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Not a Routine Visit

Raised in Sudbury, Chantal’s interest in teeth started with a personal introduction to braces. “You definitely notice people’s teeth more when you’ve had to wear braces,” she laughs. During high school, Chantal embraced her new found smile and took up a summer job working in a local orthodontist’s office. She enjoyed the work so much she returned year after year before continuing her training in College Boreal’s dental hygiene program.

profile-imgAfter graduating, Chantal seized an opportunity to work abroad and traveled to a small village in Switzerland, becoming one of the first dental hygienists to practice in the area. It was during her work overseas that Chantal, fluent in both French and English, first discovered the importance of communications between patient and care provider. “Although I spoke French fluently, I had my cheat notes in German because you ran into the odd person who wasn’t able to speak French,” she said.

Returning to Canada, Chantal spent the next 14 years working in dental offices around Toronto before moving to North Bay to raise a family. While the experiences earned at these dental offices were of great value, they also helped her realize that she had a different set of priorities. “At the office, you’re on the clock and you’re just trying to get through your day. I remember working from 8 to 6 and cramming in 14 people a day.”

It was clear to Chantal that she wanted to offer a different style of oral care, which is why in 2009 she began doing research into opening her own business.

A Different Business Flossophy

Chantal’s research proved to be invaluable to her business plan; it revealed how drastically underserved North Bay was in terms of dental care providers, especially bilingual ones. This understanding allowed her to craft a solid business plan that highlighted her strengths in meeting this deficiency. The NOHFC agreed and supported her application through the Young Entrepreneur Program, making Hilltop Dental Hygiene Clinic a reality.

True to her values, Chantal tries to focus her services on open, two-way dialogue. One of the main reasons customers come to her clinic is for the top quality services, such as flexible hours and bilingual care. “With my own business, I can set my own schedule and take the time to really explain and educate my clients. That’s been my best feedback so far,” said Chantal. “I cater to the professionals who move from the big cities like Ottawa or Toronto because I can see them when it’s convenient and they don’t have to sacrifice work hours.”

Providing top quality service and educating her clients is only one of Chantal’s aspirations – she also wants to be an active participant in her community. Despite the challenges of running her own business, Chantal has spearheaded several local charity events, pulling together sponsors and volunteers to provide free oral cleanings to those unable to afford dental care. “It’s been absolutely great, because I know that my support comes from the community – I love giving back to them,” said Chantal. One of the biggest events she organized was the local Gift from the Heart campaign that involved over 20 of North Bay’s businesses volunteering time, transportation and money to operate an oral hygiene clinic for a day.

The Whole Tooth

Establishing a business is never an easy task, but Chantal did her homework to get her business started and continues to go the extra mile in supporting her community. “I have a student coming in to see the clinic and learn more about working abroad. I like to share my stories and just give whatever advice I can,” said Chantal. While she admits there have been difficulties along the way, she maintains it was worth it.

As a reward for her hard work, Chantal was nominated for North Bay`s New Business of the Year in 2011 and has recently been added to the advisory panel for Canadore College’s Dental Hygiene program. “It was an honour to get that recognition and to have my hard work pay off,” said Chantal.

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