Dr Ertan Redzepagic and Dr Haris Redzepagic are a father and son dentist team at Lumino New Lynn in Auckland – an awesome and unique work situation. We had to put it to them (individually of course)…what is it really like working with each other?
Ertan, you have over 35 years’ experience in dentistry, what would you say are the biggest changes you have seen in your field?
Looking from here, 35 years seems like a huge period of time. I would say the biggest change would definitely have to be the technology that we have available at our fingertips now. The ability to see for example a 3-dimensional model of the patient’s x-ray is something that we could not even dream about when I first started out.
Also, technology gave us better dental material quality; most of them are highly biocompatible, more stable and can satisfied very high demands in longevity, esthetics, living tissue response etc.
Paramount to everything is patient safety and thanks to the technology cross infection control is at an extremely high level.
Ertan, you have been practicing at Lumino New Lynn for more than 25 years – quite an achievement. What exactly makes a great practice? A practice where staff want to work and one in which patients want to be treated at?
A great practice is a place where everyone is happy and satisfied. The staff should be like a family. We are spending long working hours together and we are relying on each other all the time. That is what we call – teamwork.
Where the team is great and happy, with a positive relationship between members. Where we try to protect each other from any unnecessary stress by discussing our knowledge of each other’s difficulties, obstacles or potential problems – this working atmosphere just motivates everyone for high achievement.
That positive working and social attitude spreads to the patients as well creating an uplifting experience for them too.
Haris, what made you decide dentistry was right for you? We guess your father was somewhat of an inspiration and mentor?
I often get asked this question and the short answer is I would most probably not have been a dentist if my father wasn’t.
The reason is that he put the spotlight on it for me, I don’t believe that the thought of becoming a dentist would have crossed my mind otherwise.
That said, I weighed up a few professions including engineering, medicine and dentistry – engineering to me was not enough human interaction, medicine was too much nighttime work (I can’t function without sleep) and dentistry seemed like the perfect fit for me with plenty of technical work, plenty of human interaction and normal working hours (thank god for that).
Haris, you have said to us – It’s important to remember that dentistry is about treating patients and not the teeth. Explain to us what you mean.
Obviously, dentistry is about addressing oral-borne problems, but this is in the context of the individual.
The exact same issue on the exact same tooth across 3 different people may warrant 3 different interventions.
The scared person would need more time to be put at ease and accept treatment, someone with transport issues might opt for treatment requiring less appointments and somebody about to undergo cancer treatment may need removal of ‘questionable’ teeth which we would otherwise watch.
Father and son in the same practice. Do you talk about work outside of work, do you bounce ideas off each other? Be honest, is it always easy?!
Yes, we always run through any interesting cases we think are worth sharing. Unfortunately it’s terrible working with your son when he never listens – just joking, my life has become a lot easier since he started working with me, he helps me out around the practice a lot.
Yep, we talk about work outside of work, we discuss any new techniques/materials/equipment we have heard of or tried and anything we have learned from challenging cases. To be honest, I’m racking my brain thinking about any problems and can’t recall any, knock on wood!
Tell us a bit more about your special interests in dentistry?
For 35 years now from the very beginning to now days my interest was to offer all my clients the smile and oral health they wanted and that they dream about. In one sentence, my special interest is esthetic dentistry including full mouth reconstruction.
My interests revolve more around challenging work more than any one area of dentistry at this point. Because of this I’m doing the best I can to try new things so have learned a lot of dentistry, but I think my interests will crystallize once I have gained a lot more experience – at the moment I love all of it.
If you could give a patient ONE piece of advice on how best to look after their oral health, what would it be?
Ertan: Brush twice a day, floss once a day, see dentist for check up once a year and visit hygienist at least twice a year.
One piece of advice – stop snacking. This seems to be the biggest problem people indulge in that they’re not aware of. Every time you eat you’re feeding bacteria regardless of amount of food you have; so, the more frequently you eat – the more you feed them – the higher your risk of getting cavities.
When not in the practice, where can we find you?
Walking my dogs, doing some gardening, cooking, reading, watching movies, making things in my workshop, spending time with family and friends, driving around…
If I’m not at the practice, I’ll be round the corner at my local martial arts gym. I have been training jiu jitsu for a couple of years now and love it, you can even find me going for the early morning 5am classes.
What do you MOST love about your job?
Ability to create a beautiful smile on people who believe in me. The more smiley people – the better and more beautiful the world we live in.
I’ve always loved doing precise work, working with little fiddly things – which dentistry fits very well. I most love the feeling of satisfaction I get when I complete a very difficult case that is fiddly like that – and get a great result for the patient by either saving their tooth or making a tooth look as good as new.
And lastly, what makes you smile?
The people around me.
I have two ginger cats and just seeing them makes me smile!
To book an appointment with Dr Haris or Dr Ertan, please click here.