Celebrating Smiles | 24 March, 2023

From The Dentist's Mouth - Dr Alex Summerfield

Dr Alex Summerfield is one of our newest dentists, joining the experienced team at Lumino Ponsonby.

What made you decide to get into dentistry as a career?

I knew I wanted to be a dentist when I was in Year 12 of high school. I really enjoyed my experience at the orthodontist, and my Grandad is a dentist in the UK. I have always loved people, working in a team, science, and having a good work-life balance. Dentistry was the perfect fit, and I am really happy with my choice!

How long have you been practising dentistry?

This is my first year practicing! Five years of study and about 6 weeks in the real working world.

Tell us about your career background?

It’s brief! As a new graduate, I am working in the Ponsonby and Auckland Central practices. I spent my final year of University on placement in South Auckland, which was extremely rewarding and allowed me to take on some very complex, full mouth rehabilitation cases that I wouldn’t have been able to do in Dunedin.

What is your most memorable case to date?

I have two that come to mind. One was a patient who truly believed he was an alien. That was very interesting! Another was a case where I got to make a denture for a patient who hadn’t had front teeth for over 30 years. We both cried when she tried it in at the final appointment.

What do you love most about your job?

I love being able to make a patient’s experience of the dentist something they don’t dread or fear.  I also love working with such intelligent people and picking their brains for new techniques and tricks that they have learned over the years. Wearing scrubs everyday also takes away the “what will I wear to work today” dilemma, which is something that I am glad I don’t have to partake in.

What are your special interests in dentistry?

Digital dentistry is a big interest of mine. Using the CEREC machine to do single appointment crowns is great for the patient and you can achieve an amazing result. Veneers, surgical extractions, paediatrics and orthodontics are other interests of mine. I love a bit of everything! I am excited to be doing an Invisalign course in June.

What is the main piece of advice you give your patients?

There is always a solution and something we can do to fix a problem. I also believe that 90% of having great teeth is what you do at home. Your oral hygiene routine at home, your diet and coming to the dentist every year for a check up is the best way to achieve that. You only get one set of teeth, so you need to take care of them!

Where would we find you outside of the practice?

Having a great work-life balance is really important to me. I love spending time with my friends and family, taking a boxing or workout class, going on a skiing weekend, trying a new restaurant or going on a weekend away somewhere new!