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 Policies. By reviewing them regularly, dental hygienists may self-evaluate their practice and identify areas for continuing competency focus.

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About the Practice Standards and Practice Standard Policies

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. 

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.

Documenting care provided in an accurate and appropriate manner is essential as a healthcare provider, and is one of the College’s required Practice Standards. This webinar highlights critical areas that are often omitted in the client’s treatment record. Sharing these scenarios will help registrants build confidence in implementing the required documentation standards into your practice setting.

The “Practice Standards and Clinical Documentation… Are you Hitting the Mark?” webinar that was presented live on November 4th, 2014, January 28th, 2015, March 26th, 2015 and June 9th, 2015 is now available on-demand. Registrants are permitted to claim 1 continuing competency (CC) credit for viewing the on-demand webinar. Each registrant viewing the webinar must complete the BCCOHP Practice Standards and Clinical Documentation Webinar Form, which will act as supporting documentation for the completion of this CC activity. 

Click here for the Practice Standards and Clinical Documentation Webinar FAQs

Click here for the consolidated Practice Standards specific to Dental Hygiene Documentation.

Click here for the video

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.

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.

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 BCCOHP. 

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.

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

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.

Please click here to view a compiled list of Practice Standards and Practice Standard Policies #1-10

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.

A dental hygienist must obtain informed consent from the patient or the patient’s representative before initiating dental hygiene care.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist must practice safely.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist must assess the patient’s needs.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist must analyze the assessment information and make a dental hygiene diagnosis.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist must plan for the dental hygiene care to be provided, based on the assessment data and dental hygiene diagnosis.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist must implement the plan consented to or adjust the plan in consultation with the client or the client’s representative.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist must evaluate while dental hygiene care is being provided, and at the completion of care, to determine if the desired outcome has been achieved.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist must document the dental hygiene care provided, following protocols of the practice setting.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygienist applies ionizing radiation and interprets radiographs as appropriate for the client and for the sole purpose of the dental hygiene process of care.

See the full practice standard here.

A dental hygiene practitioner who owns a private dental hygiene practice ensures specific standards for radiography, infection prevention and control, record retention and billing, marketing, and the recommendation of dental exams are maintained. 

See the full practice standard here.