Untreated dental health problems are some of the most serious issues plaguing the Canadian healthcare system today, with over 12 million Canadians suffering from at least one untreated dental issue and seven out of 10 Canadian adults developing gum disease at some point. But one Toronto dental hygienist is attempting to change this problem by making it even easier for patients to receive dental work — right in their own homes, in fact.
Hamid John, owner of Toronto-based Home Dental Service, is a dental hygienist who makes house visits and provides regular dental cleanings, very similar to what patients would receive at a regular dental clinic.
John’s Home Dental Service is a fairly new endeavor; as the Toronto Sun states, he began offering in-home cleanings at the end of 2014, after Canadian legislation on dental services changed to allow dental hygienists to perform regular cleanings without the oversight of a certified dentist.
Now, a dental hygienist certified with the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario can obtain additional certification that permits them to operate businesses, much like Home Dental Service, without the guidance of a dentist.
John has explained that his motivation behind starting his own small business was to provide low-cost dental care for the elderly, disabled, and low-income residents of Toronto. By visiting patients in their homes, John is able to provide care for patients who have mobility limitations. By operating as an independent dental hygienist (rather than a dentist) and without the fees incurred by renting an office space, John provides basic dental services at a much lower cost — sometimes as much as 50% lower than what traditional dental clinic charges.
Although free dental care is available for many eligible elderly Canadians, the Sun notes that the waiting period for dental work under this program can be as long as two years. Additionally, many families living in rural areas in Canada — most notably regions populated by indigenous families — have trouble finding and paying for adequate dental care.
While some dental clinics are hesitant about the quality of service that in-home dental hygienists can provide, many workers in the healthcare and dental industries are glad to see that more Canadians are getting the treatment they need.