This month’s Partner Spotlight features Dr. Ashley Fidyk, principal dentist at Lake Country Dental Centre in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. We discussed what she loves most about being a dentist, the important role patient relationships have played in her practice’s success, and the most valuable lesson she has learned in her career.
Tell us about your journey into dentistry and how you came into practice at Lake Country Dental Centre.
For many years, I had planned on becoming an optometrist. I thought that was the right career for me. I shadowed my optometrist and worked many summers at my optometrist’s office. Once it was time to take university pre-requisites and apply, I realized I wanted something more hands-on. I wrote the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT), applied to dental school, and never looked back!
After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Dentistry, I worked as an associate for three years. Soon after, a dear friend and classmate approached me, we became partners and, together, built the successful partnership and practice we have today.
What's the best part about being a dentist?
I really do love what I do, and there are quite a few reasons why. Of course, I love the satisfaction I get in helping patients restore their oral health. I also love working with my team – they truly feel like family. As silly as this may sound, I love the act of doing dentistry. I really enjoy the hands-on aspects and, when you genuinely enjoy what you do, the days fly by, and it never gets boring!
What do you think has been the secret to your practice's success?
Patient relationships. It has been my experience that patients don’t care how educated you are or how much you know until they realize that you care about them. Being kind and taking the time to get to know each patient is crucial – they appreciate it, and it ultimately makes treatment easier. Building a relationship with my patients has allowed me to create a great foundation for my practice.
What does compassionate care mean to you?
Compassionate care means providing a safe, comfortable, and caring environment for patients and team members alike. Our goal is to provide a painless experience while changing the fearful perception of going to the dentist. Understanding and being empathetic towards a patient’s present and past—whether it be previous traumas or mental health conditions—is key in building trust.
What's the most valuable lesson you've learned in your career?
Focus on the positive 90%, and not on the negative 10%, that can’t be controlled. Nothing is perfect, but it’s easier to achieve a healthy balance by focusing your energy on the positives.