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Version:
2016

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3222 – Dental hygienists and dental therapists

Dental hygienists provide dental hygiene treatment and services related to oral health promotion and disease and mouth injury prevention. They are employed in a variety of settings including dentists' offices, hospitals, private clinics, educational institutions, public health agencies or they may be self-employed. Dental therapists provide limited restorative dental treatment in addition to dental hygiene services. They are employed by the federal government and the provincial governments to provide services in rural and remote communities.

Profile

Example titles

  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental nurse
  • Dental therapist
  • Registered dental hygienist

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:
Dental hygienists
  • Conduct patient screening and oral health assessments, including taking vital signs and documenting patient medical and health history
  • Take dental impressions
  • Take and develop X-rays
  • Perform preventative dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, scaling, gum stimulation and fluoride and sealant applications
  • Provide oral care instructions such as oral hygiene procedures, strategies to maintain and improve oral health and on the impact of nutrition on oral health
  • Consult with dentists on patient care
  • May perform restorative and orthodontic procedures under the direction of a dentist
  • May supervise dental assistants in their health care functions
  • May participate in community- or school-based oral health initiatives such as oral screening.
Dental therapists
  • Perform routine dental check-ups, oral cancer examinations and emergency dental examinations
  • Take dental impressions
  • Take and develop X-rays
  • Perform preventative dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, gum stimulation and fluoride and sealant applications
  • Provide oral care instructions such as oral hygiene procedures, strategies to maintain and improve oral health and on the impact of nutrition on oral health
  • Perform routine teeth restorations and uncomplicated extractions and provide post extraction oral care instructions
  • Refer patients to other dental professionals for care beyond the scope of the dental therapist
  • Provide oral health promotion activities
  • May supervise dental assistants in their health care functions.

Employment requirements

  • Completion of a two- to three-year college dental hygiene program, approved by the governing board within the province or territory of residence, is usually required for dental hygienists.
  • Dental therapists are required to complete a two- to three- year college diploma from an approved dental institution program.
  • Licensing by the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory body is required for dental hygienists.
  • Licensure is required for dental therapists in Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Exclusions

  • Dental assistants (3411)
  • Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants (3223)
  • Dentists (3113)
  • Denturists (3221)

Breakdown summary

Broad occupational category
3 - Health occupations
Skill level
2 - Occupations usually require college education, specialized training or apprenticeship training
Major group
32 - Technical occupations in health
Minor group
322 - Technical occupations in dental health care
Version
2016
Date modified: