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Article from In and Around Covent Garden Magazine / December 2014 Edition / Covent Garden Dental Spa
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Flora Chigwedere        

Owner and senior practitioner,
Covent Garden Dental Spa

At what age did you realise you were going to be a dentist?

I was either going to be a doctor, pharmacist or a dentist, as all of my A level subjects were very much science based, it was my dad’s dream for me to be a dentist. One of his close friends was a dentist and he thought it was a great profession to be in. I started doing all the applications for UCAs at the age of 17. And then it became my dream.

Was there any one person who inspired you?

When I was 17, just as I was making my career choices, I did a work placement at a dental practice where I shadowed a young lady dentist. I thought she was so hip and cool, she handled her patients well, the patients loved her, she just seemed so content with her job. I just had to be her when I grew up.

What does it take to make a good dentist?

One has to be caring, patient and compassionate to the needs of your patients; a good listener, perceptive and manual dexterity is also a must!

What is the most inspiring thing about being a dentist?

I love the fact that I am helping my patients. If someone comes to me in pain, I can help to relieve them of their pain. I have some patients who don’t smile as they are so self-conscious about their smiles, and I help them by giving them the gift of a smile. Some patients are complete dental phobes, but we work on making our patients feel totally relaxed at the Covent Garden Dental Spa. The most rewarding feeling is having a former nervous patient become excited about their visits to the dentist.

What is your favourite part of the job?

I love interacting with my patients; there are some who I have been treating for so long now they have become good friends. I love my team; we have all been working together for a few years now and they have become like family.

What is the most difficult part of the job?

This would have to be posture. Being in the same position for long periods of time can put a strain on my back. But who needs a better excuse for a regular massage hey?

What advice would you give to anyone else who wishes to follow in your footsteps?

Spend a day at a dental practice to see if being a dentist is really for you. It requires a certain personality. If you are squeamish (even just mildly), then this profession is not for you!

Describe your typical day from waking till sleep.

I rise in the morning about 06.30. Two mornings of the week, I spend with my personal trainer based on the Strand. After a session with my trainer, I go for a run along the Embankment which is obviously a lot more enjoyable on summer days. I arrive at work by 08.30 most days, sometimes 09.00 depending on what time we are finishing. I will have a full day list of patients till about 18.00 most days or 19.00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some appointments are only 20 minutes long, some can last up to two hours. It really just depends on what treatment the patient requires. When I am done treating patients, I normally hang around the practice doing patient records and any admin work. I get back home about 20.00 or 21.00.

If you had not been a dentist, what would you have been?

I would have been a pilot. I love travelling, and from a young age, I was fascinated by aeroplanes. As an adult, I am still fascinated by planes and I love the experience of exploring new countries and learning about different cultures in the world.

What do you love about working in Covent Garden?

What don’t I love about Covent Garden! Covent Garden has so much to offer. Oh, everything from the restaurants to the shopping, the performers in the Piazza, the theatres and just hanging out on a church garden bench in the summer, to the eclectic colours of Neal’s Yard. The village feeling you get from everyone being so friendly is like no other place in London.

What’s your favourite hang-out joint or thing to do in your spare time in Covent Garden?

I have so many! My daily lunch is from Food for Thought, good healthy wholesome meals, I should request a loyalty card! For weekend brunch, I love Kopapa, Balthazar is great for a posh dinner do, Hawksmoor for a juicy steak and for a romantic meal, Clos Maggiore ticks all the right boxes. For after work drinks, nothing beats the cocktails and view from Radio Bar, ME London