Dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists are members of the dental team and may only practise within a structured professional relationship with a dentist. They practise in a range of activities included in the definition of dentistry1.
Dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists are expected to only perform dental treatment for which they have been educated and trained and in which they are competent. For further information, refer to the Board’s Scope of Practice Registration Standard.
The Board’s Guidelines for scope of practice provides information on the scope of practice and education requirements for dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists.
The Australian Dental Council, the Board’s accreditation authority, has published the Professional competencies of the newly qualified dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapist, February 2016. This document describes the competencies expected of the newly graduated dental hygienist, dental therapist and oral health therapist to be eligible for registration.
You need to successfully complete a program of study approved by the Board. You can find a list of approved programs of study on AHPRA’s website.
You also need to meet the other Board’s registration requirements described in the Board’s registration standards, including having appropriate professional indemnity insurance and meeting the recency of practice, the continuing professional development (CPD) and the English language skills requirements.
If you have graduated within the last 12 months and were never registered before, you need to complete and submit application form ASGR-20.
If you graduated more than 12 months ago or if you were previously registered with the Board or another jurisdiction, you need to complete and submit application form AGEN-20.
If you are an overseas qualified dental hygienist or dental therapist, you need to apply for an assessment of your qualification(s) with the Australian Dental Council (ADC). You will also need to successfully complete both written and practical examinations organised by the ADC. Once you do so, you can apply for registration by completing and submitting application form AGEN-20.
Overseas qualifications leading to registration as oral health therapist are not recognised at this point in time.
Prior to applying for a change of division, you need to have an approved qualification and recency of practice in both dental hygiene and dental therapy. A list of approved programs of study is available on AHPRA’s website.
You can apply for registration as an oral health therapist if:
You would need to complete and submit application form ACDR-20.
Yes. You can apply for registration and renew your registration in multiple divisions. You will be expected to meet all registration standards including having appropriate professional indemnity assurance arrangements, maintain recency of practice for all divisions and meet the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.
If you apply for registration in more than one division at the same time, you will pay the application and registration fees for the division with the higher fee.
If you are already registered in one division and wish to apply for an additional division, you will pay the application fee for this additional division but not the registration fee.
If you renew your registration in multiple divisions, you will pay one renewal fee, regardless of the number of divisions you are registered in.
Yes. If you were registered as a dental hygienist and/or dental therapist with a state/territory dental registration body prior to the National Scheme, you can apply for registration in the division in which you were previously registered.
You would need to complete and submit application form AGEN-20. You also need to meet the other Board’s registration requirements described in the Board’s registration standards, including having appropriate professional indemnity insurance and meeting the recency of practice and the CPD requirements.
If you have been trained as both, dental hygienist and dental therapist, prior to the National Scheme, you may be able to continue to perform dental treatment for which you have been educated and trained and in which you are competent. You would be expected to inform your employer of your competence and registration status, ensure that your practice is covered by your professional indemnity insurance, maintain recency of practice and engage in relevant CPD activities.
However, you cannot use the protected title of dental hygienist if you are not registered in this division.
Yes. A registered oral health therapist is considered qualified to practise as dental therapist and/or dental hygienist.
1Guidelines for scope of practice provides the following definition:
The following range of activities are considered to be the practice of dentistry and cover the widest range of any procedures that a person educated in dentistry can carry out.
Dentistry involves the assessment, prevention, diagnosis, advice, and treatment of any injuries, diseases, deficiencies, deformities or lesions on or of the human teeth, mouth or jaws or associated structures.