The Synergy Plaque Preventers

Hi everyone, I am Lesley Morgan-Barlow Practice Director from Synergy Dental Clinic in Stoke on Trent; I would love to take a brief moment to give you a quick insight into the role of a Dental Hygiene Therapist. I don’t know about you but if you ask around, many people haven’t even heard of dental hygiene therapists and often confuse them with dental hygienists leading them to say “I don’t know, I have no idea, or they clean your teeth?”

When in reality dental therapists have been around a very long time and can do so much to help patients take care of their dental health.


The history of the dental therapist can be traced back to as early as 1917 when ‘Dental Dressers’ were established in some counties throughout England. They were probably the first dental therapists in the world and their duties were based on the American hygienist but with the addition of being able to filling cavities (holes in teeth) and extracting  ‘temporary teeth in school clinics’ (milk teeth). The role probably emerged because at the time there was a shortage of school dental officers and the First World War meant that the armed services were recruiting university trained dentists. The role in the UK all but disappeared after 1921 but then re-emerged in 1960 when the first training school for Dental Auxiliary’s opened in London, with many more dental schools opening their doors to Dental Therapists after 1983, yet at this time Dental Therapists could only work in the community.

Since 2002 there have been many changes the first of which was that Therapists were allowed to work in general dental practices such as our very own Synergy Dental Clinic, and since 2013 they are allowed to see patients without referral from a dentist which means patients that are not registered with our dentist can still visit our Therapists for their dental hygiene appointments.

At Synergy we view our Therapists as a fundamental part of the clinical team, they work alongside our dentists, working as a team together with our patients “helping them maximise their dental health through patient education, advice and guidance in a relaxed, secure and comfortable environment”. Patients have come to value the contribution of our therapists and often open up to them far easier than they would the dentists!


We’re hugely fortunate to have two talented Dental Therapists, Angela and Arina, who provide six days of dental therapy to our patients. I will be introducing you to Angela and Arina and some of the patients they are currently helping.


For more information you can contact us on 01782 513237