Frequently Asked Questions

In an effort to inform the public, dental hygienists have answered some frequently asked questions about both the profession and proper oral care. The fact is, the easier the access to proper oral hygiene, to better the health of all Canadians. You the public, now have greater access to dental hygiene services. This is a great benefit to all clients with or without dental insurance coverage.


Why can a registered dental hygienists to clean a client’s teeth without the presence of a dentist?

In September of 2007, the Ministry of Health of Ontario acknowledged the advanced skills of dental hygienists as well as the need to improve public access to oral hygiene services. Legislators were inspired by the overwhelming medical evidence supporting the link between oral health and overall health. Also many other provinces in Canada had already changed their regulations to accommodate the independent practice of dental hygienists. By amending the Ontario Dental Hygiene Act, the government permitted registered dental hygienists to clean a client’s teeth without the presence of a dentist.

College of Dental Hygiene in Ontario:
Ontario Dental Hygiene Association:
Canadian Dental Hygiene Association: www.cdha

What Happens When I Need To See A Dentist?

Our dental hygienist will proceed to call or send a report to your dental office or will help guide you to find a dental office of your choice. Dental hygienists are not able to diagnose but are fully trained in completing a clear oral assessment and advising the client if there are any areas of concern. A referral may be required if you are due for your exam or if an area demands further assessment. We work in conjunction with several oral care specialists and encourage our clients to schedule regular visits.

What Qualifications Are Required For Dental Hygienists?

To practice in Ontario, a dental hygienist must complete a recognized dental hygiene program, pass the national board exams and hold a license from the College of Dental Hygienist of Ontario with yearly certification. Dental Hygienists are also required to meet ongoing quality assurance requirements including continuing education courses every year. Your oral health is key to your overall physical health and your dental hygienist is your expert for preventive oral health care.

Your dental hygienist will work with you to determine your care and will help you maintain good oral health.

Where Do I Direct My Questions Or Concerns?

If you have a question or concern about the services provided by your oral care specialist, you may contact any of the following organizations.

College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario 1-800-268-2346
Canadian Dental Hygiene Association 1-800-267-5235
Ontario Dental Hygiene Association 1-800-315-6342 www.odha.on
Royal College of Dental Surgeons 1-800-565-4591

Will My Dental Benefits/Insurance Plan Be Accepted At An Independent Dental Hygiene Clinic?

Most dental benefit plans are accepted. We will prepare and submit all claim forms to your insurance company. The process is the same as a regular dental office. We simply need your insurance information for your first appointment. Most insurance companies provide clients with an individual card and booklet regarding their specific coverage. We also accept:


What Is This “New No-Cost Dental Insurance For Kids Under 17”?


It is imperative for parents to be aware of the importance of their children’s oral health care. Our hygienists will work with you to provide preventative measures in order to maintain a healthy smile. Unfortunately, some families do not have access to any form of dental coverage. With Healthy Smiles Ontario, a new no-cost dental program for kids 17 and under, more children can now receive the oral health care they need.


When I Get My Teeth Cleaned By An Independent Hygienist, Do I Need To Contact My Dentist And How Will I Report My Assessment?

When you visit our clinic for a cleaning, there is no need to advise your dentist. If an exam is required or if we have found any areas of concern, we will then assist you in making all arrangements and the specialist of your choice will be notified prior to your visit.

What Should I Expect If I Choose An IDHC? (Independent Dental Hygiene Clinic)

Your expectations should be no different than if you were having your teeth cleaned in a traditional dental office setting. The services provided are the same. The manners in which they are delivered are the same. The only difference is the absence of the dentist. However, if your oral care requires the attention of a dentist, our hygienists will immediately refer you to the one of your choice.

For any questions or concerns call:
RCDS: Toll Free: 1-800-565-4591 The College of Dental Surgeon (Dentist)
CDHA: Toll Free: 1-800-267-5235 The Canadian Dental Hygiene Association
CDHO: Toll Free: 1-800-268-2346 The College of Dental Hygienist of Ontario
ODHA: Toll Free: 1-800-315-ODHA (6342) Ontario Dental Hygienists' Association www.odha.on

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath can be caused by a number of problems. Oral diseases such as gum disease and periodontal disease, fermentation of food particles in the mouth, sinus infections and unclean dentures can all contribute to mouth odor. Smoking and prescribed medication can also cause bad breath due to dry mouth.

The most effective treatments are improving oral hygiene by brushing and flossing as well as regular professional cleanings. Gentle brushing of the tongue should also be part of your daily oral hygiene routine.

What do you know about Xylitol?

XYLITOL is a sugar that is a cavity fighter. It works by preventing the production of acids that harm your teeth.

• Xylitol is not metabolized by the bacteria into an acid like sugar (glucose) or sucrose would. It works by not producing acid harmful to enamel.
• Xylitol will reduce the acid in the mouth and breakdown debris around the teeth giving the bacteria less chance to stick to the teeth. This will effectively reduce the reproduction of plaque.
• Xylitol can be added to chewing gum, mints mouth rinses, toothpastes and even lollipops.
Cari-Free products were developed with the vision of helping clients reduce the incidence of cavities.

Products now available at Northern Smiles Call now for products list and prices.
Xyli-Tots products for kids at Northern Smiles

What Are The Steps Involved With Teeth Whitening?

A professional consultation is required. This exam and assessment will be done by your hygienist or dentist to determine the health of your mouth.

If this assessment is clear of any significant concerns, you may proceed with any teeth whitening system.

If there are any areas of concern, they will have to be addressed or assessed prior to beginning any whitening treatments.

Completing a precision teeth cleaning may be required to proceed with any whitening system to assure optimal results.

Our hygienists will help you decide which whitening system better suits your needs.


Are Tooth Jewels Permanent?

No! The jewel is bonded to the enamel like an orthodontic bracket. It's glued to the front tooth, without any drilling or pain. When ready!
It is removed simply by polishing and removing any remaining bonding material.
• it is temporary
• it is painless
• it is fun
• it does not require drilling
• it does not harm the tooth

When Should My Child Visit A Dental Hygienist?

• Generally, cavities or gum disease is not connected to babies or young children. However, oral disease can begin at an early age.
• As the eruption of the teeth progresses and the infant’s diet becomes more sophisticated, bacteria in the mouth continue to produce acids and toxins that are harmful to hard and soft tissues in the oral cavity.
• There are 20 primary teeth. These usually erupt from the age of 6 to 10 months, ending with the second molars shortly after the age of 2. Babies and toddlers are more likely to become infected between the ages of 19 and 31 months.
• An exam is recommended as soon as the child celebrates his or her first birthday. The dental hygienist will complete a simple exam that will give insight to your child’s oral health. As well a consultation on proper diet, nutrition, chewing habits could deliver necessary information.
• Don't let your child have a bad experienced.

What Should I Expect During My Child’s First Visit With A Dental Hygienist?

At your child’s first dental office visit, the oral health team will:
• assess the risk for oral disease
• advise on beginning a preventive oral health program
• answer questions and demonstrate home care techniques
• decide how often your child needs to return for follow-up visits

If your child is ready and willing, we may proceed with cleaning his or her teeth followed by teeth polishing. A fluoride treatment may be recommended.
If any areas of concern are detected, a referral to a dentist will follow.
Read more about Oral Care for Children click here.

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Important Health Facts:

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Overwhelming medical evidence supports the link between oral health and overall health, therefore alternative options for delivery of dental hygiene services will hopefully encourage more individuals to seek out dental hygiene services. Studies have shown the link between periodontal disease and coronary artery disease, stroke, heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, pre-term births and low-birth weight babies. In addition, oral health problems can negatively affect your ability to speak, chew and swallow properly, which can have an adverse impact on your ability to consume the nutrition your body needs to remain healthy.

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The Northern Smile Advantage

  • ✓ Dental insurance benefits accepted
  • ✓ Payment options available
  • ✓ Same day appointments (when available)
  • ✓ Referrals to oral care specialists (when necessary)
  • ✓ Oral cancer screening (more on the Services page)
  • ✓ Inviting, comfortable and relaxing environment
  • ✓ Convenient and accessible location
  • ✓ Plenty of on-site parking
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