The Haven is a great organization with such a supportive team of staff and volunteers.  The programs offered range from food bank services, a boutique with free clothing, providing single moms and parents of newborns with nutritional needs to counseling those with various addictions.  I took a look at myself and being part of the dental profession to find a way to be a positive contribution to The Haven.  With a partnership between the Canadian Academy of Dental Health and The Haven, we were able to coordinate an initiative in which clients can receive no cost dental screenings and be recommended to Public Health or no cost clinics. 

The dental hygiene students performing the dental screenings were performed under their faculty supervision and the clients’ needs were always first.  Each client provided a brief medical and dental history which allowed the students to quickly assess a background for possible oral health complications.  More and more research is showing the links between our oral health and over-all health.  The client would then receive a dental screening and have treatment options described to them.  They would also receive oral health education along with complimentary dental aides for home care.  Oral health is sometimes easily cast aside as issues like food, shelter and other basic needs take precedence. 

There are a lot of changes in government programs covering dental services.  Clients on Ontario Works can receive emergency and limited restorative treatment.  There is no real option for clients on Ontario Works to receive preventative dental services.  There is an old saying in that ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’.  We hope that by providing these dental screenings, we have contributed to helping the clients of The Haven with preventative oral health options.

Hamid John RDH, BcHS(c)

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