Ontario artist all smiles after anonymous donors pay for her desperately needed dental care
Brandi Jasmine hopes dental will soon be included in Canada's health-care program
Three Good Samaritans have covered the costs of a Welland, Ont., artist's dental work, opening a world of opportunity for the woman who had been living a life of tortuous pain.
"I can't even tell you the difference. It's like night and day," Brandi Jasmine told The Current.
"It's like coming out of a huge black hole and seeing the light."
Intolerable pain and a makeshift crown
When Jasmine had her teeth assessed by a certified Ontario dentist, the estimated cost of the work she needed ran between $5,000 and $6,000.
"I'm struggling just to make ends meet," she told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti in November.
"Even $150 is too much for me to spend on this."
Unlike health care, dental is mostly covered by private insurance in Canada.
According to a 2014 report by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, about six million Canadians annually avoid dentists because of the cost.
"I've had it in there for, at this point, almost a year," she told Tremonti in November.
"Otherwise the tooth would be cutting the side of my mouth."
Even with the crown, Jasmine said her pain persisted, flaring up every two or three weeks, or when eating and laughing.
"You know the pain will be just so bad that I can't get anything done."
After Jasmine shared her story on The Current, Dr. Zina Alwash, a dentist from Markham, Ont., volunteered her services to treat her emergency pain for free, while two anonymous donors paid to fit Jasmine with a new set of dentures.
"I can't even tell you difference," she told The Current on Monday. "I'm not in any pain."
Beyond eradicating her physical suffering, the renewed confidence offered by a new set of teeth has improved Jasmine's emotional well-being.
She hopes both emergency and preventive dental will be subsidized by the government in the future.
"I actually have a smile and can go out in public and feel good about myself, and my emotional state is much better," she said.
"I don't live with that obsessive thought that this is going to be this way for the rest of my life. Now I have some hope."
Listen to the full conversation at the top of this page
This update was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath. The original segment was produced by Winnipeg network producer Suzanne Dufresne and The Current's Willow Smith.