Dr Aurora Els
Telling the whole tooth of dentistry
Private practice dentist, Aurora Els answers a few questions on the dental career track, and what it takes to keep smiles beautiful.
What does it take to be successful in this career?
You should like teeth, first of all! In this profession, it's important to be hard working and compassionate. You need to be a people person, and must be willing to go the extra mile for your patients when needed.
What do you have to study, both at secondary and tertiary level, to qualify for this career?
The required subjects for secondary level are Biology, Science and Chemistry, and Mathematics. When you begin the tertiary level, you will take Science, Chemistry and a language (either Xhosa or Afrikaans). In the years to follow, you'll take Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Dental Materials, Oral Surgery, Prosthodontics and more.
It takes five years to qualify, after which you are required to undertake a year of community service for the Government.
What kind of person do you think is best suited to this type of career?
You definitely have to be a people’s person and compassionate. You should also be a person who is confident in themselves, and the treatment you choose for the patient. Lastly, you need to be patient: you will be working with children too, and definitely need to have a great deal of patience with them.
What is the most rewarding part of your job and/or career?
The most rewarding thing for me, is when you fix a patient’s smile or take away their pain, and they leave your surgery happy.
What are the things you look for when hiring aspirant employees in your field?
I would look for someone who appears professional, is kind and charismatic; someone who can deal with the fast-paced world of dentistry.
What does your average working day consist of?
>br/> My average day consists of cleanings, root canals, fillings, false teeth, placing crowns and pulling teeth.
What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?
I know it sounds clichéd, but study hard; you will be working on living people, and will really need to really know your stuff. Work hard now and the rewards will be tenfold when you qualify. Most important is to make sure this is what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life. If you love what you do, you will never feel like it’s ‘work’.
What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Newcastle?
The benefits are the people. Newcastle is a town full of people who love to share their good experiences, and if you are professional and give good service, the people will share this with their friends and families. This is great for business - if you’re good at what you do, your name will spread
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