- Words by Angela Cowan Photography by Lia Crowe
When Suzanne Degner moved her dental practice to Kelowna last September, it was an opportunity for her to not only become her own boss, but to build her professional life around the one thing that’s always been most important to her: love.
Edmonton-born and -raised, Suzanne spent her career in Alberta as an associate dentist, honing her craft while the clinic owners took care of the business end of things. But during the pandemic, things began to shift.
“It started during COVID. I’ve been a dentist for 20 years, but always working for other people,” she says. “Living in Edmonton and suddenly not being able to travel anywhere, and working for an office where I had been long-term, but growing increasingly frustrated by the situation there, I thought, it’s time to open my own business.
“Kelowna has always been on my radar as a place I wanted to end up,” she explains. “We’d visit on family vacations when I was a child, and I thought it was a beautiful place. Even as a child I thought that it’d be a nice place to live someday, and I made this my someday.”
Opening Love It Dental, Suzanne—who’d had a career in nursing prior to dentistry—was able to design her clinic space, her staff and her patient care in a way that nurtures and comforts everyone who comes through her door.
“To have that nursing background has been an amazing complement for this profession,” she says. “I can add a level of compassion and warmth. There are a lot of people out there who have so many dental horror stories, and they’re hard traumas to get past. But with each additional good experience, those bad ones start to go away.”
With individual treatment rooms offering privacy and good music and television, a caring and talented support team, a high investment in the newest dental technology and a care-centred approach, Love It Dental has become exactly what Suzanne had hoped.
“I’m excited to be living here. And I’m excited to finally own my own business, and to look after people the way I was always meant to.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
I am pretty happy being me and I enjoy walking in my own shoes most of the time. I do think it would be cool to walk in Arlene Dickinson’s shoes for a while, though. The woman is seriously awesome in so many ways. She’s an incredibly successful entrepreneur and savvy businesswoman, plus she is a mother of four, a gorgeous woman and a beautiful human being.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
Pasta. Definitely pasta. And really great bread dipped in super high-quality olive oil. And red wine. Isn’t that a food? I’m pretty sure it is.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend
selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I’m not really one for selfishness or greed, but if I had to spend this money, then I would absolutely pause my regular life and travel around the world with my four amazing children for an entire year. I would love to experience new cultures and places and do incredible activities like hiking, cycling and water sports all over the globe, as well as taste all of the fantastic food and drinks, of course. I would use this money to have an amazing adventure and build incredible and lasting memories with my kids.
Well, I have a few: passive-aggressive personalities, rudeness, lack of manners or common courtesy, and laziness.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
This is a tough one for me because I really can’t imagine doing nothing. However, I could picture myself on a beach somewhere—anywhere—with the sun on my skin and the sand on my toes, and an ice-cold drink in my hand while I watch the water and the waves. Wow, that sounds awesome. Take me away.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I am pretty proud and excited to be a nationally ranked slalom water skier, and to have come second place in my age category in the Canadian Water Ski Championships last year.
What makes your heart beat faster?
Love is what makes my heart beat faster. I named my dental practice Love It Dental because I am driven by love and passionate about what I do. I am determined to spread more love in the world and to make real and meaningful connections with other people in this life. When I can turn a dreaded dental visit into a great experience and make a lasting relationship through connection, compassion and love, my heart soars. Also, my entertaining kids and sweet chocolate lab always make my heart beat faster.