A pair of White Rock dentists have completed more than $500,000 worth of dental work at no charge for low-income individuals and families.
Wendy Gaudet and her husband Ron have been operating the City Care Dental program since its inception in 2017.
The City Dream Centre Society initiative involves the use of a 38-foot RV trailer, retrofitted into dental clinics, to help “build smiles” for low-income people in the Surrey and White Rock area.
Funded by private sponsors such as the Block Foundation and a recent grant from Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, a team of healthcare professionals provides services that, generally, are not covered under ministry dental care plans.
The City Care Dental RV tours around Surrey once, sometimes twice, a month for pop-up clinics. Wendy said she was inspired to get involved in the program through her philanthropy dentistry work overseas.
“Someone challenged me one year and said, ‘What do you guys do for dentistry in your own backyard?’” Wendy said.
Wendy started to look into what ministry dental plans cover in B.C., and found an opportunity.
“Adults in particular only got what was called emergency services. The coverage didn’t allow for cleaning or other upkeep services,” she said.
“It was more emergency. So what would happen is they would go in and the only thing that was covered was basically pulling teeth. So they’re not getting preventative dentistry, so they’re only seeing a dentist when a problem is too big to fix.”
In many cases, Wendy added, City Care Dental clients need restorative work or teeth replacement.
“They don’t smile, they can’t eat, they can’t afford dental. These are people that have very serious dental issues going on and it allows them to regain some hope and dignity for living their life the way we all deserve to.”
The mobile clinic also has an advantage of reaching people who face mobility challenges.
Recently, the PAHF’s healthy community grant provided enough money for 14 clinics, which will be held throughout the year. Some of the clients who use the service are referred from other organizations, such as Sources Community Resource Centre. However, Wendy said, City Care Dental will accept clients without a referral if they meet a certain criteria.
Wendy said her team is looking to get the program into schools to support low-income families.
“We’re just trying to find more of a diversity in who we typically see,” she said.
People looking for dental health care can contact City Care Dental directly by emailing email@example.com
Wendy asked that people seeking help share a bit about themselves, where they live and why they are looking for help.
Recently, Peace Arch Hospital Foundation gave City Care Dental a ‘healthy community grant’