Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS Hons) | James Cook University
Dr. Thomas Munro’s journey in dentistry started early in life. A half-Western Australian and half-Queenslander, Dr. Tom spent his childhood between Perth and Cairns in tropical Far North Queensland. It was during this time when he first began to be interested in the dental profession, taking inspiration from a family friend who is a dentist. He thus fulfilled this dream, finished dental school with honours, and built a practice where his caring nature and exceptional skills continue to fix smiles and change lives.
A strong academic background and a vibrant interest in scientific and medical research provided Dr. Tom the heart and mind to build proficiency in all major aspects of oral care, with an emphasis on preventative and cosmetic dentistry. A published author, he was due to present his research in the U.S. before COVID-19. In 2020, he was awarded a travel grant to Washington, D.C. to represent Australia and New Zealand and deliver a presentation at the Unilever Hatton Competition during the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Annual Conference.
By continuing to invest time for learning and upskilling, Dr. Tom is able to keep up-to-date with the fast-paced development and emerging technologies in his field. This translates to a higher level of care for his dental patients and a premium on quality work, no matter how challenging. “One thing to know is that dentistry is hard. It takes a full team of people just to treat one person. At no point is any of that easy or quick,” he says. “Good dentistry takes time.”
Beyond his achievements on paper, there is one thing that impacts his ability to create a great patient experience: his way of communicating that allows him to make a positive connection with “just about anyone.” He adds, “I think it's really comforting when someone comes in and they're suffering or anxious about anything, and you just have a genuine talk with them about topics that have nothing to do with dentistry. It brings a sense of calm and gains a sense of trust, knowing that you’re actually taking the time to get to know them, you’re not in a hurry, and that you appreciate their situation.”
Dr. Tom’s commitment to creating a warm, welcoming and friendly atmosphere during dental visits has clearly made an impact on patients, who continue to give great reviews of the clinic, thanking the team and Dr. Tom’s professionalism, relaxing manner and infectious smile (which he keeps bright and healthy with regular cleaning from a fellow dentist). As one regular puts it: “He is so nice, especially to us oldies. We always have a laugh and having to go to the dentist now isn’t daunting for me anymore.”
When not in practice, Dr. Tom loves to be outdoors to go fishing, boating, hiking and four-wheel driving in his much-loved Hilux. At the time of writing, this dentist is enjoying the process of carrying out a DIY renovation to a home with the help of his parents. He admits every step of the renovation project takes a long time because he is very particular and wants everything according to his exact specifications – something that might not be a surprise for his patients who are familiar with his precision.
At the core of Dr. Tom’s practice is his passion for envisioning dentistry as a way to uplift people’s lives. He was able to realise this during the times he was fortunate enough to provide volunteer dental services where it is needed the most, traveling throughout rural Australia (including Tasmania), and overseas including Nepal and Fiji.
“The experience really allows you not to prejudge anyone, regardless of their situation. If people in a remote village would walk four days just to get to the closest dentist, they then may not get seen by a practitioner, and then they walk back home, it's not their fault [for not getting the dental care they need],” he says. “Ultimately, this gives me great joy – being able to help people in that sort of situation, so I try to give a hand as much as I can.”