Public awareness and social acceptability of dental therapists.

TA Dyer, Gerald Michael Humphris, P Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To investigate public awareness and the social acceptability of dental treatment provided by dental therapists in the UK.

METHOD: A telephone survey of a representative quota sample of 1,000 UK adults.

RESULTS: 10.4% of participants were aware of dental therapists as a professional group, of whom none correctly identified their permitted duties. 61.3% were willing to receive simple restorative treatment from a therapist, with acceptability predicted by being male [OR 1.44 (95% CI 1.09-1.90)], being younger [OR 1.024 (1.016-1.032)] and having a perceived need for treatment [OR 1.49 (1.09-2.5)]. Fewer were willing to allow a therapist to restore a child's tooth (54.7%, p <0.001, McNemar's test) with acceptability predicted by being younger [OR 1.026 (1.018-1.034)]. Those receiving some private treatment were less likely to report acceptability of simple restorative treatment for themselves [OR 0.61 (0.46-0.81)] or for children [OR 0.54 (0.41-0.72)]. 48.2% of participants expected to pay less for treatment provided by therapists, with acceptability of equal costs predicted by the participant being male [OR 1.81 (1.50-2.40)].

CONCLUSION: These findings identify a need for education and reassurance of the public on the training and permitted duties of dental therapists and the rationale for skill-mix in dentistry.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


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