All Standards
Effective: Aug 1st 2023 | Status: Approved


Standard Statement

The dental hygienist collaborates with patients, oral health professionals, and others in a cooperative, constructive, and respectful manner for the benefit of the patient. 

Performance Expectations

The dental hygienist must… 

  1. Recognize their own limitations throughout dental hygiene service delivery and collaborate as appropriate with other health professionals.  
  2. Communicate the need for collaboration (e.g., referrals, consultations) to the patient.  
  3. When collaborating: 
    1. Communicate effectively; 
    2. Share patient information appropriately according to the College’s Privacy and Confidentiality Standard of Practice; 
    3. Maintain a patient-centred approach; and 
    4. Determine the expectations and responsibilities of each health professional when working with a mutual patient.

Patient Expectations

The patient can expect that the dental hygienist will collaborate effectively to provide safe, competent, and ethical care. 


COLLABORATE: To work in partnership with the patient and/or others while maintaining a focus on the needs and goals of the patient. Collaboration may include consultations, referrals or other relationships that benefit the patient. 

CONSULTATION: A request for advice on the care of the patient from another health professional. The consultant may or may not see the patient directly. The responsibility for clinical outcomes remains with the consultee who may decide to accept or reject the advice of the consultant.1  

DENTAL HYGIENE SERVICES: Any service that falls within the practice of the profession of dental hygienists as outlined in the Health Professions Act (Schedule 5, section 3). 

LIMITATIONS: Occur when the patient’s needs for assessment, diagnosis, or treatment are best met by another provider or in another practice setting. This can include when the patient’s needs fall outside the practice of dental hygiene or the dental hygienist’s individual competence. 

OTHERS: Those within the person’s circle of care, including health professionals, administrative personnel, cultural brokers, and those directly or indirectly involved in supporting the health and well-being of a patient. The term may also include representatives from private, voluntary, and non-profit groups, and government sectors.2 

PATIENT-CENTRED: This approach recognizes the partnership and sharing of power between the patient and health care providers to improve clinical outcomes and satisfaction with care.  It includes demonstrating attitudes and behaviours that are respectful of the whole person and their preferences.3 

REFERRAL: An explicit request for another health professional to become involved in the care of a patient. Accountability for clinical outcomes is negotiated between the health professionals involved.4 

  1. Nova Scotia College of Nursing. (2018) Nurse Practitioner Standards of Practice. Accessed from:
  2. Federation of Dental Hygiene Regulators of Canada. (2021) Entry-to-Practice Canadian Competencies for Dental Hygienists. Available from:    
  3. Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. (2015) Person- and Family-Centred Care. Accessed from:
  4. Nova Scotia College of Nursing. (2018) Nurse Practitioner Standards of Practice. Accessed from: