Dental hygienists demonstrate competence in orofacial myology by completing the steps in the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM) Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM) designation process (see How to become an IAOM Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM®) - IAOM). The process involves completing an introductory course in orofacial myology and working through case studies in practice.
The College does not restrict dental hygienists from completing case studies while working through the IAOM certification process if they:
- Self-assess their individual competency and only work within it (Professional Accountability Standard of Practice, Performance Expectation 9);
- Obtain informed consent to provide treatment, including informing the patient that they are working to obtain certification and have not yet been examined for competency (Clinical Therapy Standard of Practice, Performance Expectation 1); and
- Refer the patient if their needs for assessment, diagnosis, or treatment are best addressed in collaboration with or by another health professional (i.e., physician, dentist, certified orofacial myologist).
Dental hygienists may only provide orofacial myology services if they are (1) pursuing their COM designation by working on their case studies with a mentor after completing the introductory course, or (2) COM certified.”
Despite any orofacial myology training and education, dental hygienists are limited to the scope of practice for dental hygienists as defined by the Health Professions Act, Schedule 5, Section 3. The Health Professions Act allows dental hygienists to assess, diagnose, and treat oral health conditions through the provision of therapeutic, educational, and preventive dental hygiene procedures and strategies to promote wellness and provide restricted activities authorized by the regulations. This limits dental hygienists from assessing, diagnosing, or treating conditions that are not oral health conditions, such as sleep disorders (e.g., obstructive, sleep apnea) or breathing disorders (e.g., asthma).