Dental hygiene clinic opens outside of dentist's office

Dental hygienists are starting to establish stand-alone clinics in the province.

Change in law now allows dental hygienists with special training to operate on their own

Dental hygienists are starting to establish stand-alone clinics in the province.

A year ago, the New Brunswick government passed legislation allowing dental hygienists to practise outside of  a traditional dental office.

Elisa Metcalfe has established the province's first "bricks and mortar" dental hygiene clinic to operate outside of a dentist's supervision. (Kate Letterick / CBC)
Elisa Metcalfe of Moncton is a registered dental hygienist who has taken specialized training that allows her to work without the supervision of a dentist.

Metcalf has opened a business called Healthy Smiles Dental Hygiene Services.  It's the first permanent dental hygiene clinic in the province to operate outside of a dentist's office.

Metcalfe says some patients prefer to be treated in a different setting.

"It's still very much a collaborative approach but it's just that they're not in that setting anymore," she said. "So some patients that have the dental phobias — you know they hear the sound of the drill or what not — I don't have that.

"It's a lot more relaxing and comfortable for them."

Metcalf says she's able to offer rates that are competitive, or cheaper, than a dental office, and a shorter waiting time.

Even though the dental hygienists are working on their own, they still have to follow strict rules and guidelines.

Metcalf says she makes sure patients get proper care.

"If you come in and it's been a number of years and if I see concerns, by all means I'm for sure going to send a referral out to a necessary dentist to have that work checked and done for you," she said.