Celebrating Smiles | 23 August, 2019

From the Dentist’s Mouth – Dr Isha Woodhams

Joie de vivre! Dr Isha Woodhams has plenty to smile about at the moment – we speak to her for this week’s ‘From the Dentist’s Mouth’ post.

Why and when did you decide that dentistry was what you wanted to do?

I went to dental school after doing Health Sciences at Otago, I was 18 when I started training. Initially it was just a career path that made sense. Few years into practice one day I realised it was the perfect vocation for me – I get to meet lot of people in my job and get to do some really creative things, and it’s very hands on.

What gets you MOST excited about dentistry?

Everything about dentistry excites me right now. I do love all the innovation and cool gadgets in dentistry. Dental medicine in this respect is so far in advance of general medical care and allied health care services. We have 3D scanning/printing and medical grade CT radiography machines in general dental offices – it’s a real privilege to work with.

What is the most rewarding moment in your dental career so far?

Being a dentist you get feedback from patients straight away good or bad. Not many other careers give you that. Every day we have many meaningful interactions with patients and you realise what you do for patients is not just trivialised because it’s just teeth. You see a patient beam up with a big smile at you and you know you have changed a person’s life from that moment on.

The Hawke’s Bay – I understand this is not where you are from? How did you land in Tamatea?

One of many things to love about Lumino are the job opportunities. I met someone from Lumino and I was living in Wellington at the time, but I really yearned to move to Hawkes Bay where my husband is from. Funnily enough Tamatea was the practice my husband and his family went to growing up.

Tell us a bit more about your MBA…

I worked for a couple of years as a dentist and I was yearning to get back to studying. I wanted to do something different to specialising. I chose to study Business Administration at the Victoria University of Wellington. I think studying commerce has given me a better understanding of the big picture of how the world works.

You’ve done some overseas volunteer work I understand?

I have volunteered in Fiji and Peru, I really haven’t done enough of it. It was eye opening to work in remote places with poor access to care. There is a saying ‘charity begins at home’ and that made me aware that we should give back more here in NZ as well. Applying my knowledge from Triaging and emergency care in those countries has given me good experience and knowledge to do quick relief of pain procedures. I hope to establish a charitable dental service in Hawkes Bay soon.

And life has changed quite a bit in the last wee while…is the right?

Life has become very interesting. There’s a little critter in my life called Charlie, who is just gorgeous. With having become a parent and being on the receiving end of medical treatment I have gained a new-found appreciation for health care professionals and what we do. I think it has made me more empathetic towards people receiving care but also increased an appreciation for challenges that working parents endure every day. Even the most trivial tasks such as getting a flat white in the morning require forward planning and extra time.

And lastly, what makes you smile?
At the moment I have a lot to smile about – Joie de vivre!