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Dr Prashanth Dhanpal on finding a new life as a dentist in Australia

Three years of specialist training in Hong Kong led him to finding a life, a wife and a new country.

  6 minutes


Paediatric dentist Dr Prashanth Dhanpal was seduced by Australia in 2007, when his entire life was turning around. He had already moved to a new country to study. As part of this postgraduate training, he spent a few weeks at Westmead Dental Hospital in Sydney and a few weeks at the Royal Dental Hospital in Melbourne.

“That’s when I made up my mind that this was where I would like to end up working,” he says now. “I liked the culture in dentistry here. As a student you’re focusing on quality not quantity, and when I looked at what my equals in Australia—registrars at the time—were doing, it was amazing.”

Dr Prashanth Dhanpal’s professional journey started when he finished his undergraduate training in India in 1997. “Like everybody else, I went into private practice,” he says. “Through my work I realised that my strength was in paediatric dentistry. So I did the research and decided to put in an application to do my Masters at the University of Hong Kong. I was a full time student for three years in Hong Kong. I was very lucky going there, because that’s where I found a life and a wife! I met my now-wife, Dr. Jaya Raman, there—she was a postgraduate student.”

Moving to Australia

Both he and his wife were impressed by the promise of Australia—the nature of dentistry they would be doing, and the difference to what he had experienced elsewhere.

“There was a lot of on−call work, which I was not exposed to at that point,” he explains about his brief work placement. “So that’s what interested me at the time, it was very restorative; it was very different to what I had been doing. And, of course, I also thought, ‘what a lovely place, nice bright sunshine, though nice and cold when it needs to be— why not make this our destination?’”

Dr Dhanpal worked in the public sector for the first few years while he accumulated the points he required to gain permanent residency. In October 2013, he was finally able to move into private practice. It was at this point that he became aware of a big gap in his knowledge.

“You have ten years of training to become a dentist, but none whatsoever to be a businessman, and I was expected to make that transformation overnight,” he says.

Making the move

Dr Dhanpal made the decision to join a practice as an associate, to try to learn the tricks of the trade. Six months into joining as an associate, he decided to jump in.

“Our relationship with Dr Dhanpal started about 18 months ago,” says BOQ Specialist's Michelle O’Connor. “He came to us through an existing client, a good friend of his. I got in touch with him and we met up for a coffee. It was very informal—it was about finding out how we could help him.”

He started to identify suitable premises in Sydney, comparing the areas where he thought he’d like to base his practice, and BOQ Specialist was able to help during this stage. “I helped him to consider concentration, GP and dentist referrals—basically where it made sense for him to be.”

The BOQ Specialist difference

Michelle’s knowledge was invaluable during the early stages of setting up the practice—Prashanth and his wife just had a baby and it was a busy time for the family. Michelle’s expertise helped to smooth the transition to running a new business.

“I think BOQ Specialist, right from the word go, are your financial partner and equal,” says Dr Dhanpal. “They are always available and their knowledge is always valuable and sincere. Michelle was always a phone call away. As a new business owner I found that incredibly comforting. I knew any queries would be attended to promptly, with an understanding that I was new to this business. BOQ Specialist was fantastic.”

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