The Current

Ontario artist all smiles after anonymous donors pay for her desperately needed dental care

Three Good Samaritans have covered the costs of dental work which Brandi Jasmine couldn't afford, opening a world of opportunity for a woman who had been suffering from chronic pain and depression.

Brandi Jasmine hopes dental will soon be included in Canada's health-care program

Brandi Jasmine (right) says she has a new lease on life now that Dr. Zina Alwash (left) and two anonymous donors offered to pay for her critical dental procedures. (Submitted by Brandi Jasmine)

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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."

Last November, Jasmine told The Current she was living with chronic pain and depression as she was unable to afford the cost of emergency dental work for her three remaining molars. 

Artist Brandi Jasmine is self-employed and unable to afford dental care. Before donors paid for her dental work, her teeth were causing piercing pain — flaring up when she eat, laughed, and when a cold breeze hit. (Willow Smith/CBC)

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. 

Jasmine can't afford new caps, so she made her own out of plastic. She said her dentist was very impressed when he saw what she made. 'I'm an artist and this sounds so arrogant to say but I'm very clever at finding my own solutions.' (Submitted by Brandi Jasmine)
To treat a broken molar, Jasmine resorted to crafting her own makeshift crown. She used moldable plastic that becomes malleable when heated up and hardens when it cools.

"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."

Good Samaritans 

The state of Brandi's teeth before her procedure is pictured above, and after is below. (Submitted by Brandi Jasmine)

​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.


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