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Media release: Brightening smiles for 10 years

Posted on May 19, 2016

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

VANCOUVER, B.C.— The Vancouver Community College (VCC) Tooth Trolley is marking a decade of bringing free dental care and education to Metro Vancouver children. The annual program makes seeing the dentist fun for kids; often their first experience at the dentist, by picking them up in colourful, old-fashioned trolley buses to bring them to VCC’s Downtown campus dental clinic. As well as assessments and basic services, the families receive instruction in self oral care and a goody bag of dental products and wholesome snacks from the Tooth Fairy.

50,000 teeth checked

"This project provides a fun and exciting environment for children to receive dental care,' says Margaret Dennett, who co-founded the Tooth Trolley project with fellow VCC certified dental assistant (CDA) instructor Sherry Messenger. “From the feedback we have received over the ten years we know that the Tooth Trolley project is a very rewarding opportunity for students, patients and faculty. Although sometimes initially hesitant to sit in the big dental chair, the kids leave with shiny smiles and laughter.”

This year, the program runs from May 24 to the 27 at VCC’s Downtown campus, home of the college’s CDA, dental reception coordinator and dental hygiene programs.

Over the ten-year program:

  • About 2,500 children whose families do not carry dental insurance  have had a visit to the dentist on the Tooth Trolley.
  • Approximately 50,000 teeth have received free coronal polishing, fluoride and sealant application from students of VCC’s dental program.
  • Students and dentists have donated a total of about $180,000 worth of services.
  • 3,000+ toothbrushes have been given to children and parents.



Community project

Chevron has been the lead sponsor of the Tooth Trolley every year since the program began and is again, generously providing $30,000 to the event. Chevron spokesperson Adrien Byrne says, “For ten years, Chevron has been privileged to support the dental health education of more than 2,500 Burnaby and Vancouver school children.  This has been possible through a long-term relationship with the VCC’s dental programs and the amazing success of the Chevron Tooth Trolley initiative.”

The Tooth Trolley now gathers students from eight schools, up from one when the project began in 2006. Transportation has provided by the Vancouver Trolley Company since the program’s inception and Colgate and Sunstar provide dental care products for the kids to take home.

Providing essential dental care

Tooth Trolley patients are frequently found to be harbouring dental decay and other problems that, if left unchecked, can cause pain and further oral deterioration. Dental statistics have long shown that low-income families, Aboriginal communities and immigrants are least likely to be insured or engage in preventative dental care. For children especially, untreated dental diseases are also know to result in other issues such as lost sleep, poor growth, self-esteem issues and learning problems.

Inspiring students for half a century

VCC operates the largest and, at 46 years the longest-running training program for dental health professionals in BC, with more than 150 students graduating every year.

VCC 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 music.

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For more information, please contact:

Vicky Noble
Vancouver Community College