Volunteers provide free dental care to dozens of kids
Published Saturday, April 28, 2018 5:38PM PDT
Dozens of children from an inner city school in Surrey have a brighter smile thanks to a group of volunteer dentists running a new and unique project.
City Dream Centre has just launched a mobile dental program aimed at providing free care to kids in need.
"We are basically the first not-for-profit clinic in all of B.C. that can actually go to where the need is," director of City Care Dental Wendy Gaudet told CTV News Saturday.
Holly Elementary School was the clinic's first stop, located in an area the district says has a high refugee population with many low-income and single-parent families. Organizers hope to visit all 32 inner city schools in Surrey.
"We've screened 70 kids. We've established 35 have never seen a dentist or haven't seen a dentist in over a year," Gaudet said.
One of those kids who'd never been to a dentist was five-year-old Martin Mnerge, who came to Canada from Iraq just a couple months ago.
Speaking through an interpreter, his mother said he had a lot of pain in his mouth. The clinic was just what he needed.
"Little Martin had basically full-blown decay throughout his mouth – all his teeth," Gaudet said.
"We put a type of antibacterial coating on the teeth so it would stop the decay and then we covered it with a white composite."
Dentists and support staff are donating their time to City Care Dental and City Dream Centre. Other groups are sponsoring the costs of equipment and running the mobile office that on Saturday focused on students in Grades 2 and 6.
"If you're missing teeth, if you've got rotten teeth, it really affects a person's self-image and ability to engage in a community without the stigma," Gaudet said.
Another boy who got free dental work done this weekend was Andrew Wilkins. His mother said she's grateful for the project.
"We have a dentist and they said he needed to have (his teeth) capped and it was a lot of money for us to fork out," Colleen Wilkins said.
"And with my husband's being the only income coming in, we just can't afford that."
More information on making a donation or sponsoring the mobile dental clinic is available online.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro