Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy

Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists are valuable members of the clinical dental team, working and supporting patients to improve their oral health through providing a range of treatments within their Scope of Practice. Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists work in many settings that include general practice, specialist practice (e.g. periodontal or orthodontic), hospital or community, health promotion, dental education or research.

We have both clinical and health promotional responsibilities. We treat individuals holistically, as the mouth has a direct effect on an individual’s general health. Examples of this are smoking on lung diseases and diet in relation to diabetes control.

Clinically, we can undertake a medical and dental history and initial examination of all patients, and take dental radiographs to develop a treatment plan. We screen, treat, monitor and maintain individuals with periodontal (gum) disease, and restore teeth using a variety of materials and treatments.

Our health promotion role includes motivating and encouraging individuals and groups to improve or maintain their oral health, including oral hygiene, dietary advice and smoking cessation.

Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists need to work with a flexible team approach; to have good communication skills and to demonstrate a high level of manual dexterity in order to undertake complex oral treatments. They need to be professional at all times.

Once registered with the General Dental Council, continuing professional development (CPD) is important in order to keep skills and knowledge up to date. At our CPD events a 'Certificate of Attendance' is issued to indicate that the course meets the criteria of the GDC lifelong learning scheme, which contributes to your CPD portfolio.

QUALIFICATIONS & EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES

There are several ways to qualify as a Dental Hygienist / Dental Therapist:

  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene - two year full time course
  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene & Therapy – 27 month full time course 
  • BSc in Oral Health Science - three year full time course 
  • BSc (Hons) (Edinburgh) - four year course. 

Along with Diploma in Dental Hygiene, the University of Essex also offer a Foundation Degree in Oral Health Science (2 year course). 

The entry requirements for these courses vary and you are advised to contact the school of your choice directly for a prospectus. 

To have worked in a dental environment and obtained a dental nurse qualification, would be advantageous.

All training is based on the curricula determined by the General Dental Council. A further General Dental Council document confirms your scope of practice.


Useful links to University Course Guides for information on suitable courses:

  1. WhatUni? website for information on Dental Hygiene Degree Courses
  2. The UniGuide
  3. NHS Health Education England - 'Health Careers' Course Finder

EDUCATION CENTRES 

There are 19 training schools in the UK that offer training to become a Dental Hygienist or Dental Therapist. The majority of training courses lead to a joint qualification, so you can register as both a Dental Hygienist and or a Dental Therapist upon completion of your programme with the GDC.

For further details of the programmes available, please review the online information which should include details about the course structure, qualifications at the end of the training, length of the training course, entry requirements, when the course starts and how to apply. Many training providers will also have Open Days throughout the year, which enables you to meet the staff and see the campus and facilities, and are highly recommended.

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE

UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX

GLASGOW  CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITY OF THE HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

KING’S COLLEGE HOSPITAL LONDON

QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON HOSPITALS

UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY

PLYMOUTH UNIVERSITY PENINSULA SCHOOLS MEDICINE & DENTISTRY 

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE – PRESTON (UCLAN)

UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD

TEESSIDE UNIVERSITY

UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges. Many of the above education providers use the UCAS route for applications to their programmes. For further information please follow this link: www.ucas.ac.uk or telephone: 01242 227788.


Training programmes for Dental Hygienists who qualified outside of the UK to register with the GDC

The Dental Hygienist Adaptation Module is suitable if you are a dental hygienist with an existing qualification from outside of the UK who has undertaken the GDC Dental Care Professional assessment of your existing qualification. It will help achieve the GDC required learning outcomes for registration as a Dental Hygienist in the UK.

If you are a UK Hygienist returning to practice, the Dental Hygienist Adaptation Module is an ideal refresher course that can offer you required CPD hours for re-registration with the GDC.

For further information, please contact The School of Health and Human Sciences, The University of Essex, Southend Campus, Elmer Approach, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1LW.

T: 01702 328375 / E: emnorris@essex.ac.ukW: www.essex.ac.uk/hhs/subjects/oh.aspx


Clinical postgraduate programmes for Dental Hygienists

University of Bristol

Postgraduate Dental Studies (Cert, Diploma or MSc) http://www.bristol.ac.uk/dental/courses/postgraduate/dpds/

Email: buold-office@bristol.ac.uk / 0117 342 9645

University of Essex

MSc in Advanced Periodontal Practice https://www.essex.ac.uk/courses/pg01031/1/msc-advanced-periodontal-practice

Further details contact emnorris@essex.ac.uk /Tel: 01702 328469

Kings College London

MSc in Advanced Minimum Intervention Dentistry at Kings College London.

When requesting information, please inform KCL that you found the information on the BSDHT website.

University College London

Dental Hygiene MSc https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught-degrees/dental-hygiene-msc

Email: edi.dh@ucl.ac.uk / 0203 456 1022



Clinical postgraduate programmes for Dental Therapists

University of Bristol

Postgraduate Dental Studies (Cert, Diploma or MSc) http://www.bristol.ac.uk/dental/courses/postgraduate/dpds/

Email: buold-office@bristol.ac.uk / 0117 342 9645

University of Essex

MSc in Advanced Periodontal Practice https://www.essex.ac.uk/courses/pg01031/1/msc-advanced-periodontal-practice

Further details contact emnorris@essex.ac.uk /Tel: 01702 328469

Kings College London

MSc in Advanced Minimum Intervention Dentistry at Kings College London.

When requesting information, please inform KCL that you found the information on the BSDHT website.

University of Central Lancashire (Preston) 

MSc in Advanced Restorative and Periodontal Practice www.uclan.ac.uk/courses/msc-advanced-restorative-and-periodontal-practice.php

Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh  

Diploma in Paediatric Dentistry (Dip Paed Dent (DT) RCSEd) www.rcsed.ac.uk/events-courses/course-details-diploma-in-paediatric-dentistry

Email: DTrcsed.ac.uk / 0131 5271676

University of the Highlands and Islands 

MSc in Oral Health Sciences https://www.inverness.uhi.ac.uk/courses/msc-oral-health-science/index.php

Email: Course Enquiries 01463 279190