Guidance on visiting the hygienist without a referral from a dentist – Updated 1st May 2013

Below is the most recent update from the General Dental Council (GDC) on direct access:

‘Direct Access’ means giving patients the option to see a dental care

professional (DCP) without having first seen a dentist and without a

prescription from a dentist.

Some dental care professionals are able to see patients direct. The

requirement to carry out certain treatments under prescription from a

dentist was removed on 1 May 2013.

This guidance note explains to registrants what has and has not changed

with direct access and sets out what the GDC expects from registrants who

choose to practise in this way.

Dental hygienists and dental therapists

What it means

Dental hygienists and dental therapists can carry out their full scope of

practice except toothwhitening without needing a prescription from a

dentist (more information about toothwhitening is set out below).

Providing treatment in this way is an option and those registrants who

prefer to continue to provide treatment on prescription may do so.

Employers should not expect hygienists or therapists to see patients

direct if they do not feel confident to do so.

All registrants, including those operating in practices which provide

treatment via direct access, must act in the best interests of patients at all

times and comply with the GDC’s standards.

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