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.”