Meeting Laura Todirica dispels all fears of the dentist. Smiling, reassuring, poised and professional, the Bucharest-born mother of two moved to Florence before becoming a partner in the Recrea dental studio. Laura speaks to The Florentine about the dental needs of the city’s international community.
How did you become a dentist?
I’m originally from Romania, so I graduated in dentistry at the University of Bucharest in 2008. Romania became part of the European Union in 2007, which meant that there was free access to move. We were encouraged to travel as the EU needed more dentists and more medics in general. I came to Florence in 2009 because I love the city. It’s an amazing Renaissance gem, but with an international flair and propensity to welcome foreigners. While I was waiting for my qualification to be recognized, I decided to do a master’s degree in implantology in Pisa in 2010, where I was the only woman.
Did that feel uncomfortable?
It wasn’t easy in the beginning, because I was 26 and my Italian wasn’t perfect. But in the end, what matters is that people are capable of doing their jobs and everyone slowly appreciates you. At the end of the master’s course, I was pregnant, so a year passed before I tried to find a job. The dental community in Florence is a bubble; it works on a “word-of-mouth” basis. The first position I found wasn’t a particularly prestigious clinic, but I was just happy to be back at work. Later, I had the opportunity to meet the most amazing professors, Fabio Bertini and Luca Giachetti, and they taught me everything I know. To me, they are like the Michelangelos of the mouth; their abilities are hard to describe. Dentistry is all about the hands. Three years ago, I also became a university professor.
What’s it like to educate the dentists of tomorrow?
We’re very fortunate that a lot was invested in the university department in recent years. We have huge manikins for simulations, so I teach the students how to do cavities, which materials to use and the more technological side of dentistry. The enthusiasm stimulates me and spurs me on to stay up-to-date in my profession. We have a mix of Italians and international students from Greece, Spain and all over. I love teaching because there’s more opportunity for interaction. The conversation is one-sided in a clinic, of course, when the patient’s lying down in the chair!
What’s your role at Recrea?
I’m a dentist with a focus on families. But I’m also a partner and together with all our team we will continue to treasure the heritage of our mentors and build the future of Recrea. Having decided to focus on orthodontics, I did a two-years second master’s in the Damon technique and finished my three-year specialization in orthodontics in Siena with an amazing group of people. In medicine, prevention is everything. I take care of the orthodontics and treat kids from age three. My Romanian degree in medicine gave me some solid background in psychology, which I use as my modus operandi with children. I work with them gradually, so that they become confident that the dentist is not to be feared. A bit of cleaning to get children used to the materials, instruments and sounds. It’s a way of reassuring children and teaching them to have a healthy relationship with the dentist and take care of their teeth.
What can you expect from a check-up at Recrea?
Professionalism, caring staff and updated technologies. The clinic is a house in a natural setting with wooden floors and a warm and welcoming waiting room with a comfortable couch. There are TV screens, so that kids can watch cartoons and be a little distracted; there’s relaxing music. We always use the very best materials and working at the university helps because we are approached with new products to carry out research and publish papers. At Recrea, we’re all general dentists and each of us has a specialization in different areas and we try to give the best professionalism.
How do you address the needs of Florence’s international community?
People come and go, of course, so we use a database that can be accessed and shared with colleagues all over the world. We have a solid network. I might start a treatment here in Florence, but somebody might move to Brussels for work, so I need to make sure that the information has been correctly transferred upon their arrival. A patient’s clinical history is very important.
How do you view the future of dentistry?
In the future, 50 per cent of our job will be information technology. The software we already have at our clinic requires specialist knowledge and knowing how to work with it for the best care of our patients is key. Human experience is everything and we share case studies among colleagues. Continuous training and staying updated is fundamental for us. It’s never just one dentist who’s treating you at Recrea; it’s the wider dental community.
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Have your teeth checked by Laura’s dental studio Recrea in the verdant setting of via del Bobolino 48. For more information, see www.recreaodontoiatria.it.