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Practice Support

Practice Advisors

In its role as regulator of the dental hygienists profession, the College promotes quality dental hygiene care while operating to ensure client safety.

One of the way it accomplishes this goal is through the Practice Advisor position. The role of the College's Practice Advisor is to assist both the public and College registrants in understanding the practice of the dental hygiene profession consistent with the Health Professions Act and the Dental Hygienists Profession Regulation, as well as other applicable legislation, such as Occupational Health and Safety legislation, as well as the College's Practice Standards, Code of Ethics, bylaws, guidelines, policies and rules.

In addition to extensive regulatory and legislative knowledge, the Practice Advisors have years of clinical knowledge obtained in a variety of practice settings. This positions them to answer questions on subjects ranging from complicated ethical decisions by registrants to what care dental hygienists are allowed to provide to dental hygiene clients.

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions and Responses

No. The HPA does not require supervision of dental hygiene practitioners, other than for students performing restricted activities.

Unlike legislation in other provinces, the HPA does not require an order from a dentist so that a dental hygienist may provide services and it does not require a dentist to examine a client prior to dental hygiene treatment.

 

Under the Health Professions Act and Dental Hygienists Profession Regulation, registered dental hygienists can perform restorative procedures of a temporary nature as part of their scope of practice. However, they must possess the competencies to perform these procedures safely and effectively. In the case of Atraumatic Restorative Therapy (ART), these competencies include but are not limited to:

  • Understanding caries development and diagnosis
  • Indications and contraindications for ART
  • Client education
  • Risk assessment
  • Clinical competence in performance of the procedure

In order to acquire the competencies to perform ART safely and effectively, Alberta dental hygienists must complete the U of A’s Continuing Dental Education ART course or a course that the CRDHA deems substantially equivalent to the U of A course.

Because the more comprehensive temporary restorative procedure called ART is recognized as part of the scope of practice of Alberta dental hygienists, interim stabilization therapy (IST) is not a term or procedure recognized in Alberta. CRDHA registrants are reminded that the CRDHA does not recognize an IST course as equivalent to an ART course. Members who complete an IST course may apply for credit under the CRDHA Continuing Competence Program but they will not be deemed to have acquired the competencies to perform ART and will not be authorized to perform IST in Alberta

The CRDHA considers the following to be restorative procedures of a temporary nature:

  1. Insertion of zinc oxide eugenol or other medicated cements in primary or permanent teeth when:

1.1.  a dentist is not on-site or readily available to treat the client,

1.2.   there is no evidence of abscess, and

1.3.     the client is experiencing any of the following symptoms as the result of an untreated carious lesion, a fracture of the tooth or loss of a filling:

  • discomfort from gingival or mucosal irritation
  • tooth sensitivity or pain
  • impaired ability to eat

2.  Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART) on primary or permanent teeth using glass ionomer or resin based materials when:

2.1.     a dentist is not on-site or readily available to treat the client,

2.2.     there is no evidence of abscess, and

2.3.     the client is experiencing any of the following symptoms as the result of an untreated carious lesion, a fracture of the tooth or loss of a filling:

  • discomfort from gingival or mucosal irritation
  • tooth sensitivity or pain
  • impaired ability to eat

2.4.     the client meets the criteria for ART as part of an early childhood caries prevention program in a community health setting

Dental hygienists placing temporary restorations of any type must ensure that the client is aware of the temporary nature of the restorations and must advise clients or the client’s guardian to obtain further dental care from a dentist.