New dental funding filling need for low-income families

The majority of the funding will help community dental clinics deliver dental care to vulnerable populations

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Some British Columbians could be smiling a little brighter thanks to $96,000 for dental programs for low-income children and adults this year, announced Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae.

McRae made the announcement at Vancouver’s Strathcona Community Dental Clinic, one of 19 clinics receiving $4,000 each, for a total of $76,000. He took to the dental chair to stress the importance of brushing, flossing and regular dental exams during National Oral Health Month in April.

The remaining $20,000 is going directly to the British Columbia Dental Association’s Save a Smile Program that provides urgent dental care to the children of low-income families without public or private dental plan coverage throughout B.C. The association works with public health dental staff who screen eligible families to allocate available funds.

“Maintaining dental health is so important to the overall health of children and adults alike. With that in mind, I’m really pleased we’re able to make this extra contribution that will benefit children from low-income families who have urgent dental needs, as well as to dental clinics that provide care to British Columbians from vulnerable populations,” says Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae.

British Columbia Dental Association president Dr. David Ciriani, says,“We’re delighted to receive these funds on behalf of the 19 not-for-profit dental clinics and the BC Dental Association’s Save a Smile program. These valuable services support patients in need and operate largely due to the dedication of volunteers, as well as through donor contributions. These funds will be directed to these programs to facilitate the ongoing delivery of patient care in communities throughout B.C.”

The majority of the funding will help community dental clinics deliver dental care to vulnerable populations, including children, seniors, First Nations, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness and people receiving income and disability assistance.

Each year government provides dental services to about 140,000 people receiving income and disability assistance at a total cost of $55 million.

The following not-for-profit clinics in the Thompson-Okanagan will benefit from the $4,000 funding per clinic:

• Community Dental Access Clinic (Vernon)

• Gospel Mission Dental Clinic (Kelowna)

• Henning Emergency Clinic of Kindness (Penticton)

• Living Waters Dental Clinic (Salmon Arm)

• New Life Mission Dental Clinic (Kamloops)

For a factsheet on the Dental Program – Persons with Disabilities and Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers: www.mhr.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/2005/dental.htm