Winnipeg refugees walk away with new smiles Saturday

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Winnipeg refugees walk away with new smiles Saturday

A group of refugees living in Winnipeg got a brighter smile thanks to some much-needed dental work Saturday.

About 40 refugees were invited by the United Way to the Odyssey Dental Care centre to get cleanings, fillings and extractions, all free of charge.

The refugees are new to Winnipeg and are from several countries including Congo and Syria. Catherine Biaya helped organize the event and was acting as a translator for two youth from Congo.

"They are so happy to have their [teeth] cleaned because it's the first time. They never did that, so for them it's a great opportunity," Biaya said.

Khaled Al Moustafa is from Syria and arrived in Winnipeg last December.

He doesn't speak English, so an interpreter relayed any feelings of discomfort to a dental assistant who was working on his mouth.

"Canada always is generous," he said through a translator.

Dr. Jerry Baluta said the goal Saturday was to relieve patients of pain and to keep their teeth healthy.

"We wanted to try to do it for someone who couldn't afford to do it on their own," he said.

The federal government only pays for dental care for refugees in urgent situations.