Resumption of Dental Services in Northwest Territories Communities

News Releases

Yellowknife — December 2, 2020

The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT), with support from Indigenous Services Canada, is pleased to announce that visiting dental service teams are cleared to resume operations in the Northwest Territories  (NWT).

The following NWT communities are ready to resume service. Their facilities have met facility infrastructure dental care standards and the Chief Public Health Officer has issued COVID-19 precautions and approval:

·       Fort Providence

·       Sambaa K’e

·       Fort Simpson

·       Norman Wells

·       Fort Resolution

·       Aklavik


In addition to private practice dental clinics providing services in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Inuvik and Hay River, visiting private dentists will now also be able to resume in these communities.

Although dental services in the NWT are not an insured health service, the GNWT works in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to provide access to space in GNWT health facilities to enable dentists to deliver services to NWT residents. 

The remaining NWT communities that previously received visiting dental services will be able to resume operations when facility upgrades are complete, contracts are in place and facilities are inspected and meet COIVID-19 safety protocols. The necessary assessments and required work is expected to continue throughout 2021-2022.  Further updates will be provided as health facilities in additional communities are confirmed to be able to accommodate visiting dentists.

The Department of Health and Social Services has been in contact with all NWT dental clinics and the NWT/Nunavut Dental Association to confirm interest and availability to support this initial phase of resumption of services.  Interested dentists have also been working with the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) to arrange for facility privileging required before practice can resume.

Until further notice Indigenous Services Canada will continue to support travel for Non-Insured Health Benefit (NIHB) clients to access eligible dental services not available in their home community.



“Oral health and access to dentists is a critical part of overall health and wellness. I am pleased with the collaborative work across Government to resume these services.”

- Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services


Quick facts

·       March 17, 2020 Indigenous Services Canada issued a Communiqué to NWT Dental Contractors and NWT Health Centres that due to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 all non-urgent dental travel will be suspended

·       June 12, 2020 GNWT issued COVID-19 relaxing phase two guidelines enabling dentists to resume services pending appropriate steps by NWT Health Centres to respond to COVID-19 dental standards.

·       August 10, 2020 Indigenous Services Canada issued a Communiqué to NWT Dental Contractors and NWT Health Centres reiterating its commitment to continue to provide medical travel coverage for Non-Insured Health Benefit clients to access eligible dental services that are non-urgent in communities where dental services had been suspended.

·      Dental treatment is not an insured health service. Dental treatment services are delivered by private practice dental providers who operate outside the health system.


Related links

·       Oral Health Services

·       Oral Health Action Plan

·       Non-insured health benefits for First Nation and Inuit



Media Contact

Damien Healy
Manager of Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 767-9052 ext. 49034