dental Therapist 

Dental therapists examine and treat diseases of the teeth in pre-school, primary and secondary school children, under the supervision of dentists. 

Dental therapists may perform the following tasks:


  • educate and motivate children, either on a personal basis in the clinic or through classroom lessons, to maintain good oral health;
  • help to educate the community in the principles of preventive dentistry by addressing adult groups such as parent groups, play groups and parents and citizens associations;
  • provide routine dental treatment for children including dental examinations, cleaning  and polishing teeth, filling cavities, extracting deciduous (baby) teeth under local anaesthetic, taking x-rays of teeth and jaws and applying pit and fissure sealants, fluoride therapy and taking impressions for mouthguard construction;
  • bring more complex dental problems to the attention of dentists;
  • work with managers of school canteens, advising them about health food; and
  • liaise with other health care providers.


Dental therapists work in private and public clinics under the supervision of a dentist.


Personal Requirements

  • Manual dexterity
  • Able to perform precise and detailed work
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Able to establish rapport with children
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Interest in health care work

Related Jobs

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Assistant

Employment Opportunities

The public sector oral health services are the major employers of dental therapists. They often work in fixed and mobile clinics promoting oral health care to children. Career opportunities include progression to senior dental therapist positions coordinating health promotion activities in dental health services, and positions in administration, research and teaching.


Job opportunities depend upon:

  • government funding
  • the number of people eligible for treatement

Additional Information

Dental therapists must be registered with the Dental Board of Australia.





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Copyright Australian Dental Association - 2016