Independent dental hygienists were made legal in September 2007 in Ontario.
The Government of the province of Ontario passed Bill 171 to give Ontario citizens the choice to go to get basic dental health care from a dental hygienist when they saw that many without insurance coverage were opting out of getting dental care. Ongoing dental maintenance reaps huge health benefits longterm for individuals.
Elaine Russell already a registered hygienist in Ottawa was one of the first to set up shop as an independent. She herself entered the industry of dental care to help ensure that people have a good experience with their dental health as opposed to what she had had growing up. She calls herself a dental phobe.
Independent dental hygienists have their own fee schedule different from dentists. Overall, their fees are a lot lower, making the barrier to entry more accessible to people from all walks of life.
If the hygienist sees that there are health issues in the teeth or mouth that need the care of a dentist they will refer them to see one. Other than that, it is no longer necessary to visit a dentist's office for annual visits.
If you are in the Kanata area of Ottawa, check out Elaine Russell at Kanata Dental Hygiene for your preventative dental care, teeth whitening needs or even for a second opinion.