Home is where the career is for newest denturist
By Darren Lum
Published Jan. 5, 2016
They say home is where the heart is and for the Highlands’ newest denturist Steve Kerr it is at the root of why he is setting up his business.
Two months ago, he started offering his services from Dentistry in the Highlands just a few steps from Archie Stouffer Elementary School where he graduated in 2003.
His heart is solidly entrenched where he not only learned his A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s, but also learned to appreciate the rural and rugged beauty of Haliburton County with its lakes, forests and untamed wildlife.
“It is very cool. Just all the memories, going to the bakery and stuff like that. To be back in the area ... I find it very exciting,” he said.
Kerr studied three years to be a denturist at George Brown after completing his bachelor of arts undergraduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier. He welcomes the opportunity to have a career here and serve the community and possibly raise a family here.
He takes great pride in being entrusted with giving people back their smile. Teeth have a significant importance to our dietary and psychological health, he said.
“You’ll have people crying in their chair because they haven’t had teeth in decades. People are usually extremely appreciative and there’s a very rewarding feeling from that for sure,” he said.
Kerr, who offers close to everything from his current location owned by his father Bill Kerr and uncle Michael Cusato, has every intention of staying here. He plans on moving to his own location in a year or two in either Minden or Haliburton. He anticipates he will outgrow this facility, as demand is rising, warranting the recent hiring of an assistant.
Kerr provides denture service from start to finish, which includes consultation, the design and production of partial or complete dentures in-house, including same-day completion of most repairs.
He loves his work.
“Sometimes I take my work home with me, actually. After a long day, there is nothing like sitting in front of the TV and hand placing dental teeth on a wax model,” he said, smiling.
With his dad Bill as a long-serving dentist and the founder and president of the Volunteer Dental Outreach for Haliburton County, he is familiar with philanthropic efforts, having volunteered there for the past two years performing lab work. He continues to help at the VDO with his new licence, helping patients with denture work close to two times a month.
Originally from Scarborough, the 27-year-old has only known the Haliburton Highlands as his home.
The eldest son of four, Kerr starts the fourth generation carrying on a long family tradition in the dental industry. Younger siblings J.J., who is in his third year of post-secondary education, and Loretta, who is in her first year, are both studying dentistry and expected to carry on the dentistry lineage. It all started with his great-grandfather in 1922, followed by his three grandfathers. Now he joins his father and uncle, who both practise at the Minden facility.
Entering the dental field wasn’t even on his radar as he attended high school in Haliburton, eventually graduating in 2007.
In 2012 that all changed.
“People would always ask me growing up if I wanted to be a dentist. I didn’t really have a lot of interest in it at the time, but then as you go through life [things change] and it was in 2012 I went to Honduras with my dad,” he said.
Since 2009, his father had been going to El Porvenir, Honduras to bring dental care to people through the charity Health Outreach, as part of the initiative Dentistry for Honduras.
This coming February he will return to El Porvenir to volunteer for two weeks and stay with Haliburton’s Anne Fowler, who lives there part of the year. She has hosted Haliburton dentistry professionals for the past several years. It will be his fifth visit.
While assisting dentists and dental hygienists he discovered the difference he could make in people’s lives.
“It was the early seed for me to considering a career in dentistry or dentures. That’s something that is important to me,” he said.
For hours and location see www.dentistryinthehighlands.ca