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Emeritus Professor Paul Abbott AO

Dental School, Oral Restorative and Rehabilitative Sciences

"Be confident in your ideas but back them up with evidence…then go for it! Don’t be dissuaded by others who are not critical or who do not think beyond what everyone else thinks."

Professor Paul Abbott is an Endodontist who spent 17 years in specialist private practice in Perth and Melbourne with part-time academic positions at UWA and the University of Melbourne before becoming a full-time academic in 2002 when was appointed Professor of Clinical Dentistry at UWA. He was Head of the UWA School of Dentistry and Director of the Oral Health Centre of WA from 2003-2009. He has presented over 1000 lectures and courses in 48 countries. He has published over 300 articles/chapters in journals, textbooks and newsletters. From 2015-2022, he was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Dental Traumatology. He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and service to the dental profession. In 2015 he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to clinical dentistry, and to higher education, as an academic, researcher and author, to endodontics as a practitioner, and to professional organisations.

Most important experiences at UWA

I had a great undergraduate education and training at UWA to become a dentist where the qualities of being a professional were instilled in me along with the development of the essential operative skills. Becoming an academic and being able to teach future dentists, particularly in my specialty field of Endodontics was a privilege. Being appointed as the Head of the School of Dentistry and the Director of the Oral Health Centre of WA was a particular highlight as it gave me the opportunity to direct the education and training of dentist in a new facility which was the envy of all dental schools in Australia and many parts of the world.

Where did you think you would end up, when you began your career?

I always wanted to teach but I knew I had to get the clinical experience and training as a specialist to be an effective teacher. My career changed over time from mainly clinical work with part-time academic activities to become mainly teaching and research with part-time clinical services. I also never imagined that I would become Editor-in-Chief of an international dental journal.

What are some of your most significant achievements?

My research work, which is largely clinically-based, has been highly recognized within my specialty. The opportunities to travel the world to talk about my work has been a highlight. I have focused on improving the patient experience, improving the outcomes of root canal treatment, and the management of traumatic dental injuries which affect over 1 billion people throughout the world.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your career?

Working with many great students - especially the dentists I have trained to become Endodontists - and working with wonderful colleagues from many parts of the world.

Where to from here?

Spending time at home with my wife and family will be the first part of the plan, and I also plan to continue some teaching and research, as well as travel.

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