McGill Dental Clinic in Welcome Hall Mission doubles its capacity

Renovations were undertaken to keep up with growing demand
Sam Watts, CEO of Welcome Hall Mission, and Elham Emami, dean of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences, cut the ribbon of the new clinic.

A free dental clinic, created in partnership between the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences and Montreal’s Welcome Hall Mission, has reopened following major renovations.

They will allow for twice as many visits by some of Montreal’s more marginalized community members, including asylum seekers and those experiencing homelessness.

Dozens attended the reopening event on May 7, including McGill representatives, Mission staff, and Dr. Liliane Malczewski, President of the Ordre des dentistes du Québec.

“The dental clinic at Welcome Hall Mission is an integral part of our community services,” says Elham Emami, dean of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences.

“The clinic’s expansion will allow us to treat more patients by doubling the number of chairs and investing in additional equipment. This would not have been possible without the generous gift from GreenShield, and the commitment of the Ministry of Health and Social Services to this project.”

Increasing demand

Located in Welcome Hall Mission, in Montreal’s Saint-Henri neighbourhood, the clinic was founded in 2011 thanks to generous support from organizations and individual donors.

It’s Montreal’s first permanent free dental care clinic, offering free services to low-income and unhoused Montrealers who do not have dental insurance.

Renovations were necessary to keep up with patients’ needs, as the demand for services has increased every year. This is especially true since the pandemic, as the rising cost of inflation has expanded the Clinic’s clientele.

“This modern, expanded, free dental clinic is another example of how we’re working with partners like McGill’s Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences and GreenShield to redefine how services are delivered with excellence to the vulnerable people of our city,” says Sam Watts, CEO of Welcome Hall Mission.

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux also contributed $500,000 to the project.

Filling the gap in oral health

The grand re-opening event coincided with the launch of the Canadian Dental Care Plan, which began accepting applications last week.

“The new federal program shows great promise in addressing concerns about financial access to dental care, but needs further development to comprehensively address the availability, accommodation, and acceptability of dental services,” says Emami.

“The clinic at Welcome Hall Mission fills this gap by providing free and compassionate dental care. Together we are ensuring the good oral heath of our community, because everyone deserves to show off their smile.”

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