Dental rehabilitation needed

A smile can go a long way.

A recent proposal put forth by City Council to fund dental work for those who need it most was rejected in a tie vote of 6-6.

This is a disappointing decision — one that denies those who could benefit from reconstructive dental work a much-needed boost in successful employment.

Employers do inevitably care about the appearance of their workers. Someone who is missing teeth or has significant dental damage will understandably be at a disadvantage when looking for a job.

The City had the opportunity to take an exemplary step in instituting this program.

A similar program had been in place three years ago, but was promptly slashed as a result of cutbacks on provincial funding. Reinstating such a program, would give the City an opportunity to not only give individuals in need a second chance in finding employment, but also set an example for other cities in the province to do the same.

It’s true that the $100,000 program would only be helping approximately 35 to 40 people, but the cost is miniscule given the returns it could provide.

Dental work can be extraordinarily expensive, especially when one is uninsured.

The price for reconstructive dental work can reach thousands of dollars per person, depending on their condition — a price tag that many of those who are unemployed can’t afford.

At the end of the day, this program doesn’t guarantee a return on investment. However, it improves accessibility for those who are at a disadvantage — an altruistic and important step that the City should’ve taken.

We build wheelchair ramps for those who need them most — it doesn’t make sense that the City wouldn’t want to do the same for those who could benefit from this program. This relatively small investment would improve the quality of life, even for those few people, by leaps and bounds.

City Council should revisit this program and the proposal.

If they do, they’ll invest in the quality of life of those in need, fulfilling a valuable and honorable role in their lives.

— Journal Editorial Board

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