Free dental clinic opens in St-Henri

A new dental clinic in Montreal is providing free oral hygiene care to people who can't afford it.

A new dental clinic in Montreal is providing free oral hygiene care to people who can't afford it.

The Jim Lund Clinic, located at the Welcome Hall Mission in St-Henri, officially opened its doors Friday.

The centre is the result of a partnership with McGill University's Faculty of Dentistry and the Hall Mission, a social services agency that assists more than 10,000 homeless, elderly and low-income families every month.

Professional oral hygiene care is not a priority for people who are struggling financially or living on the margins of society, say clinic organizers.

"I think the private office model that most of us know and most of us use works well for the majority of people, but there's an important minority for whom it just does not work," said Dr. Paul Allison, dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.

Dentistry students will provide free care at the permanent clinic under the supervision of McGill's faculty.

Many participating students say the work is rewarding.

"My first day here, we saw a gentleman who lives upstairs [at the shelter], and who has been working very hard to get off the streets, but it's very hard because he can't smile confidently, because he has a large cavity on his front tooth," said Shian Sun, a fourth-year dentistry student at McGill.

"He even covers his mouth when he talks to me, and he told me he would really like to smile confidently, so he can look for a job."

The Jim Lund Dental Clinic will be open three days a week.