Chairside Chats: A Word With…Dr. Claire Whitney

Dr. Clare Whitney

Co-owner of Downtown Dental, Calgary, Alberta

How would you define or summarize your practice philosophy?

I enjoy doing dentistry, but I really value forming meaningful connections and relationships with my patients. I aim to deliver clinical excellence while caring FOR my patients. I appreciate getting to know people, sharing conversation and a good laugh while performing dentistry.

What is one thing you know now that you wish you had known at the start of your career?

At the start of my career, I would have liked to have known how to more effectively communicate with my staff and my team, as well as my patients. Clear, direct communication is learned. It takes time and experience, but I would have liked to have had it when I began.

What is the one piece of equipment or technology you could not work without?

The piece of equipment or technology I could not go without is my dental assistant! When you work well with another team member, you can tackle any problem, issue, and piece of new equipment.

What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a new practitioner?

Take it one day at a time. Don’t be in a hurry to learn everything day one. You can’t rush the lessons you will learn over years of experience in practice. And it’s all right not to have all the answers and know it all. You will never stop learning in practice. You can also learn so much from your team members and their experiences in the field.

What would you consider your greatest achievement?

Balancing raising a family and being a practice owner.

What do you consider to be your best and worst qualities?

Best qualities: extremely organized, excellent multitasker. Worst qualities: need to be a better listener without feeling the need to speak or respond. I need to improve on being more of a patient person.

What would you change about yourself if you could?

I need to slow down, take it in and enjoy the moments at hand.

What have you observed to be the biggest change to the dentistry profession since you began your career?

The biggest change I’ve seen since starting in dentistry is the increase in competition with so many dental clinics in urban settings and having to market your practice. Another big change is the shift in the profession towards more corporately owned dental clinics. There are a lot of choices out there and I encourage fellow practice owners to do their research to find the one that’s the best fit for your needs.

Who was the greatest influence in your life and why?

My spouse, Dustin. Dustin challenges me to be a better person and is there to support, encourage and challenge me in all aspects of my life.

Originally from Ardrossan, Alberta, Dr. Whitney moved to Calgary in 2007 after completing her dental education from the University of Alberta and began practising general dentistry. That same year, she got married to Dr. Dustin Whitney and now has 3 elementary school-aged children (Anna, Olivia and Eli). She is the co-owner of Downtown Dental, Calgary.

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