Even after five years practising in St. Albert, dentist Frank Neves is still shocked by the number of people who cannot afford basic dental care.
“I’m surprised by how many people come into my office and don’t have money for treatment,” says Neves, a dentist at Bright Dental on Giroux Road.
“There are a lot of people that are in need in St. Albert.”
This Sunday, Bright Dental will be open for its third Dental Compassion Day, offering basic dental work – cleanings, x-rays, extractions, fillings and root canals – to low-income St. Albertans for free.
In previous years, Bright Dental has held Dental Compassion Day in August, but this year they wanted to get the word out in the schools for students who may be in need.
Single parents and their children comprise a significant portion of the people who utilize the free services, says Neves.
On Dental Compassion Day, hygienists won’t just be cleaning teeth, they will also be educating children and their parents about proper oral hygiene, explains Neves. Oral hygiene education in schools usually doesn’t cut it.
“Typically, the demographic of people that are in need, they themselves don’t know very much about oral hygiene. If you instill (the basics) early on, it avoids the cavities down the road,” he says.
Bright Dental’s full crew – two dentists and four hygienists – will be working 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Last August, the clinic did $37,000 worth of dental work, says Neves. The first patient lined up at 4 a.m.
“We anticipate it probably being 50 per cent busier than it was in the past,” he says.
The clinic has also reached out to low-income individuals through the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village, as well as women’s shelters in Edmonton.
Free dental work for low-income
Sunday, Oct. 19<br />Bright Dental<br />#210, 5 Giroux Road<br />9 a.m. to 3 p.m.<br />First-come, first-served<br />www.brightdental.ca