How many years have you been working in the dental industry?
I’m coming into my 19th year in the dental industry. I started as a steri nurse at 15 and worked in many different roles, before starting my dental technician apprenticeship in 2010.
What’s your earliest dental memory?
Workwise, it would have to be when I melted a heap of plastic impression trays in the autoclave in my first week of work.
My personal dental memory would be when I chipped my upper central and had to get it fixed by the school dental service. I particularly remember them saying that it was only a temporary fix. That was 24 years ago, and temp fix is still going strong.
Most funny/ridiculous/dangerous/disgusting lab occurrence?
When I was an apprentice, there were countless near misses with scalpel blades and flying snapped cutting discs. Also, a dangerous but funny memory was, when we could smell gas, so a fellow colleague went to light a match to get rid of the gas smell. She was swiftly tackled by another colleague. There were endless pranks being pulled, like everyone parking their car away from the workplace, so the boss rocked up and thought no one was at work. Nutella under car door handles, gluing shoes to the floor, cars covered in toilet paper… The list goes on!
What is your favourite tool/piece of equipment in the lab and why?
This is going to sound really boring, but I love my Lecron. Whether it’s for waxing, carving, positioning intricate bits of wire. I use it on practically every job, it’s super reliable, and it’s also great for tightening up the screws on my glasses.
What do you think the future of dental technology will look like?
Digital technology will play a greater role in our industry as it becomes more refined, and most importantly, financially viable for labs to invest in. I think it will be exciting, if you’re willing to embrace it, and not be afraid of it taking our jobs. I do hope though that there will still be some need for us to bust out a handpiece and work our magic at a lab bench, not just at a computer desk.
What is your biggest challenge as a lab owner?
The juggle of not only being a dental tech, but also keeping on top of bookkeeping, financial management, marketing, customer service, tech issues, stock control, keeping up with the latest protocols. The list is endless, and stressful.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
Definitely starting a new business from scratch in a very tight-knit industry, whilst also being a mum of three children under the age of eight and (trying) to maintain a household. I think I’ve aged 10 years in the past 15 months, but seeing clients continuously using my lab and my client list growing is a great achievement.
If you weren’t a dental technician, what would you be?
It would have to be working with sniffer dogs at the airport. This is something I’ve always really wanted to do, but I just never made the opportunity happen.
There’s a mockumentary being made about a dental lab. What would you call it and which actor would play you?
It would be called: We said that, but what we really meant was this and I would be played by Anna Faris, but the character she plays in Scary Movie. I feel like the expression she pulls in those movies is what my face looks like most of the time when I’m trying to process what people are saying to me.
If you could tell younger Carly one thing, what would you tell yourself?
Don’t be so harsh on yourself. What one person thinks is amazing, another might not think the same. Just keep trying your best. Also start your own lab BEFORE you have kids and a large mortgage (hindsight is wonderful!).