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Vol. 70, No. 8
ISSN: 1488-2159
September 2004


Attitudes to Independent Dental Hygiene Practice: Dentists and Dental Hygienists in Ontario


• Tracey L. Adams, PhD •

A b s t r a c t

This study examined Ontario dentists' and dental hygienists' attitudes to independent dental hygiene practice and changing the scope of practice. Data were collected from a mail survey of a systematic, stratified sample of Ontario dentists (483 respondents) and dental hygienists (437 respondents) conducted in the winter and spring of 2002 to assess what practising dentists and dental hygienists think about independent practice and other professional issues.

Contrary to previous research, this study found that male and female dentists did not differ in their attitudes to independent dental hygiene practice and university education for dental hygienists: both strongly opposed the former and tended to support the latter. Similarly, few differences in attitude amongst dentists by specialty were found.

Dental hygienists were generally supportive of independent practice and of expanding their scope of practice. On some measures, however, sex and age differences in attitudes were evident: at times dental hygienists who were older or male seemed to be stronger advocates for professional change than others.


MeSH Key Words: dentistry/manpower; dissent and disputes; interprofessional relations; professional autonomy
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