During a lunch on Sept. 30, my partial plate broke mid-bite into a sandwich at a deli here in Kamloops.
I was scheduled for a job interview the next day and worried about my employability since the majority of the positions I seek are in sales, marketing or customer service.
I recently became homeless and am destitute, relying on social assistance. I was directed to the mission to enquire if the dental service there could offer a quick fix since the break in the denture was clean and repairing it might only require gluing and reattachment with some finishing around the repaired crack.
I was told to attend the clinic on Oct. 3 to see what could be done. When I did, I was informed the dentist is not taking any more patients and that I should return in a year and ask if this simple fix could even be looked at by the receptionist.
“He’s very busy you know,” I was informed. I’ve learned the dentist offers services two days a week and is booked as far as three months in advance.
For those on social assistance, there is no avenue for help when dental work is required (usually emergency in nature) except for clinics like these that rely on the generosity of a dentist.
When I was in Victoria, people without financial means to visit dentists could in most cases see a dentist the same day. One had to show up early and wait a long time sometimes but when one is consumed with the pain of a dental emergency, any temporary discomfort is well worth it.
I write this letter seeking the ear of members of our provincial and local governments, wondering if local dentists could not begin to engage in dialogue together to have more dentists and denturists available, perhaps for a small portion of their day for patients without the means to pay.
By all means let’s pay them for this service. I hope they will offer their services even if it is less than that regular fees.
Perhaps this is a case of too few struggling to carry the load for too many.
With some funding and attention by the dental professionals in this community, the load can be lightened and better shared, resulting in benefits for those needing the care as well as long-term benefits for the community in general.
As I have mentioned, the dental facilities located at the mission are manned only two days a week. While heartfelt thanks go to the men and women that are there during that short time, more help and access is needed.
There are obvious benefits to preventive care when we consider the causes and cures and options and costs to some of our social problems.