The N.W.T. continue to struggle finding dentists willing to travel and work in their communities.
A few of the reasons dentists are unwilling to take on the work is the long hours, lower pay, and inadequate work spaces and equipment. CBC recently reported that Dr. Pirjo Friedman, a dentist with Adam Dental Clinic in Yellowknife, shared that broken equipment has been a huge challenge since the pandemic. She had reported certain tools malfunctioning for years until they finally broke, and appointments had to be cancelled.
Dental services that are covered through Indigenous Services Canada’s non-insured health benefits program (NIHB), also have lower rates for providing dental treatment. For example, for services such as fillings, dentists make around 20 percent less than the territorial dental association’s fee guide suggests.
The territorial government has put out multiple requests for proposals (RFP) for dental services, but two have been cancelled so far due to lack of bids.