MAKING dentures wasn’t in 17-year-old Mark Hanson’s sights when he left school.
“I wanted to be a mechanic,” he says.
But his dad had other ideas and arranged for his son to go on a tour of the dental school at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
“He showed me around and I thought, ‘It’s not digging ditches or working in the rain and everyone has teeth, so I’ll give it a go’.”
More than 40 years later he’s still making and fitting dentures at his Spearwood practice, Dental Professionals, on Rockingham Road.
In his workshop there’s shelves of teeth grinning down at you, and odd-looking tools arranged on benches.
Inside drawers are rows of acrylic teeth in naturalistic tones, which are far superior to the Bee Gees-style teeth you see on toothpaste commercials.
These days a lot of cheap dentures are made in China, but Mr Hanson says they are not subject to the same health and manufacturing regulations as Australian-made ones.
“Everything we use has to go to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to be ticked off, but when you send the dentures overseas you don’t know what’s been done or what they have used.”
He’s had people ask for a quote then go overseas to get a denture made, including a woman who said she’d pay less in India.
Weeks later she returned to his Spearwood practice, asking for help with her new ill-fitting teeth, but they were so bad Mr Hanson couldn’t fix them.
A personal denture fitting is crucial and his customers are asked to sit in front of a mirror and pull faces to test the look and feel.
And a second opinion is helpful, so he advises clients to bring a family member along.
“Preferably a daughter because they are more critical,” laughs Mr Hanson.
2/235 Rockingham Road, Spearwood