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Profile of Lynn Yancovitch

By Anna Fong Lynn Yancovitch works at the only free dental clinic in Vancouver. “We have patients who have taken…

By Anna Fong , in , on December 5, 2007 Tags:

By Anna Fong

Lynn Yancovitch works at the only free dental clinic in Vancouver.

“We have patients who have taken out their own teeth,” saidLynn Yancovitch and patient Diane Beaudy at the Downtown Eastside clinic. Yancovitch. She started as a volunteer when she heard about the need for dental assistants. She had been working part-time as a certified dental assistant at another clinic.

“The day that I arrived, the coordinator was very depressed because he was having a hard time finding volunteer dentists,” said Yancovitch.

She recalls a story about a man who packed salt around his tooth to numb the area before his extraction. He came to verify he successfully removed the remains of the decayed tooth.

Many patients do not realize there is a place that provides free dental care. Her clinic recruits volunteer dentists and hygienists to provide service. The provincial government pays to run the clinic.

Helping patients heal

“I really believe this clinic is here to help treat patients who are in need and cannot get help elsewhere,” said Yancovitch.

She once helped a patient named Michael who wanted to know if his insurance would cover the cost for his dentures.

Unfortunately, he had already used up his insurance limit but this did not include coverage for a pair of dentures.

“Anyone who has had their teeth out in the last six months are eligible for dentures,” said Yancovitch.

But Michael’s insurance only covered the cost if they were billed within a few months.

Yancovitch made calls to confirm his false teeth would be made in time. She was delighted when Michael came back to thank her with his new haircut and teeth.

“Getting his false teeth was the last part of his healing,” said Yancovitch.

Most of the clinic’s patients live in the Downtown Eastside where there is a high incidence of drug abuse and mental illness.

“If people are relieved of their immediate pain, they will be less likely to turn to drugs,” said Yanocovitch.


  • Dear Anna:
    Thank you for exposing such an unspoken prayer.
    You have captured the spirit entirely.
    Please excuse me if I mention, you failed or neglected to mention to use the oportunity, when speaking about how Michele & finding ways to make her benefits go further, that we would be writing off most of the treatment we would be unable to collect.
    This paragraph leads readers to believe that we are in the same league with MidMain. It would be more appropriate to say, that we begin where Midmain leaves off. In other words, Midmain pays staff & dentists & therefore cannot afford to offer dental care for free. VNHS dentists are volunteers & no one is expected to prove eligibility. Please make this clear that we are in an entirely different league as they are. For example, people would wonder, why Michele doesn’t gp tp Midmain & what is the difference. Very clearly, the difference is that Midmain wouldn’t continue to treat her after all her benefits had run out.
    Can you reword this article to emphasis this point.
    Only in this way, will your journalism make it clear that we rely on the FUNDING we receive through Government Grant to continue to serve patients like Michele.
    Thank You Anna:
    May your Christmas be bright!

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