“On September 1, 2007 the Ontario legislature facilitated public access to dental hygiene services by proclaiming the amendment to the Dental Hygiene Act, 1991. This means that dental hygienists who are authorized by the CDHO to self-initiate are free to decide, based upon a comprehensive assessment, to proceed with scaling teeth and root planing, including curetting surrounding tissue, without the order requirement (permission from the dentist to give dental hygiene care). This legislation validates the belief of this College and the conclusion made by the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council in 1996, that removal of the order requirement from the Dental Hygiene Act, 1991 would satisfy the public interest principles of access, equality, accountability and quality of care, without placing the public at an increased risk of harm. This is an example of good government. It places the needs of the public first.
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. The face of Dental Hygiene services in Ontario is changing.
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.”
– College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario
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