Saanich dentists offer free clinic

Dr. Ross Crapo and Associates will be holding a Dentistry from the Heart event Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m

Dental assistant Carrie Bohach and Dr. Ross Crapo perform a bite check on a patient in Crapo’s clinic on Chatterton Way. The clinic is hosting its annual Dentistry From the Heart event Saturday

Dental assistant Carrie Bohach and Dr. Ross Crapo perform a bite check on a patient in Crapo’s clinic on Chatterton Way. The clinic is hosting its annual Dentistry From the Heart event Saturday

Saanich residents in need of dental care will have something to smile about on Saturday.

Dr. Ross Crapo and Associates will be holding a Dentistry from the Heart event Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at his clinic at #206 – 4400 Chatterton Way.

Crapo is one of four dentists who have volunteered to provide dental care to those in need during Saturday’s free clinic.

“Our whole goal is to provide as much care as we can that day and get people out of pain. We don’t do checkups and cleanings, that’s not the goal of the day,” said Leona Laplante, office manager at Dr. Crapo’s clinic.

The event started in the United States in 2001, with Dr. Crapo’s office becoming involved seven years ago.

“We tried it that first year and it wasn’t what we expected,” said Laplante, who was overwhelmed by the gratitude of patients. “It was just such a wonderful feeling, you don’t realize how many people are in need of dental care.”

Because the Medical Services Plan in B.C. doesn’t cover dental care many people are forced to endure chronic pain. Laplante said there are many reasons people don’t go to see a dentist but most are financial – if they’re not covered by insurance, are out of work, or part of a large family, they will often put off dental care.

“That first year was a real eye-opener for us so we decided we have to do it again. Now here we are in year seven,” said Laplante, who is encouraged that a few other clinics in the Victoria area have since become involved with the Dentistry from the Heart event.

She said between 60 and 80 people come through the doors of the clinic each year, with last year’s event seeing 65 patients receive more than $28,000 worth of free dental care.

“We do a lot of fillings, we do a lot of extractions, we do the emergency procedure called an open and drain which is the start of a root canal,” said Laplante. “We try to see as many people as we can but some people just take more time. It really depends on the need.”

Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. with patients being seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We have a limited number of spaces available. You should come as early as you can and get on the waiting list,” said Laplante. “We just encourage everyone to come down and we’ll see as many people as we possibly can.”