Frequently Asked Questions

In an effort to inform the public, dental hygienists have answered some frequently asked questions about both the profession and proper oral care. The fact is, the easier the access to proper oral hygiene, to better the health of all Canadians. You the public, now have greater access to dental hygiene services. This is a great benefit to all clients with or without dental insurance coverage.


Why can a registered dental hygienist clean a client’s teeth without the presence of a dentist?

On September 1 2007, the legislature facilitated increased public access to dental hygiene services proclaiming the amendment to the Dental Hygiene Act, 1991. This means that dental hygienists who are authorized by the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario to self-initiate are free to decide, based upon a comprehensive assessment, to proceed scaling teeth and root planning, including curetting surrounding tissue, without the order requirement (permission from the dentist to give dental hygiene care). This is an example of good government.

This decision was made in order in order to satisfy the public interest principles of access, equality, accountability and quality of care. It places the needs of the public first.

College of Dental Hygiene in Ontario:
Ontario Dental Hygiene Association:
Canadian Dental Hygiene Association: www.cdha

What Happens When I Need To See A Dentist?

Our dental hygienist will proceed to call or send a report to your dental office or will help guide you to find a dental office of your choice. Dental hygienists are not able to diagnose but are fully trained in completing a clear oral hygiene assessment and advising the client if there are any areas of concern. A referral may be required if you are due for your exam or if an area demands further assessment. We work in conjunction with several oral care specialists and encourage our clients to schedule regular visits.

What is self-initiation?

Registered Dental Hygienists may provide oral healthcare in settings other than a dental office. They may choose to have their own office or travel to their client's place of residence. Dental Hygienists who are authorized by the CDHO to 'self initiate' do not require the client to have an order from a dentist.

Where Do I Direct My Questions Or Concerns?

If you have a question or concern about the services provided by your oral care specialist, you may contact any of the following organizations.

College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario 1-800-268-2346
Canadian Dental( Hygienists) Association 1-800-267-5235
Ontario Dental( Hygienists) Association 1-800-315-6342 www.odha.on
Royal College of Dental Surgeons (of Ontario) 1-800-565-4591

Will My Dental Benefits/Insurance Plan Be Accepted At An Independent Dental Hygiene Clinic?

Most dental benefit plans are accepted. We will prepare and submit all claim forms to your insurance company. The process is the same as a regular dental office. We simply need your insurance information for your first appointment. Most insurance companies provide clients with an individual card and booklet regarding their specific coverage. We also accept:


What Is This “New No-Cost Dental Insurance For Kids Under 17”?


It is imperative for parents to be aware of the importance of their children’s oral health care. Our hygienists will work with you to provide preventative measures in order to maintain a healthy smile. Unfortunately, some families do not have access to any form of dental coverage. With Healthy Smiles Ontario, a new no-cost dental program for kids 17 and under, more children can now receive the oral health care they need.


When I Get My Teeth Cleaned By An Independent Hygienist, Do I Need To Contact My Dentist And How Will I Report My Assessment?

When you visit our clinic for a cleaning, there is no need to advise your dentist. If an exam is required or if we have found any areas of concern, we will then assist you in making all arrangements and the specialist of your choice will be notified prior to your visit.

What Should I Expect If I Choose An IDHC? (Independent Dental Hygiene Clinic)

Increased access to dental hygiene services means that more people in Ontario will be screened for oral health problems that may have direct impact on overall health. Dental hygienists will work with their clients to establish a core plan that will include disease prevention, therapeutic interventions and appropriate referrals. Dental hygienists will work collaboratively with other health care professionals to ensure that the health needs of Ontarians are addressed safely, effectively and efficiently.

For any questions or concerns call:
RCDSO: Toll Free: 1-800-565-4591 The College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario
CDHA: Toll Free: 1-800-267-5235 The Canadian Dental Hygiene Association
CDHO: Toll Free: 1-800-268-2346 The College of Dental Hygienist of Ontario info or health
ODHA: Toll Free: 1-800-315-ODHA (6342) Ontario Dental Hygienists' Association www.odha.on

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath can be caused by a number of problems. Oral diseases such as gum disease and periodontal disease, fermentation of food particles in the mouth, sinus infections and unclean dentures can all contribute to mouth odour. Smoking and prescribed medication can also cause bad breath due to dry mouth.

The most effective treatments are improving oral hygiene by brushing and flossing as well as regular professional cleanings. Gentle brushing of the tongue should also be part of your daily oral hygiene routine.

What do you know about Xylitol?

XYLITOL is a sugar that is a cavity fighter. It works by preventing the production of acids that harm your teeth.

• Xylitol is not metabolized by the bacteria into an acid like sugar (glucose) or sucrose would. It works by not producing acid harmful to enamel.
• Xylitol will reduce the acid in the mouth and breakdown debris around the teeth giving the bacteria less chance to stick to the teeth. This will effectively reduce the reproduction of plaque.
• Xylitol can be added to chewing gum, mints mouth rinses, toothpastes and even lollipops.
Cari-Free products were developed with the vision of helping clients reduce the incidence of cavities.

Products now available at Northern Smiles Call now for products list and prices.
For more information on Xyli-Tots products, click on the following links: and

What Are The Steps Involved With Teeth Whitening?

A professional consultation is required. This exam and assessment will be done by your hygienist or dentist to determine the health of your mouth.

If this assessment is clear of any significant concerns, you may proceed with any teeth whitening system.

If there are any areas of concern, they will have to be addressed or assessed prior to beginning any whitening treatments.

Completing a precision teeth cleaning may be required to proceed with any whitening system to assure optimal results.

Our hygienists will help you decide which whitening system better suits your needs and conditions may apply.


Are Tooth Jewels Permanent?

No! The jewel is bonded to the enamel like an orthodontic bracket. It's glued to the front tooth, without any drilling or pain. When ready!
It is removed simply by polishing and removing any remaining bonding material.
• it is temporary
• it is painless
• it is fun
• it does not require drilling
• it does not harm the tooth

When Should My Child Visit A Dental Hygienist?

First Birthday, First Visit

Because it is much better to prevent than to treat ECC (Early childhood caries), the CDHO recommends that babies visit a dental office for the first time at roughly the time of their first birthday, or shortly after the primary teeth begin to erupt.

By this time, very few infants have problems that require treatment from an oral health professional, but almost all have an oral environment at risk for disease.

With good oral care, all children can grow up cavity-free. The habits you help them develop now should last throughout their lives.

Starts with Click on the following link for more information: and toddlers

What Should I Expect During My Child’s First Visit With A Dental Hygienist?

At your child’s first dental office visit, the oral health team will:
• assess the risk for oral disease
• advise on beginning a preventive oral health program
• answer questions and demonstrate home care techniques
• decide how often your child needs to return for follow-up visits

If your child is ready and willing, we may proceed with cleaning his or her teeth followed by teeth polishing. A fluoride treatment may be recommended.
If any areas of concern are detected, a referral to a dentist will follow.
Read more about Oral Care for Children click here.

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Important Health Facts:

We believe that quality of life can be achieved in ensuring access to oral health.

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