As demand for oral health services soars in Dargaville, the arrival to the town of top dentist Dr Mariam Bedford has been a godsend.
Lead clinician at Lumino Dargaville, Mariam brings a wealth of expertise to the local community. Not only has she been practicing dentistry for nearly two decades, but she is the only dentist in New Zealand to have a specialist degree in DMFR (dento-maxillofacial radiology), a branch of dentistry which focusses on diagnostic imaging procedures.
And although Mariam was offered her pick of practices across the country, Dargaville has well and truly stolen her heart.
“Dental services are much needed in this area, so working here is very rewarding. And despite the fact that Dargaville is outside the city, I was attracted to what the clinic has to offer, and the potential it has,” says Mariam, who moved here from South Africa last November.
It’s the first time in two years Lumino Dargaville has had a full-time dentist, giving local residents access to much needed dental services without having to travel to Whangarei or Auckland.
“Having a full-time dentist at the practice also means we are available for dental emergencies, and the locals have better access to oral health information and education.”
Since graduating from dentistry in 2003, Mariam has run her own private practice in South Africa, worked in the public dental sector in Australia, and been a mentor and lecturer of dentistry and oral hygiene at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town. Gaining a specialist degree in dento-maxillofacial radiology in 2014 took her career to the next level.
“DMFR is a fairly new speciality in South Africa and New Zealand. Being the only person with this qualification in New Zealand is quite a big achievement.”
DMFR deals with diagnostic imaging procedures applicable to the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions, as well as to other structures that are relevant for the proper assessment of oral conditions.
For Mariam, the degree provided an exciting opportunity to pursue her longstanding passion for radiology.
“Radiology has always been one of my favourite areas in dentistry. It’s an essential part of any dental procedure as it forms the basis of diagnosing disease processes – and it’s something I’m able to use every day to benefit my patients at Lumino Dargaville as it facilitates any diagnosis. Surgery and pathology are my other areas of interest, as these go hand in hand with radiology.”
Utilising her unique skills, experience and training, Mariam is able to deliver the highest quality treatment to her patients at Lumino Dargaville, including everything from basic fillings to surgical extractions.
“We offer most services at Lumino Dargaville with the exception of orthodontics and implantology.”