Dental hygienist, dental therapist and oral health therapist

All dental practitioners are members of the healthcare team and are expected to work with each other to provide the best possible care and outcome for their patients.

An individual dental practitioner’s scope of practice depends on their education, qualifications, training, experience and competence. Dental practitioners are expected to know their scope of practice. Individuals who wish to broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence may do so by completing continuing professional development (CPD). However, completing CPD is not enough to move from one division of registration to another.

The Scope of practice registration standard (149 KB,PDF) sets out the Dental Board of Australia’s (the Board) requirements for the scope of practice for dental practitioners.

The Guidelines for scope of practice provide guidance about the expectations of the registration standard and how to meet its requirements. Dental practitioners are expected to understand how to apply these guidelines together with this registration standard.

The Australian Dental Council (ADC), 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.

In some circumstances, you can apply for registration as an oral health therapist.

For example, you can apply for registration as an oral health therapist if you 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.

If you do not have an approved qualification, you may still be able to apply for registration as an oral health therapist if you are considered qualified under the National Law. For example, you could register in the division if your qualification(s) is assessed as being substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an approved qualification. To apply, you need to complete and submit 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 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 are 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.

If you are an overseas qualified dental hygienist dental therapist or oral health therapist, you need to complete the assessment process organised by the ADC. This will involve an assessment of your qualification(s) and the completion of the ADC written and practical examinations. Once you have successfully completed the ADC assessment process, you can apply for registration by completing and submitting application form AGEN-20.

Dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists registered to practise in New Zealand are eligible to apply for general registration with the Dental Board of Australia under trans-Tasman mutual recognition.

This applies irrespective of where training was carried out and qualifications held.

Further information is available on the Board’s Overseas qualified practitioners webpage.

 

1As described in the Board’s Guidelines for scope of practice

 
 
 
Page reviewed 4/03/2021