A healthy word – what does it mean to qualify as a dental therapist?

dental therapistAfter such a turbulent year, Anna Middleton reflects on 2020 and outlines her plans for 2021 after qualifying as a dental therapist.

I love rollercoasters but the ride that’s been 2020 I am ready to get off now.

The highs and lows have come in equal blows. But as this year draws to a close, I am excited and hopeful by what challenges await me.

Some personal lows for me include not seeing a single family member this year (with still no idea as to when I will see any of them). A breakup and the financial stress of being unable to work for three months.

Qualifying as a dental therapist

They say nothing easy was ever worth having. Despite the odds and various setbacks I have successfully completed my one-year top up degree in oral health science at the University of Essex and am now a dental therapist.

When I started my business ‘London Hygienist’ it was to utilise direct access. I wanted to change the way we deliver oral healthcare to the public.

Five years on, my mission statement has not changed. If anything, it is just about to enter its next phase and as the cool kids would say ‘level up’.

Business is booming right now, and I am seeing between five and 10 new patients a week.

I am utilising my scope of practice as a hygienist to help many patients access dental care. Particularly at times when they were not otherwise able to.

Now I’m able to extend that scope into therapy. It is only going to strengthen my mission and I hope to give other hygienists and therapists inspiration.

My new direct access appointments will now include my therapy scope where appropriate and continue to help streamline the workflow in the practices I work in.

I am looking forward to growing in this role as a dental professional and continuing to contribute to both the community and industry.

Looking forward

One thing we can take away from this year is how resilient we all are. Whilst unable to see patients for a period of time, this allowed me to grow industry relationships, which I am grateful for seeing me through some financially difficult times, as I was not eligible for any governmental support.

Many of the projects I have been lucky enough to work on this year have given me the opportunity to give back to the dental community.

In 2021 I am very excited to see them come to life. Including my own personal project I will announce soon, which this year has given me time to work on.

Till then I wish you all a merry Christmas. Or as my mother would say in Russian – С Новым Годом!


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