AVDS Cares: Local Dentists Work Together to Provide Free Care
By Emily Leeson
Just before the holiday season of giving begins, a group of local dentists and volunteers have just recently banded together to give their time and skills for free to help Annapolis Valley residents unable to otherwise access dental treatment. One of the biggest obstacles faced by many people is the cost of dental treatment and unlike other areas of the health care system, dentistry is not subsidized by health care tax dollars. This means that the full cost of the services provided by dentists in private practices must be passed on to patients.
On Saturday, October 29, over 40 volunteers worked together for the AVDS Cares event to provide the much-needed dental care free to those who needed it the most. Initiated by Sandy MacDonald, who works in the Wolfville branch of the dental supply company Henry Schein, the AVDS Cares event gathered together eleven dentists and over 30 support staff, as well as equipment and dental supplies from the supply company. Throughout the Valley, dental offices provided a total of almost $12,000 of free dental care including 40 fillings, 42 extractions, and two root canals. Eighteen patients in total benefited from the generosity and vision of local dentists and staff.
“We had a lot of fun and felt the patients really appreciated the free dental care” said dentist Dr. Scott Schofield. Schofield’s Fundy Dental Centre in Coldbrook hosted the event, which coincided nicely with the launch of their own Fundy Dental Community Project, a non-profit organization that provides dental services at a reduced rate for low-income adults and youth in need.
According to Wolfville dentist Dr. Erin Hennessy, the day ran smoothly with no patients turned away or waiting in long line-ups. The hope is that this can become a semi-annual event, with the next date tentatively planned for April, which is Oral Health Month.