Brenda Di Muzio says her work keeps her humble.
“Owning your own business has its pros and cons, and it’s challenging and different every day,” said the woman behind Brenda Di Muzio Dental Hygiene Professional Corporation — a mobile service that provides oral care to long-term care residents and hospital patients.
“A lot of these people just need human contact; it’s more than just the teeth. The visits are pretty special.”
This month, Di Muzio was named one of the City of Sarnia’s 2021 Accessibility Award winners, along with six other businesses: Home Depot Sarnia, Moulton Optical, Firehouse Subs Sarnia, Sarnia Evangelical Missionary Church, Ups N’ Downs, and Health Counselling and Therapy.
It all started around 2007 when, while working as a hygienist for a Sarnia dentist, Di Muzio grew frustrated seeing the oral health of family members deteriorate while in long-term care.
“So I started looking into it, and there was definitely a need,” she said.
That same year the Dental Hygiene Act was amended to allow hygienists to work independently from dentists.
She started one day here and there, but demand quickly grew, and eventually she left to operate the mobile business full-time.
Today, she provides assessments, cleaning, and polishing to residents in 10 Sarnia-Lambton long-term care homes, four group homes, and both Bluewater Health sites.
“There’s quite a connection systemically with oral health and overall health,” she said. “So being able to just add that one piece to their overall health makes me feel good.”
The Accessibility Awards recognize local businesses and individuals that show leadership in going above and beyond to make things better for people with disabilities, or to lead the community in becoming more inclusive and accessible.
Sometimes, recognizing individual needs and disabilities isn’t always so obvious, Di Muzio said.
“So anybody who has limitations to get into the traditional dental office — not just physical — it could be anxiety,” she said. “Taking someone out of their comfort area, getting a ride for them, and by the time they get into the dentist chair they’re so anxious they won’t even open their mouth.
“So I go in and see them, keep the lights low, put the music on, keep it quiet, and sometimes they even fall asleep, and it works out perfect — just keeping them in the comfort of their own space.
“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “And the families are so appreciative.”