Martin at St Stephens Dental Practice has some very sad news:

“On Sunday afternoon the 2nd April my Dad, Brian passed away after being ill on and off for the last couple of years. My Dad had lived in Canterbury all his life. He left school to take up an apprentice placement as a Dental Technician learning to construct dentures and crowns.

After National service he worked for a variety of dentists including Mr Matthews and Mr Gardener before becoming self employed in 1972. He built an extension on the back of my parents  house in Stodmarsh Road and worked from there until retirement. He worked for quite a number of Canterbury dentists but in 1978 he was approached by George Hamill to do the work at St Stephens Dental Practice. As Mr Hamill opened more practices in Bridge then Wingham and Chestfield Dad worked almost exclusively for these.

When I qualified as a Dentist at the beginning of 1988 I started to work at St Stephens with Dad doing my work and I thought we were a good team. Because I saw him every day it was easy to communicate what details either of us needed. It is very rare to find a dentist son and dental technician father working together at all and I think we provided a very good personal service. We almost had a telepathy between us. Dad continued to work for me and the other dentists until 2010 when he retired.

The life of a Dental technician is quite a lonely one. You spend your life making very precise prostheses under the instruction of the Dentist. It is very time consuming and requires great concentration. Then you supply the item back to the Dentist who then gets all the praise and feedback from the patient. Positive feedback then rarely reaches the technician but negative feedback although rare always gets back to the poor Technician. So in spite of doing some brilliant work my Dad never really felt appreciated for what he did.

But what he did was truly great. Improving the smile of many Canterbury patients, providing a truly brisk turn around service and working well into the night if required as it was always impossible to gauge the level of work that would arrive. He was always available to help patients and dentists alike. And he was totally reliable and punctual.

I could go on but one of my patients summed it up quite nicely. I had been seeing this chap for a long time and Dad and I had made him some dentures a long while back. He came in again for a new set after Dad had retired. These were made and fitted and the chap seemed quite pleased. But a few years later in conversation he commented on the new teeth. He said “It is a shame your dad had to retire as his work was really very good. If I could liken my dentures to a car, I would say my new teeth are a Ford. The ones your Dad made were a Ferrari.” Praise indeed. And I did tell Dad.

So that was my father. Brian Southon.  Unfortunately never realising how much he was appreciated by the dentists he worked for and the patients he helped. My mother, sister brother and I knew. And we knew what a great person he was away from work too.

And now we are being overwhelmed by the amount of lovely things people are saying about Dad. Loads of cards and messages saying how well liked he was.

He was a great Dad, a lovely man and a brilliant dental technician. And he will be greatly missed.”




What is your definition of an emergency appointment?

Being offered an appointment on the day, within a week, or within a month?

What if you were in sufficient pain that you could not sleep?

Would you be happy with being offered an “emergency appointment” 10 days away?

I thought not.

I was contacted late last Sunday by the partner of a colleague of mine. He regularly attended one of the corporate dentists that are taking over many independent dentists.

The receptionist there was dismissive of his problem and unhelpful saying no one could see him, let alone help him for 10 days. Obviously he was not very pleased with this and his partner contacted me. I responded within an hour, had seen the patient within another hour and the whole situation was resolved the following Monday morning.

This is what proper emergency treatment is about. A personal service because we care.  At my practice we aim to see our registered patients on the day if they are in trouble and, as much as possible will extend the same service to new patients as well.

There will certainly be none of this waiting for days on end, especially if the patient is in pain.

So for a proper emergency dental service and for routine treatment as well,  please think of St Stephens Dental Practice where we will give you the confidence to smile.

Martin Southon.

Practice Principal


At St Stephens Dental Practice we want to provide the best experience possible at a dental practice. To help us to provide a good service we collect feedback from our patients after they have finished a course of treatment. This can be anonymous or not, the patient can decide. On the summary of the feedback that we see there are initially 4 categories;


Clean/ comfortable

Entertainment/ literature

Friendly/ approachable

Level of trust

We routinely score 97-100% in 3 of these but seem to fall down a bit on the Entertainment/ literature category scoring 85-90%. This is quite disappointing for us as we think we have a great selection of magazines, lovely original paintings and sculptures and the televisions in the waiting room and ceilings of the surgeries. What else can we do??


We thought it would be amusing to do a montage of the magazines in the waiting room to check if you think we have covered all the bases.

There are about 60 different titles! And soon we will also have a magazine for you folk who microlite!

What do you think?

Any ideas or suggestions can be sent through by Email to


I do not think a day goes by without a patient saying that they are my worst ever.

They are all wrong!

My Father in Law used to farm beef and lamb, now only beef animals. He introduced me to my most difficult and interesting patient about 15 years ago. At the time he was farming Bleu de Maine French sheep. These are large sheep with a bluish face and a very muscular body like a gym body builder.

He found a prize pedigree ram, normally as a show animal price sky high but it had a broken lower front tooth so it was worth only what is known as kill value, about £20 at that time. He bought it as a stud but the tooth needed removing as it was an infection risk as it had fractured down to gum level.

This is where I was invited to meet the patient!

We put the ram in a sheep “crush” to keep him still as much as possible and my Father in Law helped to steady him as well. I anaesthetised the sheeps mouth with standard dental local anaesthetic and removed the tooth. However the patient was most uncooperative! Both my Father in Law and I ended up covered in green half chewed grass and saliva and lots of bruises.

The ram recovered quickly though and went on to sire many hundred lambs.

These days I have limited my practice to humans and although some of them can be tricky, not as much as that ram!

The point of this story is that at St Stephens dental Practice we can handle most things tooth related!

So for all your dental needs, all you need is St Stephens Dental where we will give you the confidence to smile.


At St Stephens Dental Practice the team consists of 3 dentists, myself the owner Martin Southon and 2 associates Karen Leadbetter and Tom Buckland.

There are 6 nurses and receptionists including Dawn and Nicola,the senior nurses.

I have been working at St Stephens since I qualified at the end of 1987 and Karen has been there a year longer. Tom has been working for me for 2 years and his family have been in Canterbury for 12 years. Tom is looking to settle here.

Dawn has been working for me for 21 years and Nicola since 1997.

So what does this mean to our patients?

Continuity of care.

Karen and I have been seeing some patients for over 20 years.

Patients see the same dentist and nurse for successive check ups and treatment. This usually means less treatment.

Generally when you see a new dentist they have to make a snap shot decision on what they see right then.

Some dental conditions, especially starting decay can be monitored as there may be a good chance it is static.

This is especially true if the same dentist is monitoring them year on year.

If you see someone different for each exam then rather than monitoring there is a good chance these conditions will be treated with a filling possibly unnecessarily.

This lack of continuity of care is especially likely at the corporate dental companies which are taking over many local dental practices.

Often the companies owning these practices move the dentists around so you end up seeing someone different at each visit.

So for continuity of care and less treatment come and see the friendly team at St Stephens Dental Practice where they will give you the confidence to smile.


Anyone who has been to St Stephens Dental Practice will know it looks a little different and eye catching inside.

The practice is brightly decorated, comfortable and welcoming.

Owner Martin Southon is very keen on art of all types so there is quite a differing array on display. He has tried to make the practice seem much less clinical and intimidating than most dental practices.

The waiting room and surgeries feature original paintings by Lin Broadley and Issy Richardson, brass frog sculptures by Tim Cotterill and Geckoman and photos by Barry Amos. There are vintage post cards and images of dentistry in the past.

There are a wide selection of up to date magazines and televisions in the waiting room and surgeries showing interesting “ambient” programs.
In the waiting room there is an old restored dental chair and drill to show how far dentistry has moved on. But the most original and unusual item on show is a new arrival.

Photo 11-03-2016 12 25 34

It is a wood carving of an upper molar tooth nearly 2 feet tall and carved from a single piece of walnut wood. This is the result of a commission from local sculptor and wood carver, Daniel Hilton. The idea came to Martin when he was treating Daniel. This is one of the most unusual things he has created and is very tactile and a true work of art. The tooth is very accurately replicated and is completely eye catching. It is completely one of a kind.

Photo 11-03-2016 15 26 57

If you like Daniels work you can see more on his website, and to speak to him either Email at or phone on 07852984598.

To book an appointment at St Stephens Dental Practice please call on 01227 452668 or Email at or just drop in if you would like to have a look at the artwork on show.

St Stephens Dental Practice where we will give you the confidence to smile.


Anyone who knows Martin Southon of St Stephens Dental Practice and his wife Lucy will be aware they are extremely keen supporters of cancer charities. Last year donations were collected at St Stephens Practice for Cancer Research.

Lucy Southon decided she was going to run her first full marathon, 26.2 miles for Race for Life, a division of Cancer Research. In the summer Martin and Lucy has a fund raising party at their house in Petham.

All of these fund raising activities raised over £4300 for Cancer Research.

The patients at St Stephens Dental Practice have been officially thanked with a special Certificate of Appreciation from Cancer Research UK’s local fundraising manager, Lynette Farley.

This year at St Stephens Dental Practice we are continuing to raise funds for Cancer Research UK as this charity raises funds for a cause that is so far reaching there cannot be many people who have not been directly affected or who know someone who is.

Lucy will be running another Race for Life marathon in October and wants to beat her previous time of 5 ¼ hours.

AND we want to beat our previous figure of £4300!

So please support this extremely worthy cause with us at St Stephens Dental Practice where we will give you the confidence to smile and by our charity work hope to give cancer sufferers something to smile about as well.


How can I make you smile?

The most common way I do this is after a check up, by telling patients they are healthy and that no treatment is needed. But that’s just the beginning!

I can make you smile by simply cleaning your teeth or removing unsightly stains and tartar. After relieving your tooth ache and after I reassure you that the pesky ulcer is nothing sinister.

You will smile after you realise the treatment you were dreading isn’t as bad or as painful as you thought. I can make you smile by whitening your teeth or changing the tooth shape and appearance.

You will smile after I fill any gaps with dentures, bridges or implants. And after I splint your wobbly tooth, making it sturdy again.

The best smiles are that of patients who have something far more sinister… cancer. Until I advised them they had no idea about the problem, but now they could get treatment and continue to enjoy their life with loved ones. They didn’t smile when they were diagnosed, but 6 to 12 months later they look back and smile.

In my career I have helped 6 or 7 people in this way and I must admit this especially makes me smile.

Come and see us at St Stephens Dental Practice and we will make you smile.


Back in March Martin had a cartoon of himself drawn that showed him treating his customers like royalty! We could see that Tom, another one of our dentists, was a little jealous so we made a cartoon of him too!




Tom speaks for all of us here at St Stephen’s Dental Practice when we say we always put customer satisfaction first. Teeth are for life, so who do you trust to look after your dental health? Here at St Stephen’s Dental Practice we care about your teeth as much as you do. We keep our practices equipment and materials up to date and cutting edge in order to give our customers the best results possible.

Thanks to the illustrator Peter Langdown