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Dental clinic staff volunteer their expertise

(Left to right) Dental hygienist Shelbi Anderson, certified dental assistant Lana Healy and dentist Dr. Matt Osepchook are ready to see people in need of dental care at their next West Kootenay Community TEETH Clinic on August 11.  Photo below submitted by Mara Sand: Janette Mulloy at the clinic on July 7.   - Eric Ramsden
(Left to right) Dental hygienist Shelbi Anderson, certified dental assistant Lana Healy and dentist Dr. Matt Osepchook are ready to see people in need of dental care at their next West Kootenay Community TEETH Clinic on August 11. Photo below submitted by Mara Sand: Janette Mulloy at the clinic on July 7.
— image credit: Eric Ramsden

Is dental care beyond your budget? The West Kootenay Community TEETH clinic has been working hard for the last few months, and they are now up and running. Dr. Matt Osepchook and his staff are very excited and ready to welcome more patients at their third clinic on August 11.

Thanks to the volunteer work of local dentist Osepchook, who was recently honoured by Rotary Club of Nelson Daybreak, Dr. Bill Saliken and Dr. Mona Makortoff; hygienists, CDA's and reception staff, they are able to provide affordable, accessible dental care to the community.

Mara Sand, community dental hygienist for the Interior Health Association was very aware of the need and was the person who got them going. The next clinic is at Dr. Osepchook's office at 300 Baker Street.

Osepchook said they saw 18 patients on Monday and they have space for more. He added that he feels blessed that they have been able to provide this service, especially with donations from the public.

Janette Mulloy visited the clinic on Monday, July 7  as she said she had been in need of dental care that she could not afford for years.

“The wall of fear is very high, but very thin,” she said. “This is an important thing to remember when you are sitting in the dentist chair. Not the needles, that will pass. Nor the uncertainly, that too will pass, but what remains is the smiles, the surcease of pain, the moment when you know things will be fixed, that things will be alright.”

Janette’s sister Judy added, “I saw my sister at the TEETH low cost dental clinic and I can attest to the hard work and care of the doctors and dental hygienist. Since I live with her, I am witness to the before and… the after. Before: low grade pain, ennui and malaise. After: tenderness to be sure, but late that night Janette was humming to herself and doing projects that had been 'put off' for a while. Smiles, bright eyes and a profound improvement in health. Now, I look at her and anticipate my appointment and the improvements my health.”

The Nelson and District Seniors Co-ordinating Society (NDSCS) is one of the sponsoring societies who supported the application for Society status. NDSCS Joan Reichardt said, “Our group sees this as a much needed way to make dental health more affordable to all ages.  Although at present the project is focused on 'basics', we will address the issue of access to dentures, where many seniors face costs they cannot afford.”

For an appointment to complete an application to establish eligibility call the NDSCS at 250-352-6008.

The West Kootenay Community TEETH Clinic Society is a non-profit society, sponsored by Community First Health Co-operative, Kootenay Kids, and Seniors Co-ordinating societies.

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