Ontario Dental Assistants Association

Ontario Dental Assistants Association

May 15, 2008 09:30 ET

Ontario Dental Assistants are one Step Closer to Becoming a Regulated Profession

Regulation of dental assistants is in the best interests of dental assistants, dentists and the general public, says Ontario Dental Assistants Association.

LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 15, 2008) - The Ontario government has agreed to consider regulating Ontario dental assistants. Currently, it is not mandatory that dentists hire dental assistants who are formally educated or certified, despite the fact that DAs have important responsibilities related to infection control, such as sterilizing instruments and disinfecting operatories.

"Dental assistants who are formally trained have knowledge of disease transmission and infection control," says Judy Melville, Executive Director of the Ontario Dental Assistants Association (ODAA), the certifying body for Ontario Dental Assistants. "Without regulation, untrained individuals are able work in dental offices. With the heightened awareness of infectious diseases, we feel that the importance of proper disinfection and sterilization cannot be overemphasized."

"Regulation will not only protect the public, but Ontario dentists as well. They will have a capable, formally educated workforce and they will be able to confidently delegate work to the full extent of a dental assistant's duties."

Dental assisting is currently a regulated health profession in eight provinces, with the exceptions being Ontario and Quebec. In 2007, Mr. George Smitherman, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, put forward an official request to the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) to review whether the practice of dental assistants ought to be regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA). The ODAA has been contacted by HPRAC requesting a meeting on June 21 as a first step in the consultation process.

"This is great news because it means we are getting closer to realizing our goal for regulation," says Melville. "The ODAA believes that dental assistants are important health care professionals. Only formally educated people who have a firm understanding of disease transmission and infection control should practice their work. It is in the interest of public health and safety."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Dental Assistants Association
    Judy Melville
    Executive Director
    (519) 679-2566 Ext. 25
    Email: jmelville@ody.ca