All Dave Burt wanted for Christmas was a full set of teeth.
And thanks to Lake City Denture Clinic’s Smiles for Christmas campaign, he will get his wish. Burt was one of two people, in 100 Mile and Williams Lake, recently chosen for a free set of dentures.
“I said to the girl when I won, I’ve never won anything in my life but I guess teeth are as good as anything,” said Burt, 54, who delivers newspapers for the 100 Mile Free Press. “I think it’s a great thing they’re doing. I think there are lots of people out there who suffer from dental problems because they can’t afford to go to the dentist, so kudos to them – do it again, please.”
Lake City Denture owner and denturist Roy Jaroudi started his Smiles for Christmas Campaign in 2020 after meeting a lot of people in the community who can’t afford dental or denture work. Burt’s dentures, for instance, usually cost $3,500. Jaroudi said he decided to expand the Smiles campaign to select a nominated patient from 100 Mile House as well as Williams Lake, after recently opening a satellite office in the South Cariboo.
Burt’s treatment will start Jan. 7 with a completion date set for the beginning of February.
“I figured it’d be a nice thing to give back to the community,” Jaroudi said. “In my line of work it’s my job to help people and I wish I could just do this for everybody in need.”
Burt is excited about getting his dentures, especially because he is down to his last “two and three quarters” of teeth.
As a former miner who used to mine gold and nickel in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Burt had a good dental plan for many years. When his teeth began to decay, he had several pulled in preparation to get a set of dentures before finding out his plan “didn’t cover putting the teeth back in.”
He admits he never really took care of his teeth, noting when he was a child his grandfather told him he hadn’t seen a toothbrush until he joined the army in WWII.
“His teeth looked great. It wasn’t until I got a bit older that I figured out what false teeth were and that he had false teeth. I followed him, if grampy doesn’t brush his teeth neither do I.”
After he left mining, Burt largely “let his teeth go.”
“That’s where I feel a little guilty about this. My oral health, it’s not been good. You get toothaches, then you don’t feel right or eat right,” Burt said. “I smoke too so that’s on me. If I’d wanted teeth over the cigarettes I probably could have given up smoking and had teeth.”
Burt said he can’t wait to have his new teeth so he can start cracking peanuts again – something he hasn’t been able to eat for a decade.
“I’ll be able to eat and digest my food better, I’ll be healthier overall,” he said, saying he was shocked that he won. “I feel really grateful that anybody would think of that for me.”