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What are the Advertising Requirements for Registered Dental Hygienists?

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Alberta College of Dental Hygienists

ACDH staff have been fielding concerns and complaints about advertising requirements and best practices for dental hygiene services. The Advertising Standard and Advertising Guidelines apply to all dental hygienists, whether you directly engage in advertising and promotional activities or others do so on your behalf. For example, if the dental hygiene services you provide are promoted on a clinic website, this is advertising and must meet the Standard of Practice and adhere to the Guidelines.

The College would like all registrants to self-review your advertising utilizing the Advertising Standard of Practice, the Advertising Guidelines, and the Code of Ethics and make any necessary changes to your advertising materials.

The Standard Statement for Advertising is:

"The dental hygienist ensures all advertising is clear, truthful, accurate, verifiable, and does not mislead or misinform the public."

Ensure that any advertising for your services meets the above statement.

The Advertising Guidelines provide more detailed direction on topics like testimonials, representing your titles, and how to avoid using misleading advertising techniques.

Highlights of the Advertising Guidelines

  • Avoid using advertising that may create unnecessary demand from the public. That includes the promotion of time-limited prices, discount coupons, gift certificates, or prizes that influence a patient's decision-making process.
  • Refrain from advertising methods that may create unreasonable expectations for the public. That includes guarantees, warranties, or unsubstantiated claims about results.
  • When making claims in advertisements, use reliable sources like scholarly peer-reviewed journals. Steer clear of advertising based on anecdotes or personal experiences.
  • Advertising must not include testimonials from patients, as these are based on opinion, not fact.
  • If you choose to refer to your title or education, make sure you do so accurately. Dental hygienists on the General or Courtesy registers may use the protected titles “dental hygienist”, “registered dental hygienist”, “DH”, and “RDH” in advertising. 
  • Any advertising that may be perceived as unprofessional or negatively affecting the public’s trust in dental hygienists may harm the profession’s integrity and should be avoided. 
  • Avoid implying that you are superior or that the equipment being used or services you provide are superior to other professionals. 

The above list is not a comprehensive summary of the Advertising Guidelines. Read the complete Advertising Guidelines document for full details.

What qualifies as an advertisement?

Refer to the Glossary in the Advertising Standard of Practice, which defines advertising as: "Any communication made orally, in print, through electronic media, or via the internet (including websites and social media), by, about, or on behalf of a dental hygienist to the public where its substantial purpose is to promote the dental hygienist, the dental hygienist’s services, and/or a dental hygiene clinic with which the dental hygienist may be associated."

If you have read through the Advertising Standard of Practice and the Advertising Guidelines, and you are still unsure whether an advertisement for your services adheres to them, contact a Compliance Advisor.

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