Unregulated Dental Hygiene Practice
Protecting patients and clients is at the core of the CDHO’s work. Patients and clients look to the CDHO to provide accurate and timely information about registered dental hygienists in Ontario. Patients and clients want to know that the oral health care they are receiving from dental hygienists is from CDHO registrants who are qualified to provide competent and safe care. The CDHO maintains a register, called “Find a Registered Dental Hygienist” that details information about all registered dental hygienists in Ontario.
Title protection helps the public identify persons registered with the CDHO who are accountable for the provision of dental hygiene services that meet the standards of practice of the profession.
It is illegal for a person to pretend to be a dental hygienist and to treat patients or clients. It is also illegal for a person to use the title, registered dental hygienist, the abbreviation, RDH, or the equivalent. This title is reserved solely to dental hygienists who are registered with the CDHO.
It is also illegal for people to hold themselves out as dental hygienists by working in positions reserved for dental hygienists without clearly indicating to colleagues and clients that they are not dental hygienists, even if they do not use the RDH title.
On occasion, the CDHO receives information from the public and dental hygienists about persons who pretend to be dental hygienists. The CDHO refers to such persons as “unregulated practitioners” or persons who are “holding themselves out” as dental hygienists. The CDHO investigates all such cases, and may prosecute persons who are unauthorized practitioners or persons who hold themselves out as dental hygienists.
The legislation that governs the CDHO permits the levying by a court of a fine up to $25,000 for the first offense and $50,000 for the second offense.