Dental clinic could give low-income people relief from pain

A Nanaimo businesswoman hopes to bring a unique dental clinic concept for low-income individuals to the Alberni Valley.

A Nanaimo businesswoman hopes to bring a unique dental clinic concept to the Alberni Valley.

Leanne Salter has already spearheaded a community dental clinic for low-income individuals in Nanaimo, created by the Community Organized Dental Group and run under the umbrella of Volunteer Nanaimo. The mid-Island clinic serves low-income individuals who couldn’t typically afford a visit to the dentist.

“I recognize we need the service from the work I do,” said Salter, who works for the Ministry of Social Development and is a former dental assistant.

Her volunteer work with the dental clinic is not related to her job, she said.

People on income assistance have dental plans, but they aren’t adequate to cover dental work and many people would have to pay out of pocket. Salter said many can’t afford to pay the remaining balance and end up suffering without help.

“People who are working and only making minimum wages don’t normally have dental insurance,” she said. “The only hope they get is from dentists who are willing to help or maybe they don’t get help and they have to go to the hospital to get help” because they have left their dental problems too long, she said.

The Nanaimo clinic has four volunteer dentists and is looking for more, as well as other volunteers to do tasks such as bookkeeping and appointment scheduling. It operates on two grants received through the City of Nanaimo’s social planning advisory committee.

Salter would be looking for similar support from dentists and volunteers in Port Alberni. “I’m already saving equipment for (a clinic) in Port Alberni,” Salter said last month.

She would be looking for a permanent venue for the clinic, and would also have to find a way to support it financially.

Salter took two and a half years to bring the Nanaimo clinic to fruition, so she knows there is work to be done. She has asked to speak about her plans at the City of Port Alberni’s council meeting tonight (April 26).

“I know some of the steps we have to do and understand how large the project is,” she said.

One day she would like to see dental care receive the same attention medical care does from the province. Dentists don’t get the same medical service coverage from the province that a general practitioner does, she said.

“When you look at how far that reaches…what I think is our health services and health ministry need to connect that teeth and the head are connected to the rest of the body. It’s all health,” she added.

“There’s such a separation.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

—With files from Nanaimo News Bulletin

Just Posted

Saanich man, passenger escape injury in Mt Arrowsmith rollover

A visitor from the South Island escaped injury after rolling his SUV… Continue reading

Port Alberni residents, city council divided on rules for cannabis stores

Public speaks up about pot at committee of the whole meeting

Port Alberni RCMP officers honoured for bravery

Five faced ‘violent, deranged’ male during break-in

Alberni Valley Bulldogs battle against top teams in the BCHL

Bulldogs split weekend games against Spruce Kings, Chiefs

Husky robbery suspect caught

A man suspected of robbing the Husky gas station and convenience store… Continue reading

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

Awards will recognize business excellence on Vancouver Island

Nomination period begins for Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Most Read