Timaru father and daughter keeping dentistry in the family

Experienced Timaru dentist Mark Goodhew is proud to employ his daughter Emily who graduated with a Bachelor of Dental ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Experienced Timaru dentist Mark Goodhew is proud to employ his daughter Emily who graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the end of 2013.

It's 30 years since Mark Goodhew started practicing dentistry in Timaru and now his daughter Emily is following in his footsteps.

"I was the same age then as Emily is now - 26," Mark said.

The collegial relationship they now share has the benefit of Mark mentoring Emily when she asks him.

"I'm so proud, it's great working alongside her," he said.

She was not pushed into the profession by her dad but chose it after completing a year of health sciences at Otago University in 2009. His other two daughters, which includes Emily's twin, have taken totally different career paths.

What appealed to Emily about dentistry was the flexibility it offered compared to other medicines.

"It has a better work life balance compared to medicine. If you have a family you can choose your hours," she said.

Studying a year of health sciences is a pre-requisite to be considered for the competitive dentistry degree.

In Emily's year about 800 students applied, of which 250 were short listed and 54 offered a place. Compared to Mark's day of a ratio of 80 per cent men and 20 per cent women there were 60 per cent women in Emily's cohort.

After graduating from a Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the end of 2013 she worked as a house surgeon at Christchurch Hospital which came with long hours, then a stint with special needs children and in pediatrics.

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At the end of last year she decided to work for her dad as she plans to go on her OE (Overseas Experience) in June and then take up permanent dentistry work on her return.

"I can't work in Europe in dentistry unless I sit extra exams," Emily said.

Through the decades Mark has had to adapt his dentistry technique as technology has improved and also keep up with passing fashion fads.

In 1984 when Mark graduated gold fillings were popular among the more well heeled patients.

They were cast through heating and melting the metal in a crucible. A spring action would set it spinning and the centrifugal force would push the liquid away from the centre into a mould to form the shape required. Once cooled it was then inserted into the waiting tooth.

"I remember stick-on diamonds (on front teeth) and gold caps on teeth ... Gold is expensive but does not deteriorate."

Now about 50 per cent of his patients make an appointment for a check up while the remainder have wisdom teeth issues or need a tooth replaced or repaired. The natural look with white teeth was now the fashion, he said.

Looking at the future of dentistry the father and daughter surmised that stem cells could be used to regrow teeth. In the meantime they will continue doing their best for their patients with the technology they have.

 - Stuff

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