From left to right: Dental clinic administrator Sherry Portt, dental clinic co-ordinator Jodie O'Brien and dental clinic manager Lisa O'Connor. Photo credit: Shane Lamarche-Silmser

On May 13, Algonquin College’s Dental Assisting program held its first children’s dental clinic of the season, with five more to come in the months of May and June.

For $25, children between the ages of six and 16 receive an oral health assessment by a dentist, a hygienist and a dental assisting student.

“We offer dental at a very reduced price,” said Lisa O’Connor, the dental clinic manager. “It helps those people in the community who can’t afford to go to regular dentists. They get a lot of their dental assessments done here for minimal cost.”

Up to two radiographs can be provided by the dentist. If the dentist finds any tooth decay or cavities, parents can take those radiographs and other recommendations from the dentist and bring them to another dentist elsewhere for further treatment.

In addition, third-term students of the Dental Assisting program provide tooth plaque removal, pit and fissure sealants and oral hygiene instruction.

Sealants are a protective coating applied to shield teeth from food and bacteria, according to the Oral Health Foundation.

“The students arrive 30 minutes before the clinic starts, set up their unit and get prepared for their client,” said Jodie O’Brien, the clinic co-ordinator.

“They bring their client in and have some discussions with the parent about the client’s health history and they get consent to proceed with the exam. When the parent leaves, the student does the exam with the hygienist.”

“Once the client is ready for treatment, we bring the parent back in to get consent to continue . . . When the treatment is over, the client is dismissed.”

Evelyn Lau and Wilco Yeung, parents of a child who received the service, said they were satisfied, but warned of long booking times.

“This is the second time I’ve come here for my kids,” Lau said. “It’s been good, except we have to wait a long time before we can get an appointment.”

“We had to wait four months before we could get this appointment,” Yeung said.

O’Brien said the program has clinics specialized for children in May, June and September.

The next Children’s Dental Clinics will be held on May 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., May 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and June 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To book an appointment, the Algonquin College Dental Clinic can be reached at (613) 727-4723, ext. 2017 or by email at