The Toronto chapter of the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity has raised nearly $1 million to fund a new geriatric dental clinic at Baycrest Health Sciences.
After a flood in 2014 that forced the relocation of the dental clinic established in 1954 to a temporary clinic elsewhere in the hospital, Brian Chapnick, a past president of the dental fraternity said Baycrest approached his organization for help in establishing a new centre.
“Initially, they didn’t approach us for financial help. They approached us for expertise in terms of what a new dental clinic would really need,” Chapnick said.
“We approached our membership with the prospect of doing this and we committed $500,000 toward the project, and we’ve raised, in addition to that, about $450,000 for the clinic.”
The $500,000 donation is the largest contribution to a project by the Toronto chapter of the fraternity.
Chapnick, the co-chair of the committee tasked with seeing the Alpha Omega Dental Centre project through, said the centre will be “the pre-eminent dental facility for the elderly in North America” that caters to their special needs.
Chapnick said the clinic is going to be part of the new ambulatory care centre at Baycrest.
“It’s a new centre they’re putting together, and they’re building it around the dental clinic,” he said. “Geriatric patients, many of them, have very difficult issues to deal with. They have physical disabilities, they have mental health deterioration, cognitive issues,” he said.
“Most general practices have difficulty accommodating that kind of patient. Of course, they also need a lot of time. Treating geriatric patients takes an awful lot of time, and most dental practices really can’t accommodate them to the most effective degree,” Chapnick said.
The clinic, which will be associated with the University of Toronto faculty of dentistry to serve as a training ground for students, will have four large operating rooms specially equipped for geriatric patient needs, two wheelchair lifts, lab and sterilization facilities, a comprehensive imaging suite and a private patient and family consultation space.
Chapnick said they’ve been working with Henry Schein, a worldwide distributor of medical, dental and veterinary supplies, to help establish the clinic.
“Henry Schein is going to be providing us all the equipment we need, at their cost, and we’ll also be negotiating with manufacturers to reduce their costs to us.”
The new space and equipment will treat about 1,500 patients annually.
“It will not only serve the residents of Baycrest, but it will also accept patients from surrounding senior care facilities, as well as from dentists in the community who can’t provide the complex and difficult care often required for patients in private practice.”
Although the fraternity has raised nearly $1 million, he said funds are still needed before the clinic opens later this year.
Last week, the North Toronto Dental Society, a local Ontario Dental Association group, contributed $10,000 to the cause.
“We’re not quite there yet, but we’re close. We still need additional funding,” Chapnick said. n
For more information, contact Chapnick at [email protected]