Saskatoon West Dental is for everyone
by James Pepler
The College of Dentistry has always served as a link between the accessible dental services and the community. Although the clinic within the college is a great resource for the Saskatoon public, it may be less accessible to the people whom could benefit from it the most. In response, the college has built an off-campus clinic to deliver a much needed service in an underserviced area of the city. Dean of the college, Dr. Gerry Uswak, relates that “it is part of our mandate to serve the population. We needed to radiate out to where they are.”
Saskatoon West Dental is a seven-chair dental clinic based on a private practice model, located near St. Paul’s Hospital. It has been open for business for just over a year and provides dental services and a university presence to Saskatoon’s west side. The college has teamed up with Clinic Director Parviz Yazdani who had a similar vision.
“The idea is to cater to people who need it most, mostly due to accessibility issues.” Dr. Yazdani continues to explain that this clinic fills a service gap in the current health care system and that “no patient will be turned away from this clinic; no matter your finances.” This was a personal mission for Dr. Yazdani who was interested in doing non-profit service-oriented work right here in Saskatoon. The clinic is not-for-profit, owned by the College of Dentistry and run by Dr. Yazdani and his staff.A large chunk of the dental service provided at Saskatoon West Dental is delivered by fourth-year graduating students from the College of Dentistry under the supervision of private-practice clinical dentists. “It’s a great experience for them,” says Dr. Yazdani. “They learn how to work in the real world, but also learn practice-management, patient-management and how to work with staff and other health care team members.” All graduating dental students will come through the clinic in two rotations. Dean Uswak believes this experience is invaluable for the students, “it’s a well-rounded experience. It provides a different clinical environment.
One of the College of Dentistry’s goals is to develop and contribute to outreach programs with allied dental health care providers at the local level. This new clinic certainly helps to meet that goal, and although it has outreach elements, it is still a private practice. Dr. Yazdani puts it best by saying that Saskatoon West Dental is “a clinic for everybody, accessible to anyone, open and available.” Since the doors have opened, Saskatoon West Dental has served close to 1,000 patients.