British Columbia

Kelowna non-profit turns RV into mobile dental clinic to help those in need

A new mobile dental hygiene clinic is coming to Kelowna, B.C. Built in an RV, the clinic is intended to provide services to people who have difficulties getting regular dental care.

Majority of clients have not had their teeth cleaned for 5 or 10 years

The mobile dental hygiene clinic is meant to drive directly to clients' homes in Kelowna to provide teeth cleaning. (Hands In Service)

A new dental hygiene clinic built in an RV is coming to Kelowna, B.C., to provide services to people who have difficulties getting regular dental care.

Executive director of Hands In Service, Patricia Goertzen, said the clinic will offer general hygiene services, including teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments and scaling.

"The majority of our clients have not had their teeth cleaned [for] between five and 10 years," Goertzen.

Goertzen's organization is a non-profit  based in the Okanagan city which provides basic house cleaning, laundry, food preparation and food hamper delivery services to people in need. She said the hygiene clinic is intended to help people with low incomes, mobility issues and health challenges. 

Eligibility for the clinic is determined using the same criteria the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank.

The interior of the RV is fully equipped to perform the duties of a dental hygienist. (Hands In Service)

The high cost of living combined with a limited income often forces people to not make dental hygiene a priority, said Goertzen.

"In that position, the likelihood that you are actually going to go get your teeth cleaned, is very very low." 

She said the majority of their clients already have poor health and their oral hygiene could exacerbate existing conditions while potentially adding new ones.

Goertzen said the clinic was made possible largely through a $40,000 donation from the local Kelowna legion. $15,000 was contributed by the Central Okanagan Foundation, and the rest of the money needed was obtained through fundraising and a grant.

The goal is to have the RV travel to many clients homes. Those hoping for a cleaning will be able to apply online and over the phone.

With files from Daybreak South

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