The profession of dental hygienist is now officially recognized in Belgium, following the publication of a decree to that effect in the Official Gazette, newspapers published by Sudpresse report. These professionals will be able to carry out tasks which, until now, had been reserved for dentists. “The dental hygienists will be able to provide preventive dental care and execute certain tasks under the instructions of a dentist,” Health Minister Maggie De Block explained. “When you know how long people sometimes need to wait for an appointment, this is certainly no luxury.”
The hygienists will be able to perform tasks such as dental health examinations, drawing up preventive care plans, tooth cleaning, administering a local anesthetic or removing stitches and dressings. They will be able to work directly with the dentists and administer medication, do X-rays or apply a dressing.
These technicians will undergo a three-year bachelor-of-science programme, which already exists in Flanders, where the first graduates are expected in June 2019. There is no such programme in Wallonia, but some universities have reportedly expressed interest in introducing it.