When Dr. Michelle Couto was growing up in Kitimat, her dentist always asked her about her career tract.
His inquiries continued as she returned to her hometown from her studies at St. Michael’s University in Victoria, and later as a science undergrad at Simon Fraser University. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for a career,” she recalls, “but I was always drawn to the artistic nature of dentistry.”
His encouragement led Dr. Couto to volunteer in the field of dentistry.
Dentistry allowed for a healthy work-life balance, said her dentist whose own daughter was heading into the profession.
Convinced, Dr. Couto decided to leave Vancouver and pursue her doctor of dental medicine degree at Nova Southeastern University, in Florida. “I happened to have found my niche,” she says of her four-year program. “I found I really enjoyed dentistry.”
Dr. Couto never intended to specialize but was encouraged to do so. She continued her studies at Loma Linda University in California, where she earned her Masters in Orthodontics in 2008.
For the next three years, Dr. Couto worked in Washington State before opening two practices in the Lower Mainland in 2011.
Today, Dr. Couto and her team of 14 professionals, alternate between the two clinics every day.
Together, they offer a host of services—mostly geared toward children and youth—that include braces, dentofacial orthopaedics, surgical orthodontics and Invisalign treatments.
As for the pandemic, Dr. Couto says her employees are making sure the health and safety protocols are of the upmost importance. They adhere to health screenings, temperature checks, virtual waiting rooms and mouth washes, among other things.
Though physical distancing restrictions are in place, Dr. Couto says she looks forward to seeing her patients in person everyday.
For more information, visit drmichellecouto.com.