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About Registered Dental Hygienists

Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs) are regulated health professionals who focus on oral disease prevention. They can work independently or alongside a dentist as part of your health care team.

RDHs work in a variety of settings, including private practice, public health, hospitals, long-term care facilities, educational institutions and research. Their scope of practice (a term that defines what the profession can do) includes assessing teeth and adjacent tissues, and doing preventive and therapeutic treatment. This could include treating periodontal disease with scaling or additional therapies (e.g., certain medicines and antibiotics placed under the gums), and providing orthodontic and restorative procedures and services (e.g., working with a dentist to place braces and fillings).

In Ontario, only individuals registered with the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario can use the title “Registered Dental Hygienist” or the acronym “RDH”.

Being regulated means that RDHs:

  • have met and continue to meet certain requirements that allow them to practise.
  • practise according to standards and rules set by CDHO, including following a Code of Ethics.
  • participate in programs that help keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

Being regulated also means that if a client has concerns about the care they received, they can contact CDHO and CDHO will investigate.