When you think of cosmetic and general dentistry, Dr. Oliver Wala’s name is bound to come up through his private practice – Family Dentistry – a dental clinic he started in 2001. A youthful man with over 22 years of experience, Dr. Wala has broken barriers and paved way for young dentists to thrive in an experience-based sector. He speaks to JOANNE GICHANA.
When Dr. Oliver Wala started his own dental practice after working for 4 years at AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital, he was well aware of the challenges of being a new and young dentist in a field where experience sells. Not to mention the heavy financial burden of opening up a start-up, as well as the uphill battle of developing a sizeable client list to help sustain the business.
But by grace, friends and family came through for the ambitious dentist and he opened the Family Dentistry clinic in Hurlingham at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital. “We started small. It was basically just my wife and me,” he says.
His wife, Sarah Wala, was at the time a nurse and she stepped up for her husband and supported him through and through. Since then, the clinic has grown and expanded to a fully equipped state-of-the-art clinic and Dr. Wala is grateful to God for it has been one journey of faith for him and his family.
How was working with his wife? “It was very comfortable for me because I knew I could trust her completely. We had a great working atmosphere and relationship,” he says, revealing that she is currently pursuing other interests.
The couple has two children – a 10-year-old boy named Sam, and a 17-and-a-half-year-old girl named Joy. He is glad he chose dentistry as his area of specialization because it has allowed him to spend time with his family, something he deems very important.
“I work eight to five because I really want to spend time with my family in the evenings,” he says.
When Dr. Wala first started out, his age was a bit of a problem for some because he was 23. Kenyans have a tendency to rely on more seasoned medical practitioners because we assume with age comes experience. For Dr. Wala, it was no different but luckily, there were a few who took a chance on him and put the trust in their oral health into his able hands.
“I feel everybody deserves a chance and I thank God for the patients who put their trust in me,” he says. Indeed he has found that once people get his services, they tend to stay loyal to him and often spread the word like bushfire.
“I currently mentor upcoming dentists because I know the struggles one goes through initially when they first come into private practice,” he says.
PART 2: How I began my dental career
PART 3: What keeps me going