A Red Deer mother is worried about the health of her two adult sons with severe developmental disabilities, now that the specialized dental clinic they visited for 20 years has closed.
Lily Breland said Marwayne Dental Clinic, located at Michener Centre, has served centre clients and about 350 other patients in central Alberta.
She found out the clinic shut down in April, after she called in June to try and make an appointment for her son Ryan, 46, who chipped his tooth during an outburst.
Breland said the clinic could handle the angry outbursts from her sons, whether it was screaming, kicking or biting. To this day, they still require medication to calm them prior to a visit.
“These are not easy individuals to get into a regular dentist office. They can’t sit still for X-rays and things like that. That’s why it’s important,” Breland said.
Her sons would visit about every four months for quick checkups and cleaning, and every two years for day surgery for X-rays, a thorough teeth cleaning and procedures.
Breland said the University of Alberta is the closest location that provides similar services, but it serves a large area, so there’s a lengthy wait to get in. Patients can only visit once a year, which means her sons won’t get the regular care they need.
“My sons don’t chew properly. There’s a lot of debris left in their teeth, so they’re predisposed to having more dental problems.”
Leaving debris and germs in the mouth is also unhealthy, she said.
“The care of your mouth is the most important part of your body. Clean mouth, clean body.”
Breland is still looking for someone to repair Ryan’s chipped tooth and said many questions need to be answered, like who will pay for transportation to the University of Edmonton, or hotel stays, if necessary, and whether full dental coverage will be available.
Her sons receive AISH.
An email she received from Michener Services said the provincial Community and Social Services department decided to close the clinic.
Factors included staffing, contracted resources, leased space and concerns related to operating a dental clinic during COVID-19.
“Our priority at Michener Services is to focus resources on supporting Michener residents in their homes within the Red Deer community. Today, services that are available in the community cannot be replicated at Michener like they were in the past,” the letter said.
“The services your sons are eligible for and receive through your service agreements with PDD (Persons with Developmental Disabilities) have not been impacted by the dental clinic closure.”