Vernon Community Dental Access Centre’s board of directors Bob Kersey, from left, Shannon Horton, Lesly McMillan, Mark Loland, Sharon Melanson, Robyn Rossworn, Laurie Vanderhorst and Vic Lepp celebrated the opening of its fifth newest operatory on in November 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star) Vernon Community Dental Access Centre’s board of directors Bob Kersey, from left, Shannon Horton, Lesly McMillan, Mark Loland, Sharon Melanson, Robyn Rossworn, Laurie Vanderhorst and Vic Lepp celebrated the opening of their newest operatory on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

Dental care access takes centre stage in Vernon

Non-profit low-cost clinic to host Kenny Rogers Tribute band in fundraiser event

  • Feb. 14, 2020 12:00 a.m.

No one likes going to the dentist, but for some, it’s not even an option due to financial limitations. Vernon’s Community Dental Access Centre (CDAC) helps break down those barriers to ensure everyone can see a dentist, regardless of their financial situation.

The non-profit low-cost dental clinic is seeing a dramatic uptick in the number of patients its seeing. From 2018 to 2019, the clinic saw 28 per cent more patients come through the doors at the 3107C – 31st Avenue clinic.

That increase even necessitated the construction of a fifth operatory, which was completed and opened for business in November.

Over the past seven years, thousands of patients have been helped by CDAC.

Seniors, working poor and members of the street community have been able to access affordable basic dental care such as cleaning, examinations, fillings and extractions that they may not have had access to elsewhere.

Had their dental needs gone without professional care, something as minuscule as a cavity could have worsened and, in many cases, required more serious — and more costly — treatment creating a vicious cycle for those already struggling to make ends meet.

“There are many low-income citizens in our community who have barriers to dental care,” board member Robyn Rossworn said. “Patients are asked to pay a reduced fee and if unable to pay, treatment is done at no cost using the Angel Fund.”

The reduced rates are determined by net family income and are adjusted on a year-to-year basis. In the past year, CDAC’s value of services provided to its 3,280 patients leapt from $636,668 to more than $820,000.

The new operatory — established to meet an increased need — wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and volunteer labour hours from the board’s own members. Board director Bob Kersey even laid the floor boards in the newest addition.

The clinic wouldn’t be able to serve its community without the generosity of sponsors, donations and its several volunteers.

To raise awareness and funds to continue offering dental services to those in need, CDAC is bringing in Kenny Rogers… kind of.

CDAC is hosting Kinda Kenny — a Kenny Rogers Tribute in its Create a Smile, Change a Life campaign on Feb. 28 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre.

Dubbed the No. 1 international Kenny Rogers Tribute, Marty Edwards has performed across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Europe. He’s also performed on CNN, Oprah and the Jay Leno Show.

“(He) has a remarkable likeness to Kenny Rogers and the voice to go with it,” the Kinda Kenny website reads. “To see him on stage you would think you were watching a real Kenny Rogers concert.”

The Okanagan-based singer got his start when he went to record a solo album and producer James Bowers noticed the resemblance, not only physical, but his voice as well.

Kinda Kenny will be performing alongside the Gamblers and special guest and Nashville recording artist Pam Ferens.

Tickets for the fundraising event are $30 and doors open at 6 p.m. at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 250-549-SHOW (7469) or online at TicketSeller.ca.

For more information on the Community Dental Access Centre visit communitydentalaccess.ca.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Dentists worried about shortage of masks amid coronavirus outbreak

READ MORE: WATCH: Tina Turner turns heads at Vernon Winter Carnival luncheon


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