Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Making Teeth a Work of Art; Noel Recalls More Than 45 Years of Giving Back Smiles

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Making Teeth a Work of Art; Noel Recalls More Than 45 Years of Giving Back Smiles

Article excerpt

Toni

McRae

toni.mcrae@frasercoastchronicle.com.au

NOEL Guy has looked into the mouths of thousands of us Co and has been shocked, horrified and amazed. But he just loves sinking his teeth into his job.

Noel is Hervey Bay's longest-serving dental prosthetist and even though it's likely he will need to retire next year for personal reasons, he dreads the prospect.

"This is fascinating work. It's an art more than a science. It's like writing a poem or painting a picture. You need to be in the right frame of mind to do it.

"People confuse what we do with what maybe a surgeon or dentist does. But in our work we replace parts of someone's body, so mechanics as well as a bit of physics go into it. People's smiles are their major confidence and their ability to be able to smile and eat means a great deal to them.

"You have to love this or you wouldn't survive. I love it. If you didn't, you'd go mad."

When Noel started in 1964 on the Darling Downs he was 14 and still at school.

"Our neighbour was the existing technician who worked for the local dentist. He wanted to leave but he didn't want to leave the dentist in the lurch so he suggested to me it would be a good job."

Noel spent five years as apprentice to the dental surgeon, doing his studies by correspondence.

"It was a rather primitive way to get started in the profession. I was working as the dental technician in the back room and the dentist would rush in and out with instructions. He pretty much kept me in the dark and it was never a great system, but that was the way things were then. I was mostly self-taught."

When Noel started making dentures there were only five other apprentices in Qld.

"It wasn't a well-known profession and I don't know why I decided to follow it. But we were in the UK last year and I discovered my great-uncle was also a dental technician. …

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