Phoenix Smiles was founded by a team of Toronto-based dental professionals who participate in annual outreach missions in rural areas of Uganda. In the spirit of dental volunteerism, the team recognizes that effective outreach begins in one’s own community.
Too often, people of Toronto, particularly the vulnerable populations, are unable to afford basic dental care due to economic and causal circumstances and often lack dental health awareness. The initiative’s primary goal is to provide critical dental services to a local vulnerable female population.
Phoenix Smiles 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 disorders sufferers, former sex 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, mouth and facial pain, oral infections, and tooth loss are prominent.
The initiative aims to improve dental awareness, provide dental care (at no cost), and recreate patient smiles to aid in re-entry into the workforce and community. Dentistry offered includes emergency care (trauma, infection, pain control) restorations, periodontal services, oral surgery, missing tooth replacement (dental implants or dentures), oral hygiene instructions, smoking cessation support, and nutritional counseling.
The Phoenix team operates out of a multidisciplinary dental specialty practice in Toronto – Prosthodontic Associates – and is comprised of dental professionals volunteering their time and expertise.