When Anna Teo and Lawrence Huynh signed up at Otago University ten years ago to pursue degrees in dental technology, neither suspected that their decision would be so much more serendipitous than just a good career choice. But it wasn’t long before the studious classmates had caught each other’s eye and romance blossomed.
It seems there is a strong sense of kismet involving these two talented young professionals, with some remarkable similarities in their family stories: Lawrence’s father came to New Zealand from Vietnam during the war. Lawrence’s Malaysian mother came to New Zealand and met Lawrence’s dad, fell in love, and stayed, leaving all her family in Malaysia. Lawrence, born and raised in New Zealand, grew up in Lynfield attending Halsey Drive Primary School, Waikowhai Intermediate, and Lynfield College.
Anna, born in Malaysia, came to New Zealand to study at university, fell in love with both Lawrence and New Zealand, and stayed, leaving all her family in Malaysia. “My parents complained a bit”, she said, “But they have been very supportive of me and proud of what I have achieved”. Anna makes an effort to return home to see family whenever possible, however due to the ongoing pandemic she hasn’t been able to go back since her last trip at the end of 2018.
However, romance had to take a back seat as study came first. Determined to achieve their best, they worked hard and followed their degrees with postgraduate diplomas in Clinical Dental Technology, which they each achieved with distinction.
Anna and Lawrence unexpectedly both found work in the same practice in Hamilton where they remained for four years, before returning to Auckland at the beginning of 2019 to start their own denture clinic. It coincided with family purchasing a residential property in Blockhouse Bay which turned out to be the perfect location for Lawrence and Anna to set up shop. The building retains its homey feel, complete with fruit trees outside and native timber floors inside, but with some modifications to accommodate the high-tech equipment of their trade.
Initially relying on referrals from local dentists, the prominent location near a bus stop on Taylor Street has provided a steady stream of foot traffic resulting in several walk-ins. “We’re very lucky with the location”, says Lawrence. “There are also several rest homes and retirement villages in the area, which means that not only are we surrounded by potential clients, but our practice is also really handy for them”.
Being the only dental lab in the area, business picked up quite quickly. At first, they got mostly lab work – dentists sending denture specifications through on behalf of their patients – but once the dentists became confident in the quality of their work, they soon started to send the patients themselves.
“We really enjoy the balance of seeing the patients personally, finding out what they want, seeing how the dentures look and fit in the mouth rather than just looking at the models of teeth in our hands”, says Lawrence. “Because every patient is unique it keeps our job interesting and we both really enjoy the hands-on nature of our work and crafting of teeth with our hands, it’s almost like art in a way.”
“Also, a lot of our clients are locals, and we love them chatting to us, sharing memories and stories, their best fishing spots and things like that. Some even knew the former owners of the house. That’s what we like about being here - hearing the personal stories from our clients. We love that connection with the community”.
For more information contact Anna or Lawrence on 09 948 2202, or find out more at www.dentic.co.nz.