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News Release: All Aboard VCC's Tooth Trolley

Posted on May 19, 2015


VCC’s Tooth Trolley delivers free dental exams and smiles to kids


VANCOUVER, B.C.—As part of an ongoing effort to make basic dental care more accessible to all, Vancouver Community College (VCC) will provide free dental assessments and basic services to 120 children through the ninth annual Chevron Tooth Trolley event, May 19 to 22, 2015.

With funding from Chevron Canada—totaling $200,000 since 2007—and in partnership with the Vancouver Trolley Company, VCC will open the doors of its 32-seat downtown dental clinic to pre-registered children and their families from seven Vancouver and Burnaby  elementary schools.

The Chevron Tooth Trolley provides a learning opportunity for both VCC dental program students and participants. “For many children, this is their first dental experience so we want to help make that introduction less scary, while at the same time educational,” says Margaret Dennett, Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) instructor and co-director of the event.  

All aboard the Tooth Trolley

Old-fashioned trolley buses will pick up participants from their schools and deliver them to VCC’s downtown campus, where “Tooth Fairies” (Certified Dental Assistant, Dental Reception Coordinator and Dental Hygiene students) will guide them through the day. Participants will be given free dental examinations and preventative treatments including coronal polishing, fluoride and sealant applications.

Families will also participate in seminars and fun activities focused on nutrition and dental health, and receive a take-home bag of wholesome snacks and health care products provided by Colgate and Sunstar.

Of the 32 per cent of Canadians without dental insurance, statistics show that the majority belong to low-income, Aboriginal and immigrant families. For children in these groups, the need for oral care is most vital, as untreated dental diseases can result in not only pain and infection, but also lost sleep, poor growth, self-esteem issues and learning problems, and can have an effect on overall health. “Our concern has always been for the children in our community who slip through the cracks,” says dentist Dr. Debbie Fonseca. “Thanks to support from Chevron and the Vancouver Trolley Company, the Tooth Trolley can play an important role in helping to get their oral health off on the right track.” VCC dental students cleaning a little girl's teeth.

A thousand kids and counting

Chevron spokesperson, Adrien Byrne, says, “Investing in the health of the community, and this case dental health for children, is a fundamental part of Chevron’s social investment program in British Columbia.  We are proud of our nine year relationship with Vancouver Community College, and the fact that close to 1000 children have benefitted from dental health education as a result of the Chevron Tooth Trolley.”

In conjunction with their training and community outreach initiatives, VCC dental program students also regularly conduct oral health presentations for more than 1,000 school-aged children annually. For 45 years, Vancouver Community College has operated the largest and longest running training program for dental health professionals in the province, with more than 150 students graduating each year.

Vancouver Community College celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships.  With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and performing arts.