North Durham is very fortunate to have many services, which assist us in our daily lives. One such business, has a strong presence is the dental industry, which to my surprise, is made of many different facets.
I never gave much thought to any part of dentistry, other than my regular check-ups, but I recently met a denturist, who explained his side of a very interesting business. Mike Dunn has been a part of Dunn Denture Clinic all of his working life. His Port Perry Clinic is located on Scugog Street, right across from John Street.
Born in Oshawa, Mike’s father, also a denturist, opened his business in 1974, in Oshawa. He was very successful and the family enterprise grew. I asked Mike what services a denture clinic provides, and he smiled and said, “If you can take it out we can make it.” He confirmed this relates to anything to do with dentures and mouth guards.
I assumed Mike worked in the family business, while attending Paul Dwyer High School in Oshawa. He corrected me, and explained he worked for a landscaping firm as well as his parent's clinic. He beamed when he said his mother also worked there. “She was in charge of first impressions”. He meant she was the receptionist and office manager, but the title was also a pun for his industry.
Mike decided he wanted to be a denturist at an early age, and attended George Brown College. Sadly, while he was in his final year, his father passed away. This of course, caused a major dilemma and luckily, a friend of the family who was a dentist in Bowmanville, stepped in to assist with the practice until Mike graduated.
“It was a real whirlwind for me, and a lot to take on all at once,” Mike explained. I can only imagine how difficult that time in his life must have been; recently graduating, falling into a very busy business, and dealing with the passing of his father.
Fortunately, for the business and the family, Mike’s sister also became a denturist, and worked in the business with him. A few years ago, she turned her sights to become a hygienist, and left the practice. “She is still in the industry, so we continue to have a great deal in common,” Mike said.
The Dunn Denture Clinic was doing well. They had a growing client list, and were also doing work for dentists in Durham. Mike found he was travelling north a fair bit to assist customers in North Durham, and in 1995 decided to open a branch of his business in Port Perry.
“There was no other denture clinic in the area and I love Port Perry,” Mike said, smiling as he spoke. His first location was on Water Street, and after a successful stint, decided to move to a quieter area on High Street.
Mike spends as much time as he can with his family, which consists of his partner and two daughters. I asked him what he did for fun, and his eyes beamed when he told me about his brand new BMW motorcycle.
The pandemic interrupted his plans to do an intense motorcycle trek through Europe, but he is now making arrangements to get the adventure organized. “It was something I planned to do for my fiftieth, but I guess it will be a year or two later.”
Like most of us, Mike and his family enjoy travelling, and have an attraction to Mexico’s Mayan Riviera. “I love the place and keep going back.” When I was interviewing him, his better half was preparing for a trip to her hometown of Goose Bay Labrador. I asked if he was going as well, and he laughed loudly. I took that as a no.
I wondered how Mike and his business fared during the pandemic and he explained how fortunate he was. As a denture clinic, he fell under the Emergency Services Group and was able to continue providing services to both communities of Port Perry and Oshawa.
I found our conversion very interesting and I learned a great deal about an industry I knew nothing about. I am also a bit envious of Mike’s planned motorcycle trek, through the historic towns and villages in Europe.
If you want to know more about Mike or his business, give him a call at 905.985.8028. He is a pleasure to chat with, and always has time for his community.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. His show, ‘The Jonathan van Bilsen Show,’ on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube, features many of the people included in this column.