A program to train people to become dental therapists is returning to northern Saskatchewan.
Dental therapists are trained to do some minor work on teeth which helps fill the void of not being able to access a dentist.
“Because of the remoteness of some of our communities especially in northern Saskatchewan there are significant access to care issues especially with oral health,” says Tara Campbell executive director of Northern Inter Tribal Health Authority (NITHA).
Campbell says the last program to train in this profession closed a decade ago in Prince Alberta, Sask., and there are no current dental therapy training programs in Canada.
“The work force is aging today the average age of the workforce is over and only five per cent of that is under 35. So with the retirements there’s going to leave a number of vacancies of dental therapists in our community,” Campbell tells APTN News.
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That is about to change because the dental therapist program is coming back to Saskatchewan.
The program is a partnership with the University of Saskatchewan and Sask Polytechnic and will have campuses in Prince Albert, LaRonge and Regina.
Prince Albert Grand Council Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte says the program is a partnership with the University of Saskatchewan and Sask Polytechnic.
Hardlotte says that spots for the program will fill up fast because many of the north’s youth can pursue it as a career by having access to the program.
“Here in our province and a lot of people a lot of indigenous people will be coming from all over Canada maybe other countries also,” says Hardlotte. “Indigenous people will come to the school it will be open and I am confident it will be no problem filling the seats.”
The National Dental Therapy is set to take in students for March 2022.
Part of the program will include an Indigenous cultural component since many of the graduates will be working in First Nations communities after graduating.