After 38 years looking into people’s mouths, Suzy Coleman will be spending more time looking into the ocean’s waves with her husband.
Suzy, who qualified as a dentist in 1977, has retired from at Alvington House Dental Practice in Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, where she has worked for 27 years.
At 61 she and husband Paul plan to point their 42ft sailing boat at the Mediterranean.
“We’re going to become water gypsies,” she joked.
She says the biggest change during her careers has been in the materials dentists use and the rise in cosmetic surgery.
But she adds: “Patients’ expectations have changed.
“Our approach to patients and the patients’ approach to us has changed. Dentists are much more approachable.
“People want to understand what’s happening. You’re laying back in that chair with your mouth open and people can’t commu nicate with you.
“Now we say if you want us to stop, hold up your hand, where in the past the dentist was in charge and ‘zoom’.”
She also notes people’s teeth are also healthy, which may be in partly due to fluoride now being usual in toothpaste where it was almost unknown when she started.
But she also feels that as techniques have become less uncomfortable, people no longer wait until they are in serious pain before presenting themselves.
Her successor at Alvington House is Sophia Johnston.