The history of Dental Therapy profession dates backs to the pre-colonial era. High incidence of periodontal diseases and cancrum oris were prevalent and are still common in Nigeria. This was due to poor oral hygiene and lack of good nutrition in the early fifties. Thus, the ever-increasing demand for oral healthcare led to an increase in the awareness of the importance and the use of the preventive measure. This brought about the birth of Dental Therapy profession.
A team of dentists came from the United Kingdom as a result of ever-growing dental problems to find out the possibility of establishing a cadre that would be trained to complement the service of the dentists.
In 1958, a school was established by Miss Vera Mary Creaton, a Briton at No. 1 Broad Street, Lagos for the training of Dental Hygienists which later metamorphosis into the Federal School of Dental Technology & Therapy, Enugu-Nigeria.
In 1961, the school was granted accreditation which was renewable every 10 years by the team from Britain led by Sir Williams Kesley Fry.
A Dental Therapist is, therefore, a member of a Dental Health Team who provides therapeutical and quality dental care to various sections of the community at the three tiers of our Healthcare Delivery System vis-à-vis Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.
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THE PROGRAMME – DENTAL THERAPY
The Dental Therapy Programme prepares well rounded, well equipped professional therapists who can effectively operate in all aspects of oral healthcare.
It affords dental therapists the opportunity to rise to an excellent degree in a health profession.
FUNCTIONS OF THE DENTAL THERAPIST
The Dental Therapists perform such varied clinical functions –
Oral examination in both adults and children
Taking impressions on teeth
Apply materials to teeth such as fluoride and fissure sealants
Provide routine restorations from class 1-V in permanent and deciduous teeth
Can use all materials except precast or pinned placements
Pulp therapy treatment of deciduous teeth
Placement of preformed metal crowns on deciduous teeth
Extracts deciduous teeth under local analgesia
Emergency placement of crowns and filling s if removed during treatment
Take impressions for study models
Treat patients under conscious sedation provided that the dentist remains in the surgery through the treatment
Intraoral and extraoral assessment
Record indices and monitor disease
Take dental radiographs
Provide dental health education on a one on one basis or in a group situation.
Provide treatment for those that are mentally, physically and medically compromised.
Successful completion of the course and one-year internship programme results in the award of Higher National Diploma (HND)/ Bachelor of Science (B.Sc)/(B.DTh) in Dental Therapy.
ENTRY QUALIFICATION OF DENTAL THERAPY
B.Sc Dental Therapy
5 Credits in Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and English.
HND Dental Therapy
4 credits in any of the following:
Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Health Science
AWARD OF DENTAL THERAPY
POST CERTIFICATE PROGRAMME IN DENTAL THERAPY
Postgraduate programme is available in different countries all over the world, including Britain, Canada, Australia, USA, and South Africa.
AREA OF SPECIALTY
Advances non-surgical periodontal therapy
Specialists in Antiom
Specialist in nyo-function therapy
Care of implant
Dental Health Education
CAREER OPPORTUNITY FOR DENTAL THERAPISTS
Opportunity abounds for dental therapists in public and private hospitals, clinics and dental health training institutions.
ENABLING DECREE OF DENTAL THERAPY
In 1986, the Nigerian Dental Therapists Association drew the attention of the Federal Ministry of Health to the need to establish a regulatory body for the control of the training and practice of Dental Therapy, Dental Surgery Assistants and others.
On 25th August 1993, an enabling Decree establishing the Dental Therapists Registration Board of Nigeria was promulgated via Decree 81 to regulate and control the training and practice of Dental Therapy, Dental Surgery Assistants and other members.
Presently, the Board is located at No. 8A Oba Adeyinkla Oyekan Street, Off 2nd Avenue, Ikoyi-Lagos, Nigeria.