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Dental therapists are keen to see access to dental care improved for low income and older New Zealanders. Their professional body, the New Zealand Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association (NZDOHTA), believes that extending the scope is necessary to achieve this and continues to push for the development of approved adult scope programs in 2019.

The association says that countries like Australia are “miles ahead” in terms of utilising the extended skills of dental and oral health therapists.

Chairperson Arish Naresh says New Zealand therapists are ready to follow suit.

“We as a profession are ready to train further and ensure the most vulnerable receive equitable access. There is no shortage of dental and oral health therapy graduates in New Zealand and if we are to retain these graduates in our country then they need to be provided the opportunity to extend their respective scopes. It’s a win-win for the professions and for the country.”

In response to the question of whether therapists are treading on dentists’ toes, the association is keen to make it very clear that the role of dentists and the wider dental team remains as important and vital.

 “But if we as a profession are to function as a team then we should all be working top of scope for the betterment of oral health and not base our arguments around market share.”

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