Home Health Advocates praise Dartmouth dental clinic that’s making routine services more accessible

Advocates praise Dartmouth dental clinic that’s making routine services more accessible

Disability advocates in Nova Scotia are praising the efforts of a dental clinic in Dartmouth after it installed a lift that will make visits accessible for people with mobility issues.

Transcen-Dental Group, which has several locations around the province, installed the lift mechanism in its Waverley office during renovations this summer.

The automatic lift, which cost just under $10,000, is attached to the ceiling in one of the patient rooms to help those who have mobility issues or use a wheelchair get in and out of the dentist chair.

The lift, which uses an attachable sling to lift a person into the dentist chair, was installed this summer. (TranscenDental Group)

Sheila Crowell, the group’s office manager, said it can be difficult for dentists and hygienists to work on a person’s teeth if they’re in a wheelchair because they can’t be leaned back.

It can also be uncomfortable for the patient, she said, if they have to move their head and neck in an awkward way.

But this lift will prevent that.

“It’s easily done. It’s amazing,” Crowell told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet Halifax

“I think it will make the world of difference for everybody, the patient and the person working on the patient.”

Crowell said the group was inspired to install the lift by one of their patients who uses a wheelchair. And they now have two clients who use the lift, she said.

Accessibility, seniors’ advocates take notice

Bill VanGorder, the chief policy officer for CARP, formerly known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, said his organization has been concerned about the lack of accessibility in certain industries, including dentistry.

He said this lift is a wonderful, but unique initiative that’s needed and should be considered throughout the industry.

“Many, many seniors suffer from disabilities of one kind or another, but when they can’t access the health care that they need, then it just makes their issues even more pronounced for them,” VanGorder told Mainstreet

“So people who have mobility issues are still the ones who we see are most disadvantaged when it comes to getting almost any kind of service, including health services.”

A man with short white hair and glasses wears a leather jacket and navy blue shirt. He stands in front of a doorway.
Bill VanGorder, senior spokesperson for CARP, formerly known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, said his organization has been concerned about the lack of accessibility in certain industries, including dentistry. (CBC)

VanGorder said he hopes people with disabilities hear about this new lift and access dental care at the centre.

Vicky Levack, spokesperson for the Disability Rights Association of Nova Scotia, said she has never seen a dental office that is fully accessible in the province.

“It is always a challenge. Every [dental clinic] I’ve ever been in has been a challenge,” Levack told Mainstreet.

“The one I go to now, even though they try their best to accommodate, they’re very cramped.”

A woman wearing glasses smiles at the camera.
Vicky Levack, spokesperson for the Disability Rights Association of Nova Scotia, says the lift will allow many Nova Scotians who have disabilities to access dental care. (Vicky Levack)

She said it’s frustrating that health-care systems, which are meant to be for everyone, aren’t accessible for everyone.

“It says to me two things, both of which are bad. One, it says ‘we don’t want you here, disabled person,’ or two — and I think this one is more likely — ‘we didn’t even think about you, you’re not even a thought in our brains,’ which is also, in a way, more harmful,” she said.

But, she said, this lift will allow many Nova Scotians who have disabilities to access dental care — through one location, at least — after what could’ve been years of going without.

“My hope is that this dentist has started a revolution and that other people in the health-care field, not just in dentistry, but doctor’s offices, hospitals and [general practitioners] would install it in their practices as well, that every medical facility will have access to a lift.”

Mainstreet NS8:32Dartmouth dental centre installs lift to make visits more accessible

Featured VideoA dentist in Dartmouth has installed a lift in their new office. If you visit the Transen-Dental Group on Waverley Road, you’ll see a mechanism in the ceiling that helps people who use wheelchairs into the dental chair. CBC’s Carsten Knox spoke with the office manager at Transen-Dental, a disability advocate and a member of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.