Dr Ana Dias-Chuck — A different kind of dentistry

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT

Monday, March 19, 2018

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MANY people fear dentists, but Dr Ana Dias-Chuck is fun, patient, focused, and committed to changing that view.

In fact, when you step into the Elite Smiles offices in St Ann's Bay, fears are quickly eliminated as the décor, coupled with your movie of choice, will leave you feeling like you're in a spa.

And soon you are greeted by her megawatt smile and cheerful personality, traits that were also on display when All Woman first met her while she was being hosted by Sagicor Bank as one of their Women in Business SME clients at a luncheon this past International Women's Day.

Born in Mexico but raised in Jamaica, Dr Dias-Chuck told All Woman that growing up she was afflicted by asthma and spent a lot of time at the hospital.

During those times, which lasted right into her days at Campion College, Dr Dias-Chuck said she became interested in medicine, and in helping people.

“Going to the hospital I interacted with a lot of sick people and at the time going for treatment was frustrating as my mother didn't speak the language so she had an issue communicating, and a lot of documentation for treating asthma was not around. I became interested in medicine and working to help people who were sick; I myself understanding how it felt to be sick,” she said.

She also became involved with the Brownie and Girl Guides movements.

“I wasn't able to do much for sick people but I became a Brownie and Girl Guide and got the opportunity through that to visit children's homes and that influenced me. It was really seeing the positive change that you can make or do for an individual that has a special need. A Brownie and Girl Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day. That really marked me for life.”

Dr Dias-Chuck shared that she also got orthodontic work as a child and that was instrumental in sparking her interest in dentistry.

“I was in orthodontic treatment for about three years and the drastic change, the before and after that I saw, and the interaction I had with my orthodontist and his approach to patient care was very different from the interaction I got as a child going to the doctor. The medical doctors were very standoffish, very arrogant, not very empathetic and compassionate as I would have thought them to be. When I went to the orthodontist it was like night and day,” she said.

“Then I decided I would be focused on becoming a dentist.”

And so, after leaving Campion, Dr Dias-Chuck went back to Mexico where she started dentistry at Universidad Veracruzana, then moved to Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and completed her studies in Cuba at the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de Santiago de Cuba.

On her return to Jamaica in 2006, Dr Dias-Chuck worked in the public sector for six years with the South East Regional Health Authority where her love for dentistry further grew. But she explained that she never felt like she was able to deliver the service she was trained to carry out while in the public service and as a result moved to becoming an associate dentist in a private practice that spanned four parishes.

But she still toyed with the idea of opening her own practice as she felt her duty was public service — to help those who could not afford care.

“When people come to you and have issues where they are embarrassed, afraid to talk, afraid to smile, it hurts to know they can't afford it and in the public sector oftentimes the first resort is to extract and that should be the last treatment. Patients come for us to help them, restore their health and function. Dentistry is more than teeth. Without teeth there is a breakdown in the function of the body — you can't chew food and that triggers all sorts of different health issues and further complicates chronic illnesses,” she said.

And so, after 10 years as an associate, when Dr Dias-Chuck opened Elite Smiles, she ensured that payment plans were available, coupled with adequate patient education to improve the outlook residents in and around St Ann's Bay had on dentistry.

“Outside of the office we do a lot of work with schools in close proximity, giving presentations and pointing them to the quality of care for teeth. We find that children are more receptive to what we teach and it's easier to make a positive impact,” she said.

Dr Dias-Chuck said apart from her daily duties she has a strong inclination to help others and does so whenever necessary.

In her spare time she spends time with her five-year-old son George, her husband Brandon, and keeps abreast of changes in dentistry.

She says while she remains committed to improving the oral health of individuals, she ensures she remains focused, patient and perseveres while improving smiles.

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