New dental clinic in Lengkok Bahru serves disabled, underprivileged communities

Routine scaling, polishing, filling or extraction at the clinic will be subsidised and cost $30 or less. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A new dental clinic at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru will plug the affordability gap for the disabled, special needs and underprivileged community.

Routine scaling, polishing, filling or extraction at the Mount Alvernia Outreach Dental Clinic will be subsidised and cost $30 or less.

Appointments at the clinic - funded fully by Mount Alvernia Hospital - can be made by holders of any disability membership card, such as a concession type.

People from vulnerable communities, such as isolated seniors and former offenders, can also get services once they are referred by a social service agency.

The new facility is an addition to a Mount Alvernia medical clinic that opened at the Enabling Village in 2015. The Village is home to several social businesses and community service providers.

One of the highlights at the dental clinic is a wheelchair tilter to ensure users can remain seated in their wheelchair to get treatment.

Large spaces in the clinic and low-height registration counters, to enable eye-level interactions with wheelchair users, also make the place more welcoming.

The dental team will include staff from KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, attended the opening ceremony of the clinic on Thursday (Aug 19).

"I am heartened to see the strong collaboration between the new clinic and many community partners on the ground," he said.

"This holistic approach is what is needed to ensure every aspect of life is truly inclusive," he added.

Ms Tonia Chan, 51, told The Straits Times that she faced difficulties getting dental care from private neighbourhood clinics for her 21-year-old daughter due to her special needs. Having an affordable option with experienced staff at the Mount Alvernia clinic has lessened her worries.

"There is a big difference; having dental staff who are patient and understanding eased not only my daughter's anxiety but also mine as a caregiver," she said.

Dr James Lam Kian Ming, chief executive of Mount Alvernia Hospital, said at the event: "Covid-19 has not dampened our spirit in serving the community and our hopes of expanding outreach work. Even though some of our outreach activities have to be halted, we have instead redirected our focus on new programmes for vulnerable families and persons with disabilities."

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