My community’s struggle to access dental care

Partners In Prevention 1My community newspaper recently featured a story about an overload of patients visiting a non-profit community dental clinic.

The irony of this story is that most dentists in my community have fewer and fewer recall patients. Most want and need to get busier.

My community’s struggle to access dental care – Partners in Prevention

Port Hope Community Health Centre

So what is going on? How come the community clinic is now the destination for so many in the community?

I think there are good explanations for this. My community, like many in Southern Ontario, is now a retirement community and has lost many of those jobs with generous dental plans.

And the growing number of seniors need a different kind of dentistry because they have different needs and abilities to pay.

One big need is to manage root caries, a chronic disorder closely associated with other chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis.

Trying to drill and fill a cavity at the gum line is commonly a stop-gap. Within 2 to 3 years the filling fails, and then the patient needs even more expensive care (a root canal or an implant). And commonly, the patient gets more than one cavity at the gum line. Yikes!

So, it seems the community’s march to the public health clinic will continue … until private practitioners rethink and re-offer their services to a sicker population on fixed incomes.

By: Ross Perry

SOURCED: Partners In Prevention –