Nearly three years after dental services were suspended in the Northwest Territories due to the pandemic, some residents are continuing to struggle to get the dental care they desperately need.
Dr. Chan Chin, a dentist with practising in Inuvik, said “they started getting back to those communities in September of 2022, and have been overwhelmed by the need,” according to CBC News.
While dental travel was paused during the pandemic, Indigenous Services Canada increased eligibility for less urgent care, such as cleanings and cavity fillings, but it was a complex and slow process. All of the smaller dental problems people were experiencing during this pause in service have escalated to emergencies. Dentists are overwhelmed with the backlog.
Some communities such as Jean Marie River, Nahanni Butte, Wrigley, Wekweètì, and Whatì are still waiting for services to resume, according to the Department of Health and Social Services.