A family legacy

Posted on 23rd September 2020

As a fourthgeneration dentist, Dr Grace Cooper is following in her family’s footsteps. Grace’s great grandfather graduated with a dental degree in England in 1920, after which her grandfather, father, and then Grace, all followed suit. 

However, even with her family history, Grace’s future career was never pre-ordained. Nor, indeed, was her father’s – Dr Richard Cooper. 

“Dad wasn’t actively encouraged to be a dentist by his family,” Grace reveals. “He liked fixing things and working with his hands, and he was interested in a job that involved caring for people. He also wanted to have a career from which he could support a family.

“Similarly, although I got the idea from dad, I was also never actively encouraged to become a dentist,” she says. “When I was in high school, I realised that I wanted a career that could be balanced with having a family, as well as the opportunity to help others. So, dentistry seemed like the perfect choice.” 

Richard retired in 2014, and after graduating, Grace started working at Harmony Dental (the third generation to work at the practice) in 2019.

“I’ve been going there for my dental appointments my whole life,” Grace says. “There are many staff who’ve been there since I was a child, and some who started working there before I was born! Additionally, the culture and ethos of the practice are exceptional, and I’m so lucky to now be a part of the team.

I am fortunate enough to not only see my dad’s previous patients, but I also regularly encounter my grandfather’s old patients,” she adds. Every time I meet a patient of grandpa’s, it is extremely heartwarming and humbling. 

Mentorship has also been a great advantage. Grace says she has had an immense amount of mentorship from Richard – especially during dental school.  

I am very fortunate because dad was always interested in the latest technology, and educating himself on modern dentistry,” she says. “To this day I still call him to get his advice on tricky cases.

This article first appeared in the October edition of the Western Articulator. Read it in full here