Dental hygienists donate time for free one-day service

Dental hygienists across the country are teaming up today to offer free services as part of a national campaign.

The Gift from the Heart event will see 100 dental offices volunteering their time and services to those who don't have access to dental plans.

"It's a way for dental hygienists to use their talents to give back to people who otherwise might not be able to access dental hygiene services," said Angie Nowe, a dental hygienist at Park Lane Dental Specialists in Halifax.

While it is the ninth year for the campaign, it is the first time Park Lane Dental has been involved.

The clinic, which plans to open up four dental chairs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., had no trouble booking patients to fill the six-hour time slot.

"Instantly we had our day filled," said Nowe.

"It's kind of shocking to know that there are that many people out there who will take advantage of a day like this, people who aren't able to access dental hygiene services."

At least four other dental hygienists across Nova Scotia are taking part in the event. They include:

- Ashley Morine, New Minas Dental Centre, New Minas.

- Jayne Beaumont, Happy Smiles Dental Hygiene, Dartmouth.

- Wanda Fedora, Island Oral Health Services, Sydney.

- Dianna Major, Dianna Major Dental Hygiene, Lower Sackville.

Last year 800 clients were seen by hygienists during the one-day event. Over the last eight years, the event has delivered more than $500,000 worth of dental hygiene services.

"Some of these clients coming in have not seen anyone in 10, 15 and even 20 years," said Bev Woods, the event's founder and a member of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association.

"We are going to do whatever we can for these clients to get them back on track."