The fastest growing healthcare profession?
It is called “independent hygiene” or “IH”. IH emerged in Ontario in 2007 as a response of the provincial government to the unaffordability of dental care, particularly to senior citizens who had lost their dental coverage just when their oral health began to decline.
In 2007, there were a handful of independent hygienists in Ontario. Now there are about 750, and more than 1,100 across Canada. Indeed, independent hygienists have begun to own dental practices.
How does this growth compare to other healthcare professions? Look at the following table which uses another rapidly expanding profession (nurse practitioners) as a comparison.
Independent hygienists will continue to grow in numbers and may soon reach a threshold where they are widely recognized by the community as a preferred venue for oral healthcare. This new awareness will be also be stimulated by the integration of independent hygienists into medical practices and geriatric care settings. With new tools like Prevora, independent hygiene can reduce the cost of dental care significantly while improving oral health for long periods. And in an aging community like Canada facing pandemic hardships, this proposition is hard to overlook.