Burnaby-born dentist sets up practice to give back to his hometown

Dr. Vik Sharma feels a deep sense of responsibility for his community.

“I really think growing up [in Burnaby] made me well-rounded,” says Sharma. After being born and raised in Burnaby, Sharma made his way to SFU for a Kinesiology degree, and then to UBC to become a dentist. After graduating, he moved north to Yellowknife where he lived and worked for five years.

The small town allowed him the opportunity to practice dentistry in a hospital, jail and a private clinic setting, all of which he credits with making him a very experienced and diverse dental practitioner, as well as being able to help an underserved population of our country.

Now, Sharma is back in Burnaby for good, and has set up his own practice just five minutes away from the public library and community centre he used as a child. He says that a huge part of moving back to his hometown was to “give back to the community that raised me.”

Sharma says that with this in mind, he and several other health practitioners have joined forces to offer their services on the same block on Gamma Avenue – next to his dental office will be a medical clinic focusing on family medicine, internal medicine and cardiology, a pharmacy, as well as a daycare centre.

“Our whole model is holistic dental health, how your mouth connects to your body, and how the two interact and influence one another, so it made a lot of sense to be working with others offering similar services,” he says.

The different health care professionals will work cooperatively to make sure their patients get the wraparound care that they need and deserve. It is all part of Sharma's plan to help his community get healthier.

Technology is also a major part in his plan to get Burnaby in a healthier state.

The new dental clinic boasts the latest state-of-the-art instruments, including intraoral scanners that show 3D models of patients’ mouths (no more sticky, messy impressions), an oral cancer scanner, massaging dental chairs and 4K televisions.

Clients will also have a wide array of dental services from family dentistry to Invisalign braces to Botox, which is used for teeth grinding and clenching.

In order to get the community on board, he first has to meet its members. That's why Sharma and his staff have been hosting free barbeques outside of their office, as well as giving back to the community by partnering with a number of local charities.

“We work with the Companion Animal Advocacy and Rescue Effort Society and give money to that animal shelter each time we get a new patient,” he says.

Sharma also helps out the Burnaby Neighbourhood House, a non-profit that helps families who are new to Canada learn what resources are available, and how to get health care.

Overall, he is thrilled to be back home and helping out.

“I think Burnaby was a great place to grow up,” he says. “And now, it's an even better place to see patients.”

If you'd like to learn more about Simply Wellness Dental, head to their Burnaby location at 488 Gamma Avenue, or visit www.simplywellnessdental.ca

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