Mark Mowat is an awesome dentist – experienced, successful, and has a devilish sense of humour to top it all off. Focus sat down in his chair and opened wide to find out more.
Can you describe a typical day in the life of a dentist?
I swim four laps of the Harbour, run 7.5 km, then a quick ride to Woolooglga and back …
Then the alarm goes off, and I wake up!
Every day is different. You have your routine treatments, such as check-ups and cleans, but each time the phone rings, it could be anything. You have to be prepared for whatever the day brings.
Toothaches, trauma and complex restorative planning bring many varied decisions and outcomes to the everyday life of a dentist.
Where did you study?
I graduated from the University of Queensland in 1987 and moved to Coffs Harbour that same year.
After originally practicing in Coffs and Dorrigo, I purchased Dorrigo Dental in 1991. Then in 1992, I purchased and relocated to Park Beach Dental.
In 2011 I opened a practice in Queen Street, Grafton, NSW, a beautiful heritage listed building, “Clarence Valley Dental”.
And now, our newly renovated practice “Coffsdentist.com”, which is located at 198 Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour.
How long have you been a dentist?
I have been a dentist for 30 years and counting.
What do you love most about the job?
I love talking to the patients, knowing they can’t talk back. (Laughs.)
Truly, the best part of my job is getting to know people. Every day I get the chance to offer real, concrete solutions; therefore, actually fixing real problems for people, making people smile.
Do you have any amusing stories that you would like to share?
Unfortunately, a day in the life of a dentist does not involve too many amusing stories. I have some stories that would make your head spin, but due to confidentiality reasons, these stories cannot be shared.
The vault includes many stories of grown men crying!
What is the most satisfying aspect of being a dentist?
Giving my patients the smile they want and getting them out of pain.
The creativity of shaping a smile.
And, educating people that a healthy lifestyle and good oral health is essential to your everyday wellbeing.
What services do you offer?
We cover all aspects of general practice. From check-ups and cleans, right through to implants and crown and bridgework.
Saying that, if anything is outside our scope of clinical expertise, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist.
Best advice you have been given?
Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear!
Wait a minute, isn’t that a song?
How do you effectively market your business to new customers?
Our marketing target is both former customers and new patients. Our old patients know what to expect, so nothing has changed in that regard. New patients are welcome and can take comfort that they are in comfortable hands.
It’s not as if everyone comes into the surgery singing and dancing, nor saying, “I love this place”. But we aim to make every experience as pleasant as possible.
What background experience do you bring to your current role?
When I sold to and was working for The Dental Corporate, I was running one of, if not THE most successful practice they had in the entire country. They took credit for it, but I postulated it was the systems and set up they had in place that had produced those results.
I believe dentists should be the ones running dental practices. At least you know where the buck stops, literally. I suppose time will tell who was correct.
Experience is something that cannot be taught. After 30 years in the industry, I have seen just about everything. That being said, continuing education and state of the art equipment are also essential.
It takes a long time to get that balance right and give you the confidence and ability to treat any problem or issue that patients present with.
Best advice for someone starting out?
Make sure you love what you are doing! You will be in this game for at least 30 years, so buckle up …
You have to be able to communicate. Talk to people, in a more normal fashion that they can understand. I don’t mean dumbing it down, but if they have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, it can be confusing for everyone.