Practice Standards and Policies

The ten Practice Standards are part of the College’s bylaws and contribute to the legal framework for dental hygiene practice in British Columbia.

Dental hygienists have a legal and professional responsibility to be familiar with the Practice Standards and the Policies. By reviewing them regularly, dental hygienists may self-evaluate their practice and identify areas for continuing competency focus.

Practice Standards and Practice Standard Policies

What is a Practice Standard?

All regulated professions have an acknowledged standard of practice. The standard may or may not be documented. The Practice Standards for dental hygiene are the minimum, competent, safe level of care provided by dental hygienists when they apply dental hygiene knowledge, skills and attitudes to their practice. 

What are the Practice Standard Policies?

The Practice Standard Policies have been developed to complement the ten Practice Standards statements. They provide detail about how to meet each of the Practice Standards.

Why are they worded as “must” and “may” statements?

The wording has a legislative tone because the Practice Standards are a requirement of the College’s bylaws and because the Policies complement the Standards. “Must” statements are a required standard of practice and “may” statements are a recommended standard of practice, but discretionary.

What is the purpose of the CDHBC Practice Standards and the Practice Standards Policies?

They are intended to:

  • state the standard of care that dental hygienists in B.C. must provide, to protect the public from harm
  • inform the public of the standard of dental hygiene care to expect
  • demonstrate the accountability of the dental hygiene profession to the public, other health professionals and the government
  • assist registrants with the evaluation of their own practice and identify areas requiring improvement
  • provide guidance to dental hygiene educators
  • provide a measurable standard to which a complaint against a dental hygienist can be compared
  • comply with the Health Professions Act.

How may the Practice Standards and Practice Standards Policies be used?

Because they form part of the legal framework for dental hygiene practice in B.C., dental hygienists have a legal and professional responsibility to be familiar with the Practice Standards and the Practice Standards Policies. Reviewing the Practice Standards and Policies on a regular basis would enable dental hygienists to re-evaluate their practice on an ongoing basis. Any weak areas should then be the focus of continuing study.


Dental hygienist
A qualified health professional who is registered with the CDHBC. 

Dental hygiene practice
A problem-solving process of assessment, dental hygiene diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. This process integrates five areas of responsibility: clinical therapy, health promotion, education, administration and research.

Dental hygiene practice settings
Dental hygiene practice takes place in various settings including (but not limited to): dentist and dental hygienist owned practices, long term care and hospital facilities, community health agencies and centres, education institutions, professional and regulatory offices, dental and health businesses and industries, the military, and research facilities.

Dental hygiene care
Encompasses the services provided during the practice of dental hygiene and the manner in which they are provided.

Dental hygiene services
Actual techniques and procedures used during dental hygiene practice.

A potential and/or actual participant in dental hygiene services, including individuals, groups and communities.