Scope of practice for dental hygienists

This page lists the scope of practice for dental hygiene.

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) describes a scope of practice as the health service, that a practitioner registered in that scope of practice is permitted to perform, subject to any conditions for the time being imposed by the responsible authority.

The Council publishes a scope of practice as a Notice in the New Zealand Gazette under section 11 of the Act.

Scope of practice for dental hygiene

The practice of dental hygiene is the prevention and non-surgical treatment of periodontal diseases through the provision of oral health assessment, diagnosis, management and treatment of any disease, disorder or condition of the orofacial complex and associated structures in accordance with a dental hygienist’s approved education, training, experience and competence.

A dental hygienist guides patients’ personal care with the aim of achieving and maintaining  oral health as an integral part of general health.

The scope of practice encompasses the dental hygienist competencies.

Practice in this context goes wider than clinical dental hygiene practice to include teaching, research, and management, given that such roles influence clinical practice and public safety. Areas of dental hygiene practice which were not included in a practitioner’s training should not be undertaken unless the practitioner has completed appropriate training and practises to the standards required by the Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners.

Prescribed qualifications for the dental hygiene scope of practice.