OHT scope of practice implementation

In 2016, the Council approved a new scope for oral health therapists. The new scope came into effect on 1 November 2017. This page provides information about the implementation process.

Latest information

December 2017: The new scope of practice came into effect on 1 November 2017. A total of 440 practitioners automatically transitioned into the new scope while others are working with our registration team to find out what they need to do to register in oral health therapy.

We have created a new section on our website for oral health therapists practising in New Zealand and a section for those wanting to practise oral health therapy in New Zealand.

Our application to have oral health therapy recognised as a profession is progressing. The final step is for Cabinet to approve the legislative change. We expect it to be complete by the end of the year.

Our application to the Medicines Classification Committee to reclassify local anaesthetic medicines articaine, lignocaine and prilocaine, with or without felypressin, for oral health therapists, has been approved and the new classifications published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Our last application, to add oral health therapists to the Radiation Safety Regulations list of health practitioners exempted from the need of a use licence, similar to other oral health practitioners where radiography forms part of their scope of practice, has been approved. Again, we expect the legislative change to be complete soon.

Please see the letter sent to all practitioners in October 2017 for further information about the implementation of the new scope.

Who is eligible to register in the oral health therapy scope of practice?

Oral health graduates with current APCs in both dental hygiene and dental therapy on 1 November were automatically registered as an oral health therapist and issued with a new registration certificate and APC in early November.

There are a number of other scenarios where you may choose to register as an oral health therapist depending on your current registration and practising status. Please check this table to find out what your likely options are. 


After approving the oral health therapy scope of practice in October 2016, the Council outlined a series of steps it would need to take to implement the new scope. The steps are detailed here in the outcome letter we issued at the time. 

Click here to see a timeline of the journey.


Oral health therapy scope of practice

Oral health therapy scope of practice

Oral health therapy competencies

Guidance for the consultative professional working relationship between an oral health therapists and dentist/dental specialist (rescinded 2021)