Saskatchewan

Man who lost teeth wins fight for funds

The Saskatchewan government is about to expand its medical dental coverage — good news for a man with missing teeth who came to the legislature to ask for help.

The Saskatchewan government is about to expand its medical dental coverage — good news for a man with missing teeth who came to the legislature to ask for help.

Last month, Prince Albert's Dale Regel came to Regina to tell politicians about his experience, after having part of his jaw removed to get rid of a tumour.

He is now missing several teeth and needs reconstructive dental surgery, which could cost $14,000.  For more than a year, he's been asking to have that surgery covered under medicare, but the province wouldn't pay for it.

Now, there has been a change.

Health Minister Don McMorris says the ministry will expand the number of dental programs it pays for. The changes came about while the ministry was reviewing all its regulations and making sure they were up to date, he said.

The problem with paying for reconstructive dental surgery was one issue that came forward, according to McMorris.

"This is one that we looked at. There were a couple of cases that came forward, we reviewed those cases and it made sense to us. It was common sense that procedure should be covered that hadn't in the past," he said.

However, the program starts July 1, and anyone who has had surgery before that won't be able to apply for money, he said.

"Number one, how far back do you go? And there isn't money budgeted if you went back a year, or two years or three years," he said.

Among other changes, the government will also be paying for repairs to congenital problems such as cleft palates, and will be expanding coverage to people who have lost teeth because of metabolic problems.

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