Chatham-based dental hygienist spreading smiles around the globe

Christine Fairbairn providing a dental checkup for a patient. September 2017. (Photo courtesy of Bright Smiles Community Dental Hygiene via Facebook)

A Chatham-based dental hygienist with a heart for helping those in need is hoping to spread some healthy smiles in southeast Asia over the next month.

Christine Fairbairn, who owns and operates Bright Smiles Community Dental Hygiene in Chatham, will spend the next four weeks providing dental care for underprivileged people in Indonesia and the Philippines.

It’s the second time in the past couple of years she has gone on a trip like┬áthis — Fairbairn also made a visit to Ethiopia with a similar mission.

“Most of the people we saw in Ethiopia had no idea they should be brushing their teeth, let alone had a toothbrush and knew how to use it,” said Fairbairn. “It was a life-changing event for me — it for sure changed a lot of how I live and it changed my perception on how I want to deliver dental care in my practice.”

As a result of Fairbairn’s trip overseas, the Bright Smiles office in Chatham will be closed until the end of February. But once she returns, she’ll be diving right back into spreading smiles locally as well.

Over the past two years, Fairbairn has teamed up with the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit and several other local charitable organizations to provide free dental hygiene clinics for people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford them. During that time, Fairbairn and a team of volunteers have provided over $30,000 worth of free treatment to local residents and they have helped more than 160 patients.

That work includes a recent “Give Where You Live” free dental hygiene day in a partnership with Habitat for Humanity on January 13 where a team of volunteers was able to provide more than $2,300 worth of free treatment for people in need in the community.

Fairbairn has another clinic coming up on March 16, this time working with the local low-German Mennonite population. She’s also inviting anyone with suggestions for potential community group partnerships to send those her way.

You can reach her office by phone at (519) 351-0711, email at info@brightsmilescdh.ca, or on Facebook at Bright Smiles Community Dental Hygiene. You can also find out more about her current effort in southeast Asia below.