Patrick Meaney is passionate about dentistry. He graduated from Sydney University’s Faculty of Dentistry in 1983 with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree, but he decided to make dentistry a career well before this. Patrick grew up in the era when lots of dental intervention was common for children and teenagers and consequently was pretty familiar with most aspects of dental treatment from a young age.
“I decided to choose dentistry as a profession as a result of encouragement from the dentist that was looking after me when I was about 16. He loved what he did and he took the trouble to encourage me to see the possibilities of a life helping people to look after their teeth. When young people have a lot of dental treatment they have one of two reactions: either they never want to see a dentist again, or (perhaps more rarely!) they become exceptionally interested in avoiding future dental trouble. That’s what happened to me: but looking back, even I think I took the interest a bit far. I can remember phoning the practice office when I was in high school to ask why they hadn’t sent me a six-month reminder letter. It turned out they were a month behind in sending their usual letters. I think they found that a bit surprising-with good reason!”
After graduation Patrick worked in a variety of practices in suburban Sydney, including Gladesville, Manly, and the Ryde area. He combined a busy general practice with part-time teaching for both the university faculty and TAFE. For many years, Patrick was responsible for delivering courses for dental assistants in both general dentistry and radiography. He still enjoys teaching which is a bit of family tradition as both his mum and dad were involved in education.
“The thing I am most interested in, within my profession, and in my practice, are the ideas of quality and longevity. Without a high quality of treatment, you can’t have longevity, and having treatment that lasts is very important, both to your health and to your enjoyment of life. In my dental office, my patients desire for health is encouraged and respected, and we all strive for perfection in communication and advice, in the treatment we offer and the procedures we carry out.”
After marrying Evelyn, they both decided to choose the quiet Southern Highlands town of Moss Vale to raise their family. Patrick was invited to join what was then the only practice in Moss Vale in 1989 and became a partner in 1990. Over the next decade they had three boys, Lachlan, Cameron and Duncan.
Patrick has been involved in the wider profession for most of his career. He was elected as a state Councilor for the ADA in 1988 and is now the only Councilor from 1988 still serving. He was elected as a member of the Dental Board of NSW in 1994, where he served as Chairman of the Complaints Committee for four years. He has held many positions within ADA NSW Branch: and is now serving at the Vice-President for the NSW Branch. One of the projects he’s been associated with recently is a complete re-writing of the ADA NSW Code of Ethics, for the first time incorporating discussion of the ‘four principles’ of medical ethics.
Patrick was also instrumental in the creation of the ADA’s Centre for Professional Dental Development, as well as being a founding director of this company which creates material for continuing education, lectures for dentists and their staff, sound and and video training products for dentists all over Australia and New Zealand. This has helped combine his interest in advancing the general standards within the profession and his interest in teaching. One of the exciting projects created by this group was the ‘Digital Media Library’. This facility is kind of like YouTube for dentists, with a wide variety of educations videos and lectures, some of which Patrick created. It was eventually taken over by the National Branch of the ADA and now serves dentists all over Australia. He is currently the deputy-chair of the national Continuing Professional Development Committee, having served as a Clinical Media Advisor, interviewer and content developer. He enjoyed his time as the lead interviewer for the Australian Dental Association’s ‘Dental Files’ series, an educational product which provides audio interviews and video lectures to dentists all over Australia.
Patrick is currently the International Trustee and Australasian President of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, after having served as national secretary and treasurer since 2001. The Academy is an international dental honour society established in memory of an extraordinary French dentist, considered the father of modern dentistry.
Patrick’s great interest since 1999 however, has been ‘CEREC’.
CEREC™ is a system for restoring teeth in a single appointment with a specialized dental porcelain using advanced Cad-Cam technology and state-of-the-art ceramic bonding systems.
‘Chairside Economical Restoration using Esthetic Ceramic’, the acronym chosen by the Sirona company which manufactures CEREC, breaks several spelling and good taste rules, but pretty much sums up the wonderful possibilities afforded by this innovative computerised system. Read more about it here. Patrick liked the system so much he accepted the invitation to become a Clinical Trainer for other dentists and in 2000 traveled to San Francisco to complete advanced training. Since that time, he has lectured both here and overseas (in New York in 2005 and more recently as a keynote speaker at the Australian Dental Association Triennial Congress in Sydney) as well as writing about and conducting basic and advanced courses in the clinical use of bonded ceramics.
Patrick is a past-president of the Australian Society of Computerised Dentistry, a group he helped found in 2002. Sadly, this group is being wound up (perhaps not so sadly, as we did such a great job of teaching, we’re no longer required!) bringing this to an end; but the legacy will continue with an annual essay competition for dental students, on the theme of advances in computerised dentistry.
Away from the office, Patrick has been involved with the Moss Vale Rotary Club, and as past-President of the Moss Vale Chamber of Commerce; he was also chairman of the sadly unsuccessful attempt to establish a Conservatorium of Music in the Southern Highlands (thanks, WSC!).
Patrick enjoys tennis, watching his sons wander all over the globe (and then watching his wife Evelyn follow their progress in their various work and fun-related activities), and playing with the family dog. OK, not really that last bit.