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U.S. Dentist Puts Smile on Face of Winnipeg’s Homeless

September 22, 2010 10:06 AM | News

Dentist Tanya Roleau (R) has been helping Winnipeg's homeless population with their dental hygiene at Siloam Mission since September 8. (HANDOUT)

A recent dental school graduate from North Carolina is using her newly acquired education to help Winnipeg’s inner city population.

Tanya Roleau has been working 40 hours a week, during what would normally be her vacation, at Siloam Mission’s Saul Sair Health Centre.

She envisioned lending a hand in Central America, but found there to be just as much work waiting for her in Winnipeg since arriving on September 8.

“There’s such an incredible need here,” Roleau said in a release. “I was behind in my work from the first day I got here.”

Roleau has been performing simple fillings to pulling teeth, and has even performed a full teeth extraction to prepare the patient for dentures.

“Dental care for people experiencing poverty is so important, because it’s only accessible to someone with financial means,” Roleau said.

“It’s a terrible cycle: you can’t do well at job interviews with bad teeth, and you can’t take care of your teeth without having a job to pay for care.”

Roleau’s last day of providing free dental care at Siloam Mission is September 28.