Dene Nation says current dental system is failing its people – Cabin Radio

June 29, 2023

The Dene Nation says the federal and territorial governments are neglecting to provide dental care for NWT Indigenous communities – but the GNWT says it isn’t that simple.

“I am concerned that lack of dental care will further undermine people’s overall health in our communities,” said Dene National Chief Gerald Antoine, alleging some communities have not had local dental care in more than three years, stretching back prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NWT government provided Cabin Radio with a list of dental visits by community that suggests the majority of the territory’s communities have received a dental visit within the past year.

Five communities – Wekweètì, Whatì, Wrigley, Jean Marie River and Nahanni Butte – have not had a dental visit since before the pandemic, but the territory said it had tried to schedule clinics. Dates for those communities’ last dental visits range from May 2019 to February 2020.

In Wekweètì and Whatì, visits last spring were cancelled by the contracted dental provider due to lack of available dentists to send, the territorial government stated.

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