Elderly people who are housebound often go without dental care, but in Sudbury that's no longer the case — thanks to a dental hygienist who makes house calls.

Tracy Coyne has spent the last three years providing treatment to people like 88-year-old Leonie Castonguay.

Castonguay's guardian, Sheila Dhinel, said her aunt hasn't been to a dentist in more than 10 years. Castonguay has Alzheimers and is unable to say if her mouth hurts, and a casual trip to the dentist isn't really possible, Dhinel said.

“And she doesn't walk, so to physically lift her into an unknown area would make her anxious and nervous,” she said.

'I realized there's a real big need ...' - Tracy Coyne 

Coyne treats all ages, but she says the older clients often really need her help.

“It's a really good, down-to-earth feeling what I'm doing,” she said.

“It's a ton of work but, at the end of the day, you kind of know exactly what you are doing and the reason for it.”

She said she discovered it's satisfying to help the elderly when she was teaching younger dental hygienists.

“Our students would come with me and we would do oral assessments in many of the long-term care homes, and I realized there's a real big need in that area to have dental care for these individuals who are home-bound, bed-ridden.”

There is one other mobile hygienist in Sudbury.

The Ontario Dental Hygienists Association lists about 25 dental hygienists who are either mobile or have their own clinics across northern Ontario.

Services are covered by insurance companies according to the plan you have.