Improving rural access to professional dental services
As dentists, we speak often about maintenance and prevention as essential to avoiding serious, irreversible damage or costly treatment down the road. Read our blog about the importance of regular dental check-ups. Routine checkups allow us to get ahead of any potential issues before they become more disruptive and costly. We also know that lifelong oral health starts with education and the formation of good habits from childhood. However, many people—especially children—living outside of the major center of Saskatoon don’t have easy access to professional dental services on a regular basis.
BLOK Dental checkups hit the road
Last year, we entered into collaboration with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, alongside several other community partners to create an innovative solution to providing rural health care in Saskatchewan. The STC Health Bus is a traveling clinic that provides dental services and mental health services to rural First Nation communities on a rotating schedule. Established on August 31st, 2021, the STC Health Bus spends one week in each of the 7 First Nation communities that make up the Saskatoon Tribal Council. The bus is staffed with a professional dental team, a mental health and addictions counselor, and a paramedic.
Proud to offer regular dental care to the First Nations of the Saskatoon Tribal Council
Through the STC Health Bus, we are able to provide two annual dental checkups for children who can’t otherwise access them. The dental treatment space in the back of the bus is equipped with all the latest technology for accessibility and quality of service. Sitting in the dental chair, it’s as if you are in the Saskatoon dental studio! Thanks to the high-powered HVAC system installed by Crestline, the Blok Dental team is able to see patients in the STC Health Bus every 15 minutes.
Saskatoon dentists seeing new patients from new communities every week
The STC Health Bus hopes to address the lack of local health services on First Nations, while also developing relationships of trust with community members who may not be able to easily travel to larger centers. By providing dental care services on wheels, we can connect rural people to oral and mental health care services before any potential issues become more serious—with regular care in the community, we can prevent any situations that necessitate urgent travel or costly treatment away from the community.
Staffed by First Nations dental health professionals from BLOK Dental
BLOK Dental is proud to staff the STC Health Bus with an Indigenous dental team in order to provide the best care to the First Nations of STC. We hope that staffing the bus with First Nations professionals will preserve relationships and further improve access to oral health for people living on reserve.
The STC Health Bus is the first of its kind in Canada
Already midway through our first year in the STC Health Bus, we are excited to see the impact of this 5-year project funded by the Federal Government and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health ($2.5 million total). This project is the first of its kind in our country. We believe it could be a model for future health care provision to rural areas that need it. We hope it will be the first of many like it provincially and nationally, and we are very proud to be a part of it.
Follow the bus on Facebook @STCHealthBus