Registered Dental Hygienists are primary health care providers whose education and training focus on the prevention of oral disease and the promotion of oral health.
Registered Dental Hygienists in BC work in a number of settings, including dental offices, dental hygiene practices, residential care facilities, hospitals, community health centres, public health units, schools and educational institutions.
Due to a recent increase in the number of dental hygiene education programs across Canada, prospective students should be aware that employment opportunities in dental offices may not be readily available in all areas of the province.
In BC, the legislation permits a dental hygienist to own and operate his/her own dental hygiene practice. Private practices enable dental hygienists to establish different practice settings, helping the public to obtain oral care services from the most appropriate professional, when and where they need it. For example, mobile practices bring dental hygiene services to remote communities and housebound clients, while storefront locations provide ease of access.
The population demographics and health care trends in Canada indicate that the role of the dental hygienist in areas such as community health centres and residential care facilities will increase in the coming years. Dental hygienists will continue to play an important role in meeting the oral health needs of an aging population, as many Canadians today keep their teeth for a lifetime.