Oral Health affects everyone everyday—and normally most people don't think about it. Good oral health allows you to speak, smile, kiss, smell, taste and chew with self-assurance.
The University of Otago's Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) is an exciting three-year degree programme at the Faculty of Dentistry—New Zealand's only dental school—delivering excellent and innovative education in oral health.
Who is an Oral Health Therapist?
An oral health therapist is a highly-skilled professional member of the dental team. Oral health professionals have skills in dental hygiene, dental therapy, and oral health promotion.
They educate patients about their oral health; preventative care is a key aspect of their work. They are skilled at promoting healthy lifestyles and have a strong awareness of the socio-cultural influences on health.
Oral health therapists diagnose and treat oral diseases (such as gum disease and dental decay), and provide quality care for patients of all ages, including restorative care for children and adolescents.
Why study Oral Health?
As an oral health professional you become part of the dental team, developing the skills to provide dental and periodontal care and to foster lifelong positive oral health attitudes and behaviour in patients.
You will also obtain skills in health promotion.
Oral health teaches you:
- How the oral tissues interact with their environment
- Clinical skills (firstly on models and 'phantom heads', and then treating patients under supervision)
- About pathology, pharmacology, and medicine relevant to oral health
- About sociology, community oral health, and health promotion
There is a high demand for oral health therapists. Employment opportunities include working in private dental practices, specialist practices, community-based clinics, iwi-based clinics, and hospital dental clinics.
More information about Oral Health
For more details on oral health therapy practice, see:
- Scope of practice for oral health therapists
- Scope of practice competencies for oral health therapists
To find out more about Oral Health at Otago, see:
- Study Oral Health at Otago
- Admission to Oral Health
- Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) course details
- Oral Health papers
- Careers in Oral Health
“I really liked the science behind things, and discovering how pathology occurs and how products help protect against further destruction. I equally enjoyed the clinical aspect as there are certain things textbooks just can't teach you... It isn't until you've had that hands-on experience do you start to become a better clinician.”