The leader of the Alberta Liberals is calling on Health Minister Sarah Hoffman to make changes to the way we access dental care in our province.
Dr. David Swann tells the Alberta Morning News that there are a number of problems facing the industry right now.
“An increasing number of Albertans can’t afford dental care,” says Swann. “We don’t know how many people are avoiding, or unable to get dental care because there’s been no survey. Public health dentistry, for low income people has been stretched beyond the maximum and has declined in its capacity to serve Albertans.”
Swann says there are also less clinics in the province, and the Alberta Dental College is interfering with dentists being able to advertise low cost options.
“(Dentists) aren’t allowed to do that,” explains Swann. “They can get fined very high amounts of money. If they advertise that they can provide some minor orthodontic work, they can also be fined.”
He adds that he hasn’t seen any action from Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.
“A year ago, the minister issued a review of dental fees, and we’ve heard nothing,” says Swann. “It doesn’t appear that she wants to wade into the morass of the dental association and college. I’ve written another letter to her this week, encouraging her to do just that.”
Swann says about 1 in 5 Albertans can’t afford dental services. (km/amn)