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Type: Journal article
Title: The influence of population oral health on the dental team
Author: Robinson, P.
Dyer, T.
Teusner, D.
Citation: Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 2012; 40(s2):16-21
Publisher: Blackwell Munksgaard
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0301-5661
Statement of
Peter G. Robinson, Thomas A. Dyer and Dana Teusner
Abstract: This presentation focuses on the use of dental therapists as substitutes for dentists in the provision of some aspects of dental care. Our premise is that the use of therapists is a ‘good thing’ if it delivers a higher quality service. The care that may be provided by therapists is appropriate to population needs. They have been used to increase access to care in a number of countries by supplementing the volume and reach of services, which enhances equity. Therapists are socially acceptable where they are integrated into existing dental systems, but concerted work may be necessary to increase their acceptability if their use is to be introduced or expanded elsewhere. There is no reason to suspect that therapists offer less effective care than dentists, and available data are compatible with this view. More data may be required to lend political support for their greater use. The efficiency of teams is sensitive to the way in which they are organized and funded. Substitution of dentists by therapists within small dental teams creates complexities and costs that reduce efficiency. Conversely, where therapists can work with relative independence, diagnosing and treating patients without direct supervision, then efficiency may be high. Despite opportunities for improving the quality of care, the main barrier for increasing their use is the dental profession. Dental organizations tend to act as guilds, preventing or restricting the deployment of therapists. Dental public health practitioners therefore have a role as advocates for their greater use. At present, the use of therapists does not appear to be influenced by the health of the population.
Keywords: Humans
Dental Care
Oral Health
Delivery of Health Care
Health Services Accessibility
Quality of Health Care
Rights: © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2012.00714.x
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Dentistry publications

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