The newly expanded Boyle McCauley Health Centre Dental Clinic (BMHC) officially opened on January 28. The expansion provides easy access to dental care for vulnerable populations and will continue to be a valuable hands-on learning environment for dentistry and dental hygiene students.
“Population demands have long created a need for an expansion of clinic space and services for the community and we are thrilled to open that expansion,” said Paul Major, chair of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s School of Dentistry. “We are able to provide dental care to a population that often goes without adequate care. This clinic will not only enable better oral health for these underserved populations, but it will also help provide preventative care.”
Located in its new site in the Métis Capital Housing Corporation Renaissance Tower, the $1.5 million expansion was made possible by the partnership between the School of Dentistry, The Métis Nation of Alberta, BMHC and Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Oral health-care services have been provided by the BMCH since 1993 when the dental clinic was first established through the Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton (SHINE) program. It had since outgrown the space. Each year, more than 2,000 patients used to visit the clinic, which had only four operatory chairs. Thanks to this community partnership and the generosity of donors to the School of Dentistry, the new modern eight-chair clinic expects more than 3,000 visits per year. Moving the clinic from the basement of the BMHC and into a street-level facility at the Renaissance Tower will result in more families and children having access to care.
“We are very excited that our partnership with Alberta Health Services and the University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry has resulted in the expansion of our dental clinic, making it possible for more members of our community to access comprehensive, affordable dental care,” said Cecilia Blasetti, executive director of the BMHC. “The expansion of our dental clinic has significantly increased our capacity to address this need.”
The BMHC dental clinic will now be able to accommodate more emergencies―in the 2017-2018 year alone there were 755 emergency visits to the dental clinic. Wait times for follow-up appointments will be reduced and the clinic will be able to accept more patients.
It is expected that the increase in services the clinic provides will lessen the load on hospital emergency rooms, allow for more preventative dental care and provide students with valuable experience as health-care providers serving vulnerable populations.
“I’m extremely pleased the Boyle McCauley dental clinic has expanded to care for even more vulnerable Albertans. The support this clinic offers every day helps Albertans who may have difficulty accessing dental care to obtain this critical health service,” said Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health.