Best Practices Self Initiation
Best Practices Record Keeping

Self Initiation Course for Dental Hygienists- Nova Scotia

Self initiation means dental hygienists can determine when it is appropriate to proceed with dental hygiene care. It is defined in the Regulations as the “self directed clinical practice of dental hygiene by a dental hygienist in the absence of a written protocol as set out in Schedule “A”.

Under the Dental Hygienists Act of Nova Scotia, 2007, the object of the CDHNS is to serve and protect the public by setting standards of care, education and other regulatory requirements. The objective of the CDHNS in requiring all dental hygienists to take the Self Initiation Course is to set a standard for practice in the province and to offer assurance to Nova Scotians that dental hygienists are fully competent to provide safe and effective care. The course will give members comprehensive knowledge of the Dental Hygiene Process of Care which forms the framework within which dental hygiene services are conducted. Successful completion of the course will ensure that dental hygienists possess the necessary level of knowledge skills and judgment required to self initiate dental hygiene care. It ensures all dental hygienists the right to be self-initiating regardless of practice location and eliminates the necessity for a dentist’s order.

The goals of public protection and improved access to dental hygiene care are enhanced by requiring all dental hygienists to successfully complete the self initiation course.

The Dental Hygienists Act and the Regulations came into effect May 15, 2009. Under this legislation, all dental hygienists who were registered and licensed previously become members of the CDHNS. Under the Regulations, Section 8 (1) (h) all members who held a practicing license at the time the legislation came into effect will have up to two years following initial licensing by the CDHNS to complete a Self Initiation Course approved by the CDHNS. Until a member completes the Self Initiation Course, they must practice with a general written protocol/order, signed by a dentist.

Under the Act and Regulations, members approved by the CDHNS to self-initiate the authorized act of scaling of teeth and root planing (including curetting of surrounding tissue); ordering, administering and interpreting radiographs for dental hygiene purposes, ordering, administering or prescribing those drugs included in clause 25(a), may do so without an protocol/order from a dentist subject to the Regulations or contraindications; Section 28, (1-4). Successful completion of this course will allow dental hygienists to apply to the CDHNS for approval to self-initiate these authorized acts as set out in the Act and the Regulations

In accordance with the Regulations Section 8 (1) (h), an applicant who intends to engage in self-directed clinical practice and an applicant applying for a practising licence 2 years after being issued an initial licence under the Act, must ( i) have successfully completed the self-initiation module.


On June 6, 2009 the Council of the College of Dental; Hygienists approved the following motion:
Moved that Council approves the Self Initiation Course for Dental Hygienists – Nova Scotia online at CDHA on June15, 2009 as the course which meets the requirement of Reg. 8(1) (h).


CDHNS members who successfully complete the CDHA online course will be eligible for 15 program credit hours under the CDHNS Continuing Competency Program Requirements.

Following completion of this course, members must submit their certificate of completion to the CDHNS and request approval for authorization to self initiate dental hygiene care.

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