Dental therapists are specialists who are found in rural settings, usually in places with few people where there are not any dentists. These professionals aim to provide people with quality yet affordable dental treatments, and their duties and responsibilities are somewhat similar to those of a dental assistant. Generally speaking, dental therapists can provide basic dental therapies and treatments, yet they cannot offer treatments to the same extent as a traditional dentist would. The salary of such a professional varies greatly from one US state to another, but on average, the dental therapists should expect to make anything between $54,000 and as much as $71,000 a year.
Pay Scale In Different Parts Of The United States of America
Those who live in the state of Florida typically make around $50,000-$55,000, while those from the state of Arizona can make as much as $72,000 a year, although this depends greatly on their level of expertise. Moreover, the dental therapists who live and work in Texas should expect to make around $61,000 a year, while those from New York make around $72,000. At the same time, a dental therapist from North Carolina can make up to $62,000 a year, while one who lives and works in the state of Indiana should expect a median yearly wage of around $68,000.
Dental Therapist Job Description
Commonly referred to as oral health practitioners in the health care industry, the dental therapists are a very important part of the dental team. Overall, the duty of the dental therapist is to closely examine the teeth of the patient, to diagnose any potential dental conditions or diseases of the mouth and then to prescribe the most suitable dental treatment. These professionals can provide a wide array of different dental treatments, from impressions and tooth extractions to pulp therapy, temporary crowns as well as performing X-rays or dental radiographs.
These professionals can also perform routine fillings, and it is also their duty to educate the patient on different dental problems and what is the most suitable treatment option to address them. Given the fact that most of the dental therapists choose to work with those from the rural areas or people who come from low-income environments, the services of a dental therapist tend to be more affordable than those of a dentist from a large metropolitan area.
Overall, it is the duty of the dental therapist to promote good dental health and to educate the wide public on some of the most important aspects of oral care. These professionals work with both children and adults, and amongst their daily duties and responsibilities there is taking dental radiographs, applying fissure sealants and fluoride to the teeth, polishing and scaling the teeth, assessing the overall oral health of the patient, using pinned or pre-cast placements as well as undertaking routine restorations. Moreover, these professionals are also trained to administer dental nerve block analgesia, although this treatment is typically done under the close supervision of a certified dentist.
Dental therapists are trained to work with patients who are medically compromised or who are very anxious about going to the dentist, this is why it is extremely important for all those who want to pursue a career as a dental therapist to show empathy towards these people, as well as to comfort them when needed and to have good communication and interpersonal skills.
How To Become A Good Dental Therapist?
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- Dental Assisting - Associate's
If you have decided to pursue a career as a dental therapist, it is firstly important to understand the fact that these professionals are somewhere between dentists and dental hygienists. Most of them have the same role in the health care industry as the nurse practitioner does in the medical field. Generally speaking, dental therapists work close to dentists, and dentists are the ones who assign them different duties. Dental therapists can work either in a hospital or a public health clinic, or he can be employed in a private dental clinic.
Most of those who are passionate about dentistry and think about becoming dental therapists start their careers by enrolling in an Associate’s Degree program that typically lasts for two years, and is provided by a community college. Throughout the course of the two years of training, dental therapists get a deeper insight into dental hygiene and then they can move on to applying for a Bachelor’s or a Master’s Degree program. This is purely optional, as it often happens that most of those who want to work as dental therapists in rural areas only have an Associate’s Degree or a certificate in dental hygiene. However, the Master’s Degree is absolutely essential for those who want to bring their contribution to additional fields of dentistry, such as the research or the teaching field.
Those who know they want to become dental therapists from high school should take extra classes in chemistry, maths as well as biology. During the training program, these professionals will be taught the basics of radiography, physiology, anatomy, periodontology and nutrition, and there will be some degree of coursework coupled with practical, hands-on experience.
Licensure And Certification
All those who want to work as dental therapists must apply for a license in the state where they want to work. The license is only valid for that particular state.
Dental Therapist Salary In Canada, Australia and The United Kingdom
The median yearly salary of a dental therapist who lives and works in Australia is of around Au$62,000 a year although they can make as much as Au$73,000 per annum, while the salary of such a professional in the United Kingdom typically varies anywhere between 20,000 pounds and as much as 37,000 or 40,000 pounds. Dental therapists who work in Canada should expect to be paid a median yearly wage between Ca$51,000 and Ca$70,000.
Verdict On Dental Therapist Salary
To conclude, becoming a dental therapist takes a lot less training and experience as opposed to becoming a dentist. Regarding the median yearly salary of such an oral health care provider, it must be said that the wage is generally very satisfactory, although there are many factors that can influence the salary, be it in a positive or in a negative way.