Dr Scott Williams opened the Walcha branch of his Armidale based 'White Leaf Dental Practice’ last week and thanks to Hurricane Irma he was on hand to oversee the finishing touches.
“I tend to go to the USA for most of my courses,” he said.
“This latest trip was to be the conclusion of my postgraduate study in implantology where I am finishing a Fellowship of Implantology at the University of Miami. I was however meant to land in Miami two days before Irma hit, so the course has been postponed until next year.”
In between his postgraduate studies, including a PhD in epigenetics, Dr Williams is building a successful business.
As a salute to this, he recently received the 2017 NSW Business Chamber Young Entrepreneur Award which recognises young business leaders who demonstrate outstanding entrepreneurial spirit, strategic direction and innovative ideas while providing inspiration to a new generation of upcoming young business people.
“The award was completely unexpected,” Dr Williams said.
“It was a huge surprise when it came through. Winning an award like this is an honour, but most importantly for me, it is a vindication of all of the hard work of our team. My name may be on the award, but I could not have done it without everyone else here.”
His partner in the practice is Dr Sara Stockham who moved to Armidale from Adelaide just over 12 months ago to join Dr Williams who moved there from Sydney the year before.
“Officially, we have been in partnership a little over 12 months; however, we started planning for this on a rainy winter’s night in Adelaide in 2009,” Dr Williams said.
The other key members of the Walcha team are practice coordinator Erin Battese and dentist Dr Erin Partridge, who grew up in Walcha. Together they offer a full range of general and cosmetic dental services.
Dr Williams says the mix of science and art in dentistry is what appealed to him about the profession.
“I am in the unique position where I get to run a business, work as a dentist, and I am also engaged in teaching and research,” he said.
“I have been invited to lecture around the world on my research and, along with Sara, do charity work both here and overseas as often as possible.”
The country is great - moving up here is the best thing I've ever done
Dr Stockham first started work as a dental assistant and discovered that she loved teeth.
“She went to Sydney University and graduated as top of her class as an oral health therapist,” said Dr Williams.
“Sara then decided to continue her studies for a further five years at university to get her dental degree. She is also completing further advanced study in a Masters of Clinical Dentistry in Orthodontics and is an instructor for a Graduate Diploma and Masters Program in Orthodontics.”
Dr Williams says that while he loves his work it is challenging both physically and mentally.
“This is not an easy job,” Dr Williams said.
“It is very mentally demanding because you can’t drop your concentration for a second. Most of the work we are doing is in single degrees and tenths of a millimetre. We usually do ten hour days.
“But it is also extremely physically demanding. Even with the best intentions, the mouth is a dark place and it is not easy to see. As a result, there is usually much ‘dental yoga’ to get a good look.”
The job is extremely rewarding though he says.
“In total, we have both been treating patients for around a decade.It is a pleasure and privilege to look after people. ”