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Dr. Farida Saher Featured in ‘ The Blade – The Department of Surgery ‘ with the University of Calgary

Dr. Farida Saher loves people. She loves their diversity and learning their stories and  perspectives, so it is no surprise that she became a pediatric dentist, a specialty that places a priority on interpersonal skills like communication and understanding. “The unique thing about pediatric dentistry is that it is a specialty of the patient,” says Saher. “It is no different from adult dentistry in terms of the procedures, but with pediatric dentistry, it is more of a human skill.”

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Saher, age 38, is an associate professor with the University of Calgary and a community pediatric dentist. She completed dental school and a dental residency at the University of Alberta before attending Boston University to complete a pediatric dentistry specialty training program. The program provides dentists with additional training to understand and apply skills and psychological principles to ensure children have positive dental experiences. Upon completion of the program, Saher accepted a job in Calgary, and within two years, she purchased the Dental Care for Children practice from her mentor, Dr. Lenny Smith. She now operates offices in the Sunridge and Southport areas of Calgary.

Saher specializes in children with behavioural challenges and higher medical needs, as well as special needs adults, with many of her patients having widespread dental disease and severe dental anxiety. One side of her practice operates like any dental office. She sees new patients and does regular dental treatment, with most treatment provided using Behaviour management techniques. The other side of her practice provides oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia.

“A lot of pediatric dentistry is done in the operating room,” says Saher. “The patients are so young, and if a large volume of dental work is needed, it is a better and safer experience for the child when it is done under general anesthesia.” When Saher meets a new patient, she has a long conversation with the family. She wants to learn about things that do not traditionally factor into a dental interaction. “A patient is not just the person sitting in your office,” says Saher. “There is so much more to their story. If you take the time to learn about them, you will be far more successful in the treatment you achieve and their ability to follow up.” In addition to medical history and dental habits, Saher asks the family about their day-today life and background. She inquires about the child’s school experience, other children in the home, and if the parents have help from other family members. If they are newcomers, she also wants to know when the family came to Canada. “I am genuinely interested,” says Saher, “but all this information also factors into the treatment plan and follow-up expectations.”

Saher’s Sunridge practice has a large immigrant and refugee population, and she is keenly aware of the challenges and barriers to care these patients can face. “My staff have really become advocates for our patients,” says Saher. “It is a team effort, and I truly stand on the shoulders of my staff.” Her staff speak various languages and often help connect patients with the different supports available to them, such as Alberta Works, which helps low-income Albertans cover the cost of dental care. She also treats a number of patients with autism and downs syndrome. With her staff’s knowledge of the programs and supports available, they often assist these families in applying for educational assistants and personal care aides. “Our practice has become a bit of a community hub,” says Saher. “We even have patients who met at our office and now help each other with translation outside of our practice. It is quite heartwarming.”

Saher spends time away from her practice volunteering with Kindness in Action, an Alberta-based not-forprofit organizing dental missions to remote locations worldwide. Their mandate is to provide dental care to populations who would otherwise not have access. Saher has participated in ten missions to seven countries. “A person’s health is compromised when there is a lack of dental care,” says Saher. “Living in chronic, consistent pain, especially when it is a child, affects brain development and can have major impacts for the rest of their life. I feel compelled to do something. If I can take one person out of pain, it was a worthwhile trip.”

In 2017, Saher was asked to lead a mission to Cambodia. “That trip was incredibly fulfilling,” says Saher. “I never truly appreciated the effort that goes into organizing a mission until I was the person responsible for the operations and logistics.” The Cambodia trip included a team of 17 dentists, hygienists, and helpers who saw approximately 1,000 patients over two weeks. Everyone participating pays their travel expenses and donates to the organization to cover the cost of supplies. “We bring generators, dental units, supplies, consumables, and extraction equipment. We have approximately 25 pieces of luggage dedicated solely to our work.” They travel to several locations during each trip, with local grassroots organizations managing local logistics and providing translators.

The villages they travel to are very remote. “There can be a lot of barriers to care when you live in a remote location,” says Saher. “To visit the nearest dentist often requires extensive travel, which can mean a few days’ lost wages.” Her most memorable trip was to Peru, which saw the team travelling by canoe each day to reach different locations along the Amazon River. “All of our trips go to remote locations, but Peru was extremely remote. Working in the jungle also meant dealing with a lot of mosquitos, not to mention the spiders and snakes.”

When Dr. Saher is not working in her practice or participating in dental missions, she loves travelling for pleasure, experiencing new cultures, and trying new food. In 2019, she was one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40, and she has appeared on the Global TV Morning Show multiple times to educate families about children’s dental health. “My work is incredibly fulfilling,” says Saher. “To know I have helped a child have a good dental experience and to see that child leave my office pain-free makes me feel that I have made a difference.”

By Tammie Roy

Vote Yes! to Fluoride

 

Please remember to vote Yes! on October 18th to the Municipal plebiscite on
adding Fluoride back into Calgary’s water. Dental Care For Children
wholeheartedly supports public water fluoridation to reduce the risk of
cavities for all patients; young and old. #VoteYES

Kujo’s Kid Zone Visits Dental Care for Children!

World Oceans Day Colouring Workbook

We celebrate World Oceans Day to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. 

Help kids learn about our oceans and their importance through these fun colouring sheets!

The ocean is a major source of food and medicine; and is a critical part to our biosphere. Happy World Oceans Day!

The many faces of Dental Care for Children

We are so excited to welcome everyone back to the office Monday, May 25th. As always — our number one priority is the safety of you and our staff, so we will be strictly following the protocols outlined by the Alberta Dental Association & College.
 
Here is a sneak peak at some of our new PPE gear. 

Dental Care for Children in the Community

Team Building and the Community are both incredibly important to us at Dental Care for Children. 😄 Today, our team helped to craft over 120 lunches for The Mustard Seed — it was such a great way to work together and give back! 🥪

Dental Care for Children in Ecuador |  Kindness In Action 

Dr. Saher recently volunteered with Kindness In Action, a non-profit charitable organization who provides dental health services to under-privileged countries all around the world. She and three of her staff members; Roni, Patty and Paula, traveled to the remote city of Tena, Ecuador, where they treated both children and adults.
 
Together, they spent a total of 4 days treating 475 patients, some of whom have never accessed dental care in their entire lives. This is Dr. Saher’s 11th trip with Kindness in Action.

Dr. Farida Saher | Top 40 Under 40 2019

Age: 36

Job title: Pediatric Dentist and Owner, Dental Care for Children.

Why she’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40:

At her two dental clinics Dr. Farida Saher treats the most vulnerable populations, including low-income children, refugees and patients with special needs, many of whom have extensive dental disease and extreme dental anxiety. She has also participated in 10 international dental missions.

Going to the dentist isn’t most kids’ idea of fun, but Dr. Farida Saher’s Southport office looks more like an indoor playground than a dentist’s office. A panoply of primary colours and bright, open spaces, the welcoming environment is designed to alleviate patient stress. Saher specializes in treating children who are very young, medically compromised, with extensive dental disease and extreme anxiety, as well people of any age with special needs like autism or Down’s syndrome. Over the past two years, her clinics have also seen an influx of refugees whose teeth are rampant with decay, infection and abscesses. Many of these patients can’t be safely treated in a traditional dental office and their treatment must be done under general anesthetic in a dental surgical suite. Saher’s Southport clinic is the only pediatric dental office in Alberta that has its own on-site surgical suite.

Saher has also participated in 10 international missions with the dental charity Kindness in Action, travelling to the remotest regions of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil, Haiti and Peru. She also led a team of 18 dentists and staff to Cambodia in 2017, treating more than 1,000 patients over two weeks.

“There is nothing more rewarding than relieving the pain of a person who has been suffering in agony for literally years. It’s a gift to both them and the person doing the treatment,” Saher says.

In Calgary, Saher oversees the daily operations of her two Dental Care for Children practices, which have 18 chairs between them, a surgical facility and a staff of 25. Of her 8,000 active patients, many are low-income, so she is also a financial advocate, appealing for assistance through government programs, trusts and grants so that money isn’t a barrier to care. “Everybody is welcome,” she says. “Whatever challenges you bring to this office, you’re welcome here, and we will do our best to treat you with the utmost compassion and care.”

Photograph by Jared Sych. Hair and makeup by Artists Within; Ivan Buendia, Celina Ellerby Wold (hair); Brianna Brown, Amber McLeod, Marcia Melanson, Raynie Morberg, Savanah Spooner (makeup); Shantel Capri and Citlali Loza (hair and makeup).

Here’s what you can expect at your child’s first Dental Appointment.

Here’s what you can expect at your child’s first Dental Appointment.

Sometimes not knowing what to expect at your child’s first dental appointment can be nerve-wracking. Here is a brief explanation of what you can expect to help ease those anxieties.

You will first be greeted by Lynne or one of our other awesome gals at the front desk. She will confirm your information with you and give your child a nametage to wear throughout their appointment.

When we are ready to see you and your child, one of our dental assistants will introduce themselves and escort you to the clinic area. She will then review your child’s health history and hygiene and nutrional habits. If necessary, dental xrays will be taken to assist the dentist in making a complete and thorough exam of your child’s teeth. You’re child will be introduced to the fun things in the office like the dental chair and light along with the gloves and masks that the clinical team wear that make us look funny sometimes. For younger children, they will lay down in your lap as the dentist examines their teeth and makes notes in their chart. Our main goal and objective is to educate you and your child about their dental health and optimize habits that will help them to keep their teeth healthy for a lifetime.

Here are some cute videos that will help your child practice for their first appointment! And here’s a video for the parents, that is a little more comprehensive with some more information.

Looking forward to meeting you and your child soon!

Dental Care for Children in the Community

Dental Care for Children spent the morning with a cohort of awesome nursing students from Mount Royal University at the MRU Child Care Centre.  They transformed into super heroes to educate the children about practicing good oral hygiene habits everyday. “Princess Sparkle tooth”, “Captain Enamel” and the rest of their team, taught the children that they too are super heroes and with proper brushing and flossing techniques, can chase away those pesky sugars bugs! The children also learned that tooth paste has a “super power” to strengthen their teeth, called fluoride and they each have a “side-kick” to help them keep their teeth for their life time – their dentist!! The children then practiced their skills with fun, informative and interactive activities that help reinforce what they had learned.

Dental Care for Children was so happy to support and sponsor this wonderful program and look forward to working with our new friends in the years to come.

Great job everyone, your information and enthusiasm was fantastic!

Find out what Dr. Farida Saher has to say on The Importance of Baby Teeth

 “The importance of baby teeth can’t be stressed enough”, says Dr. Farida Saher on Global News today.

She reminds us about the importance of using fluoride toothpaste, brushing twice daily, flossing and healthy food choices for our children. Please enjoy her educational segment here.

With 2 convenient locations to serve you better!

Southport

10601 Southport Road SW

Calgary, AB, T2W 3M6

Sunridge

#110, 3363 26 Ave NE

Calgary, AB, T1Y 64L

Need Financing? No Problem!