Clinical Dental Technicians (CDTs) are Dental Technicians who have taken additional qualifications to allow them to work directly to the public. It is illegal for Dental Technicians to work clinically. CDTs can provide variety removable dental appliances such as dentures, sports mouth guards and anti-snoring devices. They have been trained in the skill and procedures they need to be able to provide such appliances directly to the public. Skills such as cross infection control procedures, medical emergency, oral cancer screening and understanding the effects of medication. CDTs can also provide other services such as tooth whitening and change implant attachments under a prescription from a dentist.
CDTs are the newest member of the dental team. They came about following a report in 1990 by The Nuffield Foundation commissioned by the government. The report identified a number of failings in dentistry in the UK. It looked at the success in other counties such as Canada and Australia where CDTs had been legal for many years. The report recommended the same model should be applied in the UK. The report also found that many denture wears were already avoiding the services of dentist as they were unhappy with the dentures they received and were going directly to Dental Technicians. However, these patients where putting their health at risk as Dental Technicians were not adequately trained clinically. The Dentistry Act was amended in 2006 and Dental Technicians were invited to undertake clinical training. There are currently about 400 CDTs in the UK (at the time of writing). All Dental Technicians have been given the opportunity to train clinically however many still operate illegally. If you are offered dental appliances – tooth whitening you should check you are using the services of a suitable qualified Dental Professional. You can do this by visiting the web site of the General Dental Council (GDC) www.gdc-uk.org/Pages/default.aspx to check their registration details. Please click on their name to check they are a Dentist or Clinical Dental Technician.