Cheers to 40 years in dentistry and on to the next chapter...

If you were to tell me when Calgary Fine Dentistry opened it’s doors that I would be standing here today as the new clinic owner hosting my mother’s retirement party I would not have believed you… When the doors first opened in May 2006 I was in first-year University with no idea what direction I wanted to go.

Let’s look back now at when my mum, Jennifer Maguire, was in first year university. She was attending University of Western Ontario enrolled in the chemistry program. At that point she was thinking about pursuing a degree in nutrition or dietetics. But when her roommate Linda Munroe was submitting her dental school application she thought she would apply too! Being the smarty pants she is, Jennifer got into dental school on her first shot after only 2 years of undergraduate education.

May 1979 (40 years ago) Dr. Jennifer Maguire graduated as 1 of 6 females (in a class of 56) from the School of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. (don’t worry her roommate Linda was one of the other females graduating with her).

After graduating from dental school, Jennifer moved to Toronto where she worked in the morning as a public health dentist and in the afternoon in private practice. At that time there was a public health program in Ontario schools where dental care was provided. Jennifer would travel to different schools to treat kids that would have otherwise not been able to access dental care. There were no options of referring these kids to see a pediatric dentist so she learned pretty quick how to effectively work with kids…and she has used these tricks to this day when working with kids.

Jennifer continued working with the public health unit as a school dentist when they moved back to London Ontario. She also worked as a clinical instructor at the dental school while in London.

An opportunity arose for my father to get a job as a professor at McGill University. After confirming with the dental governing body in Quebec that Jennifer would be able to practice there, they moved their family of 3 (at the time) to Montreal. When she went to actually apply for her license she was told she was not actually allowed to practice in the province. In order for her to practice in Quebec she would have had to complete board examinations that were the same that international dentists were required to complete. Even though they were in the same country they did not recognize her degree from Western. So… she then drove 2 hours each way to practice in Morrisburg, Ontario that is coincidently 30 minutes from the town where my husband grew up. While working in Morrisburg she performed basic small town dentistry and wasn’t always so sure she liked the profession. As a baby I traveled with her each week so she could work while still nursing me . My dad was home in Montreal with my 2 sisters. My parents quickly realized this was not a sustainable lifestyle.

So next came the move out west, which they had both dreamed of since their days as tour guides! Our family moved to Calgary in the summer of 1989. Our first years in Calgary saw Jennifer first work at Glenmore Landing and then at Dentrix in Northland Mall. It wasn’t until we returned from our sabbatical year on Bowen Island that she found a fit at DQS Dental Care first covering Lori Grandon’s maternity leave and then as an associate.

After moving around for so many years Jennifer was really struggling and not happy in dentistry. She wasn’t sure it was the right profession for her and had considered quitting all together. It was at that time that her fellow Western grad Dr. Patricia Cartwright said ‘It sounds like you need to go to Pankey.’ So Jennifer started attending the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, Florida and kept going back year and year until there were no more courses she could take. Pankey taught her many of the hard skills she uses in clinical practice today like splints and equilibration and to always start with ‘WHY’. But it also taught her a lot of ‘soft skills’ and how to find fulfillment in dentistry and balance overall in life.

Finally in 2006 after working as an associate for most of her career she was able to open her own practice here at Calgary Fine Dentistry! Being a mother of 3 she had always put my sisters and me first. Once we were all somewhat out on our own, it was time for her to focus on herself and her practice. Over the years she had attended basically every continuing education course offered but felt as an associate she was not able to fully implement what she was learning. Opening her own practice was a truly a dream come true!

As I’ve learned since taking over, owning your own practice definitely comes with its own challenges also. You are required to not only perform dentistry all day but be the head of HR, marketing, finance and maintenance as well. And we weren’t trained to do any of that except the clinical dentistry! But that never held my mum back. She built from the ground up a thriving dental practice that patients come from all over the city to attend.

So now it’s time to take over the legacy that my mum has built and keep her dream alive. I’d like to think I’m starting from a ‘better’ place than her, being welcomed into such an amazing practice at the very start of my career that I can’t wait to see where it will take me!

Retirement for my mum is an interesting concept. I know she is excited to fill her days with even more world wide and local adventures as well as advancing her knowledge in other areas such technology and wellness. But she will never stop being a dentist. She will no doubt be on the phone with me her first week after retiring answering some question of mine and being in the lab with me consulting me on various cases.

So if you could please raise your glass with me to Dr. Maguire for 40 amazing years as a dentist!

Dr. Lauren Vredenburg

Calgary Fine Dentistry

Lauren Vredenburg