This isn’t the first conversation with a guest that hails from a family of dentists. But for Tom-Crawford Clarke, the connection is more than just a hand-me-down: Tom’s grandparents, mum, dad, sisters, uncles and cousins have all been in the profession.
As Tom looks back on a decade on dentistry, he chats with Payman about the pressures and pitfalls of working with relatives, his meteoric rise from VT to Harley Street and using social media to build a patient list.
He also dishes out essential tips on Invisalign treatment and reveals why a certain oft-divorced monarch would make the ideal dinner party guest.
“Patients don’t always know what they want. They come in asking for something and it’s your job to educate them and show them that what they’re asking for is not going to look right…You always want to have total confidence in what you’re doing from the very start.” – Tom Crawford-Clarke
In This Episode
01.43 – Backstory
07.33 – In the family
10.35 – From VT to Harley Street
18.35 – Advertising and social media
30.32 – Patient journey and workflow
39.37 – Implants
41.41 – Invisalign top tips
46.06 – Bonding
49.47 – Blackbox thinking
57.49 – Future plans
01.00.50 – Confidence and communication
01.04.11 – Small world
01.07.14 – GDC
01.10.35 – Leadership style
01.12.22 – A hypothetical day off
01.14.30 – Last days and legacy
01.18.04 – Fantasy dinner party
About Tom Crawford-Clarke
Tom Crawford-Clarke graduated from Bristol University in 2010. He went on to gain a diploma in restorative dentistry with a special interest in endodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2014.
He has undertaken extensive training in restorative dentistry, implantology, Invisalign, orthodontics and composite dentistry.
Tom was named Best Young Private Dentist at the 2019 Dentistry Awards. He sits on the committee of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and currently practices on Harley Street.
[00:00:00] Patients don’t always know what they want, they they think they do, and they come in asking for something. And you know, it’s your job to actually educate them and actually show them that really what they’re asking for is not going to look right because you don’t want to start a treatment where inside something’s telling you all, you know. You know, you always want to have total confidence in what you’re doing from the very start, because again, from experience, the cases that I can think of where I’ve done what the patient wanted and actually it didn’t look right. And I knew from the start it wasn’t going to look right, but I almost wanted to do it for them, for them to say, Oh no, you were right.
[00:00:47] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki
[00:01:05] Gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr Tom Crawford Clarke onto the Dental Leaders podcast, kind of a series now where we’re doing, we did some sort of very established practise owner types. We’ve done some very young just out of university ties, but now a kind of a series. We just had Alan Bergin on as well kind of 10 years qualified in my world. That’s still a new boy. But 10 years out, you know, the kind of people who might be senior associates may be starting to think of opening their own places that that sort of bit in your career. Hi, Tom. Lovely to have
[00:01:40] You. Thanks for having me. Great to be here.
[00:01:43] Tom, we normally start with back stories. I know you’re from a family of dentists. Your mum and your sister.
[00:01:50] Is that right? That’s right. Well, it goes back a bit further than that. So my my grandfather on my on, my dad’s side, he was the first dentist in the family. And I think what was amazing was that my mum, when she was three or four years old, actually used to see him as her dentist. And listen, did they know that, you know, 20 years later that they’d they’d be marrying the son of the dentist that she was seeing? So then my my mother is a dentist, her brother to my uncles, a dentist, his sons and my cousin is a dentist. And then I’ve got my older sister was a dentist and my younger sister actually was a dental nurse for for some time, she moved away from dentistry and and actually has come back, and she’s now my full time TCO, which is amazing.
[00:02:37] So was there ever any doubt that you were going to do dentistry or wouldn’t? When did you actually decide?
[00:02:42] Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, I was 15 16 at school. I enjoyed sciences. I enjoyed sport. So I was doing biology, chemistry, maths and and P.E. for my A-levels. And it was a decision whether, you know, medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy. I was quite heavily involved in rowing at the time. So again, that was always also a consideration. Whether I been going professional probably wasn’t ever on the agenda, but whether I was actually going to take that more seriously. After I left school, my dad was in property and he sort of said at that time, Really, it’s not the area you want to go into. It’s very uncertain. And obviously we had a nice lifestyle growing up and my mum definitely had given me the information, shall we say, to choose dentistry as a career. And I certainly haven’t. I haven’t looked back whether I’d want my daughters to go into dentistry or not. I don’t know yet, but for me, it’s been a great profession so far, so I suppose it was always maybe it was in the blood, maybe it’s something in the water, you know? But yeah, dentistry was it was kind of it was kind of what I was set out to do. I think from the very start,
[00:03:51] You grew up in
[00:03:52] Winchester, in Worcester, where this is where the sauce comes from. No, no. It’s fine. No offence taken.
[00:04:01] So what were you like as a kid? Very sporty.
[00:04:05] I was very much into sports. I have, you know, pretty good, pretty good hand-eye coordination. My my foot to eye coordination wasn’t quite as good, so football was definitely not on the cards you to play a lot of rugby. And then I think at 14, my my rowing coach at the school sort of said to me, You know, you’re quite tall. Have you tried your tried your hand at rowing? And I hadn’t even really ever considered it, to be honest. And I still don’t know what made me go down to the first training session. And then, yeah, it just it just took off from there. So training twice a day, most days of the week. It definitely shaped me as a person because, you know, trying to balance that with school was quite tricky.
[00:04:51] And do you still run now?
[00:04:52] Do you know what? When I left school at 18, I was national champion. I think five or six years in a row I’d ride for Great Britain and went to Bristol University and never have sat sat in a boat again. So it’s still, you know, on certain mornings when the river is beautifully calm and the sun shining. I think to myself, Oh, I wouldn’t mind getting out on a boat, but it’s weird. I’ve almost convinced myself now I’d be terrible and I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t face it. So, yeah, not set, not set foot in a boat since
[00:05:28] I know what you mean, though, I used to play quite a lot of tennis when I was a kid, and the idea that I’m not going to be as good as I was back then breaks my heart. I still want to play anymore.
[00:05:39] The funny thing is, you know, you probably would be better than most people. But yeah, it’s funny what you tell yourself.
[00:05:47] So then you why Bristol was it, had you been there, you know? Did you have any connexion to the town?
[00:05:53] I didn’t have any connexion. I mean, I was from Worcester, so yeah, but yeah, it’s nearby and it’s an hour’s drive. And I’d applied. I think I applied to Manchester, Leeds, King’s, Cardiff and Birmingham. I think and obviously Bristol. And I just I just really liked it when when I went round, it was quite a small university. At that time, there was about 60 sixty or 70 to the year and it just had a great feel about it. And you know, the thought of being able to drive home at weekends and my washing was obviously at that time of my life, quite quite important. So, yeah, beautiful city.
[00:06:32] And and I can imagine as a student, it must be a wonderful place to study. I was in Cardiff and we used to go over sometimes and I go, I go regularly now, obviously. How were you as the Dental student? You took the class or not?
[00:06:47] I certainly wasn’t top. I hopefully wasn’t the very, very bottom I was very much in in the middle there. I mean, there was some ropey years maybe where I probably could have worked a little bit harder. But yeah, I definitely didn’t excel. I mean, there were certain areas where I remember being quite good at orthodontics, but it’s just weird, isn’t it? The the way that you’re measured is obviously how you perform in the exams. And I think if you have that kind of ability to learn for an exam and answer the questions correctly, you can be perceived as a better student than maybe the work the work you’d put in would imply. I’m sure I’m sure a few of the tutors or the teachers at Bristol probably were keen to see the back of me. But I said, I
[00:07:33] Mean, I’ve got an uncle to uncle, so dentist. But I wasn’t near them around the time they were in different countries. When you when you went into dental school with your mum and your sister and all that, you know your granddad, you said your grandfather. Yeah, so did you did you have an outlook on the kind of dentist you were going to be even as you were being in dental school? Is there pressure to improve on the generations?
[00:07:59] I don’t ask. It’s a good question. I don’t know. I don’t really ever felt that. I never felt there was pressure there. I think dentistry has changed so much. And certainly when my grandfather was a dentist to now, it’s it’s a different profession. You know, he it was just fully NHS, and he was telling me that, you know, they opened the practise and, you know, queues of people down like down the road to see them. And obviously, you know, he had a very good living. And I think for doing not doing very much, you didn’t have to do any advertising, for example, I think he was the only dentist in Worcester at the time. And obviously, my mother actually took over his practise, which is very nice. So obviously there was maybe a bit of me that thought I might go back there one day to to buy the practise of her. Or maybe, you know, join join with my sister. And I think there was a moment in my career a few years ago where I had that opportunity and it came became fairly obvious that my sister and I, as much as I love her dearly, we were never going to be able to to work together. So at least I now know that that was that was tried and tested and wasn’t going to work and
[00:09:09] Expand on that for me.
[00:09:10] So I don’t know how to put it in a nice way. I mean, I think we have a lot of respect for each other. Like I said after the new year, I think I think there’s always that element she was. She’s two years older, but she did a degree before dentistry, so she was. She’s technically a few years younger than me in a Dental kind of experience kind of way. But you know, she she, you know, brought the practise of my mother’s Dental partner at the time a few years back. So she had her foot in the door. And I think she very much felt it was her practise. And if I wanted to go in there and change things, it would, it would have to go through quite a lot of hurdles to to maybe make it past. And I think, you know, for me, I went into it thinking, Right, I’m going to change all of this, and I think it was partly my my problem. You know, I I probably kicked the business, if you like, because, you know, I had all these great ideas and my wife who works, works for the business now, you know, she had great ideas, and I think my sister just didn’t want it to change at that moment in time, which is absolutely fine. And I respect for that. But yeah, I think I think it was just it was just never, never going to work.
[00:10:16] So sometimes those things are best left. I mean, Prav, my co-host. He could easily have gone into business with his brother, but both of them, we had them on. Both of them said, now that whatever. And they both run super successful businesses of their own.
[00:10:33] Yeah, exactly.
[00:10:35] So it doesn’t, you know, I don’t think you have to beat yourself up about it, but I just wanted to know what the origin of that was. So go on qualified as a dentist. What do you do next?
[00:10:46] So I didn’t take a gap year. I mean, I’ve a July birth is I’m quite young for my academic year as well. So I think I was twenty two when I’d actually qualified as a as a dentist officially and obviously just got a VTE job. I was very fortunate. I got a very good vet. Trainer is a guy called Dinesh Fakey up in Redditch, so I moved home, which was convenient and I worked there for a year and I had a great time. He was a he’s actually a Royal College of Surgeons implant tutor, so I felt like I had a very good starting point to my career was very, very helpful. And I think it instilled in me, you know, or maybe gave me the I don’t know the idea of who I could become, I suppose looking at him. I was in admiration of him. Then finish it. And that’s when I took a job with our good friend Simon Childs, parents down in Staines. So I was there for a few years and it was nice, actually. Simon started working at the practise with his wife, Meghan, when I was still there. It was nice to have a stint working together and it was a busy NHS practise at that time. I think I was doing eight thousand ideas. It was. It was full on, but I think, you know, again, the NHS is amazing. It has to be there for people, but it allows dentists to actually get experience at that time.
[00:12:07] In your career where you don’t really know very much, you know, you just need to get your hands dirty and actually just do a lot of a lot of stuff because Bristol was very good. You started seeing patients in the second year, but you still didn’t really get a lot of hands on experience just because of various reasons. I’m sure you get less experience now, especially with all the issues with COVID, so it was just good to actually be in a busy practise and understand and learn what I did and didn’t like or what I wasn’t very good at. And I and I took the decision to do the Restorative Diploma at the Royal College of Surgeons quite early on. I think I was I don’t know whether I’m still am, but at the time I was the youngest person to to start that course and it was a full on course. It was financially a lot of money. I think it was twenty twenty five grand to do it. You had to write a two or three thousand word essay every month, you know, 50, 60 papers. But my goodness like that just gave me so much understanding at the basic knowledge of everything, you know, inclusion, especially that I still think it’s actually had a lot of influence on the jobs that I then got afterwards and I suppose the confidence in my own clinical decision making and treatment planning.
[00:13:18] So yeah. You studied with Simon as well, right?
[00:13:22] So he was at Bristol when I was at Bristol doing dentistry. He was doing pharmacology. So we had three years, three years together and it was funny. I met him on Freshers Day. We were literally a few doors down from each other in the same halls, and we’ve literally been best mates ever since. But yeah, then he went on to obviously do dentistry at King. So yeah, we had we had a few years together.
[00:13:46] So then after that, how I mean, it seems to me like, you know, I’m in the sort of the privileged position of being able to see you guys come through and watch your careers. And it seems to me like you sort of accelerated towards Harley Street. I mean, I remember when you qualified, I remember that time quite well. How did that happen so quick?
[00:14:08] Honestly, pay. I still look back, and I think, how on earth am I? Am I where you know, how am I? How am I here? It certainly was never a dream of mine, I suppose. Maybe I didn’t have. Maybe I didn’t think it was ever going to be possible. So why? Why dream? An impossible dream? But it all sort of happened by default. I think I was working at a time as an associate and it was a mixed list, and I and I just wanted to take the decision that I wanted to start to do implants. And at the time I started on the course with Dr Aselicon Osborne. Dr Corey Fran and and Zack Cannon. And obviously through that I met Matt Fazilka. So at the time my associate job, I wanted to sort of cut down my hours, stop the NHS side of it and put a bit more time into education. And and it just came about that I had a bit more time and physicians sort of said to me, Look, you know, by that point, I’d done four or five years of courses with her, and she just said, I’m sort of looking for a sort of semi associate, but I also, you know, I have space for you to rent a room from from me. And I sort of took the opportunity with both hands. I bought a very small list off of her of patients and started renting a room from her one day a week.
[00:15:32] And then it was almost like with sort of COVID. You were sort of forced into this position where you had a lot of time, especially through through the initial lockdown where we weren’t doing anything and my wife and. I who my wife has an advertising background, so she does a lot of my social media and we just put out that we’d be doing sort of free FaceTime consultations. And during that first lockdown, I think I spoke to about 400 people on consultations. Wow. And I basically just had a list of people to see and I then have now worked it up to, you know, being being there for four days a week with a pretty healthy waiting list. So it kind of just came about by default and I was very fortunate. I have a lot to thank and oh, positive for my career because, you know, without that initial opportunity, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. But yeah, it just it just it was a sort of fight or flight response, really. I had to make it work. I sort of, yeah, my associate job kind of. It wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, and that ended quite quickly. So through death, I just I just literally had time to kill and I had to make it work. So. So yeah, that’s where I am.
[00:16:45] So the arrangements are they is it literally you rent the room? What’s what’s the actual arrangement, isn’t it?
[00:16:51] That’s it. I just I just rent the room. And then she she obviously is very heavily focussed on implants and, you know, big, big cases. So any of the various
[00:17:01] Cross referral between you?
[00:17:03] Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I’m obviously not at that level yet where there will ever be one day. I mean, again, the being at the practise, I get to spend as much time as I want with her on, you know, ridiculous cases where obviously a lot of dentists who she’s towards over the years referring to cases they can’t do. And you know, we’re talking serious, serious stuff, and I just don’t know whether I’ve ever got the balls to do that on my own isn’t what I get doing it when someone is there holding your hand and telling you what to do. But my goodness. Yeah.
[00:17:36] But but you are doing implants yourself as well.
[00:17:39] Yeah, yeah. I mean, obviously through social media, yeah. If people do know of me, they know me for composite bonding and Invisalign. But you know that that does take up a vast majority of my work at the moment just because of the the referrals I’m getting and, you know, just the demographics of people that I see. Obviously, it’s very easy to market it on on social media because it always looks very nice. And you know, that’s that’s what gets the patients interested. I’ve not really understood how I can market the implant side of things because again, you know, not not seeing a tooth there, it doesn’t always look that sexy on Instagram, and obviously people do it very successfully, so I need to probably take some advice off them. But yeah, I don’t mark it for implant patients. I I do it by just by chance of patients who’ve come to see me do need implants or they know of someone that needs implants. So there’s a sort of internal referral there. But yeah, a lot of the cases I’m doing are with Physiol, So.
[00:18:35] So then you know, you said your wife has an advertising background. Does she spend most of her time working with you or does she do a different job as well?
[00:18:44] Well, she’s she’s got the very, very hard job of being a mother to two beautiful little girls. But no, she she she had 11 years in advertising. And you know, when I when I met her, she was working for a really very good firm and, you know, working on awesome accounts. She was sort of a global account director, but we had our first daughter and it just came to the realisation that she was working crazy hours. And if she went back to it, she was just not going to see the kids or the kid at that time. So I’m not the biggest fan of social media, but she is. So it was just, you know, a perfect harmony, shall we say. And and yeah, before that, I didn’t had it. I didn’t have any social media account and we started it together. And I mean, most, if not all, of my work comes through through Instagram.
[00:19:35] So did you any paid or is it organic?
[00:19:37] Do you know what we did? We did, we did there a few paid adverts. So, you know, it’s amazing the spend that you can have and the return on that spend, it’s it can be very successful. You know, you can spend £30 on an advert promoting it and you know, you could get 50 or 60 Leaders off that. But a lot of it is just, you know, now it’s just organic because again, I don’t post that much purely because we’ve literally got a two or three month waiting list to see people. So it’s almost like, you know what, almost what’s the point of posting?
[00:20:09] I know obviously a fantastic position to be in, huh?
[00:20:15] You know, the I’d say, the majority of people that I come and see in the West End, maybe they’re booked if they’re lucky, two weeks ahead? Yeah, many of them less than that. Yeah. So that’s a really fantastic position to be in. What would you say, as I’m quite keen to hear it from from someone who’s not sort of a social media fan. What would you say is the secret to building up a page that actually converts patients? Because we have, you know, there’s plenty of people who do pages for dentists and then there’s people who do it very successfully for patients. What would you say is the key is as someone who’s not keen on it?
[00:20:56] Well, I mean, our pages, certainly for for patients, you know, with pretty much the prime purpose of getting patients to come in. So so I think for us, I’m always having to paraphrase my, my, my wife here, you know, it’s to make people see you as a person rather than a dentist and to paint the full picture because you know, when people are coming in to see you for what can potentially be life changing treatment, they they have to almost, you know, we have to know each other and to start treatment on a patient that you don’t know, it can sometimes end up in a sticky situation. So. So I think having that initial well, information for the patient to see you and to suss out whether they like you as a person is probably the most important thing that I think the social media can help with.
[00:21:50] Yeah, but what? But what are tips? What are tips? I mean, what? What have you done differently to get your? How many thousand followers have you got £15000?
[00:21:58] No, no, no. Do you think the thing is baked again? My wife wanted to get to 10K like last year, but we’re only on eight. And it’s funny because the number of the number of followers you have, it doesn’t seem to, you know, it might be. Yeah, it really isn’t. And I think it used to be, and it was almost like a kudos thing. Or, you know, how many followers have you got? But yeah, I mean, my my personal tips would be just again having having a wife who was a non dentist is very right because you’ve made the right person because I’m really not going to take much credit for it. You know, she she, but she sees teeth in a very different way that I see teeth, right? So, you know, I can be so proud of a case that I’ve literally bent bent over backwards. I’ve done everything in it, and for me, like the skill that’s gone into it. And she, you know, she will sometimes look at it and think, Well, so what have you done like? You know, what’s what’s the difference? Whereas other things where you just think, Well, that’s that’s a simple, you know, everybody can do that. And actually, you know, she’ll say that’s actually more impressive. So to have that kind of benchmark, I think, also also can help. So maybe maybe you need to get my wife on on the next podcast and she would help them.
[00:23:16] I mean, you make a brilliant point, though, because you know, the retracted view we love and it scares the hell out of patients, you know?
[00:23:25] Well, that’s a good point. I’m just, yeah, oh yes, my shots are key.
[00:23:30] Yeah. And and then, you know, the thing you were saying about making humanising you, I mean, if we talk about who, who’s the most someone like Rhona, who’s so popular on social with patients, she’s she’s kind of constantly talking to the camera, and I don’t follow that avidly, but she’s she’s she’s doing things which are non dentistry a lot of the time.
[00:23:55] Oh, oh, goodness, yeah. Yeah, she’s yeah, she’s a
[00:23:57] Celebrity commenting on, you know, new stories and this sort of thing. But look, I think it’s an important question because you’ve definitely done it successfully. And it’s it’s kind of a it’s a wonderful sort of case study for someone who you know you were doing one day a week lockdown hits, which is, you know, when at that point none of us knew what was going to happen next? And then you come out of it busy four days a week, waiting list in a matter of a year. And it’s it’s been a great year for a lot of people in dentistry. You know, I guess because of lockdown in a way, but it’s an important question. Because there’s a lot of people who who could benefit from that, especially now with the whole NHS story that we can see falling apart and a bunch of there must be a group of people who are already on the cusp of leaving the NHS, who are now going to say, Look, that’s it enough. And when you speak to people who are only in the NHS, they tend to have this view of private that it’s the same thing, but more expensive or the same. And I’m not even talking about the quality of the work, just the same thing, but more expensive. And it’s definitely not. And the thing that isn’t the same at all is the number of patients waiting to see you. So cracking that really is the key. How about tick tock? If you look to that
[00:25:20] And to be honest with you? So obviously, we’ve got a four month old baby at the moment. So are we? Yes, they got a three and a half year old and a four month old. And obviously our priority is has being slightly shifted towards towards the kids so slightly, just slightly. But, you know, next year, I think we’re going to we’re going to really push it and see, see what, see what we can make happen, basically. But the thing is, I I don’t know. Talking on camera, I’m happy to do it, but it takes a lot of time. Me planning and preparing what to say. It doesn’t always come naturally. I remember having some head shots taken and I genuinely hated it. You know, it’s just it’s not. It’s just not for me. I’d much rather be. Yeah, I mean, then generally, dentists feel comfortable in somebody’s mouth, right? So, you know, that’s our safe space. And, you know, put me in my Dental surgery in front of a patient. I’m, you know, that’s my that’s my arena, right? But take me out of that. It’s, you know, it’s a totally different experience. I mean, I’ve done a than a lecture recently, the ADYE, and I did it with Zieler. And it was, you know, to a room of three hundred dentists. And it was, you know, I don’t mind public speaking. I quite enjoy it, actually, but only one I’ve really prepared. So, you know, things like social media, I think because it’s so quick and you’ve got to just be I can’t imagine you will spend a week or two weeks preparing, you know, 30 second video, right? So it’s just going to come naturally. And just for me, it just doesn’t. And I don’t have any desire to try and make it become more natural. You know,
[00:26:59] I know what you mean. I mean, I think though you’ve got one has to think, what is what is the medium your best on? Because I’m just like you. I hate it when when there’s a camera and lights on, I’m just this other person. I literally hate it. And then at the same time, I break the balls of all my marketing people and say, Why do we make more more content and all of this? And they say, Well, why don’t you? But the strange thing is, for instance, on voice, I haven’t got a problem at all. I mean, I mean me and you can see each other right now because the platform, but the video isn’t going out. And as long as the video isn’t going out, I can scratch my back and, you know, move, you know, I’m awkward on camera, but it’s it’s it’s important to know what you’re, you know, be self aware of it. What is it? You’re good at? What is it? You’re not good at and you know you’ve got your wife there? I actually really love the page, dude. I was looking at it today. It’s a nice combination of before and afters and you know, pictures of you welcoming sort of celebrities. It’s all about the celebrity side, the sort of the influencer side is that was that something you went after, you know, in a in an organised way? Or how did that come about?
[00:28:10] Yeah, very much. I mean, again, my my wife can see the potential of it. It’s a running thing here, isn’t it? So obviously there is there is real potential there. We’ve worked with quite a few sort of influencers and, you know, some have literally brought in 50 plus patients of, you know, one case where you’ve done it free of charge. So it might be a sort of three grand investment, but you know, you’ve literally got hundreds back. And but it’s all about trying to work with the right right people. It’s not always been plain sailing like we’ve we’ve certainly had a few who we haven’t actually gone on to treat because they’ve, you know, just mess this around with appointments and it’s, you know, it’s never going to work if that’s how you start off. And that can be the same for just patients in general, right? You know, if the patient is failing to turn up, it’s kind of alarm bells. But but I think just trying to find people that fit with you and fit with your ethos and fit with your kind of personality type and just making sure that you’re getting the right demographic of patients and we get them to to send in their stats of who they follow, where the people live, what ages they are, because that has a big sort of impact on what you can get back. I mean, we’ve treated people with 300 and 400000 followers and not got a single patient. And you just think it’s actually the ones with a smaller group of. Followers like 30 to 60 K, it seems like they’re exactly more engaged and that the, you know, the people just I think, yeah, I think I think that is exactly it. It’s more engaged and they just will listen to what they’re saying. I think if they’re too big, it’s more. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know the ins and outs. You probably know more than me about it, to be honest.
[00:29:54] But I mean, we’re working on it on on our side. We bought a platform that you can check the influencers, check you know, where, you know, for instance, like the person with 400000 followers, maybe three hundred and forty thousand of them are in South America or whatever. That’s why, you know? But yeah, it’s another it’s another whole new area I find nowadays with marketing. You’re having to subsection marketing into lots of different sections and find, you know, different specialists in each one of those areas. And pretty soon, we’re going to have to start making everything in 360 for the Metaverse. Oh, let’s let’s get onto some of the clinical stuff. So you’ve you’ve done have you done all of that sort of digital smile design piece? Is that when a when a patient comes to you and says, Look, make my smile better? Yeah. Take me through. Take me through the process you run through with the patient. And you know, of course, we all do a certain number of things. But but what are you looking out for most?
[00:30:57] Well, I mean, the work the workflow for us is that they they get a virtual consult now with my with my treatment coordinator, Lydia, my my youngest sister. So. So that’s done beforehand so that she’s got a set of questions that she asked them. So we get a good idea of what they’re they’re looking for. And, you know, she gives them a range of costs as well, so they at least know what they’re looking at because again, there’s no point somebody coming in and seeing you when it’s out of their out of their budget or, you know, it just wasn’t the right fit. And I think because of Instagram and because the patients are coming through Instagram, they know that my my aim is for them to look supernatural. I want them to be walking around and people complimenting their teeth. Not or who’s your dentist like? You know what you had done? So, so the patients I see are generally asking for them. So when they do come in to see me, they’ve got all the information ahead of the appointment. And it’s really just for me to get to know them a bit better and truly understand why they’re having the treatment. Because yes, you know, so many people come in and say, I want, I want my smile to look perfect. But you know, it’s such a subjective term and just trying to get down to the nitty gritty of what it is they want. I think sometimes all the questions that I ask and the fact that I’m there just simply listening to them can sometimes get you into a bit of trouble because you’re almost giving them too much information and then they become almost too informed. And they, you know, they start telling you what they think they need. And sometimes certainly with the demographic of patients that I see on a Harley Street, you’ve almost got to just be careful, I think, with the amount of information you give them. And that’s just in my my experience.
[00:32:33] I’m an example of that. So you tell someone they’ve got a centre line shift and then they start obsessing on that.
[00:32:39] Exactly. That’s actually a brilliant example because, you know, a lot of my cases, I’m doing Invisalign on beforehand. And, you know, with the power of digital dentistry having a scanner, you know, the photograph. It is so amazing for us as dentists to actually be able to show these patients the problems and just inform and educate them. So it’s been, you know, I think we are very lucky to be in the era of dentistry that we’re in. But, you know, I want to give them the information because afterwards, if you hadn’t told them about the sensor line shift before and they noticed it afterwards, it’s your fault. Right. But then but then so you want to tell them beforehand, but then you don’t want them to get a, you know, a complex about it, right? Exactly. So it’s such a fine line. And I think the benefit of spending time and talking and listening and the consults are an hour when they come in to see me is that I think you build such a rapport and, you know, by using, you know, body language. And I’ve done so many courses on interactions and communication that you can suss out when, when, when is the best time to sort of give them the information, right, so that they they don’t react in a bad way? Because if you if you don’t know them very well and you jump in and oh God, your sense lines off, that’s obviously not going to go down too well. But if you’ve listened to them and you know, they’re not interested in that and you can kind of gently explain that, well, this is slightly off of your mind, slightly off. And there are studies to show that it can be up to four millimetres off as long as it’s, you know, parallel to your face, it doesn’t really matter. And I think that that obviously is the way to go to go about it. But I feel like I’ve lost track of the the question that you asked in the first.
[00:34:22] Well, so the process, the patient journey, you said they start off with the TKO. Yeah, on the virtual console, the TCO pretty much works out your your sister in law. Sister, sister, yeah, works out pretty much what they need and whether they’ve got budget.
[00:34:39] Yeah, I mean, I mean, it’s not it’s not so much, yes. I mean, they are they usually come in asking for something, right? So they usually are saying, I want in Beslan and constant violence. I know, I know that’s what time does, right? And the benefit of having Lydia there is that she’s had in Beslan. She’s had composite bonding with me. She’s had, you know, wisdom teeth. She’s had an implant with me. So she’s pretty much a walking, talking advertisement for me. So it’s, you know, that has been amazing having her on board. But yeah, she’s she’s just making sure that they they they know what I’m about and what I’m trying to achieve. And, you know, I’m not doing turkey teeth. And if they want that, it’s best not to come and see me, you know?
[00:35:17] So look, you’ve done the one art you’ve done the one hour consult at this point. Have you already gone into at the end of that consult if you got into what the plan is going to be or the stabilisation phase of what have you done? What what’s the patient leaving with?
[00:35:32] Say what the patient is leaving after that appointment is we’ve discussed their scan. So a digital scan, we’ve discussed their x rays and when I say discuss them, I’m showing them the x rays I’m showing them. This is the right and this is the left. This is the top of the bottom. These are sort of areas of black bits that I’ll go into later. So I’m just trying to give them a little bit of information, but I’m certainly not treatment planning anything because again, that can get you into a tricky situation when you’ve you’ve thought you’ve seen the problem, you’ve you’ve diagnosed what you think of the problem. And then later, on reflection, you know, it was only part of a bigger problem that you’ve missed and trying to crawl back from that is never a good position to be in. So I’m really just trying to get them to know me, me, to know them, give them a little bit of information, talk about the scan like I said, and I just follow it up with a with a sort of written treatment plan. And then then they get a phone call from from Lydia to discuss any questions if they want to come back in to see me for a complimentary chat, they can do. But usually people are, are, you know, going going ahead and then the next time we’re seeing them is just sort of maybe start starting baseline or see them for a mock up, for example. So, yeah,
[00:36:44] So you don’t you don’t do that thing where you sort of stabilise with some simple treatment and then then go for a full mouth approach? Or is it mainly a line bleach bond
[00:36:55] On honesty pay? At the moment, the demographic of patients I’m seeing are ninety nine percent of them are Dental fit. They have dentists, they’ve been seeing them for Dental. Yet the younger, you know, the 20 to thirties, mostly female. And if obviously clearly if they have dental issues, I’m obviously telling them that they need to get this done before we start anything. And honestly, I’m pushing them to go back to the dentist to get it done purely because I just don’t have the time to see them. And, you know, I’ve moved away from general dentistry, to be honest, although I have a small list of kind of Harley Street patients that I do too see for their general care. I just I just love the energy of somebody coming in and actually wanting to see you and actually wanting to have treatment done. I’ve never had that same same response. When you’ve told someone that they need a root canal, you know, so I’m I like to enjoy my time at work. I like to be in a happy place. And yeah, that was kind of the reasons why I’ve moved away from doing general dentistry. But yeah, I mean, obviously, if they need any stabilisation and they want me to do it, then we would do that and then start start their treatment. But like I said, just at the moment, the the patients that I’m seeing identity fit and they and they are just really in need of of cosmetic treatment.
[00:38:15] I mean, it’s nice to see on your page to the smiles are very natural and and I suppose it’s really nice to have a patient come to you and say, I’ve come to you because of how natural the smiles look on on your page. It’s the you started off on the right foot, haven’t you? Definitely. And when I think back to the days when I was a dentist and the number of times I used to after we used to have a 40 minute examination and I’d attempt to have the treatment plan written up at the end of that 40 minutes with very, you know, nowhere near your level of knowledge, I’m sure. And you know, it’s strange, isn’t it? Because most practise that’s what’s happening like ninety five percent ninety nine percent of dentists are having to treatment plan on the run on the go. Write all the notes, all of that stuff to happen at the same time, and you’re never going to be able to present to the patient properly in that most people don’t get 40 minutes either, right? Twenty. How how do you fit the sort of how do you square the circle of these Instagram align bleach blonde patients with physical work? And do you do? You know, you’re not. You’re not. You haven’t got access to those implant patients yet. Is that right?
[00:39:33] So, so what do you mean, am I am I doing implants on her patients?
[00:39:37] No, I mean, you know, you’ve got some implant skills. Yeah, are you? Are you able to use them?
[00:39:43] Use it? Definitely. So I mean,
[00:39:44] Is he doing a line bleach blonde?
[00:39:46] So I spend I spend three, three days doing that and I spend one day with Priscilla. So, you know, we’re literally doing block graft sinus lifts. You know, we’re doing x plants, full arches, you know, soft tissue grafting like it is. It’s very it’s a very different, very different day. And that’s why I love it so much. And I do think to myself, Gosh, I have a set of skills here that I’m not really using to their full advantage right now, but I just think, well, I’m actually pretty happy. Like right now, I’m pretty happy doing what I’m doing, and I think we can be so obsessed with always being better and doing doing new things and actually to be content. Right now, I’m just I’m actually just really, really happy in my, in my, you know, current situation. I almost just want to enjoy it for a little bit longer until I sort of start rocking the boat again and going on and going on a different direction. But no, I mean, I think the implant side of my of my work is maybe more the future, but who knows, you know, composite bonding is very much a I don’t know. I feel like it’s not so much a fad because I think it’s here to stay like it really is for me, the best course of treatment for a lot of patients who are thinking about cosmetics. And clearly, you know, having veneers done is is always an option that’s presented to them. But because they are young people, I don’t I don’t want to be cutting down teeth. So, you know, for me, the composite is the route to go down. But I think, you know, implants is just becoming more and more popular. Less and less people want to have removable denture and you know, more and more people are keeping a lot of their teeth. So it’s just the, you know, the a few units missing and implants are obviously the right, the right option for that for a lot of people.
[00:41:41] Of your top tips for Invisalign?
[00:41:43] Well, I I think you’ve got to set yourself a target, right? So if you if you love doing Invisalign and you’re not maybe doing very much at the moment, my wife and I set myself a target and I wanted to do one hundred cases in a year, and I think I ended up doing about one hundred and fifty and it was just, you know, having that target in my head, right? What do we need to do? We need to do a bit more marketing. We’ll get the patients in to change our workflow, you know, adjust the prices, you know, or I always include sort of whitening, for example, with them, with the cases. And so I think just having a target for how many cases you want to do. The other thing is obviously your clinic. So I know a lot of people, a lot of colleagues outsource their clean checks. I still do all of mine. I actually enjoy doing it number one. And I also feel like it helps you massively because when you see things don’t go quite to plan like you’re almost in a better position to work out why and don’t trust the clinic that you get back. I think 70 percent of clinics are just approved on the first run. And, you know, really they I’ve never come across a clinic that’s adequate to be approved when it’s just come back.
[00:42:53] Well, where did you get the skills to to sort of figure out the clinic side?
[00:42:57] So I learn very much by by just trying and doing it. Yeah, and I’m 11 years qualified. I think I’ve been doing Invisalign for probably seven years now, so I definitely have made mistakes. And I think you can be so lulled into trying to get the patient to go ahead that you get this clinic back and you tell the patient, Look at this, this is this is amazing. You know where we’ve got to we’ve we had a bilateral cross. Buy it and now it’s fixed and you just think and I’ve started cases where I have genuinely thought that that was going to be sorted. So I think doing it and making the mistakes, but I did a year long orthodontic course actually called KEF Tactics an awesome and awesome orthodontist called Raj runs it. And that tactic? Theft tactics? Yeah, tactics is really good. And again, if anybody is listening to this and they’re interested in an ortho course, that is, in my opinion and one of the better ones, because it’s not just about aligners, it’s about fixed braces. You know, you’re learning to do fixed braces, but it just actually gave me a such a good understanding of of biology and anchorage and the reality of what movements are difficult. And, you know, sometimes it’s impossible to get a tooth where you want it to get to. If you’re just going to be using a line as a loan and the ability to use sectional fixed braces or use pads and things, those are now what I’m incorporate into my Invisalign treatment. So. Oh, nice. Yeah, it is good. And I signed up to an online thing. It’s called Master Aligner Academy. And again, that’s run by these two Portuguese Invisalign dentists, and it’s just it’s just wicked. You get so much information, it’s really reasonably priced. I think it’s about 80 euros a month and you get like a lecture every month and run through clinics. And yeah, it’s just it’s just a nice, nice group to be a part of. I think there’s like almost a thousand dentists worldwide now on that on that group.
[00:44:57] But I’m interested in what you’re saying because in my day when I was a dentist, I was doing some Invisalign. I was, I was. I took over my wife’s list of patients when when she was pregnant with our kids. And by far the most stressful bit was the clinic part. Mm-hmm. And back then, it didn’t exist to outsource your clinic. But if it did, I definitely would look at that because I was pretty much either accepting the clinic or having to go to someone who understood what they were talking about to see whether it was the right thing or not. And I guess that is outsourcing, isn’t it? Yeah. But but obviously I hadn’t done the education, and I think back then we used to think you can go on a two day course and start, you know, and there kind of was like that, you know, you’d go on. I think with one day course, they’d essentially show you how to use the platform. Not much ortho in that one day and then you just start and you’d make your mistakes. And that’s that’s where it was. But I did come across people who really enjoy that side of it, so it’s interesting. What about bonding? What what education have you had for there?
[00:46:10] So I I did a GC course out in Belgium. Belgium. Yeah, I was. I was in Spain, so it must have been. It could have been nine years ago, and it was like an anterior posterior two day thing. I went with my mum and my sister, actually. Quite honestly, I drank far too much beer. And the second day of learning maybe wasn’t quite as effective as it could have been, but I did that. And then, you know, I haven’t made I I know I’ve done hundreds. If not, I mean, maybe, yeah, maybe up to 1000 cases of bonding. And you just think, you know, by doing so many cases, you’re going to you’re going to learn. And obviously, you take tips from very eminent dentist, obviously like Monique. I’ve got good friends who I always always ask questions about, you know, tips and tricks, but I just learnt by doing it. I don’t use anything fancy. I literally just use clear matrix strips, and most of my cases are just free hand. I’m always doing a free hand mock up beforehand, so that again gives me a good insight into what the patient’s expecting. It gives me an idea of the phonetic appearance are lots of photographs, et cetera. So yeah, and just use and press direct as my is my go to composite. It’s yeah, it’s just it’s just a lot, a lot, a lot of bonding units. And what do you use for polishing? I use various things. I use soft like sticks this for shaping. I use the ASUP polishes there. They’re pretty decent. Most silicone spiral as a decent and
[00:47:53] They’re all made in one place, but
[00:47:55] I’m sure they are made.
[00:47:57] There’s a patent, there’s a patent on it. There’s a patent on it, right? Yeah. So and a paste as well. Look, no with any that there is no patent.
[00:48:05] Yeah, there isn’t really a piece. I mean, the the there’s a there’s a brushed by kick, which I use before the polishers. Rubber wheels for me is what I tend to use and different sort of gradients of that. And then usually just finish it off with one of the ACEP polishes to
[00:48:26] Use that thing, that that overclocked instrument with the why the what they call
[00:48:31] That? Do you use that? Yeah, I mean, that is my my bread and butter. I’ve just run out of the smaller size and I’m trying to use this like five millimetre or six millimetre pad. And it’s just like my thumb basically trying to put this composite on a teeth. So it’s funny how you become so used to what you’re using. I use I use this awesome instrument called an Acro Flex. I’m giving away all my tips now. It’s like this really, really flexible ended instrument. The the nurses have a great habit of breaking, so I usually have two or three in my drawer, a very thin plastic. It’s it’s like unbelievably thin and it’s super flexible.
[00:49:09] Yeah, we have one called IPCA PKL that gets broken at lot.
[00:49:12] So I’ve used that. But this things are even more flexible than that. And it’s yeah, once you start using it, like, I just can’t not now use it. But yeah, once once it comes back from the Dickon with one end instead of two and you’re looking at nursing nurse,
[00:49:28] Is this who’s the manufacturer of that?
[00:49:30] And it’s. Really, actually, you really. Oh, is it? Yeah.
[00:49:36] Crow flicks I’ve never come across,
[00:49:37] They’re always on back or on on on Dental directory, so I don’t want people to be buying it now because I think I’m the only one that buys them.
[00:49:47] I want to move on to darker days. Yeah. Well, what’s been the darkest days dentist?
[00:49:53] And well, I’m generally a pretty happy guy, right? So I try and see the the good and most things, and I try and try and be positive about stuff. I mean, there have been situations clinically where it’s been. It’s been sort of, you know, touch and go bump clenching moments where I did an implant and a patient on a Saturday morning and everything was fine. It was a lower lower five seven. Yeah, I sort of submerge them close the flap. Bleeding stopped. She had been, you know, she was taking warfarin. So we left her in the clinic for a while. No bleeding corner of the afternoon. Absolutely fine Sunday. She she messaged, saying that it’s bleeding a little bit so of gave her advice throughout the day. She said, No, it’s fine. It’s fine. I went to bed, woke up in the morning on Monday to a barrage of texts being like, It’s bleeding a lot. What do I do? You know, when you wake up to these texts and you think, Oh, right, so Corder didn’t pick up, called a house phone, didn’t pick her up, and I was thinking, I mean, you know, obviously you’re thinking very much the worst. Eventually, she’d call me back. She’s like, No, I’m, you know, it has been doing a lot all night. Can I come and see you? So I got her straight in and she had this huge haematoma in her mouth.
[00:51:08] And I just, you know, obviously she’s looking, you know, you can see something at the corner of your eye looking at you and you’re trying to keep this super calm, cool face thinking everything is absolutely fine inside. You are literally breaking it. So I just removed like the blood clot, stuck a of gauze and there put a load of anaesthetic in and just and I obviously had a full day. Patients bear in mind and I just got to sit in the waiting room. Luckily, at the time, there was a separate waiting room she could sit in and I actually called for and I just said, Look, I’ve got this patient. She she’s bleeding a bit. She sort of said, Look, you’re doing all the right things. But ultimately, if you need me to see her, just get her in a cab and send her to my practise and I’ll take care of it for you. And I don’t know how many dentists would just be like that. You know, it’s it’s unbelievable the way that she can be. And I think that from that moment I thought, Well, actually, so I’ve got I’ve got a everything’s going to be in a way like, I’m not having to go to any of this patient. I’ve got like, I’ve got a solution. And and luckily, the bleeding had just slowly stopped, but the patient left at like three p.m. in the afternoon. And in hindsight, I should have got some tranexamic acid mouthwash.
[00:52:17] And, you know, those sort of things that, yes, we talked about it and I thought about it. And in hindsight, you know, I made the wrong call by not not getting it in, but whether it would have helped or not. Who knows? But that was that was pretty, pretty tough. And you know what was really weird? I’m not a I’m not a sort of particularly religious guy. My I grew up, my parents were very religious. I went to church every Sunday. I used to carry the cross in the church service and all that. But it was that day where my dad for some reason had gone on a survey of somebody’s house who was a sort of a sort of psychic kind of lady, right? A clairvoyant. And she I don’t know why, but they got into a conversation, and I think my dad was talking about his dad, who was a dentist, and she said, No, I can feel his presence in the room and I can feel that he’s he’s there with your son and he’s just looking out for him and pay. I’m not joking, mate. Like, I hadn’t talked to my dad at this point, and I called him that day and he said, Tom, you know, that is that’s weird. Like, so that was that was that was a weird ending to that day as well.
[00:53:28] But you were religious. Yeah, but tell me, look at that something in a way out of your control. What happened there?
[00:53:34] Yes, I think it was because there was, you know, looking back, there was nothing else, you know, I got nothing,
[00:53:40] Nothing you could have really done
[00:53:41] Differently. No, I mean, exactly. It wasn’t like I sort of loaded it or put any abutments on it. You know, the flap just went back like there was no there was no tension under the flap. I think I think it just,
[00:53:51] You know, give me an example of something where it went wrong for you. You know, insomuch as the way you handled it made it go wrong.
[00:53:58] That was my fault. And I think, I think just over promising to patients wanting them to accept the treatment plan and
[00:54:07] The early days, right in the early days when you haven’t got much work. Absolutely. There’s pressure to do that completely.
[00:54:12] And you know, you see this big ticket treatment plan. You get all excited and you just look back and you think, you know what? What on earth was doing? Like, I wasn’t chasing the money, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t treatment planning it correctly. And, you know, at that time, based on the knowledge that I had, it was in my head the right thing to do. I’ve never, ever, ever, ever. Sold a treatment to a patient that they didn’t need, right? So, you know, but you look back and you think, you know, I think it was a, I guess, a seven unit bridge with, you know, like a double abutments and you just think, Oh, God, like at some point that’s going to fail quite badly. But you know, what can you do? Like it was in my head the right thing, the right thing to do at that time.
[00:54:55] I think the conversation needs to be heard, you know, that I’ve been there. Young, young, private dentist with my book not full. And at the time, we were doing a lot of veneers posting videos and and it was pretty. It was pretty girl sort of where you know how it’s going to look and you’ve got the guy to show you how much enamel to remove, to stay in and out and all pre all of that. Yeah, and over enthusiastically selling it to a patient and then living to regret that, right? Living to regret how. And the strange thing is, as you get more experience, you realise sort of the less you push, the more acceptance you get.
[00:55:35] Absolutely. Well, I think the patients, yeah, yeah, completely. I think the patient is going to feel it. And they and obviously, you know, it comes it comes across that you’re, you know, you need to work. Yeah, like literally like, you know, without sanding. It’s not we’re not sounding arrogant. Like sometimes I don’t I don’t need the work. So I’m always saying to them, you know, like people have come in and asking me for four Invisalign and bonding. And actually, I’ve just said, look, just just have some teeth whitening and just just see how you feel. Your teeth are actually very nice. So, you know, in my younger days, I probably wouldn’t have done that. Know I would have I would have gone with what they wanted, right? And if they wanted veneers, I would’ve said, Yeah, let’s let’s do it like, I’m doing what the patient wants and I’m doing the right thing. But you know, now now it’s it’s it’s obviously through experience. You you’ve still got to do what you feel is right. It’s not. It’s not what the patient wants. Well, I’ll rephrase that. Patients don’t always know what they want. They they think they do, and they come in asking for something. And you know, it’s your job to actually educate them and actually show them that really, what they’re asking for is not going to look right because you don’t want to start a treatment where inside something’s telling you all,
[00:56:51] Know. You know, you always want to have total confidence in what you’re doing from the very start, because again, from experience, the cases that I can think of where I’ve done what the patient wanted and actually it didn’t look right. And I knew from the start it wasn’t going to look right, but I always wanted to do it for them, for them to say, Oh no, you were right. You know, then the then the realisation hits that I’ve got a now, sort it out. And you know, it took me three times as long and I’m sure I didn’t charge the patient and I thought, why did I do that again to prove a point? So, so now it’s very much, you know, I hear what you’re saying, I’m listening to what you want. I’m trying to actually really understand what it is you want, not what you think you want. And then trying to present a treatment plan to the patient that’s, you know, hopefully meeting their their real needs. That’s that’s that’s the plan anyway.
[00:57:49] Well, I think what you said earlier about being content with where you are and enjoying it, it’s it’s actually a beautiful thing. I mean, what our goal is there than being happy, right? But what do you see for the future? Do you you see you staying in this sort of one room situation? Or do you see yourself scaling bottling TCC up and and and kind of scaling into bigger ideas?
[00:58:17] Yeah, I mean, I think there’s I always have these conversations with myself and, you know, have lots of ideas. And I suppose there’s a few different paths that lie ahead of me. And right now, I’m very much at that crossroads and I don’t know which which which path I’m going to be taking. Of course I’d love to. I’d love to do what Fossella has done for me, for other dentists, you know, to have that opportunity to rent a room and almost, you know, build your own sort of mini practise, but without all the extra stresses. You know, that’s been remarkable. And you know, I’ll thank her every day for it. So for me to do that to somebody else or other people, that would that would be nice. I would obviously love to have a passive income and own a practise and have associates. And you know, it’s it’s hard when you’ve you’re the breadwinner and you’ve got a house and two kids and you want to take a holiday. But actually the the cost of the holiday, plus the cost of still renting the room when I’m not there, you know, you just think, gosh, like it turns out to be quite expensive. So to have a little bit of, yeah, some associates working for you, of course, that would be lovely. But I have a lot of friends who in practises and the grass is always greener. So, you know, it’s it’s yeah, it’s a strange I’m in a strange place. I’m thirty thirty four, thirty five and I feel like I’ve I’ve got this far and I’m almost now ending this first chapter. And it’s very much about where where DCC is going on, going on from here. And honestly, I don’t I don’t really know the answer, but hopefully, hopefully next year I’ll have a better idea.
[00:59:55] Yeah. So look for four month old baby is going to do that to you, thirsty, you know, because no sleepless nights and worries. And you know, my brother just had a kid and it’s just reminded me of all the things you worry about with a kid. Yeah. And I know you’re not the type to beat yourself up about it. So don’t, but don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s nothing. On the other hand, you’ll be amazed how quickly thirty four turns to 50, like really quickly, much quicker than 20 turns to thirty four somehow. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s real. And you know you’re the kind of guy who, you know, you’re very personable and that for me, the number one skill of a business owner is communicating with your people, you know, with your weather, whether it’s your people or your customers, you’re in your case, your patience, but communication. And definitely you’ve got communication down. You’re likeable kind of person. Do you remember a time where you weren’t as confident?
[01:00:58] Oh, god, yeah. I mean, do you know what? I remember my very first CD conference. It was in Edinburgh. I think it must have been six years ago and obviously through, you know, Simon at the time had been quite heavily involved and he was like, you know, come along. It’s a great conference. And you know, now the backdrop is now
[01:01:17] You’re on the board of it, right? You’re one of the committees
[01:01:19] On the committees, and I’m probably going to be applying for the board next year. Yeah, and and and the very first course I went to and I had all this expectation and I turned up. I didn’t really know anybody. And I think because of my I look back now and I think because of my attitude, you know, I I’m quite shy in certain situations and I wasn’t approaching people. I wasn’t talking to people, but I saw it as, Oh, these people aren’t talking to me. They’re all very cliquey. They’re not, you know, they don’t, you know, yeah, it was very much me, but I at the time was not seeing it that way. So I suppose, yeah, there was definitely a time in my life where I didn’t have that confidence to just to go and speak to people, really. And, you know, just just just through getting to know them, you actually realise that everybody there is very much of the same mind. I mean, obviously you’ve been for many years. So you know, you know, right there, excellent dentist want the same thing for the patients and all like a good beer at the end of the day. So it’s a win win.
[01:02:22] It’s a funny one BCD, because as you’d expect, for someone like me to be not into it because no one’s really there to shop, no one’s really there to buy things. Yeah, so you know, it ends up, you know, some often costing, you know, a lot, a lot of exhibitions, you know, you get a return on. Usually I do, and yet keep keep going back to it. It’s it’s almost like friends, you know, seeing friends again, it’s a little family. It’s a nice little family, and obviously, you know, you don’t look at everything as Roy, right? It’s not like every every activity you do has to bring in a certain number of dollars, otherwise it’s not a worthwhile activity. Know, I love Becky and it’s nice. This time was lovely, wasn’t it, this time going back?
[01:03:08] It was. So it was after lockdown.
[01:03:11] It was always like people wanted some sort of event.
[01:03:14] There were some pent up energy there, for sure. Yeah. Yeah, this is interesting about your your return on investment, actually, because just going back to the earlier question about, you know, working with influencers, you know, actually there are certain ones that you would work with knowing that you’re not going to get real any return on investment. But actually, it’s just good to have that exposure and just a good to have that person on on your page. So I suppose a little bit like, you know, at the back, you know, you’re not really going to be, you know, you might be losing money, but you’re still getting that exposure and you’re still associating yourself with what I still think is like an amazing it’s about.
[01:03:54] It’s about a conversation sometimes, you know? Absolutely. I mean, in a way, look, we had dinner at Bakhtaoui together. Yeah. And now now here we are. You know, you probably wouldn’t have been on this as as early if we hadn’t had that dinner, you know, you know, simple thing like that.
[01:04:11] Yeah, but that’s just dentistry. Do you not think Dental dentistry is such a small world? And again, any advice to a young dentist out there is that, you know, you think that you’re going to be in a mutually exclusive event, but you never know how long it would take. But some, you know, a lot of the time things will always come back and somebody will know somebody or, you know, there’s always this repercussions of of of anything in dentistry. So it’s just just being aware of that good a good things and bad things, obviously. But it’s just it’s just a small world, you know, like you’ll bump into people some somewhere random and you think what? You know, it’s like my, my, my, my mum. You know, Simon’s mum and my mum were at the same uni together a year apart. And you just think, Well, yeah, I mean, that’s weird. But they didn’t know each other if they didn’t know each other. So anyway,
[01:05:07] No, but you’re right, I was having coffee with Rupert Monkhouse. We both live in Fulham. Yeah, and he he said, Oh, I mentioned you were going to come on. And he was like, Oh, I used to work in that practise the practise. Yeah. It’s just such a small business.
[01:05:24] And what’s funny is that, you know, there’s like, what, forty thousand dentists in the UK. But yeah, it’s the people that you actually want to associate with. There’s probably only 1000 thousand right or less than and actually all those people are all part of the same societies. They all go to the same things. They all do similar things. So actually, you think that you’re part of this forty plus thousand community, but in reality, you probably are in a much smaller circle than you realise. And that’s probably why you end up bumping into people that know you or know of you a lot more than you think.
[01:06:00] Yeah, it’s you know, there’s I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say the people I want to to mix with. But but I would say that there’s I’d say out of the 40000, there’s twenty thousand who don’t want to talk about dentistry outside of their day job, for sure. You know, that’s that’s definitely true. You know, I think about sometimes with my year people in my ear. The same ones turn up to all the events, you know, showcase or be a CD or, you know, it’s just a measure of my year who was like thirty six people, the same six people are the ones I see all the time at Dental things. And so you know that conundrum and I think for you at your stage in your career, you’re just at that inflexion point. Yeah, of is it something that you love and you’re going to just get better at it all the time and enjoy more and more and more? Or is it something you start stop loving so much and start wanting to get out of starts around the beginning of the end? You know, you’re both at the end of the beginning and at the beginning of the end, in a weird way.
[01:07:13] You know,
[01:07:14] It’s back breaking work in the end, right? There’s some of that. For me, the thing about the worst thing about dentistry is showing up. Yeah, you know, you’ve got to be there to actually do the work. But then there’s so many plus sides to it. And when I went back to it, I really appreciated the plus side. You know, the talking to people that however much we complain, the relatively easy cash. Yeah, you know, don’t hurt people and and you’re pretty much be OK. Be nice. I didn’t have when I was a dentist, I didn’t have the whole GDC hassle. How much does that bear on you?
[01:07:52] Massively. I mean, I pretty much walk past the GDC office every day on the way to as a reminder that, you know, don’t mess up to date on. And I mean, it’s I think it’s there in every, every dentist head, especially younger dentists. You know, what are the stats you’re you know, you’re you’re likely to get sued twice right now. That’s sort of the the statistics, which is awful when a lot of people are just they’re trying to do the best thing for the patient. And I think a lot of complaints probably come down to a lack of communication, which, you know, is why that is a big part of my of my kind of workflow and my ethos. But yeah, it’s always it’s always in the back of your head that a patient, the patient has so much power that they can just change their opinion, change their mind. And somehow it’s now it’s your fault that they’ve changed their mind. But now you’ve got to deal with it. And if you don’t deal with it in the right way? Well, I can just quite simply go to any kind of, you know what,
[01:08:57] Google bad Dental.
[01:08:59] Exactly. And then and then you know, your career is in jeopardy and you’re faced with a seriously stressful time when it wasn’t sometimes even justified. It’s obviously there. And I think,
[01:09:11] You know, one of us did. The cosmetic dentistry tends to come with this, right? I mean, it’s it’s a funny combination because cosmetic dentistry has a big, subjective element to it. I like it or I don’t like it. Yeah. And yet when you’re in this in this sort of framework of a patient can ruin your career. Mm hmm. It’s weird because someone could come and have 20 veneers done. Agree to everything, sign off on everything, and then at the end of it, say, I don’t like it. Yeah, and and then they’re very likely to get their money back. Very likely.
[01:09:47] Oh, pay. I mean, I’ve you know, of course you’ve I’ve been in situations like that where again, you look back and you think, what could I have done differently? But you know, the sad thing is you’re just going to refund the patient because it’s the easiest way out and it’s just not worth the hassle sometimes. So I wish I had bigger balls and just thought, Well, actually, you know, if I if I truly am not in the wrong gear, I’m not thinking. Yeah, yeah, exactly. But I just I’m just not not there at that stage. I think, yeah, that’s not me. I just I try and please people. And if for some reason they are unhappy, I mean, look, it doesn’t happen very often. I’m very fortunate. But the very rare occasion, I’ll just say, look, it’s fine. Just, you know, have your money back. It’s not. It’s not an issue.
[01:10:35] If you if you go on to open a practise or a chain of practise or whatever, what kind of boss do you think you’ll be? Do you think you’ll be the sort of the hard type or the too soft type? I think you’re going to be a softy, right?
[01:10:47] Do you think I’m a hard type of guy? I’m really not. I mean, I will. I would very much be the soft type, and I suppose that’s the worry. I almost need like a dragon practise manager.
[01:11:02] Carrot stick to you, Kyra. It doesn’t mean, you know, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it, dude. I’ve got I’ve got a partner who takes care of that side of things in enlighten. Okay. If you’d left it up to me, I’d just say yes to everything. Sure. That’s that’s my problem. I literally say yes to whatever the question is. My answer is yes.
[01:11:23] The staff sometimes do the same. It’s it’s a funny way of life, though, but you know, just just just actually just saying yes to things generally opens doors. And, you know, if you say no, if you say no, then you’re probably a bit more reserved and you’re a bit, you know, probably quite careful. You’re sort of worried about the consequences. So it’s it’s easy to say no, but to say yes, this is a fun, fun journey. It’s just like, Yeah, sure. And I obviously has got me in sticky situations, both in a in a work and a personal personal life. But, you know, I think if deep down the intentions were good, then then nothing too bad is going to happen, right? So if you didn’t mean any harm, then it probably would be OK.
[01:12:10] I’m going to ask you a hypothetical question because I know there’s no such thing as a day off for Tom right now. Yeah, but if there was if you had a day to yourself to do whatever the hell you wanted, yeah.
[01:12:22] What would you do? What would I do? And I definitely play some golf. Yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, trying to fit in golf with with two young children. My wife is brilliant. Yeah, well, you know, was really funny. Last year she brought me. I’ve been playing golf for 20 years and I can’t get my handicap under like 20, right? So she bought me these these six golf lessons with a golf pro in a club nearby. And let’s see on my birthday, like a month before our second daughter was supposed to be born. And I said to her, that’s seriously generous, number one. But also you do realise that for six Fridays, for two hours, I’m out like, you know, playing golf. And I think the reality hadn’t kind of set in. So every time I went on my lesson, I felt so guilty. But yeah, I think I think if I had a day off and there were no there was no children to look after and my wife was off having a nice day herself. I definitely have a round of golf in with a few friends and probably my dad. And then I’d probably be hitting hitting a sort of party in the evening and and waking up at, well, get to bed at 6:00 a.m. That’s probably my perfect day.
[01:13:34] Your closest buddies, still your school friends.
[01:13:37] Or you know what? It’s really sad. Like, I don’t I don’t speak to any of my of my schoolmates. Probably a combination of reasons. I went to different university. They all went north. I went south. And yeah, it just it just somehow lost touch of trying to got back in touch with some of them live with a few recently, but it’s all kind of petered out. So all my friends are uni mates, actually, all from Bristol. There’s seven guys me included in a sort of fairly tight group of friends, and we try and meet up four times a year. We’ve all got families and it’s hard to get seven people’s diaries to align for four times in a year, which is crazy, really. But we try and get a weekend and we vote in a president and so sort of social social secretary each year to organise the events. But it’s good fun. Yeah.
[01:14:30] I’m going to close it with some of Prav questions, sure. Running a deathbed. Yeah. Because the nearest and dearest around you. One of three bits of advice that you’d leave them and the world
[01:14:45] Fairly morbid, especially at Christmas time, this bait. I mean, yeah. And I suppose. So to be content and to have followed your dreams, I think that is so undervalued. I’ve come across so many successful dentists. Well, I mean, a lot of dentists in the world that I live in, but a lot of people, you just think God. You are from the outside, you’re so successful, but they’re still chasing something that you just think, God, I wish, I wish I could be in your shoes and actually just think, Gee, what? I’m really, really happy with where I’ve got, so I think that is that’s quite important.
[01:15:25] Think that the tension between contentment and striving, we’ve got that sort of in society. We’ve got those two things in tension. And we like almost like being content. It’s almost like failing completely.
[01:15:37] Yeah, that’s so true.
[01:15:39] And it’s it’s a shame, isn’t it? Because like I said before, that must be the most important thing to be happy, right?
[01:15:45] Absolutely. I mean, you know, we we all suffer with a bit of mental health issues, and I think now, you know, people are talking about it and it’s a real common problem. And I think people, especially with social media and I think this is one of the reasons why I try and stay clear of it, because even when I go on social media and I’ve gained down my, you know, my news feed, I’m comparing myself to these people and I’m thinking, Oh what? I don’t have that car or I’m not on holiday. And I think just for me, it’s just better just to stay clear of it. But yeah, I think it’s something that we all need to try and work on to be content and happy.
[01:16:25] It’s definitely the number one be content.
[01:16:27] Yeah, I’d have to say that I think trying things once is a good thing, you know, experience life to its fullness. I think we are on this planet for maybe no reason at all. Maybe we’re just evolved from a simple bacteria or an organism and and there is no greater being. But you know, it’s it’s it’s pretty cool to be to be here and there are so many things to enjoy, and I think you just got to try and enjoy everything you can possibly enjoy. And I suppose don’t don’t stress over the little things and just, you know, be be the person you want to be. I think that that would be my my my leaving comment. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:17:08] What’s? But I’d say that’s one. So that’s two you’ve given me,
[01:17:15] I gave you quite a few.
[01:17:18] No, no, that’s the, you know, try stuff. I guess it’s different to be the person you want to be.
[01:17:23] Yeah, I’ll go for one more. Okay. Well, just just actually be honest and have integrity. And yeah, just just go out and start the days as you as you want. And I love the film. It’s called About Time, and it’s about this family that have the ability to travel back in time. But when there are major points in their life, like a child is born, they can’t travel back before that because when they come back to the present day, the child could be different, right? And I always watched it. I always leave that thinking, Yeah, actually, just just be just be true to yourself. And yeah, be honest. So that’s that has to be three.
[01:18:04] Yeah. Yeah, that’s three. And what about I mean, I think we asked you at BCD and we’ve got Henry the eighth as one of the guests that came out on the final video. But the fancy dinner party, three guests that are alive, Henry VIII
[01:18:19] Your reason. Just cracked me up. What was the reason? Because I’ve never, never really chatted to him before.
[01:18:27] I’m not sure about it. I’m not sure if I’d slept that much that night. And you took. Yeah, I mean, I still I still I still would have Henry the eighth. And yeah,
[01:18:37] Yeah, no. That was one of the best answers.
[01:18:39] You know what the thing is, right? The only picture these give Henry the eighth is a is a book, and I’d love to, you know what he looked like in real life and and
[01:18:51] How was you never see him sipping a gin and tonic?
[01:18:58] So obviously living, you know, very close to Hampton Court Palace, you just think, yeah, I mean, how amazing it would be to meet Henry the eighth and actually really understand what it would or what it’s like to live back then. So I’m still saying that he’s coming if he can make it amazing. So Wolf of Wall Street film The Guy after Jordan Belfort, he would actually be quite quite an interesting character.
[01:19:21] I bet he’s got a few stories to tell you to actually
[01:19:24] Find out how much of that, how much of that film is true. I did. Did they actually? Yeah, he does.
[01:19:32] He does. He does a podcast, I think.
[01:19:34] I think he does. Yeah, I think he does listen to Jordan Belfort. Who else? I mean, I buy a lot of clothes from suit supply. And so the founder of Suits apply. I think his name is it’s like some sort of Scandinavian name for Bulk de Jong or something. And so I think he would be quite fun because to actually just work, you know, ask him some, some some sort
[01:20:04] Businessman you admire. Is that what it is like?
[01:20:06] How he did it? Absolutely. How he did it, where it came from, because it just it just seemed to kind of expand massively. And they’ve got shops popping up everywhere and all the clothes that it just really, really great. Like, they fit well and they look great. And yeah, so it’s out to have a chat with him. It would be interesting.
[01:20:25] Yeah. When you’re six foot two or whatever, everything fits well and looks like, how tall are you?
[01:20:33] Yeah. Six, six two. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[01:20:36] Yeah, yeah. If you got any problems with stuff looking good in fitting, well, anyway, that movie to have you, man. Thanks, man. And it was it was a good laugh, actually.
[01:20:49] Yeah, it’s good fun
[01:20:50] And see you soon and
[01:20:53] We will. Thanks, Pete. Take it easy, mate. All right, buddy. Bye bye.
[01:20:58] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
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