For 10th year, local dentist offering free one-day dental clinics

FERGUS – Oral health care is a critical part of overall health, says Dr. Raj Khanuja, a dentist with eight clinics in southern Ontario, including Fergus and Hillsburgh.

And knowing that many people can’t afford a dentist, Khanuja is offering a free dental care camp at each of his clinics.

The project started 10 years ago, when a mother brought her child to him for a check-up.

Khanuja examined the mother’s teeth as well and noted she had a few cavities.

“I can fix my teeth or buy my kid hockey equipment,” she told him.

“That’s what mothers do,” Khanuja said in an interview.

“They ignore their own needs for their children. What do they say? God sent mothers to do His job on Earth.”

Khanuja decided then and there not only to fix that woman’s teeth, but to offer a free dental day for others in the same boat.

He called the project “Doing Positive in my Backyard.”

“That really got me. That’s where it started,” he said adding he understands that life can push dental care to the bottom of the “must do” list.

“But ignoring your teeth can have a cascading effect on your health. It can become very painful just to drink water.

“Everyone has a skill, and this is our skill. If I can make a difference, what better way to do it.”

Khanuja has scheduled the following free dental clinics:

  • Dec. 6, Headwaters Dental in Orangeville;
  • Dec. 13, Castlemore Dental in Hillsburgh;
  • Jan. 3, Castlemore Dental in Fergus;
  • Jan. 13, Castlemore Dental in Stoney Creek;
  • Jan. 17, Castlemore Dental in Scarborough;
  • Jan. 28, Castlemore Dental in Missassauga; and
  • Jan. 31, Flower City Dental in Brampton.

Appointments are open to anyone in the community in need of one of the following procedures:

  • cleaning (scaling up to two units, polish and fluoride);
  • white/tooth coloured filling, limited to one tooth per patient; or
  • simple tooth extraction, limited to one tooth per patient.

Patients should not have any medical contraindication – that is other health issues that could impact a dental treatment.

“I hope this will help people get on track,” he said. “Sometimes people need a little boost.”

Khanuja said he’s able to see about 27 patients in a day.

While walk-ins are welcome, he suggests phoning ahead to make an appointment.

“People feel grateful, respected, like they’ve been treated well,” he added.

“We intend to do this until there is a national dental plan.”

Those plans are said to be in the works. The federal NDP and the minority Liberals signed a confidence-and-supply agreement after the federal election that includes a negotiated list of policies and priorities, among them a national dental plan.

When it rolls out, it will first be for children under age 12 with the long-term vision of a plan that applies to all ages.

Khanuja estimated the value of the eight clinic days is about $80,000.

Originally from India, Khanuja came to Canada in 2000 and it didn’t take him long to win praise and accolades.

He received the Canadian Business Excellence Award in 2021, the June Callwood Award for Voluntarism in 2018, the Canada 150 Commemorative Medallion for community service in 2017, and in 2018 was named one of the top 25 Canadian immigrants by RBC.

The free clinic in Hillsburgh is on Dec. 13 at the office at 11 Mill St. Call 519-855-4993 to make an appointment.

The Fergus clinic is Jan. 3 at the office at 93 Parkside West. Call 519-787-2271 for an appointment.