Free dental clinic in the works for Penticton

Group looking to establish permanent free dental clinic to serve low-income patients

  • Sep. 6, 2012 1:00 p.m.

Efforts continue to establish a permanent, free dental clinic to serve low-income patients in Penticton.

Local dentists have donated their own clinics and time for several one-day events since the program’s inception last summer, but the hunt goes on for a steady funding source and supplies.

“I’ve gathered some equipment, and I have a lead on a place… but I sort of have to gather my equipment before they’ll give me the place,” said organizer Greta Henning.

“I’m just in the process of getting charitable tax status so I can offer receipts to people who donate equipment and then I can go after the equipment more so than I am now. But I have an X-ray machine and a couple of chairs already sitting in a garage somewhere just waiting to be used.”

Henning said the local dental community has been supportive of the idea to help people who simply fall through the cracks of the health-insurance system.

Penticton woman Robbin Loughridge said she and her husband have made use of the previous clinics to address serious issues, but routine checkups are out of the question for her family of five, which has no health insurance.

“Regular dentist visits for an adult who has no insurance costs a minimum of $100 a visit,” she said. “Personally, with three children I can’t afford it. That’s not something to me that’s a priority anymore.”

While young children have access to oral health programs, the buck apparently stops at older people.

“I just find it odd that we live in Canada and get treatment for anything we want but we can’t walk into the dentist and do the same,”  Loughridge said.

Henning has another free dental clinic organized for later this month, but has already filled the day with about 20 appointments for the two participating dentists: Drs. Ian Dickinson and Amaal Ayoub.

“It doesn’t take much,” said Henning, discussing the need for the free dental clinics in the South Okanagan. Since the first clinic in August 2011, Henning said about 62 people have been helped by the program, which operates with the assistance of Quota International of Penticton.

Free dental clinics operate in Kelowna and Vernon with a mix of private and public funding.

Henning said she intends to approach some local charities and Interior Health for help starting a permanent clinic here.

“We really see that a dental program that focuses on low-income and marginalized residents is very good and very important work,” said Susan Brown, Interior Health’s community administrator for the South Okanagan.

Brown noted that IH has not yet received such a funding application but would “consider it very strongly.”

Anyone who wishes to help with the clinic in any capacity can reach Henning at 250-493-9299.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new homeless housing

BC Housing is holding a virtual info meeting Tuesday evening, Jan. 19

COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

The bus shelter across from the police detachment is one of ten smashed Jan. 17. (Monique Tamminga)
Glass smashed out of 10 bus shelters in Penticton

One of the bus shelters is right across from the RCMP detachment

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

This dog is going to the SPCA if its owner isn't found. (RDNO Dog Control photo)
Owners sought after dog ‘dumped’ near North Okanagan school

Pup is now either getting adopted or going to the SPCA

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Most Read