5th May 2017
Guy Laffan and how winning impacted everything about his job
Guy Laffan, winner of Best Young Dentist Wales at The Dentistry Awards 2016, tells us what motivates him.
Dentistry: What motivated you to pursue a career in dentistry?
Guy Laffan: Both my parents are dentists so it’s career I had exposure to from a very young age. Whether it was cutting stickers (before they were perforated) in the office during my summer holiday, or going on home visits with my dad after school, I always had some form of involvement with the surgery. There were always, and to be honest still are, random instruments and stacks of magazines lying around their house so I guess it was deep rooted in me from a young age. Enjoying chemistry and biology more than any other subject simply compounded my decision. Although, it was a close call with medicine. Now I am married to a doctor I couldn’t be more relieved with my decision to pursue dentistry. Doctors really do have it tough compared to us dentists and the recent junior doctor debacle made me even more thankful.
Dentistry: What do you like most about it?
Guy: Aside from all the gadgets and gizmos I get to play with I absolutely love the buzz I get when I finish a case and the patient leaves the surgery almost with a new lease of life. It really does feel like you can change someone’s life through dentistry and it’s that feeling that has the biggest impact on me. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to help people in such a way. I have to be honest, I really do love the dental world as a whole – the courses, awards, and award ceremonies are all so much fun.
Dentistry: What career path would you have chosen if you hadn’t pursued dentistry?
Guy: Well, I guess medicine in agreement with my first answer; however, I like to think I could have been a rock star. I was a drummer in a rather good band in my late teens and we got quite the following gigging all across south Wales. Sadly, life happened, and we split up to go to university. We still have the odd jam, so you never know! But having said that I am absolutely obsessed with cooking (but mainly the eating) so I could have easily seen myself as a head chef somewhere…but then again having spoken to a few patients who are chefs, I don’t think I could have handled the hours.
Dentistry: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Guy: It’s usually one of my wife’s four alarms that start at 6am, or on the odd occasion I can sleep through them my spaniel, Reggie, usually jumps on my head around 7.30am. But on a serious note, seeing each day as a challenge and an opportunity to succeed in some way really drives me out of bed in the morning. I’ve never been someone who needs a lie in – there’s always something that needs to get done and I take great pride in being immensely proactive.
Dentistry: And what keeps you awake at night?
Guy: I’m 100% guilty of thinking about cases in the middle of the night, particularly implants. Even counting sheep can’t get my brain to slow down at 2am once I’ve started wondering if certain things are going well. That, or Reggie (who sleeps in our bedroom) deciding he wants to start biting his squeaking pig toy at silly o’clock. I need to throw it out really.
Dentistry: Describe yourself in a few words
Guy: Driven, determined, positive and always smiling. Good at some things, terrible at others, but always giving 100%.
Dentistry: How do you unwind?
Guy: Cooking really helps me unwind – I find chopping weirdly therapeutic, and of course the eating part helps too. I do love to exercise whenever I can, and most recently have taken up spinning, which is good fun. Walking the dog really clears my head after a long day, but on the contrary dealing with the muddy paws of a wild juvenile dog afterwards can be stressful.
Dentistry: Where’s your favourite holiday destination?
Guy: It has to be Thailand. I’ve been lucky enough to travel there six times and have covered the whole country. I just love everything about it. The people, the culture the climate, and of course the food! The islands are gorgeous and at the right time of the year the sea is sensational. Bangkok is such a wild city and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – but as with all new places you just have to get stuck in. I love Orlando too. My wife and I spent a week there just after we got engaged and were made to wear ‘just engaged’ badges around the Disney parks – we had such a laugh! But if you’re looking for ultimate luxury head to the Maldives – we had our honeymoon there and it’s a holiday I will never forget.
Dentistry: What’s your favourite film, TV programme and book?
Guy: I love the ‘80s and almost every film that it produced. Rocky IV and Top Gun are just classics that are some of my favourites without any doubt. Like most I think Game of Thrones is amazing, but I used to love watching Nip/Tuck many years ago – worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. If I ever get time to read outside of textbooks and research papers then I tend to opt for something massively factual and interesting. Authors like Bill Bryson or books like Outliers that really get the grey matter going.
Dentistry: Do you play any sports?
Guy: I used to play rugby and American football at Bristol University but a nasty thumb injury put a swift end to that. I watch pretty much every home match Wales plays in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff – if you haven’t experienced this then you really must! I do love a good skiing trip and if the sun’s out and I find the right road I’ll take my five-foot long board skateboard out for a spin.
Dentistry: What kind of music do you listen to?
Guy: Having being involved with music my whole life there really isn’t a kind of music I don’t like. In the same hour scrolling through my library I could easily skim over jazz, ‘80s, heavy metal, rap, electro, and blues all in one fell swoop. I absolutely love music in any way shape or form, and it takes very little to get my foot tapping – much to my dad’s annoyance.
Dentistry: Tell us something about yourself that others might not know
Guy: Well only my wife and brother have truly spotted this, but I’m quite asymmetrical. They say that the most beautiful people on earth are symmetrical – well I’m the opposite. For instance, my left ear is way bigger than my right ear and my right lateral incisor is bigger than my right. The list goes on. Now I’ve mentioned it, anyone who knows me reading this will never look at me in the same way again.
Dentistry: Anything else you’d like to add?
Guy: If you’ve taken the time to read this then I’d just like to say thanks and if you ever see me out and about please come say hi. I’d like to take a moment to thank absolutely everyone in my life for simply making it so awesome. I’d like to thank my parents Martyn and Carol Laffan, and my wife Sophie for their constant support and inspiration. I also want to say an enormous thank you to Ken Finlayson and everyone at FMC for giving me so many fantastic opportunities over the last few months. Winning at The Dentistry Awards has had a massive impact on everything about my job and I am eternally grateful. Remember to work hard and always be nice.
The Dentistry Awards is currently open for entry. Register for free, and give yourself the chance to be recognised at the Europe’s biggest dental ceremony.