Dental services left lacking in Lab West

Andrea Spracklin
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This year marks the second year that the community of Wabush is without a dental practice.

Recently, there were unconfirmed reports of two dentists from Quebec exploring the possibility of moving to Labrador West to meet the demand for dental services.

There has been some concern as to where residents go for any emergency dental procedure if the only other practice — located in Labrador City — is booked up with regular appointments.

Presently, that clinic has two dentists on staff to provide service to the entire population, which are approximately over 10,000 in the twin towns.

Allan Bock is the Regional Director of Communications for Labrador-Grenfell Health (L-GH). He says L-GH is responsible for the provision of dental services in some parts of the region.

“In northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador, preventive/corrective dental care is provided by dental professionals employed by the health authority,” he said, noting this is attributed to the historic arrangement that has been in place for several years.

“In Labrador West, dental services are provided by fee-for-service dentists.”

Bock added Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital also receives visits from an orthodontist who provides a fee-for-service to clients.

In the past there was also an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who traveled to this area and handled referrals from dentists for such procedures as wisdom tooth removal surgery in the operating room at the local hospital. Patients were reimbursed from their own health insurance plans if they paid up front.

Many residents in the Towns of Labrador City and Wabush are covered under their work dental plans. However, not every resident or their dependents are covered, leaving a gap.

Dr. Ed Williams is the Dental Director for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Aurora contacted him to find out more on the status of any recruitment/advocacy efforts regarding additional dental practices and/or services for Labrador West in the future. However, calls were not returned prior to deadline.

‘World Diabetes Day’

In other health related news, World Diabetes Day was recognized throughout the province on Nov. 14th. It focused on healthy and active living for family and communities.

Scott Barfoot is with the Department of Health and Community Services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He pointed out that, in the last two years, the provincial government has invested $95,000 to help support the Canadian Diabetes Association’s risk assessment clinics, as well its peer support program.

“This (peer support program) matches people recently diagnosed with diabetes with others to support them in self-managing their disease,” said Barfoot.

The province has also invested $225 million in the last decade and doubled the number of dialysis sites from seven to fourteen, which includes a site at the CWJM hospital.


Organizations: Lab West, L-GH, Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital Dental Director for Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Health and Community Services in Newfoundland and Labrador Canadian Diabetes Association CWJM hospital

Geographic location: Labrador West, Wabush, Labrador Quebec Northern Newfoundland Southern Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Michael
    December 01, 2013 - 00:42

    This without a doubt is terrible, every area should have a dentist. Some don't realize just how very important good dental care is because dental problems left unchecked can lead to several other health problems and those that don't take it serious really should. Perhaps the government can try to do more by offering tax breaks to attract more dentists to want to come to the area to meet the needs. Now as far as Diabetes goes I remember a few years ago a tip I heard from a doctor to help it, avoid eating white flour, anything with high fructose corn syrup, and sprinkle cinnamon of food such as oatmeal or take it in a vitamin if you don't like the taste of cinnamon. Cinnamon I was told helps to regulate blood sugar. I don't know all the details about it I'm just going by information what was told to me, I'm not a doctor so those reading this should talk to your doctor with any questions about this.