For individuals and families that are struggling to make ends meet, a dental emergency can mean the difference between living with pain and keeping the lights on.
“We don’t want anyone to have to suffer with dental distress and have to sacrifice groceries or diapers or gas to get to work or any of life’s essentials,” explained Michael Williams, chair of the Sylvan Lake Community Partners Association.
Community Partners recently launched a dental emergency program where those that meet the income threshold and are Sylvan Lake residents can access a dental exam, x-ray and extraction free of charge. The program is in partnership with Sylvan Smiles.
“This is as no-hassle as you can get,” said Williams. “There’s no money out of your own pocket. Sylvan Smiles has worked with us to make this simple.”
Williams said he recently went through his own dental emergency and had to wait a few days before he could get in to see a dentist and get help. And it was not an experience he would ever want to repeat.
“I am fortunate,” he said on the Community Partners Facebook page, when the program was launched. “I had the means to eventually get it looked after and I was on my way. But during that time, I found myself wondering, what if I didn’t? What would I do?”
Williams said he decided to start asking around and he found out that those who don’t have the means the see a dentist will often wait until the situation is bad enough and then they’ll go to emergency at the Red Deer Hospital and hope they can get it looked after there.
With this program, those experiencing a dental emergency and who fall within the income threshold can call the Community Partners Association, answer a few simple questions and get set up with an appointment at Sylvan Smiles.
“We’ve worked with the medical clinics, pharmacies and other dental offices in town and notified them of this process,” Williams said, adding that if these professionals come in contact with someone experiencing a dental emergency, they can suggest this program.
About 400 people a month access crisis intervention and community assistance programs through Community Partners.