A Lower Sackville dental clinic community is giving back to the residents they serve by offering free dental services for the day.
The annual event, which took place on Saturday, is in its second year and was inspired by a similar initiative launched at a New Brunswick dental clinic.
“One of the doctors here she has a friend in New Brunswick that had a similar idea, they did it with their practice and had huge success,” Lini Durant said, an administrative assistant with Nova Dental Associates.
“Like, people camping out overnight, they had to rent tents to cover patients.”
Following their sister province’s lead, Nova Dental launched a free dental day last year and the community response was overwhelming.
“There are definitely people that show up who have no access to dental care either because they’re retired, they have no insurance, or unemployed,” said Durant.
“Just, moms that are looking after their kids first and they’re on the back-burner so finally they get a day where they can get something done,” he added.
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Nova Dental is an all female practice, but the popularity of a free dental day means other healthcare professionals come in to support the cause.
Oral surgeon Dr. Jean-Charles Doucet is one of them.
“Obviously as we all know there are many needs in healthcare and dental needs are quite important and unfortunately not everyone has access to dental care and not everybody has dental plans so here at Nova Dental the dentist owning the practice felt that there was obviously a need but also a need to give back to the community,” Dr. Doucet said.
With lineups starting in the wee morning hours, over 100 people will be treated before the day is through.
One of them is high-school student Damian Saulnier.
“Having the chance to get a filling, or get an hour’s worth of cleaning, or getting a tooth yanked out – that’s amazing,” Saulnier said.
For healthcare professionals like Dr. Doucet the opportunity to connect with patients in a way that brings them comfort and peace of mind is very rewarding.
“To me it’s very, very rewarding because I’m able to help people and I’m able to get them ideally a little bit better. They might need some other treatment but just being able to help them, seeing the smile on their face, seeing how grateful they are for us to be able to provide those free treatments,” he said.