Calgary Syrian refugees get bus-based dental care

The Alex Dental Health Bus set up shop in Bridgeland Saturday to offer basic dental work to some new Calgarians.

Dental bus booked solid as team provides basic dental care to new Calgarians

The Alex Dental Health Bus set up in Bridgeland to give free check ups for Syrian refugees in Calgary. 1:41

Some volunteers in Calgary are helping to take a bite out of at least one of the pressing issues facing newly arrived Syrian refugees.

The Alex Dental Health Bus set up shop in Bridgeland Saturday to offer basic dental work to the new Calgarians.

Dr. Raman Minhas is a dentist who wanted to be a part of the project. He says there has been a huge response to the offer.

Dr. Raman Minhas provides dental services to a Syrian refugee child in a 'dental bus' Saturday. (CBC)

"Just getting infections cleared up, getting people healthy," Minhas said is the goal.

"It won't be a lot of focus on prettying up the teeth. It's just getting infections controlled."

The bus was booked solid Saturday, with some people showing up without an appointment for a chance to see a dentist, in some cases, for the first time in years.

Denise Kokaram is the program lead for the bus.

Dr. Raman Minhas says Saturday's project drew a huge response and he'll likely offer follow up from his Calgary office. (CBC)

She says Syrian refugees have a tough time getting proper dental care.

"Their coverage is very basic. It covers the barest in terms of emergency coverage and emergency exams," Kokaram said.

But she says they will stay as late as needed Saturday, and possible do it again next weekend.

Denise Kokaram is the program lead for the dental bus. She says based on the response, they might look at providing the service again next weekend. (CBC)

Minhas has even offered to open up his office for follow up treatments.

The dental bus is a partnership between the Syrian Refugee Steering Committee and Alex Community Health Centre.

With files from Andrew Brown