Restricted activities are high risk activities carried out in relation to or as part of providing a health service that require specific competencies and skills to be carried out safely. Restricted activities must be performed in accordance with the College’s Standards of Practice.
Restricted activities that dental hygienists may perform are divided into:
- Activities that are authorized for all dental hygienists holding a general or courtesy practice permit;*
- Activities that require advanced training and authorization from the College.
A. Restricted Activities for Dental Hygienists (General or Courtesy Practice Permit)
The Health Professions Restricted Activity Regulation lists the following restricted activities that dental hygienists are authorized to perform, subject to any conditions or restrictions on the individual’s practice permit:
- For the purpose of assessing or treating oral health conditions but not for the purpose of performing restoration procedures of a permanent nature, to cut a body tissue, to administer anything by an invasive procedure on body tissue or to perform surgical or other invasive procedures on body tissue below the dermis or the mucous membrane or in or below the surface of teeth, including scaling of teeth;
- To insert or remove instruments, devices, fingers, or hands beyond the pharynx for oral soft tissue examinations;
- To reduce a dislocation of a temporomandibular joint for the purpose of reducing a subluxation of the temporomandibular joint;
- To prescribe the following Schedule 1 drugs for the purpose of treating oral health conditions, providing prophylaxis and treating emergencies:
- Antifungal agents;
- Anti-infective agents;
- Antiviral agents;
- Topical corticosteroids;
- To compound, provide for selling, or sell, incidentally to the practice of dental hygiene, a Schedule 1 drug or Schedule 2 drug;
- To order or apply any form of ionizing radiation in medical radiography.
B. Restricted Activities Requiring Advanced Training
- The following restricted activities may only be performed if the dental hygienist completes advanced training according to College policies and obtains authorization from the College:
- To prescribe or administer nitrous oxide for the purposes of conscious sedation;
- In collaboration with a dentist, to fit an orthodontic or periodontal appliance for the purpose of determining the preliminary fit of the appliance;
- In collaboration with a dentist, to perform surgical or other invasive procedures on body tissue below the surface of teeth for the purpose of performing restoration procedures of a permanent nature;
- Any other restricted activity within the practice of dental hygiene that is identified by the College as requiring advanced training.
* Refer to specific standards of practice on each restricted activity for additional education and certification requirements.
The dental hygienist performs only those restricted activities they are authorized and competent to perform, within the context of their practice of dental hygiene, and when patient assessment findings indicate their use. The dental hygienist completes College-approved advanced training and obtains additional authorization from the College prior to performing restricted activities requiring advanced training.
The dental hygienist must…
- Perform only those restricted activities for which they have the required authorization in accordance with the Health Professions Act and Standards of Practice.
- Be responsible and accountable for safely performing the restricted activity.
- Only perform a restricted activity if:
- They are educated, trained, and competent to perform it;
- An appropriate patient assessment has been performed; and
- The restricted activity is appropriate to the procedure being performed.
- Maintain the competence necessary to perform restricted activities relevant to their practice.
- Be aware of risks associated with performing the restricted activity and ensure that risk mitigation measures are in place to manage any adverse events associated with performing it.
- For restricted activities that require additional authorization from the College, complete a College-approved advanced training course, apply to the College for authorization, and receive authorization from the College prior to performing the activity.
The patient can expect that the dental hygienist performs the restricted activities which they are authorized to provide in a safe, effective, and appropriate manner.
ADVANCED TRAINING: Theoretical and clinical training in a specific area of practice, which is above and beyond the entry-to-practice competency requirements. Advanced training must be approved by the College and may or may not be offered as part of an entry-to-practice dental hygiene education program.
ADVERSE EVENT: An unexpected event related to healthcare management or delivery that a client directly experiences and that results in no harm, harm, or death.1
RESTRICTED ACTIVITY: An activity named in the Health Professions Act as a restricted activity that is carried out in relation to or as part of a health service.
- Adapted from the Health Quality Council of Alberta (2022). Accessed from https://justculture.hqca.ca/glossary-recommended-terms/