Celebrating International Women’s Day

In the lead up to International Women’s Day, specialist dental lender Credabl is listening to the stories of women in dentistry nationally. The Credabl team recently sat down with Dr Fabiana Petrykowski, an orthodontist based in Perth, who has a unique perspective on Australian dentistry and story of her own.

This article was first published on the ADAWA website to celebrate International Womens Day 2021

fabiana.jpgFabiana was born in Brazil and lived in Kentucky, USA, as a teenager. After moving back to Brazil, she completed studying dentistry and orthodontics there, where she also worked in her own practice for six years. 

When asked what made her choose dentistry, rather unusually she recalled role–playing as an orthodontist as a young girl, inspired by a family friend in the profession. Fabiana was enthralled by the energy of her family friend’s practice, the kids coming in and out every 20 minutes, the wires bent and the expressions of joy as kids saw their teeth without braces for the first time.  

As she grew older, she realised that she needed to study dentistry for five years before even considering orthodontics. Fabiana did not feel that being a woman would hold her back whilst studying dentistry. In fact, as a student, she remembers classes with more women than men but noticed that in more senior roles, men became more dominant.  

“I never felt that gender played a positive or negative role during my career.” 

It was only after becoming a mother that Fabiana felt she faced challenges due to her gender. At times like these she felt thankful for her supportive husband and learned the very important skill of delegation. She and her family consider themselves a team, cheering each other on with support and understanding. 

Fabiana recommends orthodontics to young women because it gives them the flexibility to work part–time while raising their family, but recognises it is a long road to qualification. 

Fabiana-practice-3-300x300.jpgComing to Australia from Brazil was a challenge, especially with an established practice and family back home. She knew that moving to a new country could be a backwards step financially but can attest to the overwhelming personal and spiritual growth overcoming this challenge can bring. Fitting in and competing Down Under was tough, but with her family and the support of amazing mentors, Fabiana now feels like a part of Australia and wants to contribute as much as she can.  

Fabiana is now opening her first practice since moving to Australia, after having a taste of the flexibility it offered in her days as a practice owner in Brazil. After completing her studies at UWA she didn’t expect to own a practice again, loving the experience of working with other people in their practices. Starting a practice in the tailwind of COVID might seem like a hard choice, but Fabiana has felt the itch for accomplishment in the past few months and is ready to give it her all with something she is passionate about. Fabiana really is a lifelong lover of orthodontics! 

For Fabiana, International Women’s Day is a reminder to celebrate the achievements of women who came before; those who fought for a better future and allowed the opportunities that she, her daughter and perhaps a future granddaughter will have tomorrow.