June 25, 2019
by Emilly Baron Cadloff, The Globe and Mail
Ashley McCarthy’s workday often starts at a Calgary-area school, but she’s not a teacher. She’s one of an increasing number of dental hygienists who have opened up their own businesses, taking advantage of recent changes in provincial regulations.
Alberta bylaws allow dental hygienists to work outside of a traditional dental office, without the direct supervision of a dentist; New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have similar bylaws, while Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia have regulations with some restrictions. Manitoba, for instance, allows hygienists to apply to work on their own after 3,000 hours, or about a year and a half, working directly with a dentist.
While regulations vary from province to province, hygienists are generally able to perform many of the basic dental and oral health functions for patients: simple dental exams, plaque removal and cleaning, X-rays, fluoride treatments and working with appliances such as mouth guards. Services such as detailed exams or treatments like filling cavities are still restricted to dentists.
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