NOTICE: Effective November 1, 2016, all online courses and webinars will have an expiration date of one year from the date of purchase unless otherwise specified. Any online courses or webinars purchased prior to November 1, 2016, will expire on November 1, 2017. Please check your online profile to view the details of your specific purchases.

Self-Initiation for Dental Hygienists (disponible en Français)

Course Details

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  • CDHA member fee: $199.00
  • CDHA student member fee: $101.00
  • Non-member fee: $249.00

Note that your access to this course will expire one year from the date of purchase; course registration fees are non-refundable.

Course Description

The objective of the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) Standard of Practice for Self-initiation is to offer assurance to Ontarians that their dental hygienists are fully competent to provide safe and effective care. The Self-Initiation for Dental Hygienists course will ensure that you have comprehensive knowledge of the dental hygiene process of care, which forms the framework within which dental hygiene therapy is conducted.

More Course Information

The course consists of eight sections.

  1. Section 1: Introduction

    Section 1 provides an overview of the course, and establishes the dental hygiene process of care and the rationale behind proceeding with dental hygiene treatment.

  2. Section 2: DH Process of Care—Assessment

    Sections 2 to 5 review all components of the dental hygiene process of care, including health and personal histories (which includes multicultural influences), information analysis and synthesis, and establishing oral care priorities and goals. These sections emphasize evidence-based practice, and present the best sources for client education, as well as scientific resources.

  3. Section 3: DH Process of Care—Diagnosis & Planning

  4. Section 4: DH Process of Care—Implementation

  5. Section 5: DH Process of Care—Evaluation

  6. Section 6: Clients with Special Needs

    Section 6 focuses on clients with special needs, and discusses demographics, especially of the aging population and clients who may have some form of sensory deprivation or dementia.

  7. Section 7: Jurisprudence and Record Keeping

    Section 7 reviews the contraindications legislation clause-by-clause to assist registrants in making a professional judgment about the necessity to refer or postpone treatment. The requirements of informed consent and record keeping are also considered.

  8. Section 8: Health and Safety

    Section 8 of this course concentrates on the safety and protection of both clients and caregivers in the dental hygiene environment by reviewing the prevention and management of medical emergencies and pertinent health and safety legislation.

Course Information

Registration for the course is done online and the course is taken online in the comfort of your home, at your convenience and your pace. You may pause and restart at any time. It is expected that the entire course will take about 33 hours to complete; however, you can take as much time as you need, with the exception of the final examination. You may wish to break up your learning into several shorter sessions.

A resource manual has been developed for the course. It can be downloaded and printed as a complement to the course. It is a valuable learning tool with learning outcomes, pre-tests, learning activities, summaries, post-tests, and suggested additional resources such as links to websites, etc. It is important that your participation includes these learning activities because they have been designed to contribute to the knowledge required to pass the final examination and increase your competency to self-initiate and provide safe dental hygiene care.

The required textbook for this course is one of the following:

  • Darby and Walsh, 2003, Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice 2nd edition, St. Louis: Saunders, or
  • Darby and Walsh, 2010, Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice 3rd edition, St. Louis: Saunders, or
  • Darby and Walsh, 2014, Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice 4th edition, St. Louis: Saunders.

Either may be ordered online at or There is also a list of resources and reference materials (print and electronic) in the resource manual.

A pre-test is presented at the beginning of each section and a post-test at the end of each section. A final timed multiple-choice examination is administered upon completion of the course. Upon successful completion of the examination, a certificate of completion issued by CDHA may be printed from your computer.

For those wishing to apply to the CDHO for authorization to self-initiate under section 5 (1) (a) of the Dental Hygiene Act 1991, this certificate must be submitted with your completed application.

The development of this continuing education course has been made possible through a financial contribution from the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the College

Relevance to Practice

The Standard of Practice for Self-Initiation for dental hygiene care applies to all CDHO registrants who plan to self-initiate the controlled acts of “scaling teeth and root planing, including curetting surrounding tissue.” Successful completion of this course provides the evidence required to meet the CDHO best-practice standards to obtain the required seal of approval for self-initiation. This confirms a level of knowledge, skill, and judgment that ensures safe and effective care for Ontarians.

Sharon Cavanagh

Sharon Cavanagh currently provides individualized training for dental hygienists who wish to return to practice.

Maria Elena Tigner

Maria Elena Tigner currently holds the position of professor of dental programs at Algonquin College in Ottawa, where she is teaching oral histopathology, periodontics, and clinical dental hygiene, among other courses.

Sandra Lawlor

Sandra Lawlor has practised clinical dental hygiene for thirty-one years, and is also a part-time faculty instructor at the Canadian Institute of Dental Hygiene.

Lisa Taylor

Lisa Taylor practised clinically in a variety of settings for twenty years before joining the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) in her current position as practice advisor and quality assurance administrator.

Brenda Leggett

Brenda Leggett has over twenty years of experience as a dental hygiene educator at Georgian College and Algonquin College. She has practised in community health as a dental hygiene administrator, and remains active as a clinical dental hygienist in private practice.

Laura Myers

Laura Myers is currently the director of education at CDHA. She has extensive dental hygiene experience in education, administration, and restorative and community health, and remains active in clinical practice.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Please note that your access to this course will expire one year from the date of purchase; course registration fees are non-refundable.

DISCLAIMER: Please note courses and on demand webinars cannot be completed on tablets and other mobile devices.