Joanna Bernath loves to put smiles back on the faces of those in need. Bright, clean and healthy ones.
Every year, Bernath offers a cleaning service that helps those in need with a free dental service.
Called The Gift From the Heart, Bernath’s dental clinic, Fresh Dental Hygiene, offers the service for those who may not be able to afford it.
Held April 6, “anybody can come. I believe in people’s honesty so I don’t check their income taxes or anything, but if they tell me they can’t otherwise seek dental hygiene care, we book them,” she said.
Working with immigrants, and those in marginalized communities, she’s also offered dental cleanings at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission at the John Howard Society.
“Those people, despite their greatest efforts, they cannot afford sometimes with basic care. They live with pain and disease, so for patients like that I provide temporary fillings free of charge,” Bernath said.
The temporary fillings last for five years, which allows them to save funds for the filling, she said.
“I love my job, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, and I see so often that a very simple treatment like teeth cleaning can actually bring you back to health. It changes their quality of life, I feel so fortunate to be able to live in Canada and raising my children in Kelowna, it’s those little acts of kindness that goes both ways,” she said.
Bernath immigrated from Poland to Canada when she was 19. After being a dental hygienist for 20 years, she decided to open her own business two years ago.
“I recognize the enamours need for services like that because unfortunately, dental care is becoming more and more of a luxury for people, especially with people with no insurance.”
Since opening, her next step is to hire another practitioner.
“I try to run my business and (take) clients from all walks of life.”
She’s hoping to connect with other dental clinics to encourage them to get on board with The Gift From the Heart.
When she started two years ago, she gradually grew her clientele from a handful of clients.