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Self-Initiation and Independent Dental Hygiene/Adults/ Children/A Smart Choice


Registered Dental Hygienists are licensed or registered Regulated Healthcare Professionals and may provide oral healthcare in settings other than a ‘traditional dental office’. Dental Hygienists who are authorized by the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) to 'self initiate' may choose to have their own office, work in medical clinics and other healthcare professionals such as massage therapists, chiropractic doctors, or travel to their client's place of residence or retirement home.


Registered Dental Hygienists practice by law according to the:

What this means to the public?

Resource: CDHO


Under previous legislation (before September 1, 2007), persons wishing to have their teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist would first have to be examined by a dentist and an “order” would have to be given for this client to access dental hygiene care. The College heard from many individuals and groups in Ontario who found this system to be a barrier to dental hygiene care. Reasons people did not see a dentist are numerous but often mentioned were cost, physical access, geographic isolation, and unperceived need.


Under the new legislation, with the barrier of seeing a “dentist first” now optional, the public can choose where and when they will receive dental hygiene services. This client-centered system allows dental hygiene services to make their way into less serviced areas, addressing a need that has been long recognized by the CDHO. New dental hygiene practices are emerging in less traditional settings. Dental hygienists are setting up mobile practices to visit clients that are home bound, in rural settings, community health centers, cultural communities and stand-alone dental hygiene clinics.


Increased access to dental hygiene services means that more

people in Ontario will be screened for oral health problems

that may have a direct impact on overall health. Dental

hygienists will work with their clients to establish a care

plan that will include disease prevention, therapeutic

interventions and appropriate referrals. Dental hygienists

will work collaboratively with other health care professionals

to ensure that the health needs of Ontarians are addressed

safely, effectively and efficiently. This is an example of

good government. It places the needs of the public first.


For more information about the profession of dental hygiene, please visit

CDHO Code of Ethics

College Standards of Practice

Dental Hygiene Act, 1991

Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991


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