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TEETH Puts Smile On Recipients’ Faces

A smile is an invaluable asset.

It welcomes others, can exude confidence and kindness, and presents well in employment opportunities. But when expensive dental hygiene is out of reach for many individuals and the domino effect causes other health problems, it can leave people with little to smile about.

That’s where the TEETH-Community Dental Clinic (TEETH) comes in. The non-profit organization has been offering full-service dentistry, barring implants, for low-income West Kootenay/Boundary citizens since 2014.

Their Nelson Front Street clinic also has affiliate dentists in Trail and Castlegar working under their model of delivering care at a 60% fee rate for those in need.

“Mainly we serve the working poor—the folks who are employed but have no coverage. Many are paid close to minimum wage in their service-based jobs in tourism, the restaurant industry, or retail,” explains Pegasis McGauley, TEETH co-chair.

“Most low-cost dental clinics just do extractions, but we do a lot of restorative work; we do fillings, crowns, and root canals, emphasizing dental hygiene for our patients, although we certainly do extractions when necessary. We also do dentures.”

To remain a healthy, thriving organization, TEETH recently worked with the Trust’s Non-profit Advisors Program (NPA) to complete an organizational assessment and receive recommendations to improve its capacity and enhance the operations of its Board of Directors.

With funding from NPA, TEETH hired a consultant and restructured its board. The consultant helped develop terms of reference for nine committees; create and adopt code of conduct and conflict of interest policies; and generate job descriptions, which have already been used to recruit staff.

McGauley says the funding from the Trust was indispensable. She explains the consultant’s expert advice was integral to assisting TEETH establish greater efficiencies and smoother processes, as well as help define and meet their goals.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.