Direct Access

With effect from 1 May 2013, Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists are permitted to treat patients without a prior examination by a dentist.

This means that we can now welcome patients requesting to the services of the Dental Hygienist/Therapist without having to be examined by a dentist prior to the appointment.

For new patients to the practice who just want to see the Dental hygienist, the patient will be required to fill in an up to date medical history and a consent form for treatment. The patient will have a regular hygienist appointment and the standard fee will be payable at the end of the appointment.

For patients who regularly see our dentists it is no longer necessary to have a prescription from the dentist before having a hygienist appointment.

Please be aware of the following important notes regarding direct access to the Dental Hygienist:

  • Whether or not to accept direct access patients is up to the hygienist/therapist. Not all hygienists may wish to do this and, if they would prefer to continue to work under the direction of a dentist, they have every right to do so
  • They must work within the extent of their training and must not undertake duties for which they have not been trained
  • If a hygienist identifies an issue whilst performing their duties, they may recommend a referral to a dentist. You should bear in mind that hygienists and therapists don not have the same training as dentists and a trip to the hygienist does not remove the need for periodic examinations by a dentist

There are certain duties, that even if they have been trained to perform, hygienists and therapists are still not allowed to undertake through direct access. These include:

  • Teeth whitening as the law requires a dentist to perform the first application of gel)
  • Prescribing of x-rays, they may be allowed to take x-rays but only under the prescription of a dentist
  • Injection of botox
  • The application of topical fluoride – this can be completed under the prescription of a dentist

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