It’s more than 40 years now since Dr Ennio Rebellato completed his schooling at Parade College and pursued dentistry as a career path.
A final year student of the class of 1977, Ennio graduated from the University of Melbourne as a dentist and earned further qualifications in endodontics (the branch of dentistry related to the basic sciences of understanding normal dental pulp and treatment of diseases affecting it.*
Today, Ennio operates out of his Moonee Ponds practice. A proud Old Paradian, he recently saw fit to compile a list of fellow former students who had similarly entered the dentistry profession, many of whom he has personally contacted to clarify details.
“I have had this thought for a while. In the world of working life, one sometimes meets people who, through casual conversation or by direct communication, you have a common history,” Ennio said.
“The dental world of which I am involved is a relatively small world and over the past 30-odd years, I have met several dentists from different generations, who also went to Parade.
“There are numerous background stories, and there have been many dentists who have achieved much, but have remained modest about their significant accomplishments. I thought I would compile a list of those dentists I know, and some of their professional achievements.”
Ennio provided the following short summary of how dentistry is organised, noting that most people probably don’t realise how complex the world and industry of dentistry can be and as he dryly suggested, “most people probably wouldn’t want to know”.
BACKGROUND TO ORGANIZATIONAL DENTISTRY
In the past, those who wanted to obtain a dental degree usually attended a university in their own state. The dental degree previously involved five years as an undergraduate degree, but is now often, depending on the University, a four-year graduate degree (after obtaining a previous three-year undergraduate degree). In the past 25 years there have been many more dentals schools open throughout Australia, and it is more common for applicants to leave their home state and even go overseas to pursue their dental studies. Hence it is harder to know if any of those choosing dentistry as a career have a Parade background.
The profile of those undertaking dentistry has changed dramatically in the last two decades.
The average dental class now has a 50% split male/female, and would have majority of students from an Asian (Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese) background.
Dentistry has many facets and there are many areas in the oral health world where dentists contribute their skills and expertise.
General dental practice (this is the most well known to most readers) where dentists work as a small business either as solo operator, or perhaps as a partner in a larger business. Typically these practices employ other people (nurses, receptionists and therapists) in order to provide the required services. Some dentists are happy to work as employed assistants in such practices. This was the traditional model, and has many advantages but significant and increasing issues with regard to regulatory compliance.
Increasingly, dental services are being provided by third parties (insurance and other companies) who employ qualified dentists. In fact, following deregulation, anyone can now set up a dental practice and employ dentists as long as regulatory requirements are met.
A Government sector also exists where dentists and other oral health professionals are employed, usually in the provision of public dental services to the community and eligible schools.
Many dentists opt for an academic career, which usually involves research and teaching in universities. Typically further qualifications are required, which may include Masters Degrees or PhDs.
There are also various specialties in the dental world to assist in the provision of more complicated specific services to those patients with difficult problems or special needs.
The more familiar specialties include:
There are several formal dental associations, and government organizations to oversee and maintain standards. And there are many special interest groups. Most dentists are members of these groups, although it is not compulsory to join.
These include the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and its state branches (such as the ADA VB (Victorian Branch)) and affiliated special interest societies, together with the RACDS (Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons).
It is compulsory, however to be registered with the relevant Australian government authorities and to maintain registration in good standing annually.
Many dentists also contribute their time to dental association-supported community events and dental education projects, both in regional Australia and overseas. Many are also members of other service organizations such as Rotary, or Vinnies.
KNOWN OLD PARADIANS IN THE DENTAL WORLD (as at September 2020)
The following is a list of (known to the author) of Old Paradians who have graduated from dentistry in Australia and a brief summary (necessarily incomplete) of their accomplishments. Some of the details, specifically dates, may also be slightly inaccurate.
Of interest is the period in the 1970s, which may be regarded as a “golden period”. Three dentists from that time (Paul Gleeson, Sandro D’Adamo and myself) were all in the same HSC class of ’77. This was Br Moloney’s maths class and none of us knew that the other had applied for dentistry until we all showed up for the introductory day in early 1978!
Three Old Paradians , Garry Nervo, Gavan O’Connell and myself pursued the specialty area of endodontics. Given that there were only around 20 members of this specialty in Melbourne at that time, this was quite a sizable contribution.
Percy Matthews (Parade 1900)
Raymond “Max” Hallam (Parade 1950)
John Petris (Parade 1958)
Anthony Sneazwell (Parade 1960)
Garry Nervo (Parade 1968)
Alan Mansour (Parade 1961)
Antonio Stella (Parade 1961)
Patrick Fitzgerald (Parade 1971)
Gavan O’Connell (Parade 1973)
David Clarke (Parade 1975)
Paul Gleeson (Parade 1977)
Sandro D’Adamo (Parade 1977)
Ennio Rebellato (Parade 1977)
Renato Simionato (Parade 1978)
As the result of this research, it was found that four of those named above, (AM, GO’C, RS and ER) all lived at some time in the suburb of East Thornbury!
Those aware of any former students of Parade College who pursued other aspects of the dental world, whether as dental researchers, dental technicians, dental therapists or through involvement with dental support industries, are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org on Ennio’s behalf.
images: The University of Melbourne Dent-AL Alumni newsletter and The Paradian