On March 17th of this year our Dental team was together enjoying our version of a regular day at the office. Each of us was wearing something green in commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day. We were aware of an issue with the Covid19 virus, but uncertain as to how this would affect our operation. That all changed at about noon when we received an email from our Provincial association informing us that all operations were suspended and we were effectively closed until further notice.
I have now been off work for nearly two months with the exception of an occasional call to treat the most extreme of emergencies. This has given me ample time to reflect on the last 50 years of dental practice, most of which has been at my location in SW Calgary and focused on family practice. The idea of a career as a Dentist was not something long anticipated as a youth. One of my high school classmates and college roommate had decided to become a dentist. That may have influenced my decision. I am the oldest in a family of seven children. I was also the first in the family and extended family to attend university. Since that time, two of my brothers have also become dentists. I was motivated by the idea of being my own boss and working a 9 to 5 schedule. It was my desire to have a family and this career was a way to have a rewarding work life that would hopefully not detract from family. I also note that I am good with my hands and strive for excellence with projects I undertake. It is helpful that I lead a healthy lifestyle, am cleancut in appearance and relate well with the public.
My first five years following graduation were spent as a military dentist at Canadian Forces Base Comox. This was repayment of a commitment that I undertook early in Dental school. In return for their financing my Dental education, I would commit to five years of service as a military Dentist following graduation. The clientele were mostly comprised of healthy young men, so no great variety or challenges. Five years on Vancouver Island seemed more like a holiday than work as the work demands minimal lacking challenge.
In 1975 I purchased an existing Dental practice located at Chinook Centre in Calgary and moved my family back to Alberta. After three years I relocated to my current location. This was a good choice because this part of Southwest Calgary has easy access to several main roads. It is also located in a residential area and so is convenient for families. Many families we see are now into the third generation attending my Dental practice. After this many years, we have made lots of good friends. Most of my co-workers on the SmileWorks dental team have been together long term. Several for over 30 years. The continuity seems to be appreciated by the patients.
I still enjoy the practice of Dentistry. It is rewarding to be able to provide services that often change lives for the better. Not everyone looks upon a visit to the Dentist as a pleasant experience, so I am pleased that we are able to provide our services in a caring, friendly and mostly pain free environment. We see quite few young children and myself and my team enjoy these little people. We are able to provide them with a pleasant dental visit that usually involves a little bribery and a ceiling TV for them to watch. It’s amazing what a little distraction can accomplish. What this accomplishes is creation of a small generation of future adults who have a focus on a healthy lifestyle that includes attention to their oral health and regular visits to the Dentist. If you are someone who is in the process of choosing a career, I would recommend you consider becoming a Dentist. Especially if your goal of being an NBA superstar doesn’t work out.
Dr. Brian Schow