In Nigeria there is becoming a greater need to prepare a cadre of professional category who through comprehensive education in basic oral health, general oral healthcare; and oral healthcare at a level that will enable them to mobilize families, individuals and the community for optimal achievement of oral health. Over the years, the dental profession in most of the developing countries has been giving the education of the Dentist greater priority over that of Professionals Complementary to Dentistry (PCDs), including Dental Health Technicians.
The Dental population in Nigeria is 1:42105 (2004). This ratio is very low and indicates the need for availability of competent Dental Health Technician at every level of oral healthcare.
A Dental Health Technician is a person who has successfully completed a 3-year course of instruction, duly registered and licensed by the Dental Therapists Registration Board to practice.
The aim of Dental Health Technician Programme is to produce competent dental health personnel who will be capable of assisting the Dentist by passing instruments, mixing material etc, providing oral health assistance in hospitals, communities and clinics.
The curriculum is based on the philosophy that Dental Health Technician is an essential personnel in a profession in the healthcare delivery system that calls for individuals of high intelligence, industry and responsibility. Therefore, the programme is structured with foundation in basic oral health sciences.
At the end of the programme, the student should be able to:
Apply the knowledge of basic and behavioural sciences to assist the Dental Clinic.
Utilizes oral healthcare process to assist in clinics.
Promote acquisition of skills and attitudes that will enable them to effectively assist in the clinic.
Utilize acquired knowledge to administer drugs and intravenous injections.
Apply acquired knowledge to care for unconscious patients on the chair.
National Diploma (ND):
The National Diploma Programme in Dental Health Technician is designed to produce Dental Health Technicians who will be capable of:
Assisting in the Dental Clinic.
Taking and processing of Dental Radiographs.
Assisting in effective use of material resources towards provision of optimal oral healthcare.
Teach and guide oral health students in training.
Pre and Post operative care of patients.
Cleaning and Sterilizing of instruments.
Being at the chair side during all treatment and operations.
Reception of patients.
Making appointments and banking of al money if need be.
Store keeping and ordering supplies.
Answering phone calls from clients who may need some information about the dental clinic.
Condition for the awards of National Diploma-Dental Health Technician
The appropriate level of National Diploma (ND) will be awarded by authority of the academic board of the institution. In general, conditions of award are based on successful completion of the following:
Satisfactory performance evaluation of all prescribed course work which may include class work, tutorials, test, quizzes, workshops practice and surgery practical works in the continuing assessment sectors.
Supervised industrial work experience for seven (7) months sandwich.
Satisfactory performance at all semester examinations.
Methods of entry requirement
By direct entry of a candidate possessing the following equivalent
Four credits in WASC, SSCE, NECO or its equivalent including English Language, Mathematics, Biology or Health Science, Chemistry or Physics (any of the science subjects) at not more than two (2) sittings are to undergo the three years programme.
All qualified Dental Surgery Assistants (DSA) are to undergo a-year
Transfer from other Medical School
It is possible to consider request for transfer into any stage of the Dental Health Technician course provided the academic transfer from the former school is forwarded accordingly.
The training shall be a 6-semester programme (2 semesters per year) and the courses shall be designated Diploma-Dental Health Technician on completion of third year (DHT). The first year shall be devoted to the basic medical and dental sciences. The courses in the first semester and second semester of the second year of the programme shall be for integrated form of general aspects of medical and dental assisting. The courses in the third year shall be clinical dentistry and behavioural sciences and research methodology course. The course will be divided into theory and practical. The methods of teaching shall include:
Chairside /bedside teaching
Patient/Client Care Study
Before sitting for the final Qualifying Examination, the Student Dental Health Technician shall be required to have written and submitted Group Research Project.
Certification and Licensing
Upon successful completion of the requirements of the programme, the students shall be indexed by the Dental Therapists Board and School will award them OND Certificate while the Board issues professional certificate on completion of Dental Health Technician Programme.