Merry Christmas, have a filling: Whitehorse clinic offers free dentistry

It's enough to make you smile. The Riverstone Dental Clinic will open its doors this weekend to people who normally can't afford a visit.

'We meet lots of people who can't afford dental treatment,' says co-owner of Riverstone Dental

The Riverstone Dental Clinic in Whitehorse will offer free cleanings, fillings and extractions this weekend, to people without dental insurance. (CBC)

Here's something to make you smile: free dentistry!

A Whitehorse clinic is looking to share some Christmas spirit this weekend, by opening its doors to people who usually can't afford to see a dentist.

Dentists and hygienists at Riverstone Dental Clinic will be cleaning, filling, and pulling teeth for free, all day on Saturday. It will be a first come-first served offer, open only to people without dental insurance.

"We meet lots of people who can't afford dental treatment, lots of people that work, have jobs, but can't afford it," said the clinic's co-owner, Sammy Hachem.

'We wanted to find a way to help,' said Sammy Hachem, co-owner of Riverstone Dental Clinic. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

"We wanted to find a way to help them this holiday season."

All the clinic's staff — four dentists, three hygienists, as well as several dental assistants and receptionists — will be there, working for free.

Hachem was not aware of anybody ever doing something similar in Whitehorse before, so he phoned colleagues across Canada to figure out how to make it work.

One clinic in Paradise, Newfoundland, held its first free day last weekend. Receptionist Ruby Barnes said it was a big success.

"A lot of people wouldn't think a trip to the dentist is really a very good Christmas gift, but yeah, for a lot of people it really is," she said.

"We'll definitely do it again... People were so thankful that we could get them in, and get their work done for them."

Hachem says his clinic has not ruled out making it an annual tradition, but first he wants to see what happens this weekend. 

"We don't know how it's going to turn out, but we'll try it this first year and see how it is," he said. "We felt like it was the best way for us to help out."

The Riverstone Dental Clinic will open its doors at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

With files from Vic Istchenko


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