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Tooth Structure

The part of the tooth that is usually visible over the gum is called the crown and the part that is attached to the gum is called the root. Enamel is the outer calcified tissue layer covering the crown of the tooth. It is one of the hardest substances in the body.

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ABOUT DENTISTRY

The Dental Team

Dentist - Ngaio Niho

Dentists are responsible for helping you take care of your oral health. They have extensive knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat wide range of problems that affect your teeth and mouth. Although they are trained initially for five years at a university they continue to keep brushing up on their skills throughout their careers.  Dentists also lead the dental team which may include dental nurses, dental hygienists and receptionists.

Dental Specialists 

These are dentists who have undergone additional training and certification in one of the special areas of dentistry.  This includes endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology, oral surgery, orthodontics, paediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, public health or community dentistry, restorative dentistry and special needs dentistry.  In New Zealand, dentists need to undergo at least three years of postgraduate training in their chosen field to become a registered specialist.

Dental Hygienists - Kaiakuaku Niho

Dental hygienists provide oral health education and promote healthy oral behaviours to prevent oral diseases. They provide non-surgical treatment of gum diseases and work closely with dentists or dental specialists in a team environment. They work within a dental practice and provide solutions for improving and maintaining good oral hygiene.

Dental Therapists - Kaihaumanu Niho

Dental therapists provide dental examinations, treatment, management and prevention services for children and adolescents up to age 18. They have a consultative working relationship with the dentists. They work in school based clinics, community clinics, iwi-based clinics and hospital dental clinics.

Clinical Dental Technicians 

Apart from making the wide range of dental and maxillofacial appliances prescribed by a dentist, dental specialist or a doctor, the clinical dental technicians are also qualified to have direct contact with patients, for fitting of some types of removable dentures and oral and extra oral appliances.

Dental Technicians - Kaihangarau Niho

Dental technicians have the exciting job of making wide range of dental appliances including dentures, crowns, bridges, mouthguards, and maxillofacial appliances such as false eyes, ears and noses as prescribed by a dental specialist, dentist, clinical dental technician or doctor. They may work in private dental laboratories, in general dental practices or hospitals.

Dental Assistants - Kaiāwhina Mahi Niho

Dental assistants work alongside the dentists, dental therapists and dental hygienists in dental clinics. They are responsible for various tasks including assisting practitioners by mixing materials, taking notes, and passing the instruments during the treatment procedures. They prepare the surgery and patients for treatment, and are also responsible for sterilizing dental instruments. In some practices the dental assistants are also responsible for booking patients and managing the appointment schedule.