By Daniel Betts
According to Felicia Eaton, Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH), there is a distinct correlation between dental disease and other health conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, diabetes, dementia, autoimmune diseases and emotional well-being. However, beyond the traditional toothbrush getting a proper teeth cleaning can be a challenge for some valley residents. Eaton has a solution. Through her new business, Oral Health Intervention (OHI), Eaton is now taking appointments to provide mobile dental hygiene services for rural communities in British Columbia and Alberta in the Rocky Mountain Yellowhead corridor.
No referral or dentist exam is required to schedule an appointment at OHI. Using portable state of the art dental equipment, Eaton can come to a patient’s home to perform any of the dental hygiene procedures one could expect to receive in a dental office.
Besides being mobile Eaton’s operation is completely paperless. For the convenience of her patients, Eaton is “tied in” with several dental insurance carriers through her laptop. Eaton explains in the last eight years the insurance companies are recognizing independent dental hygienists servicing communities that are dealing with barriers to access to care. “There’s just such a need for our services in rural communities and it’s only going to become more so as the population ages,” said Eaton.
According to the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia (CDHBC), on March 31, Mike de Jong, Minister of Health announced the approval of a change to the CDHBC bylaws that would create a “365-day rule exempt” category of registration, which came into effect on July 3. In British Columbia dental hygienists may provide services within their scope of practice only if a dentist has examined a patient within the past 365 days or on the same day prior to treatment. But due to inaccessibility or unavailability of dentists to many clients in remote areas or with physical restrictions, the “365 exempt” hygienist can give clients the choice to receive care from a RDH. “It gives those hygienists who have met the additional education requirements and clinical practice hours to provide our services in any practice setting now, not just licensed care facilities,” said Eaton.
Prior to working and moving to the Valemount area three years ago, Eaton was a practicing dental hygienist for 28 years in Cranbrook, B.C. and now holds licenses in both British Columbia and Alberta. “My plan is to service Jasper and Hinton as well.”
Residents who are homebound, disabled or are in residential or palliative care now have the ability to receive the services of a dental hygienist in their own home.
In addition to regular dental hygiene care, Eaton is offering a fun side product, tooth bling. For a fee, interested valley residents can arrange to have beautiful Swarovski crystals applied to teeth without drilling or pain that will not harm the tooth and can last up to one year. Eaton has a variety of “smilegems” to choose from that will enhance any smile.
OHI is going to set up in two locations in the valley in August. In Valemount, B.C., on August 7 to 10, between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Eaton will be set up at The Gathering Tree on 5th Avenue. In McBride on August 20 to 24, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eaton will set up at Country Chic on Main Street. Residents should call and make appointments ahead of time for both locations. Also on August 17 to 19, Eaton will have a vendor booth at the Robson Valley Music Festival applying Smilegems to interested festivalgoers.
To make an appointment with the valley’s mobile dental hygiene service, at either the locations above or in your home, call (250) 566 4664.