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Chairside Chats: A Word With…Dr. Neil Vora

August 9, 2022
by Oral Health


Dr. Neil Vora

Vivo Dental, Calgary, Alberta

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

Dental treatment is for the patient, not for me. There have been, and still are, many times that I want to insist or convince someone of an ideal treatment, or I feel intimately attached to a non-ideal treatment outcome. Early in my career, these situations would keep me up at night, worrying about the wellbeing of my patients, until I realized wellbeing is not always going to be from a textbook. “Ideal” isn’t right for everyone. People need agency to own their own treatment by way of open guidance free of judgement. All I can provide is education and compassionate support. While I am still striving for ideal treatment and the best outcomes, my patients and I both know that my best effort is enough, and that treatment choices and outcomes are a shared responsibility.

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What are the two key qualities you look for in a new team member?

Open acceptance of feedback and eagerness to learn and grow. Every dental practice is different, every business is different. A business has a personality like a person, and closed-minded individuals resistant to feedback are like weeds in a garden. Weeds steal nutrients and grow by taking away from the flowers; eventually no flowers can grow around them and the garden wastes away.

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

I like to think I can work without most dental technology. When I worked in a Cambodian clinic, we were often without various tech that was commonplace and consistent in Canada, but we made do because we didn’t have the luxury to defer treatment and all patients were most appreciative of anything we could do. But, for me personally, dental loupes with a light have been a consistent godsend. I can work without them, but I would feel blind knowing now what I can see!

What is your biggest day-to-day challenge?

Myself. I always have to guide myself through the tangents of my mental interpretation of any given event. Am I overthinking this? Did I think this through enough? Did I promise too much? Did I miss something? Maybe I’m just human and it’s all going to be okay!

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

Emotions. I’m empathetic and care about others a lot. It’s not meant to be fake or self-serving, but emotions mean that I take things personally when they are, likely, not at all. That’s where having my business partner – Dr. Greg Villeneuve – is the perfect balance and check on those emotions. I feel very lucky to have a complementary business partner and good friend to run a business with.


Dr. Neil Vora was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He completed his degrees in Medical Sciences and Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta, finishing in 2008. Charity and community initiatives are a passion and he’s always looking for ways to give back and make a difference. When not spending time with his family and his patients, he loves to travel to less fortunate regions of the world where he can practice pro bono dental care.


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