The provincial government of British Columbia is proposing regulatory changes to oral health with the intention of promoting more interprofessional practice and providing more dental care options. Affected regulations include the Dental Hygienist Regulation, Dental Technicians Regulation, Denturists Regulation, and Dentists Regulation.
“Dental hygienists do outstanding work and advocacy to improve oral healthcare for British Columbians,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We are posting proposed regulation changes intended to give people more choice regarding their oral healthcare. The proposed changes are important for dental hygienists and patients, and I invite dental workers and the public to provide their input on this proposal.”
One proposed change affects dental hygienists in British Columbia who do not fall into the College of Dental Hygienists of BC (CDHBC) “365-day rule exempt” class of registrant and may only provide dental hygiene services if a patient has been examined by a dentist within the past 365 days.
This proposal would remove the 365-day rule for dental hygienists, allowing all dental hygienists to treat patients regardless of whether those patients have been examined by a dentist within the preceding year, provided the CDHBC implements new standards of practice guiding independent practice. Dental hygienists also would be required to inform patients that a dental exam should be taken but would not be mandatory, leaving the choice to the patient.
Similar changes are being proposed for denturists, who also have a 365-day rule relating to repairing and relining prescription authorized dentures.
Section 55 (3) of the Health Professions Act requires that at least three months’ notice of proposed regulation amendments be given. This time period will allow the government to hear from stakeholders and the public about their view of the proposed changes. Comments on the proposed regulations may be directed to the Ministry of Health by email no later than December 2, 2019.