First dental hygienists in Ontario certified to self-initiate



    TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario
(CDHO) proudly announced today the first 250 dental hygienists who have been
assessed and granted the right to "self-initiate" under new legislation and
standards of practice permitting the public direct access to oral hygiene care
without a dentist's referral.
    "This is an historic moment in the history of dental hygiene in Ontario
and for the public's improved access to preventive oral health care," stated
Cathie Mazal-Kuula, President of the CDHO.
    The province of Ontario has joined British Columbia and Alberta and other
jurisdictions that permit the public to have direct access to dental
hygienists thus by-passing the cost and the need for a dental visit prior to
teeth cleaning. The change to Ontario's legislation was championed by Kathleen
Wynne, MPP Don Valley West and Donna Cansfield, MPP Etobicoke Centre along
with members of the Ontario legislature from all three major parties. It was
among the promises the McGuinty government kept.
    "We anticipate that more and more dental hygienists will apply for
approval to self-initiate as public awareness and public demand for direct
access to dental hygiene increases," commented CDHO's Registrar Fran
Richardson.
    The dental hygienists that have successfully met the College's criteria
and standards for self-initiation are located throughout the province. Dental
hygienists who have been approved are identified on the CDHO website
(www.cdho.org) under "Find a Dental Hygienist".
    The change means the public can have direct access to dental hygiene care
in multiple venues such as in long-term care residences, in home care, in a
traditional dental office or in an independent practice setting.
    Access to oral hygiene services has been an ever growing challenge for
the economically disadvantaged, seniors, immigrants and disabled persons as
well as those living in northern and more remote regions of the province.
Dental hygienists have been regulated health professionals under the Regulated
Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) for over a decade, but were unable to meet
the need for direct access due to archaic restrictions which were a hold over
from the time when dental hygiene was regulated under dentistry and not as
RHPA professionals with their own Dental Hygiene Act. The impact of the new
legislation is expected to be significant among the many at risk communities
currently facing obstacles in obtaining oral hygiene care.

    The CDHO was established pursuant to the Regulated Health Professions
Act, 1991 and the Dental Hygiene Act, 1991 as the statutory regulatory body
for dental hygienists who are registered to practise in Ontario. There are
currently 9,500 dental hygienists registered to practise by the CDHO.




For further information:

For further information: Fran Richardson, CDHO Registrar at
registrar@cdho.org or Lisa Taylor, Practice Advisor at ltaylor@cdho.org

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COLLEGE OF DENTAL HYGIENISTS OF ONTARIO

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