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Dr Darren Cai recently joined DB Dental, Currambine in Western Australia. We interviewed Darren to find out more about how he got into dentistry, what qualities he brings to the Currambine practice, and what advice he has for patients who feel nervous about visiting the dentist.
Well I’m originally from Sydney, but I moved to South Australia to study my Bachelor of Dental Surgery at Adelaide University, as they offered one of the best dentistry courses in the country. From there, I went on to work at dental practices in both South Australia and New South Wales, which allowed me to gain experience in many different locations.
I recently decided to relocate to Perth, so I’m now practising dentistry in yet another part of Australia.
It’s funny, but unlike most of my friends, I was never scared of going to the dentist as a kid - I actually used to look forward to my visits! And this was all down to my dentist, who was fantastic with patients. He knew how to put you at ease, took the time to listen to you, and always made sure that the session was as stress-free as possible.
So when I was 15 and we had our Careers Day at high school, I decided to reach out to my dentist and asked if I could shadow him - thankfully he said yes. Working alongside him in the dental practice gave me a great insight into what was involved in dentistry, and from then on I knew it was what I wanted to do as a career.
I think having previous dental experience in different states is a big plus, as you learn a lot from working in different practice environments around the country. I’m also a confident communicator, which is a good skill to have when leading a team and working with patients.
Aside from my skills in general dentistry, I strive to be the kind of dentist who makes patients feel totally at ease the moment they step into the practice. I hope to bring this quality to Currambine and help my patients feel comfortable and confident about coming to see me.
While a lot of dentists like to play golf, my sport of choice is archery. Back in Sydney, I used to teach archery skills to children, so I’m hoping to do this here in Perth too.
In my downtime, I’m a keen cook and love to experiment in the kitchen. One positive to come out of the COVID-19 situation has been having more time at home to practice my culinary skills, so hopefully I can keep that going!
As I mentioned, I was lucky enough to have a great dentist growing up, which meant I never felt apprehensive. That said, I completely understand that visiting the dentist can be a daunting experience for many people (my own parents included), so I try to be as approachable and understanding as possible with all my patients.
One piece of advice is to try and keep up with your regular dental check-ups rather than leaving things to the point where you’re in pain or discomfort. It’s always better to come in regularly so we can address conditions early, and this can help you feel more comfortable about seeing the dentist.
It’s also important to remember that we don’t need to do everything on the day you come in. If a patient is feeling nervous, I’ll take things slow and look at how we can spread out treatment so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. I’ll discuss the available options, ensure the patient is informed about what’s involved, and then arrange a treatment plan they feel completely comfortable with.
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