A free dental program that began in Penticton last summer is not only still going, it’s reaching out to Oliver this weekend.
Last summer, with the help of a semi-retired dentist, Greta Henning and a group of volunteers put on Penticton’s first free dental clinic, in an effort to provide relief for people who couldn’t otherwise afford dental treatment.
This latest clinic takes place, with two dentists, tomorrow in the Oliver offices of Dr. Jordan Noftle.
“And then the same dentist that helped me on our very first clinic is helping us: Dr. Amaal Ayoub,” said Henning. She was glad to see Noftle come forward, since she had hoped the program, which operates under the auspices of Quota International of Penticton, would be able to help people throughout the South Okanagan.
“A fair number of clients are from the Oliver to Osoyoos area,” said Henning. And with a week to go, she already had most of the day filled, with 16 appointments booked, some even making the trip from Penticton.
“I do have at least three people that are going to carpool,” said Henning. “One person has put her name forward, she has a car, but she doesn’t have money for gas. Two other people said they have money for gas but no car. It’s a real partnership.”
That first free clinic saw 18 patients come in for treatment and two more people were helped in December, according to Henning. Another seven were helped at a clinic with Dr. Ron Blanchard in January and another two in February.
“On top of that, Quota International of Penticton has a dental access fund and we are helping our fifth client to receive dental treatment that they wouldn’t normally be able to afford,” said Henning. “With the help of Quota International, we want to make the dental access fund an ongoing activity for people.”
So far that is working, according to Henning, who is also working as a Quota volunteer to create a permanent dental outreach clinic. The need, she said, is great, with rarely a week going by that emergency doctors don’t see two or three dental patients.
Application forms for people needing help can be picked up and dropped off at the Salvation Army, with participants being chosen on a first come, first served basis as the clinics are scheduled.
Seeing the success of the dental clinics, Henning said another practitioner has come forward wanting to offer his skills. Chiropractor Dr. Adam Konanz will be offering a free clinic on April 14 for low-income adults or seniors who need any consultation or adjustment.