Seniors may be chomping at the bit to receive oral health care through a new program rolled out for residents at the Columbia House.

A new portable dental unit, which includes a water delivery system, power to operate a drill to treat cavities, and an instrument to suction up saliva during dental work, arrived at Columbia House to offer dental treatment onsite.

In some cases, the service will cater to individual rooms for those with limited mobility to help promote good oral hygiene just like a quick trip to the dentists office.

The Kootenay Foundation for Health, Dr. Pat OSullivan, Dr. Richard Kanan and several anonymous donors pulled together to purchase the equipment for residents of the long-term care facility.

Its beneficial to seniors because in the Columbia House setting there are people who arent mobile so they arent able to leave the facility and be transferred down to a dental office, said Heather Lang, registered dental hygienist. Some people couldnt tolerate it. With this new unit, we can treat people right in their room, their special chair and sometimes even in their bed, if need be.

The portable dental unit made its first rounds at Columbia House on Thursday, June 4th. Now, registered dental hygienist Karla Bliss is working toward creating an oral health program for seniors at Columbia House with help from Interior Health. It remains unclear when a completed plan will be in place for seniors on a long-term scale.

In addition, the Windermere Health Care Auxiliary joined the cause and purchased assessment kits (mirrors, an

explorer to search for cavities, and probes).

The big benefit is that if someone is in pain, they have discomfort and arent able to come to a dental office, then theyre able to potentially alleviate their suffering right in the facility, said Dr. OSullivan.