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What is a Registered Dental Hygienist?

A registered dental hygienist is a health care professional whose work focuses on the oral health of an individual or community. Registered dental hygienists are involved in a variety of key responsibility areas related to dental hygiene practice (e.g., clinical, education, health promotion, administration, research). Registered dental hygienists have met the educational and additional requirements for registration with the CRDHA.


Protected Titles

Only registered members who hold a Practice Permit issued by the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta may use the following titles, abbreviations, and initials:

  • dental hygienist
  • registered dental hygienist
  • D.H.
  • R.D.H.

Source: Health Professions Act Internal Link Image (Schedule 5, Section 2)

Practice is Governed by Alberta's Health Professions Act

In their practice, registered dental hygienists do one or more of the following:

  • assess, diagnose, and treat oral health conditions through the provision of therapeutic, educational, and preventive dental hygiene procedures and strategies to promote wellness
  • provide restricted activities authorized by the Dental Hygienists Profession Regulation Newpdficon
  • provide the services described above as clinicians, educators, researchers, administrators, health promoters, and consultants
  • within their practice, registered dental hygienists are legally, ethically, and professionally accountable for their practice and must recognize their practice limitations

Source: Health Professions Act Internal Link Image (Schedule 5, Section 3)

Approach to Practice

Alberta's registered dental hygienists are professionals who always consider the well-being of their clients. Their approach to practice includes:

  • a dental hygiene process of care model
  • a foundation of evidence-based knowledge and theory
  • collaboration with clients, colleagues, and other health care professionals
  • client-centred services to prevent and treat oral disease and promote wellness



The University of Alberta Dental Hygiene Program is the approved program for registration in Alberta and serves as the benchmark program of study for all persons applying for registration in Alberta.

In addition, registered dental hygienists in Alberta:

  • Possess additional education, competencies, and/or certification when performing advanced practice procedures.
  • Maintain ongoing competence through continuing education, research, reflective practice, practice hours, and other activities.


Registered dental hygienists in administrative and teaching positions generally hold Master's or PhD degrees.