September 18, 2013 - 2:33 PM
VERNON - A dental clinic for low income patients won’t have to wait for old-fashioned film X-rays to develop any more.
With a $17,000 donation from the Kalamalka Rotary Club and Rotary Foundation, the Community Dental Access Centre will be able to buy a digital X-ray machine.
“We have a lot of clients with serious dental problems and bone loss,” executive director Terri Jones says. “This will really improve our services and efficiencies.”
The new machine will give off less radiation, making it safer for patients, and provide instant results.
The clinic opened up a year ago, and has already treated roughly 900 people. It is consistently booked up two months in advance.
“Census statistics say there are 9,000 low-income families in the North Okanagan who would qualify for our services,” Jones says. “We’re just scratching the surface.”
The clinic offers discounted services to students, low income families, and those on social security, but won’t turn people away if they can’t even afford that. The Angel Fund is set up to help pay when patients can’t.
Jones says many students, families and seniors have trouble accessing needed dental care. Unable to pay for a trip to the dentist, she says many visit walk-in clinics or the hospital instead.
“But doctors don’t treat the problem, they just give antibiotics and the cycle continues,” Jones says.
She’d like to open the clinic up more than just two days a week, but the money isn't there.
“In order for us to make an impact on the 9,000 people we need to be open at least four days a week,” she says.
The community has already been generous, first donating equipment, then offering the funds to replace it, Jones says. However, the wish-list is long and operational costs are continuous. Jones says they now need new computers to support all the digital X-ray images.
“People wonder why dental costs are so high,” Jones says. “I’m not a dentist but I’ve learned that the equipment costs are staggering.”
The clinic is hosting an open house Sept. 23 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. to celebrate its one year anniversary.
For more information about the clinic, or to donate, visit their website.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013