Practising in Canada
To be able to practise in Canada, dental hygienists must be registered or licensed by the dental hygiene regulatory authority in their provincial or territorial jurisdiction.
In Canada, dental hygienists must earn, at minimum, a diploma in dental hygiene from a college, university or private post-secondary institution. The program must be equivalent to a full-time program of at least two years and must meet the Entry-To-Practice Competencies and Standards set out by the Federation of Dental Hygiene Regulators. The curriculum focuses on oral and clinical science, with an emphasis on health promotion and preventive, motivational and communication strategies.
Graduates must successfully pass the National Dental Hygiene Certification Exam. Acting in the public’s interest, the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board exists so Canadian dental hygiene regulators have reliable and valid testing methods for assessing current dental hygiene competencies.
When dental hygienists are in practice in Ontario, throughout their career they must demonstrate to the CDHO that they are practising safely and effectively. This is self-directed but is monitored through the CDHO’s Quality Assurance Program.