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Dental conditions can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life, yet many put off getting treatment due to limited financial resources. Mdm Lim* is a widow who struggles to make ends meet to raise her two daughters. Her difficulties exacerbated when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her recovery, Mdm Lim’s oncologist realised her nutritional intake was lacking as most of her meals consisted of plain porridge. This was because Mdm Lim had fewer than 10 teeth remaining and had difficulty chewing her food. Worried about adding to her financial burden, she also avoided seeking dental treatment.
With the help of her oncologist and medical social worker at the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS), Mdm Lim received financial support from the NDCS Tooth Fairy Fund to make a set of dentures. This has enabled her to eat better, and with healthier meals, Mdm Lim’s health has improved, leading to better recovery and overall quality of life.
Mdm Lim’s story is not an isolated one. Every year, the NDCS Tooth Fairy Fund supports about 65 patients, who would otherwise be unable to seek the necessary dental treatment. The Fund also supports oral health research and education to further enhance patient care.
In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and extend support to more patients in need through the NDCS Tooth Fairy Fund, NDCS partnered Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) in the first ever NDCSxNYP Charity Tooth Stools project. The collaboration, which commenced in April 2021, involved 25 students from NYP’s School of Design & Media who conceptualised the designs and decorated 13 tooth-shaped fiberglass stools. Each design tells a story about oral health from the perspective of the students.
To raise funds, students are inviting members of the public to make a donation in support of their favourite tooth stool. The stools that garner more than $4,000 in donations will be given to the highest donor as a token of appreciation. All funds raised will support the NDCS Tooth Fairy Fund.
Mr Jeffrey Lee, Senior Lecturer, Visual Communications at NYP’s School of Design & Media shared that the partnership with NDCS allowed students to embark on a real world industry project that is beneficial to society, while providing a platform to expand their creative capabilities.
“I was thrilled to find out that our class would be designing tooth stools for a good cause,” shared one of the students, Farah Kamilia. She and her classmates spent 18 weeks conceptualising, preparing, and working on the stools.
“They put their hearts into this project because they know their work could impact lives positively. This made the assignment so much more powerful and meaningful,” said Ms Ho Huey Lu, Senior Lecturer, Visual Communication, School of Design & Media.
With so much dedication in this project, the students hope they can reach their fundraising goal of $52,000. “I hope that everyone’s decorated stool can raise more funds to help more people in our community get the dental care they need,” said Rachel Teo, another student who was part of the project.
Clinical Associate Professor Poon Choy Yoke, Director, NDCS, was very appreciative of the students’ commitment and enthusiasm in this initiative. “Through this partnership, we are able to deconstruct and view the meaning of oral health though an artistic lens and we hope that the students’ beautiful creations will bring a smile to our donors and patients,” she said.
The NDCSxNYP Charity Tooth Stools fundraising campaign ends on 31 October 2021. Click here to support the efforts of the students and put a smile on the face of a patient in need.
*Patient’s name has been changed.