What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted in your life? (Feel free to give specific brands/models).
Definitely my takeaway coffees from the fantastic cafes we have in Melbourne, which has helped me tremendously in my writing and workouts.
What is the funniest thing that has happened (to you or witnessed) in your job?
Once I was teaching a new group of dental students at the dental hospital and one of the nurses mistook me as a student and asked me where my patient was.
Favourite guilty pleasure after a stressful day at work?
Actually I treat myself regularly to some nice meals after a busy day at work and I have never felt guilty about it. If you want a cake, eat it!
How has a failure (or apparent failure) set you up for later success? Do you have a "favourite failure" of yours?
As Nelson Mandela said, "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." I have failed my first driving test, but that has not stopped me from attempting my second test. You just have to see each failure as a closer step to success.
If you have a billboard for all other healthcare professionals out there with any message, what would it say? (It can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)
There is no such thing as a work-life balance, just follow your passion and continue to do what you love doing.
What is an unusual habit or (conventionally considered to be) absurd thing that you do/love (may or may not be related to your discipline/practice)?
Most people would not realize that I am an outdoor enthusiast. I enjoy hiking mountains, sea-kayaking and scuba diving. I also love learning different languages and have studied Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Latin and French.
In the last 5 years, what new belief, behaviour or habit that has most improved your life (may or may not be related to your discipline/practice)?
1) Drink Matcha
2) Go for a run in the morning
3) Leave your phone outside your bedroom
4) Turn off your alarm and sleep until you get up in the morning (on your day-offs).
What advice would you give to a smart, driven student? What advice should they ignore?
If there is an opportunity, I would advise the student to network and shadow a dentist or specialist outside the university environment.
I would never recommend ignoring any advice, but be prepared to be curious about it.
What bad recommendations do you hear in your area of expertise that you would want to correct the most?
That root canal treatment is painful and a temporary solution? As an endodontist, I assess the prognosis of a tooth prior to commencing treatment and there is good evidence to show that most root canal treated teeth will survive long term. The patient should be reassured that root canal treatment can be carried out painlessly with adequate local anaesthesia.
In the last 5 years, what have you become better at saying "no" to? What new realizations helped?
After completing my specialist training, I have become more selective at what I spend my time on and better at saying "No" to what I don't wish to do. I would now only say yes to something that I am passionate about or believe in.
When you feel overwhelmed or lost focus temporarily, what do you do? (What questions do you ask yourself to get back on track?)
In general, I cope with challenging situations in a calm manner and focus more intensely in those situations. If I do ever feel overwhelmed, then I would take a few deep breaths and think before I speak or do something.
What is your best or your favourite achievement in your career so far?
I had several memorable experiences with my patients such as helping a patient who has been experiencing dental pain for over a decade. It made me realise how I can make a huge difference to someone's quality of life simply by forming the diagnosis and forming an appropriate treatment plan.
Dr. Aovana Timmerman BDSc, DCD, FRACDS, GradCertClinTeach
Dr Aovana Timmerman graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science from the University of Melbourne in 2001. After completing her fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS) in 2010, she continued with her specialist training in endodontics, obtaining a Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry in Endodontics, also from the University of Melbourne.
In 2013, she was awarded the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Endodontics JM Booth award to attend the International Association of Dental Traumatology (IADT) Congress in Turkey. She has provided specialist endodontic services to Melbourne Dental Clinic, Plenty Valley Community Clinic and Endodontic Specialist Unit at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne up to 2016 as part of her specialist training.
Aovana has been involved with endodontic education since 2011 and was awarded the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Teaching in 2019. Currently, she is a clinical demonstrator for the Doctor of Dental Surgery Endodontic program at The University of Melbourne and examines dentists in the Membership (GDP) program for RACDS and Australian Dental Council.
Aovana is also pursuing her PhD part-time at the University of Melbourne and has published in local and international peer-reviewed journals.