Good oral health is strongly linked to overall systemic health – and without dental care, many Canadians may be at risk for other diseases like respiratory disorders, heart disease and stroke.
To help combat this and assist those without dental insurance, students in Durham College’s (DC) School of Health & Community Services and School of Justice & Emergency Services spent their Saturday providing free dental care to over 100 of Durham Region’s vulnerable community members on November 24.
This free clinic is the second in six months that DC has hosted with Health Mission Outreach (HMO) – a medical charity organization that provides health care services to the disadvantaged – and the largest dental outreach initiative in the region, having helped over 260 people between the two events.
Working interprofessionally with dentists and other health care providers from HMO, approximately 85 Dental Hygiene, Practical Nursing, and Paramedic students provided intake, triage, blood pressure readings and dental assisting during the clinic. A collaborative effort between the two organizations, DC also supplied clinic space and student volunteers, while HMO provided dentists, equipment and sundries.
DC’s Dental Hygiene students receive ongoing experience and skill-building in the college’s Dental Clinic as they perform dental examinations and cleanings under the supervision of faculty and staff, but this free clinic with HMO also gave them, and students from other programs, the opportunity to give back to the community in which they live and study.