Have teeth issues, will travel.
It’s not officially the motto of the Burnaby-based The Travelling Hygienist, but it’s – ahem – at the root of it.
The Travelling Hygienist is the brainchild of Jackie Tong, 2018 UBC dental sciences graduate. During her schooling, Tong volunteered with many different groups and organizations that exposed her to vulnerable populations in both rural and urban settings.
“I saw a lot of young students who couldn’t see a dentist because they were poor,” said Tong, who became passionate about improving oral health care access for all marginalized communities.
Tong and her team bring high standards and patient-centred oral health care to wherever you, the would-be patient, are.
“We believe our patients deserves the best, and we make an effort to make sure you always feel welcome and at ease,” said Tong.
She and her team hit the road at least once a month, which includes visits to the North Okanagan and Shuswap, and they’ll see anywhere from two to eight patients per day in the comfort of their own home. The hygienists bring in portable equipment and can adapt to the patient’s level of comfort.
“If you’d like to lay on your couch during your treatment, you can,” she said. “If you’d prefer to be in a dental chair, we can bring that but we just require a space for it to be in.
“Hopefully by next year, we’ll have a special van outfitted with dental equipment.”
All equipment is cleaned and sterilized prior to travel, and Tong and team sanitize the areas they work in before and after treatments with their own disinfectants.
For new patients, you can book an appointment on The Travelling Hygienist website (thetravellinghygienist.com), and the organization will reach out to the patients about intake forms to determine a patient’s medical and dental history. A new patient procedure, said Tong, will usually take about 90 minutes, but could be longer for major oral health issues.
“We proceed with an examination, x-rays (if they haven’t been updated or transferred from within the last year), scaling, polish, and fluoride application,” said Tong. “If any other treatment is needed, another appointment will be made.”
The Travelling Hygienist offers free health consultations. If you are not sure if the services are right for you, you can set up an online video chat to discuss questions and concerns.
“We’ve been well received,” said Tong of her operation. “Usually new patients come via word of mouth and so far, it’s been really great. And I’m really falling in love with the Interior.”