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Clinical dental technicians in the United Kingdom: A qualitative understanding of the experiences, of practices and challenges of communication for dental professionals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-416
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

King's Authors


AIM: To investigate the roles and relationships of registered Clinical Dental Technicians (CDTs) in the dental team and healthcare systems, and their perspective as a professional group in the United Kingdom (UK). METHODS: This qualitative study was conducted following a national questionnaire survey of CDTs, 18 of whom participated in semi-structured interviews; they were purposively sampled to represent the diversity and demography of CDTs. A topic guide, informed by the literature and survey findings, guided discussions which were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Drawing upon phenomenological and cultural relativistic theories, thematic analysis was conducted, thus enabling an "analytic story" of the lived experience to emerge. RESULTS: Clinical dental technicians expressed pride, passion and satisfaction in their work yet feel misunderstood in their role. Experiences of being accepted and incorporated into the wider dental profession are strained. Ultimately, there is a complex web of inter-dependence between all actors-a triadic relationship-bounded by policymakers and regulators which directly impacts on best practice and the balance between collaboration and autonomy. Looking to the future, Ideal practice may involve different models of care, with examples of good practice emerging. CONCLUSION: This paper provides a unique examination of the lived experience, feelings and relationships of CDTs. The perceptions of their role, their inter-professional relations and the progression as a professional group must be addressed, and their potential to work collaboratively actively engaged to serve our ageing population.

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