Changing lives one smile at a time

Dental prosthetist Kathy Danoucaras at work. (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Anne Parisianne

Inside a room at KND Denture Clinic in St Albans, dental prosthetist Kathy Danoucaras consults her patients, creating a plan for their dentures.

There is a Dux plaque on a wall showing Ms Danoucaras’ achievement of being the best student in her prosthetist class in 1992.

“I love my job,“ Ms Danoucaras said.

“By changing people’s smiles, I see people feel more positive about themselves, and it has been very rewarding for me.“

Ms Danoucaras, the director of KND Denture Clinic, is a highly accomplished dental professional.

She completed her apprenticeship at The Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne in 1988.

Fluent in Greek, Ms Danoucaras has also managed to connect with Greek-speaking patients and care for them.

Ms Danoucaras said her father, Tony, a dental technician, inspired her to pursue the profession that has traditionally been dominated by men.

When Ms Danoucaras was 13 years old, she often visited the laboratory where her father worked. She would sit on a laboratory bench, watching her father do his job.Her father also shared foundational knowledge and skills with Ms Danoucaras, contributing to her early expertise.

Her initial journey was not without a challenge.

Ms Danoucaras failed the first time she took the dental prosthetics course entrance tests. She decided to re-sit the tests for a second time and passed.

“When I first started my job, I was one of the only few females,“ she said.

And when her son was still young, she often did two shifts in one day to secure time to care for her son.

Now, Ms Danoucaras has been in the industry for 40 years.

“Throughout my career, I’ve never felt like not coming to work,“ she said.

“It’s not just about business for me. I listened to my patients,“ she said.

With two other prosthetists, Ms Danoucaras has owned KND Denture Clinic in the St Albans area for more than 25 years.

The clinic, whose prosthetists are members of The Australian Dental Prosthetists Association (ADPA), provides services including full dentures, implant retained overdentures, cobalt chrome/metal dentures, partial dentures (acrylic), sports mouthguards, and repairs and relines.

The clinic accepts patients without a referral for treatment.

In her free time, Ms Danoucaras enjoys going to a gym and swimming to keep fit. She also likes walking accompanied by her little Jack Russel dog.

Last year, despite her busy working schedule, Ms. Danoucaras did a ’10-day Walking Challenge’ for Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to raise funds for cancer research. She walked for 150 km during these ten days. Friends and family donated more than $5,000 to support her cause.

She also held a Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser at Keilor Football Club last year for cancer research.

Her accomplishments go beyond her academic and professional achievements.

“I’m proud of my job,“ Ms Danoucaras said.

“I certainly do recommend more women getting involved in this industry.

“Some patients prefer to see me because they feel more comfortable to be treated by a female dentist.“