Bringing dentistry to rural residents

Newly-arrived dentist, Dr. Zulfar Moledina, credits the staff at Barry’s Bay Family Dental Centre with making a seamless transition. In addition to the Barry’s Bay practice, Dr. Moledina owns several other rural eastern Ontario practices. Despite this, once the decision was made he just took over the next day and started seeing patients as they were scheduled. He said, “But this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Wendy [Kutchkoskie, office manager/dental assistant].” In fact he stated that it was Wendy who made him aware of the availability of the Barry’s Bay practice.  Shown above: Dr. Zulfar Moledina (left), Val Kerr receptionist, Wendy Kutchkoskie manager/dental assistant, Tiana Moore part-time assistant (seated). Absent: Justina Donahue and Melanie Kedrosky, dental hygienists.

Dr. Moledina first studied dentistry at the University of Manchester during the 1980s. As part of his course, he did a comparative study in dental education between the Canadian and British systems. This required him to spend a couple of months in different Canadian provinces. When he later moved to Canada and graduated in dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, he was well-equipped for his first job in an Ottawa shopping mall.

When asked if running multiple practices in different locations might be spreading himself too thin, Dr. Moledina explained why this was not the case. He credited his colleagues for helping him bring dentistry to rural communities saying,

I do have help at my other offices. My objective initially was to see if we could get more dentists recruited but once I started working here in Barry’s Bay, I found I was enjoying it so much. And it was easier for me to recruit in Kanata (Ottawa) than it was to recruit in Barry’s Bay. That’s why I spend two days here [per week] and I’m loving every minute of it. [The patients] made me feel really welcome here. I feel more appreciated here than Ottawa in some regards. So I’m enjoying this.

One immediate advantage to Valley patients is the fact that he has upgraded the technology at the Family Dental Centre to match what he uses in the city. This includes digital radiography, panoramic X-rays and intra-oral cameras and sensors. He said the camera is a very important tool for the patient to see what he sees in their mouth. With the camera, he can project what he sees onto a screen. He said, “This is great. Because when I first started in Ottawa I was actually teaching at Algonquin as well so I do like that teaching aspect – talking to my patients, educating them.”

Describing himself as an “opportunist,” he pointed to the fact that rural areas are very under-serviced and there is much demand for dental services. He said,

I’m very fortunate that I’ve had the exposure to be in the city. I’m enjoying this new adventure and I’m finding the patients really appreciate it…. It’s been an incredible journey for me. And now for me to come to Barry’s Bay, it’s like a gift – just the icing on the cake.

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