Dental Therapist



OFO No: 321403





Other names for Dental Therapist:

  • Dental Attendant
  • Dental Health Advisor
  • Dental Tutor Siste
  • Denturist
  • Gum Therapist
  • Oral Health Therapist


What is a Dental Therapist?

A Dental Therapist offers basic dental services and preventative dentistry. They would refer more complicated procedures and treatments to a dentist.

Dental Therapists may not practise independently unless they have practised for at least one year under the control and supervision of a qualified dentist. 

Dental Therapists can work in the public or private sector – they usually work in clinics and may visit schools. 

What does a Dental Therapist do?

  • carries out dental examinations and diagnoses
  • plans treatments and procedures
  • refer sserious conditions to dentists or orthodontists
  • performs simple extractions, fillings, flossing and scaling
  • cleans and polishes
  • takes X-rays
  • treats gum disease
  • performs preventative measures against the more common oral/gum diseases
  • educates patients on up-to-date oral health and hygiene

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in dentistry?
  • a person with good judgement?
  • a peoples’ person?
  • service driven?
  • confident?
  • a person with good hand-eye co-ordination?
  • able to perform detailed work accurately?
  • a person with good eye sight?
  • a person with good 3-D/special skills?

How do I become a Dental Therapist?

Bachelor of Dental Therapy degree

  • University of KZN
  • University of Limpopo
  • University of Pretoria
  • 1 year internship after completion of degree under supervision of a Dentist or Senior Dental Therapist
  • Designation: Awarded by the HPCSA. Only registered members can use the title Dental Therapist


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions.


  • SADA: South African Dental Association

  • HPCSA: Health Professions Council of South Africa


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Veterinary Technologist or Beauty Therapist

Is becoming a Dental Therapist the right career choice for me?