“I decided to choose dentistry as a profession as a result of encouragement from the dentist that was looking after me when I was about 16. He loved what he did and he took the trouble to encourage me to see the possibilities of a life helping people to look after their teeth. When young people have a lot of dental treatment they often have one of two reactions: either they never want to see a dentist again, or (perhaps more rarely!) they become exceptionally interested in avoiding future dental trouble. That’s what happened to me: but looking back, even I think I took the interest a bit too far. I can remember phoning the dental practice office when I was in high school to ask why they hadn’t sent me a six-month reminder letter. It turned out they were a month behind in sending their usual letters. I think they found it a bit surprising that I did that-with good reason!”
After graduation, Patrick worked in a variety of practices in suburban Sydney, including Gladesville, Manly, and the Ryde area. He combined a busy general practice with part-time teaching for both the university faculty and TAFE. For many years, Patrick was responsible for delivering courses for dental assistants in both general dentistry and radiography. He still enjoys the odd bit of teaching which is a bit of family tradition as both his mum and dad were involved in education.
“The thing I am most interested in, within my profession, and in my practice, are the ideas of quality and longevity. Without a high quality of treatment, you can’t have longevity, and having treatment that lasts is very important, both to your health and to your enjoyment of life.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
I have always like this quotation and it's usually attributed to Aristotle, but, in writing this, I found a link that suggested otherwise; you can make up your own mind here. In any event, after many enjoyable years in Dentistry, I can certainly attest to repeatedly doing my best, and it is not an act, but a habit to produce an excellent result for my patients.
In my dental office, my patient's desire for health is encouraged and respected, and we all strive for perfection in communication and advice, in the treatment we offer and the procedures we carry out.”
After marrying Evelyn, they both decided to choose the quiet Southern Highlands town of Moss Vale to raise their family. Patrick was invited to join what was then the only practice in Moss Vale in 1989 and became a partner in 1990. Over the next decade they had three boys, Lachlan, Cameron and Duncan.
After the retirement of the two original partners, Patrick managed the practice for a time, but eventually tired of the gloomy outlook of the dated premises and bleak views of the Moss Vale Courthouse. He renovated a medical office and moved to the current location in Elizabeth Street in 2002.
"Woodville House is a wonderfully light-filled space with a very pleasant outlook. It's a great place to work and watch the seasons unfold"
Patrick has been involved in the wider profession for most of his career. He was elected as a State Councilor for the Australian Dental Association New South Wales Branch in 1988, stepping down only recently. He was elected as a member of the Dental Board of NSW in 1994, where he served as Chairman of the Complaints Committee for four years. He has held many positions within ADA NSW Branch, including a stint as Vice-President. He is quite proud of achievements there, which have included a re-writing of the Code of Ethics for the state branch, which for the first time incorporated reference to the ‘Four Principles’ of Bioethics.
Patrick was also instrumental in the creation of the ADA’s Centre for Professional Dental Development, as well as being a founding director of this company which creates material for continuing education, lectures for dentists and their staff, audio, and video training products for dentists all over Australia and New Zealand. This has helped combine his interest in advancing the general standards within the profession and his interest in teaching. One of the exciting projects created by this group was the ‘Digital Media Library’. This facility is kind of like YouTube for dentists, with a wide variety of educational videos and lectures, some of which Patrick created. It was eventually taken over by the National ADA and now serves dentists all over Australia. In 2016 he was elected as a Federal Councilor of the ADA. During his time in this position, he served as Chair of the national Dental Education and Training Committee, after also serving as a Clinical Media Advisor, interviewer and content developer for ADA, creating training resources including audio interviews, and training videos. He enjoyed his time as the lead interviewer for the Australian Dental Association’s ‘Dental Files’ series, an educational product that provides audio interviews and video lectures four times a year to dentists all over Australia. In 2016, Patrick was honored to receive the Federal ADA's Valuable Service Award for his work in continuing education and media. His most recent series is the popular 'PharmaAdvice' podcast where he and Clinical Pharmacist Dr Geraldine Moses AM conduct bi-monthly chats about all things pharmacological for Australian dentists. He also serves as an occasional interviewer and presenter for 'A Case In Points' video educational series for the ADA
Patrick is the immediate Past-President of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, after having served as national secretary and treasurer since 2001. The Academy is an international dental honour society established in memory of an extraordinary French dentist, considered the father of modern dentistry.
Patrick’s great interest since 1999 however, has been ‘CEREC’.
CEREC™ is a system for restoring teeth in a single appointment with a specialized dental porcelain using advanced Cad-Cam technology and state-of-the-art ceramic bonding systems.
‘Chairside Economical Restoration using Esthetic Ceramic’, the acronym chosen by the Sirona company which manufactures CEREC, breaks several spelling and good taste rules, but pretty much sums up the wonderful possibilities afforded by this innovative computerised system. Read more about it here. Patrick liked the system so much he accepted the invitation to become a Clinical Trainer for other dentists and in 2000 traveled to San Francisco to complete advanced training. Since that time, he has lectured both here and overseas (in New York in 2005 and more recently as a keynote speaker at the Australian Dental Association Triennial Congress in Sydney) as well as writing about and conducting basic and advanced courses in the clinical use of bonded ceramics.
Patrick is a past-president of the Australian Society of Computerised Dentistry, a group he helped found in 2002. Sadly, this group is being wound up (perhaps not so sadly, as we did such a great job of teaching, we’re no longer required!) bringing this to an end; but the legacy continues with funds being transferred to the Pierre Fauchard Academy for its student scholarships and support for training in Leadership within the profession.
Away from the office, Patrick has been involved with the Moss Vale Rotary Club, and as past-President of the Moss Vale Chamber of Commerce; he was also chairman of the sadly unsuccessful attempt to establish a Conservatorium of Music in the Southern Highlands (thanks, WSC!).
Patrick enjoys tennis, and watching his sons wander all over the globe (and then watching his wife Evelyn follow their progress in their various work and fun-related activities).
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