The president of the Ontario Dental Association says he wouldn't recommend patients get their teeth cleaned at home.
On Thursday, CBC News Sudbury reported on a dental hygienist in Sudbury who makes house calls, however one Thunder Bay dentist says it's the dentist who should be making sure there are no issues before a cleaning takes place.
Dr. Gerry Smith said hygienists can't diagnose problems.
“The doctor [is the one] who has the necessary education, training and expertise to diagnose and treat conditions of the oral cavity,” the ODA president said.
“Hygienists can only provide a limited, very limited range of services to these patients.”
Dental hygienist Tracy Coyne of Sudbury says she does refer her patients to the dentist if she spots a problem area.
The Ontario Dental Hygienist Association lists about 25 hygienists in northern Ontario who work on their own.
Frances D'Andrea Huard hopes to add her name to that list.
The dental hygienist in North Bay has 30 years of experience and said she doesn't want to work in a dentist's office anymore.
Huard says colleges are graduating too many young dental hygienists who are willing to work for less money.
“It all comes down to wages, I think,” she said.
“You're really not given a lot of reward for being an experienced hygienist.”
Smith agreed there's a surplus of dental hygienists, but it’s still preferable for them to be on a health care team that is overseen by a dentist.
“I know in my office, I have three hygienists who have been with me a long time, and it is a team approach,” he said.
“To me, that is kind of the best care, and the most responsible care that you could give to a patient.”
He noted some of his patients who tried independent hygienists said they found they spent more time and more money to get proper dental care.
Letter from the CDHA in response to this CBC News article: