“Came for two years, stayed for 20!” – it’s a mantra common for many Singapore expats, including DR GARETH PEARSON. Originally from the UK, Gareth is a dentist in Singapore and the co-founder of Dental Essence. He serves as a general dentist and has years of experience in oral surgery and aesthetic dentistry procuedures such as teeth whitening, inlays, ceramic veneers, crowns and bridges. We had a chat with him about his career in dentistry, plus his hobbies, hawker centre favourites, travel highlights and more!
Tell us a bit about your background and where you have lived?
I’m British – I was born and raised in the UK. I did both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees there as well. After my studies, I worked for a year in Australia’s outback, where I provided dental treatments to indigenous communities there. Additionally, I had the unique experience of living on a ship for six months in the Antarctic, where I provided dental care to scientists and staff. I also launched weather balloons every day in the Antarctic as well as doing teeth!
Wow, from outback Australia to the Antarctic – interesting contrast! What eventually brought you to Singapore?
I have always loved Southeast Asia and was looking for an opportunity to come out here. A friend was working here as a dentist, and when she left, I took over her job. I had originally planned to stay for two years – but I ended up staying here for 20!
You’re now a dentist in Singapore and the co-founder of Dental Essence. Firstly, what made you choose to study dentistry? Did you always know it was what you wanted to do?
I had started a degree in chemistry which I realised I didn’t like. I was drinking in a bar with a friend who suggested that I pursue dentistry instead. And so I thought, “Yeah, okay, why not?” I left that university, reapplied for dentistry, and the rest is history!
What areas of your dentistry work at Dental Essence do you most enjoy?
I enjoy meeting interesting individuals and helping people out, which I find very fulfilling.
What are some things about dental health you wish more people knew about?
Flossing is underrated and mouthwashes are overrated!
Outside of your dentistry work at Dental Essence, do you have any hobbies or special interests?
I’m into running – I have done a few marathons – and also cycling and swimming. I love to read a lot, too. Besides that, I play the piano and enjoy watching live music shows, whether it’s rock, jazz or classical.
As a Singapore expat, what are your favourite things to do in this city?
Hawker centre food is always good fun – whether it’s char siew, laksa or coffee ribs, all washed down with a Tiger beer. Cycling along the East Coast Park at sunset is also lovely.
Favourite holiday destinations? What’s on your travel bucket list?
There are too many places to count. Travelling around Southeast Asia remains a favourite – especially Myanmar and Indonesia. Apart from that, Japan is another country I love visiting.
Favourite Singapore food and restaurants?
I’m not a fussy eater so I’m down for any hawker centre. I do highly recommend the coffee spare ribs at Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant in Tiong Bahru and the steaks at L’Entrecôte The Steak & Fries Bistro at Duxton Hill.
If you were deserted on an island, which three things would you choose to have with you?
Netflix, iTunes and a piano.
What’s exciting in the future of dentistry for you as a dentist in Singapore?
Digital dentistry. It’s moving at a crazy and fascinating pace.
What is one film you think everyone should see, or a book they should read?
I very much love Apocalypse Now, the 1979 war drama produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Anything by Kurt Vonnegut.
This article first appeared in the October 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe so you never miss a copy!
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