The viability of a diagnostic role for dental hygienists and dental therapists in the UK: a review of the literature

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Josh D.D. Quach David R Radford Chris Louca


Dental therapists (DTs) and dental hygienists (DHs) are registered in the UK by the General Dental Council. They have a defined scope of practice and this allows them to see patients by direct assess, undertake clinical examinations and tests to formulate a diagnosis and care plan. This review will focus on the viability of a diagnostic role for these highly trained health care professions within the UK, with reference to national and international literature.

Several key themes consistently appear in the literature; acceptability, examination & diagnostic skills, financial impact, clinical knowledge and safeguarding. These themes, act either as barriers or facilitators or both in this defined role of direct access.

This review concludes patient’s acceptance of DHs and DTs and that they have significant examination and diagnostic skills. Despite the potential cost saving for either, the patient, insurer or the UK National Health Service when they are utilised in this role of undertaking oral health assessments, dentist’s acceptance of DH and DTs continues to serve as a barrier.

More primary research in the UK and internationally is required to provide a stronger foundation for support and enhancement for this front-line role.

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How to Cite
QUACH, Josh D.D.; RADFORD, David R; LOUCA, Chris. The viability of a diagnostic role for dental hygienists and dental therapists in the UK: a review of the literature. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 7, july 2020. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 08 aug. 2020. doi:
Research Articles


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