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Meeting Document Type: 
Information Report
Oral Health Program Update

DATE

December 17, 2020

SUBJECT

Oral Health Program Update


BACKGROUND

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected many public health services, including the WECHU’s oral health program. Those services include the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) and the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP) dental clinics, as well as in-school dental and vision screening programs.

ORAL HEALTH

Following guidance from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) and the Ministry of Health, the WECHU suspended all non-essential and elective dental services on Monday, March 16, 2020 and redeployed oral health staff to the COVID-19 response.  Dental screenings in schools were suspended and the clinic remained open in Windsor for emergency services only until June 22, providing 79 office visits from March.

Due to the shutdown, 2,377 OSDCP and HSO appointments had to be cancelled. Following the health care sector restart guidance from the Ministry of Health, the Windsor clinic resumed full operations at the end of June, while the reopening of the Leamington clinic was gradual and operational at the end of August. All oral health staff have returned to the department, while continuing to support the COVID-19 call centre as part of their regular duties. As of November 26, 2020, 93% of the 2,377 appointments have been contacted and rescheduled.

All dental screening and vision screening programs have been suspended at this time.

In the 2019/20 school year:

  • 73 schools of the 123 schools required for dental screening were completed
  • 8,300 children screened, approximately 6,673 children were un-screened under the oral health screening program
  • 2,840 (68%) of SK students attending 78 Windsor-Essex elementary schools received vision screening. 35 schools were not completed.

CURRENT INITIATIVES

COVID-19 has affected many public health programs and services, including future program operations. In addition, infection prevention and control measures call for limiting the number of essential visitors in the school. As a result, school dental and vision screening may not resume in 2020-2021.

The WECHU has partnered with the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) to provide free oral health screenings for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) people and their families. A Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) from the WECHU works at the SOAHAC Windsor location bi-weekly, providing dental screenings and oral hygiene instruction to their clients. This service had been shut down due to COVID-19 but was reinstated on November 23, 2020.

ORAL HEALTH PROGRAMS

Baby Oral Health Program (BOHP)

Parents of babies born at Windsor Regional Hospital usually receive an infant dental education kit. Despite being put on hold due to COVID-19, this service resumed in July. So far this year, 1,802 bags were delivered to the hospital for distribution.

WECHU Healthy Smiles Ontario and Ontario Seniors Dental Care Plan

PROGRAM

# of CLIENTS

# of VISITS

OSDCP (WECHU)

408

1,392

OSDCP (CKPHU)

26

76

HSO – EESS

379

769

HSO – CORE

727

1,062

HSO - PSO

846

1,229

TOTAL

2,386

4,528

We have a high patient volume and due to reduced clinical services for four months, we have experienced a slight backlog in treatment. Approximately 40-45 HSO and OSDCP clients are seen daily across the two clinic locations. We are currently booking into March 2021 for certain dental procedures. From January 2020 to November 2020 the WECHU saw 2,386 HSO and OSDCP clients for 4,528 appointments.

The OSDCP began at the WECHU in January 2020, providing free, routine dental services for low-income seniors 65 years of age or older. Since the program’s provincial implementation in November 2019, 1,002 seniors from the Windsor-Essex area enrolled in the program. Each client requires a new patient exam. To date we have completed 405 new patient exams therefore, we can determine that we have seen 40% of the seniors that have enrolled into the OSDCP program in this region. Our contract denturist has completed 88 denture consultations.

Currently, we have one full-time dentist, four contract dentists and a contract denturist. We plan to bring on a second full-time dentist in 2021.