Yukon Anti Poverty Coalition eyes low income dental program

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition has been granted $11,750 by the Yukon Community Development Fund to develop a framework for a low-income dentistry program in Whitehorse.

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition has been granted $11,750 by the Yukon Community Development Fund to develop a framework for a low-income dentistry program in Whitehorse.

The money will be used for research to determine what kind of program is needed in Whitehorse and what resources would be required to make it work.

“We need to develop a framework and a model that works for Whitehorse, so we’re looking into what services are most needed and wanted,” said Kristina Craig, coordinator for YAPC. “Then we’ll use that info to get the program off the ground.”

YAPC will be working with the community and the Yukon Dental Association in order to develop the framework.

“We don’t actually know what the (proposed program) will look like yet,” Craig said. “There are different gaps for different people…. There’s a variety of reasons why some people aren’t able to access dental care.”

Craig said this program was borne out of the YAPC’s Community Connects events, which happen three times a year. The program brings the community together for a meal and music and allows people with low incomes to access services they might not usually be able to. At the end of each event, people were surveyed about what services they might need and dental care “has come up many times,” Craig said.

This past Christmas, Riverstone Dental Clinic held a free clinic, which saw dozens of Yukoners line up to wait for dental services. Sammy Hachem, who owns Riverstone with partner and fellow dentist, Vi Tang, said that event demonstrated the need for low-income dental care in Whitehorse.

“The need is for really basic things,” he said. “Things like having cleanings, cavities filled, extractions. Basic dental care.”

Hachem said many of the people who came to the Christmas free clinic were employed but did not have dental coverage and did not qualify for help from social services. This leaves people who work but need dental care they can’t afford in a difficult situation, he said.

“Some people can get help from social services but if they try and they can’t, and they really can’t afford it, well, I really don’t know (what people should do). We try to help them with a payment plan if we can,” Hachem said.

For a new patient to come to Riverstone to see a dentist, the base fee is $52.

“That’s just to see the dentist,” said Selayna Hostrawser, the receptionist at Riverstone Dental Clinic.

After that, costs quickly add up: a basic cleaning is $150 to $200, plus another $150 if a patient needs X-rays, $75 for fluoride treatment and $170 to have one cavity filled. The prices for these services are fixed and based on a guide from the Yukon Dental Association, Hostrawser said.

“Dentists don’t set the price. The dental board does,” she said.

Hachem said Riverstone Dental will try to run another free clinic around Christmas time again this year.

“We will try to keep doing (the free clinic) this year to help people if we can,” he said.

YAPC does not currently have a timeline on when the framework for a low-income dental program might be completed, nor when the proposed program might begin.

Contact the Yukon News at editor@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Relatives of pedestrian struck in 2001 urge change after latest fatality at the intersection

‘I don’t know what the solution is, but I just think something needs to be done’

Whitehorse officials promise improvements to cycling routes

Commuters say more focus on the downtown is needed

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Armed with a rubber chicken, Crash Test Dummies drummer visits the WCC

“I’m just a guy trying to make the world a better place with small increments of happiness”

Arctic Sports Inter-School Championship draws athletes from as far as Juneau

The three-day event included more than 300 participants from kindergarten to Grade 12

Access road to Telegraph Creek now open

Ministry has spent $300K to date on work to clear rockslide

Freedom Trails responds to lawsuit

A statement of defence was to the Yukon Supreme Court on Nov. 19.

Whitehorse RCMP seeking suspects after robbery at Yukon Inn

Robbery took place in early hours of Nov. 27, with suspects armed with a knife and “large stick”

Jack Hulland wins 2019 Yukon Elementary School Hockey Tournament

The one-day tournament featured nearly a dozen teams from Whitehorse, Dawson City and Teslin

City news, briefly

Some of the decisions that were made at the Nov. 25 Whitehorse city council meeting

Plan for Keno Way commercial zone moves ahead

Public hearing scheduled for Jan. 13

F.H. Collins Warriors victorious at 2019 Senior Girls Volleyball Championships to win rare Triple Crown

The F.H. Collins Secondary School Warriors girls volleyball team did what few… Continue reading

Most Read