Scope of practice for oral health therapists

This page lists the scope of practice for oral health therapy

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) describes a scope of practice as the health service that a practitioner registered in that scope of practice is permitted to perform, subject to any conditions for the time being imposed by the responsible authority.

The Council publishes a scope of practice as a Notice in the New Zealand Gazette under section 11 of the Act.

The scope of practice for oral health therapy came into effect on 1 November 2017.

Scope of practice for oral health therapy

The practice of oral health therapy is the provision of oral health assessment, diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of any disease, disorder or condition of the orofacial complex and associated structures in accordance with an oral health therapist’s approved education, training, experience and competence.

Oral health education, disease prevention and oral health promotion for individuals and communities are core activities, aimed at achieving and maintaining oral health as an integral part of general health.

The scope of practice encompasses the oral health therapist competencies.

Practice in this context goes wider than clinical oral health therapy practice to include teaching, research, and management, given that such roles influence clinical practice and public safety. Areas of oral health therapy practice which were not included in a practitioner’s training should not be undertaken unless the practitioner has completed appropriate training and practises to the standards required by the Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners.

Prescribed qualifications for the scope of practice for oral health therapy