Becoming an Oral Health Therapist

Oral Health Therapist

How do I become an Oral Health Therapist?

To become an Oral Health Therapist you must complete a Bachelor of Oral Health (or equivalent) at university. This is usually a three year program with topics including biology, dental and health science, clinical practice and health promotion. Students will generally need an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 70 or above or have completed VET diploma, Advanced Diploma or satisfactory STAT rank (more information about entry requirements are available on the university websites). You may also be required to attend an interview. Oral Health Therapists must be registered with the Australian Health Professional Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Dental Board of Australia.

For more information about studying to become an Oral Health Therapist visit the Australian Dental Association website ( and the Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapist's Association website.

What is an Oral Health Therapist?

Oral Health Therapists are highly valued members of the dental team, providing preventive and general dental care to the population in both the public and private sectors. They have a strong preventive focus and are actively involved in health promotion and fostering positive attitudes towards oral health. Oral Health Therapists possess qualifications in both dental therapy and dental hygiene. 

A career as an Oral Health Therapist would be a good choice for people who have:

  • An interest in health and wellbeing
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • The ability to do precise and detailed work
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to establish rapport with children and adults
  • The ability to work as part of a team


What do oral health therapists do?

Oral health therapists perform the following tasks as part of their work (subject to the scope of practice each professional has been trained in):

  • Provide routine clinical dental treatment for children and adolescents including dental examinations and diagnosis, cleaning, scaling and polishing teeth, filling cavities and extracting deciduous (baby) teeth under local anaesthetic
  • Placement of stainless steel crowns
  • Treat gum conditions for all ages, take x-rays of teeth and jaws, apply sealants, and remineralising therapies
  • Remove deposits and stains from teeth by scaling and root planning
  • Take impressions of patients' mouths for the construction of study casts, mouth guards and orthodontic appliances
  • Select and size orthodontic bands (braces), and remove orthodontic wires and attachments
  • Apply and remove periodontal packs
  • Bring more complex dental problems to the attention of dentists, specialists or other health care providers
  • Educate and motivate individuals to maintain good oral health
  • Promote oral health for the community
  • Liaise with other health care providers to support oral health as part of general health


Where do oral health therapists work?

There are a variety of career paths available to oral health therapists. These include oral health therapy, dental therapy, dental hygiene, health promotion, early childhood to geriatric dentistry, special needs, dental health research and health administration. Career prospects are good for Oral Health Therapists in the public sector dental health services, especially in regional and remote areas (Tasmania is considered to be both rural and remote).

Working for Oral Health Services Tasmania

Oral Health Services Tasmania has traditionally employed Dental Therapists and more recently, Oral Health Therapists. Oral Health Services Tasmania offers a wide range of working environments including busy urban clinics, community clinics and mobile dental units. There are also opportunities to work in clinics located in some of our remote island communities.

Oral Health Services Tasmania provides Oral Health Therapists with the opportunity to use both dental therapy and dental hygiene skills. Employees are given the chance to work with special care patients and a variety of key groups in the community with oral health promotion.

For more information on employment opportunities with Oral Health Services Tasmania visit the Tasmanian Government Jobs website.

or contact the General Manager, Oral Health Services Tasmania : email

Useful links

DHHS Dental Therapist Flyer and information on other Allied Health Professions