Share This Post
Recreating Lives One Smile at a Time: A local non-profit helps vulnerable, homeless women of Toronto regain their smiles!
Before and After – Treatment to date: extractions, temporary dentures, bone grafting
Next steps: implant placement, implant restorations
Build Your Smile Dental Foundation was established by a team of Toronto based dental professionals in various roles, who participate in annual outreach programs to rural areas of Uganda.
The Foundation’s international initiative operates in collaboration with Kigezi Health Care Foundation (KIHEFO), a reputable local non-governmental organization in rural Uganda. The principal goal of the outreach program is to deliver critical dental care to impoverished communities who would otherwise not access to even the most basic oral health care. Over the course of the outreach, the team travels hundreds of kilometers through the Kabale region where rudimentary schoolhouses and classrooms are transformed into makeshift dental centres. The dental services offered to the communities include emergency and pain management, dental extractions, dental hygiene services, preventive fluoride applications, oral hygiene instruction, nutritional counselling and restorations including partial and complete dentures and implant-supported prostheses,
The Foundation team is dedicated not only to delivering on everyone’s right to access the highest standard of care possible, but in addition, has supplemented basic dental services with a first of its kind prosthodontic treatment program. In this manner, the program is unprecedented and unique, offering patients in rural communities access to otherwise unattainable care. This includes same day tooth replacement through immediate denture fabrication and dental implant placement and restoration.
In the spirit of dental volunteerism, the team recognizes that effective outreach begins in one’s own community. Too often, residents of Toronto, particularly the vulnerable populations, are unable to afford basic dental care and often lack dental health awareness, often due to economic and causal circumstances. The main goal of the Foundation’s local initiative is to provide critical dental services to a local, vulnerable female population.
The Build Your Smile Dental Foundation initiated and established partnerships with two supportive housing facilities -Street Haven at the Cross Roads, an emergency shelter for homeless women, as well as The Grant House – a residential treatment centre for women afflicted with addiction.
Residents are mainly homeless women, victims of domestic violence, addiction and mental health disorder sufferers, former sex-trade workers and women released from incarceration. As a direct result of lifestyle factors, substance abuse, poor nutrition, inadequate oral hygiene, violence and poverty – dental disease, oral and facial pain, oral infections and tooth loss are prominent.
The aim of the initiative is to improve dental awareness, provide dental care (at no cost) and recreate smiles to aid in re-entry into the workforce and community. Dental services offered include emergency care (trauma, infection, pain control) restorations, periodontal services, oral surgery and missing tooth replacement (dental implants or dentures), as well as oral hygiene instruction, smoking cessation support and nutritional counselling.
The Foundations’ volunteer team operates out of a multidisciplinary dental specialty practice in Toronto – Prosthodontic Associates – and is comprised of dental specialists, general dentists, restorative dental hygienist, dental assistants and administrative staff. To ensure the outmost comfort and anonymity of the women, the volunteer team operates outside of regular business hours on evenings and weekends.
Preliminary research and data collection results show a direct correlation between ideal oral health and overall physical and psychosocial wellbeing. At baseline, 83.33% of women were “very dissatisfied” with appearance and function of their teeth. Post treatment 100% reported to be “very satisfied”. Comments received from the recipients of the Foundation’s initiative included those that are echoed in the following sentiment: “Dear Team, you not only gave me my smile back but you helped me heal internally” – Shauna M.
Providing dental services which have an immediate impact on function and esthetics, otherwise unattainable to the women served by the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation team improves the ability to eat, speak and smile, builds confidence and self-esteem, offers hope and supports the ability to re-enter the workforce and in turn, recreates lives. It significantly improves the quality of life of these individuals.
The Build Your Smile Dental Foundation and its dedicated team remain committed to providing the highest standard of clinical care and education to all the communities and patients served by its various initiatives. The aim is to continually expand the dental outreach encompassing more vulnerable populations both globally and locally.
Because smiles have no borders…
Before and After – Treatment consisted of : extractions, implant placement, temporary prosthesis, implant retained dentures