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SAAD Dig. 2013 Jan;29:64-9.

The role of dental therapists in pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of anxious and phobic patients.

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Salaried Primary Dental Care Service, Northamptonshire.


Dental Therapists are in a prime position to be involved with the management of anxious and phobic patients. They earn less than dentists and are therefore a more cost-effective way of providing specialised care for anxious patients. Dental Therapists can spend more time educating and acclimatising these patients, do most if not all of the patient's treatment, only referring back to the dentist for RCT, crown/bridgework/dentures and permanent extractions. Ultimately this means that the patient receives high quality continuity of care. Treating anxious and phobic patients is time-consuming but ultimately very rewarding. If handled correctly and sensitively the anxious and phobic patient will not always be anxious or phobic, in the same way that children won't always be children. Dental Therapists can now extend their duties to include Relative Analgesia. This should enhance their employability and role within the dental team especially in the management of anxious and phobic patients. Employing a therapist with a toolbox of techniques at their disposal can be seen as part of a long-term practice plan to ensure that anxious and phobic patients become rehabilitated, happy, compliant and loyal to the practice! In fact .... the sort of patients every dentist really wants to see.

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