Recorded at a Neodent community event in late 2021, this week’s podcast sees Prav sit down with Brazillian implant impresario Sérgio Bernardes.
The pair discuss Sérgio’s route into implantology after being talked out of life as an equestrian vet.
Sérgio chats about his continuing love of horse riding, the legal landscape in Brazil and how the opportunity of a lifetime led to his role in product development at Neodent.
In This Episode
01.33 – Entering implantology
07.53 – Zirconia implants
13.52 – Backstory
19.22 – Dental school
22.24 – Neodent
28.44 – Legal landscape
31.26 – Blackbox thinking
38.28 – Advice to new implant dentists
42.37 – Last days and legacy
44.51 – Fantasy dinner party
About Sérgio Rocha Bernardes
Prof. Dr Sérgio Rocha Bernardes earned a BDS from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. He gained specialist status in dental prosthesis and implantology at the APCD/Bauru in São Paulo and the Federal Dental Council, respectively.
He also holds an MSc in Oral Rehabilitation from the Federal University of Uberlandia, and a PhD in Oral Rehabilitation from São Paulo University/FORP, Brazil, with collaborative research at the Eastman Dental Institute, London.
Sérgio has published books on implants, immediate loading, guided surgery and prosthesis.
He is a professor a the Latin American Institute of Dental Research and Education in Brazil and the head of new product development and clinical practice at Neodent.
One surgery. Then I opened the patient and I had anatomy in my mind and it was, Oh, so this is that bone. This is the way the root is. Here is where we have the muscles attachments. So when you start to apply the basics on your practice and you are thinking during the surgery, this is really important because in the beginning you are only afraid acting on the defence. But when you study and you apply the basics on your patients, practice on your practice with the patient, then you feel confident and you know what you are doing. So immunology requires a lot of basic studies and then be prepared, be prepared to do courses because you need to finish your dental school and to make it in patients, you need to do clinical practice. It’s not only about doing a one way course, make any plans in the plastic job and you believe you’re ready. No, no, it doesn’t work like that. You need to do courses and you need to do courses in patients. So we need you to practical education.
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.
Sergio, welcome to the latest podcast. We’re here today at the Near Community event, which you’ve been presenting at some of the latest innovations with near event and the latest research. But let’s push that to one side for now and tell me about your backstory. So introduce yourself. And actually just to give the listeners some perspective. What volume of implants have you placed over your career?
Oh, okay. Well, I’m Brazilian. Like I said, I’m not really from Rio de Janeiro, and it’s where I graduated in dentistry, where I have my family or my parents. But then about 15 years ago, I moved to Korea, to the south of Brazil, where we have people in the And the reason why I decided to move was because of work. I noticed that the place where I work nowadays, it’s a very nice environment for innovation and developing products. When I finished dentistry, I remember that I did a promise and my promise was to look after the patients. And then when I was started practising, I don’t know, I felt like if I could become a professor or if I could turn to a trainer, or if I could lecture instead of me only helping patients. The promise that I’ve done when I graduated on looking after the patient, I could multiply it in other hands. So I was really motivated and inspired by becoming a professor or trainer and a lecturer and going to the academic world. So that’s why I decided to do the mastering in my Ph.D. And then when I started to train people and they could multiply.
The reason why I was doing dentistry, which was basically to look after the patients. I thought that if I started to develop new solutions, I could even help other professors and other trainers to help more people and then to help more people. And that’s when Amir then came to my life. And, you know, in the beginning I was working for education in Odense, so I was responsible for international education. So all academic work, you know, like doing manuals, literature review, preparing presentations and stuff like that. And but I was really close to the development team, and my dream was to work on the product development. And it took me some years to be confident enough and to work in a group in an environment where we have much more engineering than dentists. But I would say that now I love what I do. I love to create solutions, to create innovation, to create new products, because I believe that like that and helping more and more people. And the reason why I do my work is just because of the patients basically is this.
And so if you were to split up your time and just give us an insight into your world, how much of your time do you spend actually putting implants in patients mouths versus working on product development versus, you know, red tape and paperwork and all the rest of it? Just describe your your job, right?
Well, I graduated and reunited eight and at that time was extremely expensive to do in ontology. Basically, when I graduated, I was a dentist in the in the Brazilian army. And I had to make a decision or I would buy a car or I could buy a surgical motor and and a surgical cassette and do a course on ontology. And then I decided to use public transport and I invested my money. At that time it was really expensive on immunology. So in 1999 I did my first implant and then I started working as immunologists because in Brazil we have this as a field of dentistry, as perio or endo. So implant is something local. Yeah, is this is a special thing in my country. So I turned to an implant allergies just and then I decided to do the master and that was always clinically driven so I never liked to do only in vitro research. I always like to do some research where I could see results, you know, and tangible results. And so from 99 to 2006, I was sharing my private practice with this courses on immunology. And then in 2007 I was doing my PhD in and I came to the UK and I stayed one year at Eastman where. Fortunately, I couldn’t practice because of no license and stuff like that. But then in the UK, in Nisman, I met Dr. Zafar and that’s when I did my first international lecture for his courses. And then I started to see a common There is more war. The world is much bigger than I thought. And then this one year I couldn’t see patients, but at least I could see different.
People pass the knowledge.
Yeah. Personal knowledge meant and met new friends. And then when I come back to Brazil, I keep practising in Brazil nowadays because I share my practice with product development. I only work as a clinician twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday. And as an average, we make like 500 implants per year. Because I don’t do any other work on dentistry, I only do implants or prostheses with implants or sometimes procedures to spawn. But mainly it’s in ontology.
So in those two days you’re placing 500 implants across the year. Yeah, exactly.
They do a lot of large. Yeah, we do a lot of large. So then the numbers tend to go up. And like I said, I don’t do any other things and I don’t do wisdom teeth anymore.
I just throw in metal rods in people’s heads and zirconia. All right. Okay. Okay. Yeah. And how many how many zirconia do.
All the ceramic implants are doing? Really well. I see it. I don’t see this as a substitute of titanium steel. I see this as a new option. And another two or maybe another technique or another solution we can offer to the patients. I also don’t see that ZIRCONIA implants are not for a niche of patients like the patients that don’t want metal in the body. I don’t see like that.
I believe that ceramic implants are for has three basic indications. Number one, patients nowadays, they are no longer patients. They are health consumers. And so when they Google implants ology, they will look after, you know, grafting procedures, the treatment planning. So they have a lot of information on that. And also they can see what implants and for sure, the patients perceptions on aesthetics, it’s much higher when they see a white implant instead of metal implant.
Even if you never see that implant in the mouth. Right.
That’s true. That’s true. Yeah. It’s about the patient’s perception. So I believe that at the moment they start Googling it and they will see what implants. Well, they will ask for this for us. Also, there is another problem we have nowadays about periodontitis. And in that, well, in the literature, we can see that ceramic implants, they have less biofilm adhesion when compared to Titan and implants. So in cases of poor implant itis patients that has already periodontitis. Maybe that would be an implant that makes the patient’s life easier to keep a good hygiene.
So for me, it’s about patients perceptions on aesthetics, less biofilm adhesion. And the third one, it’s about the soft tissue relation as well. Ceramic material has a much better adhesion of the junction epithelium. So from the biological point of view, it’s amazing the results we have from the soft tissue when it comes to zirconia compared to titanium.
And then with respect to comparing zirconia to titanium, is there any sort of studies in terms of longevity or strength or anything like that? What are the differences?
Well, for sure, it’s work with ceramic implants is completely different than to work with metal implants. With titanium implants, it’s like, you know, when we used to do bridges with a metal framework at the moment, we started working with metal free bridges, The way we practice, the way we try, the way we work has to be different. So we need to understand that titanium is different than zirconia, and we need to respect those differences. So for example, when you replacing it as a implant, you need to respect the osteotomy if you want the size too much and if you have talks over 16 centimetres, you can put yourself in trouble. So you need to respect osteotomy. Also when it comes to zirconia, we need to have in our mind that the design of the implant has to be different because the material is different. So we need to trust in the industry that did the correct research and for us. For example, we spend about five years developing this product because we were finding the perfect design for zirconia, which is a different design than when you design an implant made on titanium. So we need to trust in that and understand that different words.
And so how many non titanium implants have you placed in patients.
And lapel on the school? We placed already about 300.
We’ve been following following up with other colleagues, about 500 in the last five years. And the doctor told me and my boss and I, we did together about 200 implants and we have follow up for about five years. We’re not only doing this in the end of the day, we only have solution for singles between pre molars. And so that’s why in this five years, we only placed this 200 implants.
There’s still a lot, right? You’re following them up. And have you any patterns in terms of bone loss or longevity or anything like that, these early stages?
Well, in terms of bone loss seems really similar to titanium implants. In terms of soft tissue, it’s amazing. We can see soft tissue growth. I never did a research on animal research or preclinical research on the soft tissue level with cornea implants. I would like to I would love to do we already done in Minipigs, but we are making analysis on the Austin integration. So the Hospital for Medical analysis we’ve done was comparing in the same animals replacing one side zirconia and the other side like a splinted mouse titanium. And then we placed implants. We wait for the regeneration and then we did a hostile mathematical analysis and we proved there is no difference between silicone and titanium on the bone level. So the bone biology is exactly the same, but for soft tissue, I never did this in animal. But from the clinical research we’ve been conducting, it looks to us that all the research we read about it is true. The soft tissue has a very good reaction when compared to titanium.
So if we step right back now, said Joe, tell us about your childhood, where you grew up, what it was like growing up in Brazil and your parents as well. So how did you get into the career? So so go back to your childhood. Tell us about that. Brothers, sisters, siblings. What was all that like?
Yeah, well, Brazil is a huge is a huge country. Brazil is a huge country. And I was born in Rio, but my father is a military, and so I spend most of my childhood in a military base, which is is nice. I could play in the street was everything was safe. And also we I mean, I would say 90%, 80% of my time we lived in Rio, but I lived also in the countryside of Brazil. Once we lived in the area in the central Brazil, closer to Paraguay, it’s closer to a big force we have in Brazil because we have Amazon and then we have this area called Pantanal. And so I lived in this place when I was six years old, seven and I have memories from that time. And when we come back to Rio, I started writing horses since I was seven, right? Yeah, maybe because of the countryside, I don’t know. And so my my childhood was basically going to jump with the horses and then, well, going to the beach, enjoying the beach, the nice weather of Rio and sometimes studying. Sometimes you need to.
Study every now and then. Yeah. Yeah. And so what were you like at school? You were a smart student was to get into dentistry. If you’ve got to be a certain standard there and just tell us about it.
Because of the horses, my dream was to become a vet.
Yeah, because of the horses. I would like to become a vet. And that was jumping and that was good about on the sport. And I said, okay, you know what? We become a veterinary. And then I would work only with horses. And then my father came to me and maybe different than nowadays. My father said, You know what, Sergio? If you want to become a vet because you like horses, that’s not the correct way. You shouldn’t work. On things that you, you know, really appreciate it. This is your hobby. You shouldn’t work for your hobby. He said.
You should work in something that can sustain your hobby. And horses are extremely expensive. So you need to do something that could sustain your hobby. And I said, okay, you know what? I like biology. And then I said, Okay, maybe if I become a dentist, I could try to do that. And then I did dentistry.
So it’s not just a random thought. Did someone push you to dentist anyone in the family? No, nothing like that.
Zero. No one in the family was. And then I start from scratch and it was basically because of the horses. And then. But then it took me, Oh, wow, 24 years. Because when I started doing dentistry, I by the way, one of another reason why I decided to dentistry and not to become a physical doctor, a medical doctor, was because of dentistry. It’s like four or five years. And if I become a medical doctor, it’s like five, six, sometimes seven. I said, No, I don’t want to spend my whole time in the university. But then I did dentistry, I did specialisation, I did master, I did a P.S..
And now you’re back in the university. Yeah.
So it’s been my whole life studying. And then I quit. I had to stop with the horses because, yeah, I fell in love in the industry.
When did you quit the horses?
It was 2002. And after 20 years, now I’m back with the horses. Yeah. So after 20 years, I finally managed to do this. Amazing. I’m not rich, you know, But, you know, I’m capable to keep the horse. So it’s. It’s fun and it’s fun to to back. To be back on on on this.
And the you as passionate about that hobby today as you were as a kid.
Yes, that’s true. So basically today I wake up five in the morning to go and see the horses from 6 to 7 and then from seven I take a shower and I go to the clinic. So that’s what I do in the mornings. So every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to the horses. Every Tuesday and Thursday I go for running. And then Saturday and Sunday I do both.
And so when you say you go to the horses, what do you do? You ride them in a field, you jump with the jumping. Yeah. Yeah. And is that competitions involved in that. Yes. Do you partake in them.
Well, this year I was, I was the winner of the state championship of Para Now where we’re.
Yes, I’m a state champion right now.
Wow. Wow. And so with the. Because you took a break from the from the horse thing, right? And then you come back. How long was that hiatus? How long was that break?
It was 20 years.
And 20 years later, you come back and win the state championship.
It’s like cycling. Yeah.
You never muscle memory. Yes, exactly. Exactly. Wow. Wow. That’s amazing. And so. Okay, so fast forward, you go into dental school. What is dental school like in Brazil?
Well, in Brazil, I’ve been to the Rio de Janeiro Federal School. So it was a public school. And at that time now this is about five years. At that time it was four years. And basically the two first years we do the basic. So we do anatomy physiology. Exactly. All the basic stuff. And then the last two years, we go to every special field. And then the last year we have what we call is like a general practice. So in the last year you spend one year just seeing patients and doing a little bit of everything. But in Brazil, when you graduated in dentistry, if you want to advertise a special field, you need to do what we call specialisation. Specialisation is a kind of a course between a graduation and the master, and this specialisation is just a clinically driven course. So you don’t need to write a big paper, you just need a monograph fee with a literature review, something similar, but you need to see patients doing two years, so you need to see patients and treat patients. And when I finished dentistry, I did my specialisation on orthodontics and the reason why I did X is because the first department on my school wasn’t that good. And I felt like, okay, you know, I know I do specialisation and approach to doing X and then I go to the to my practice. When I did President X, We are starting to do implants in Brazil. So I said, okay, I’m doing precedent, so I need to understand how to do prosthetics for implants. And when I started doing prosthetic for implants, I said, You know what? I think I need to do surgery of this. And then I did a course for surgery with implants, just replace one or two. And then I said, oh, no, you know, I think I need to do something for grafting now because I went to delivery everything for my patient.
So when you did the implant course, we were like, This is what I want to do. Yeah, this is my thing. You fall in love with implant dentistry at that point.
Yeah, definitely. When I was in the dental school, I was. I mean, I really liked anatomy or anatomy and I really enjoyed surgery. So I was as a GP, I was doing with wisdom teeth, for example, reason tooth on the practice. So I was really comfortable about surgeries and then I decided to do prosthetics because I was missing this learning. And then when I did Info ontology is where I could see, you know, the two things that I was falling in love, like the prosthetics and the surgery. Combine it in one technique. So that’s why I fell in love with ontology. And like I said, nowadays I only do implants.
Amazing. And how did you get involved in the product development near what, like you went from riding horses to saying, I need to pay for my horses, so now I’m going to do some dentistry to pay for my horses and you got, you got this place to, you know, you did the specialisation and then from here you found yourself in a position where you are involved in research and product development for any then with the founder, creator of Near Dental. How did that opportunity even come about?
That’s a nice story because I would say I could say that I was lucky. Basically when I was doing my master, I was doing my research on bioengineering, so I was doing photo elasticity in order to understand the stress fields around the implants with different connections. In order to make the photo elasticity analysis, I need a company to produce special implants to place on the raising to make them that analysis. And well, in Brazil we have some local producers. And then on the school that I was doing, my master at Dr. Tommy, my mentor nowadays in my boss, he’s the founder of Neo. Then he went to the school to do a live surgery and then I had my project, my hands. I was a masters student and I came to him and I said, Hey, could you could you produce those implants for me? And he said, Why? And explain it to him. And he said, Yes, So I support you in your research. And then he did a implant and he send it back to me and I did the research. And before publishing, I felt that that would be correct from my side to show him the results before publishing.
So I showed him the results. And then I would say that. Dr. Toma that’s that’s when I got I would say lucky, because he was like an angel in my in my life. I don’t know. We get along together quite well. We have similar lifestyles, let’s put it his way. And then he said, okay, I like your research. Could you present your research to my students and say, Yeah, yeah, I do this? And then I presented a research and then it was 2004 in a congress in Sao Paulo, and I’m from Rio, and this was a big show in Sao Paulo. We had Professor Brenner work on this show. They were celebrating 40 years. It was a 40 year anniversary of integration in Sao Paulo. It was a Saturday. And then, well, I had already presented the research and he came to me in the booth. We were in the boost for near the end, and he said, Sergio, you know what? I’m open and dental school in Chiba Lapel. And he said, You want to work for me? I said, Yes.
Yes, definitely. Why would you say no? There was that look. Was that like the opportunity of a lifetime?
Right, Exactly. Because he saw my presentation before and he said, You want to work for me? I mean, you’re doing a PhD, correct? So what if you work for me and I need people like you in my school said, Hey, that would be wonderful. It was a Saturday. And then I asked him when you want me to start, and he said, Monday morning, 8:00. And I said, Monday morning I’m in front of your factory. And then I get back to Rio. I was already married and I informed my wife as an A Honey, we are moving to Chiba.
Any kids that. This point or the family as well or. No, no, no, no. Okay, kids.
Okay. Hey, honey. You know Natalia. Well, I have a proposal, and I like this man. I mean, I like the way he’d been conducting the business. And, you know, Monday we are including Sheba. And I said, Come on. Are you crazy? Yeah. Yeah, let’s do it. And she was also another angel in my life. And we went together. And then Monday morning I was knocking on the on the door and actually being open and said, Come on, you serious? Are you really here? And then and to today he makes jokes on that because I think that’s yeah, it was really fast.
Amazing. Amazing. And so what’s what’s home life for you like at the moment outside of dentistry let’s say you’re not riding the horses or what do you do? What do you do at home? What do you do for fun?
Well, creative is a nice city. The quality of life is pretty good. Now I have a kid 13 years old, so I’m enjoying most of my time with the family. And also because of this international work that I do, you know, I travel a lot every year and then I’m coming to here to see my friends in a UK. And well, basically we like to travel.
And we have some friends in Katiba and it’s much more, you know, I dedicate my time to the family because I work so much that I think that in order to compensate my physical absence, I try to, you know, the the few moments I’m encouraged by, you know, I need quality.
Yeah, that’s just what I do. I say, So what’s.
Your work life balance like?
Oh, my goodness.
It’s tough. Yeah. Yeah.
I work too much. Yeah. Sometimes they complain. Usually I leave home by 530 in the morning and I.
Go to the office.
About eight nine. But then in the weekends now I manage to stop and the weekends.
So on the weekends do they get 100%? Sergio. Yes. Yeah. Yes. And that’s important, right? Yeah. It’s that you can be there and not be there, right? You’re correct.
I think that most of the dentists, they love what they do and since we, we work with the hands and then it’s not an easy job. It’s a tough job, then it’s free stuff and we want to delivery it. Usually we centralise everything with us and then when you see you there, you know, in a big immersion on the patient and you don’t want to leave the clinic and to not finished.
So yeah, in Brazil, here in the UK there’s a lot of, shall we say, like little fear of patients sort of suing you for doing, making the wrong move, doing the wrong thing, blah, blah, blah. And so dentists are fearful on the whole of if I do this or try this or do that, or if I forget to do this, it’s my career on the line. Right. What’s it like in Brazil? Is it is a more relaxed what’s what’s the relationship there like?
Well, I can see that here and in the US it’s harder. But in Brazil is turning to that. We have in more and more legal problems with the patients and night. I believe that also the relation between the dentists and the patients is turning more, let’s say, physical and less emotional. Okay, So that’s when we have chances of this happen. So right now in Brazil, especially some wolves and Belo is the biggest city of Brazil. We have in some some lower lawyers that they are becoming specialists on health problems.
Screwing dentists over basically.
Yeah, dentists and many doctors. Yeah. So the attorney and specialise it on that. And like I said, you know, in the end of the day I believe that we are human beings. Obviously every, every, every problem, you know, everything in life has limits and bounds. But I don’t believe that most of my colleagues, our colleagues, they want to do something wrong to the patient. I believe that most of the dentists, they are trying to deliver the best. But but again, you know, failure can happen. And if you prove to your patients why you did this and that, and if you are convinced about your treatment planning, sometimes I think that people, even though you explain to them because the human relation is becoming different.
Less emotional, is growing. And even in Brazil, and I tell you that Brazilian patients, they are really patients. Yeah, because already we run a lot of. International courses to get. And then when they see, you know, a dentist here from the UK coming to Brazil, when we are running courses and having these doctors come in today, I can see that they are really amazed with the with the Brazilian patients. But even though it’s.
Changing, it’s changing, it’s getting it’s get it’s moving in that direction, Right? Yeah. Just on that note of like making mistakes and stuff like that, that one of the things I ask on this podcast is revolves around this concept of black box thinking. So in the airline industry, they have this little black box in the plane and it records everything, right? When stuff kind of kind of goes off track or goes wrong or whatever it documents it. And that’s shared with the whole airline industry to improve overall safety. Right. Right. But in health care, we’re so used to brushing things under the carpet if we make mistakes. Right. But if we shared our mistakes with the world, everyone would benefit, right? Absolutely agree. Can you think back to any moment in your dental career where you had one of those moments where you thought, Fuck. What if I just don’t? And how did you deal with it?
You know, it already happened to me. It already happened to me. And I already had this moment. I remember here two big moments that I had in my mind. And I felt because I could see that I did something wrong. And then I felt really bad. The first the first feeling I had, it was depression. I was guilty. I said, Oh, no, I did something wrong. And for me. What I decided to do. I set out to have an open conversation with a patient. So I had all the data in my hands like models, x rays, and I decided to explain the patient what happened, what I’d done wrong, and what I could do to fix what I had done wrong. Hopefully it was possible to fix what what I did wrong, but I decided to have this clear conversation with the patients. And I believe that nowadays with digital dentistry and the moment we are starting to have more and more digitalisation of the patient’s data, it’s becoming easier to have this communication with the patient from the good things and also from the bad things. And also I believe that this digital dentistry can even protect us because we can show the patients the reason why we decided to that particular treatment treatment and then if it went wrong, we can prove to them that the moment we took the decision, there were reasons behind because we have everything, all the data, you know, it’s easy to achieve. You have it recorded, you have it in a cloud, whatever, in external HD. So nowadays I believe that the communication with the patient, even in difficult situations, can become easier because of digitalisation, of dentistry.
Going back to this problem, the patient, you explained everything to them. What happened?
Well, one of the patients from these two worst cases I had, one of them understood and well, we managed to to fix. So I contact another colleagues. That was quite important because in order to fix what I’ve done, for example, I need to do some orthodontics for the patient. So I contact some friends and they help me. One that I think that the network is quite important If you have friends to support you in a moment like that, it’s really important. And usually we then we work alone. And if you stay in the nutshell, not not a good way of doing it’s good to share and to speak with others and and keep your network on. So this guy helped me and the other one, I had to repeat the treatment and then again I explained it to the patient. I cover all, all the costs and I decided to the second surgery to invite someone with a higher experience than me. So I went to the surgery to redo what what, what I have done with a highly experienced doctor. And I believe that training and education is crucial because when you’re doing training education, you can share, you know, the challenges and the decision points with someone that is highly experienced than you. And that’s how I save myself from from this second situation.
What were the two mistakes?
One of them. I extracted the wrong molar.
Instead of removing the first one, I remove the second mole in one of the teeth. The other one was a psychometric surgery. We did the zygote, my implant, but I didn’t have the proper engagement of the psychometric implant on the bone. And it was one of the first that I’ve done. And when I did it, I felt that I had poor mental stability. But then we did this in the hospital, and then one week later, when we did the tumour scanning that the the psychometric implant was actually out of the coma, what’s inside? And so sometimes it touched the bone and you have a feeling of mechanical stability, but actually it is not, wasn’t engaged to the osteotomy that I’ve done. And this was because I didn’t have the experience to open the flap correctly, a bigger flap in order to see what I was doing. And so we had to remove this implant and well, we didn’t we even didn’t do another osteotomy. The osteotomy was there is new.
Exactly back in. But then the patient had to go to hospital for a second time and.
Well, thank you for sharing that Sergio, because I think it takes a lot to be able to sort of just admit your own mistakes. Right. And at the same time, for other people to sort of say that somebody in your position, a professor, somebody who’s involved in product development, engineering and all the rest of it, is also somebody who makes mistakes, right? So we can we can all do that and nobody’s infallible, Right? So, yeah, I think that’s you correct.
When when we ride horses, we used to say that you only fell from the horse if you hide the horse. Because if you don’t hide the horse, you never felt from the horse. So I believe for clinical practice is the same. If you don’t do patients, then you’re never going to fail. Because if you work with patients, you will fail. We are human beings and what we’re trying to do nowadays is maybe with, I don’t know, technology and artificial intelligence, with softwares, with techniques. We are trying to reduce the human error, but still we depends on human beings. And if you work with people and if you are doing clinical practice, be sure one day something will happen and you need to be prepared on that.
If you could advise a new graduate who’s interested in getting involved in implant dentistry. What would your advice be to that to that individual in terms of the career path, the courses? What do you say to them?
You know, if someone wants to do an ontology, the first thing I would advise is a study. You need to study a lot. Prepare yourself, prepare yourself, studying the basics. I think that you need to study anatomy. You need to study occlusion. You need to study physiology. And then when you are in dental school, you need to be prepared for that by studying the study, the basic dedicating yourself to the basic. I remember until today, the first surgery that I’ve done in my life, that I felt really secure because the first surgeries I was shaking and then and I was afraid of something can bleed more than normal. I don’t know if I can handle if I turn my if I turn myself to a difficult situation in here. But I don’t believe one surgery. Then I open the patient and I had the anatomy in my mind and it was, Oh, okay. So this is that. This is the way to put this. This is where here is where we have the muscles attachments. So when you start to apply the basics on your practice and you are thinking during the surgery. And this is really important because in the beginning you are only afraid. You are like, let’s say, acting on the defence. But when you study and you apply the basics on your patients, practice on your practice with the patient, then you feel confident and you know what you are doing. So immunology requires a lot of basic studies and then be prepared, be prepared to do courses because you need to finish to finish your dental school and to make it in patients. You need to do clinical practice. It’s not only about doing a one week course. Make any plans in the plastic job and you believe you’re ready? No, no, it doesn’t work like that. You need to do courses and you need to do courses in patients. So we need you to practice practical education.
It’s funny you. You mentioned that at the beginning, when you place in implants, you’re scared, right? You’ve got you’ve got this fear. Yeah. When? When, when I was speaking to him earlier, he mentioned a similar concept, right. That these patients. And you’re scared. Right. But he said when I was doing those first implants, I was playing the role of an actor because you can’t let the patient know that you’re scared, Right? Because then their confidence in you sort of changes. Did you have a similar situation there when you when you first started placing?
You know, when I started placing implants, I was worried about the next drill. Okay, which one is the next drill? So I was much more focussed on on the sequence of drill than actually in the patient.
And, and I was sweating like crazy shaking. And again, I think that if I had studied more and then because for me you need to be worried about how can I open the flap, how can I release the flap, how can I suture properly? Like the sequence of truth is just as a consequence. So don’t be worried with the sequence of drill. Be worried about the implant positioning. Be worried about the patient’s health. And then maybe nowadays, you know, I would maybe have the catalogue of the company opening in front of.
Me in the order.
Exactly. You know, I would say, okay, let me look at that and then. All right, that’s the next rule. And I’m focusing on the patient and you should be focussed on the patient and not on the system.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So coming towards the end of this interview, what we what we usually ask is I’ve got a few final questions and one of them is Sergio. It’s your last day on the planet. And you’re surrounded by your loved ones and you need to leave them with three pieces of life advice, three pieces of wisdom. What would you say?
That’s a good one. The the first one. I would say be yourself. Don’t pretend to be what you are not. You know, for me. My big personal journey is to understand myself. And I want to be myself. I don’t want to be someone that I’m not. So be yourself. Number two. I would say. Be humble. Because when you are humble, you you are open to learn. When you believe you know everything. You. You know, you’re living in a war that you’re just closing your eyes. And then when you close your eyes and you start only to think about you and you, you’re not humble enough to learn. You will fail. So I would say be yourself. Be humble. And I believe that you should be honest. You should be honest with people. I believe in energy. And if you if you give bad energy to the universe, the universe, we will give you back.
That same shit back to you.
Yeah, exactly. So be honest, be positive with people, and then the energy you get back is a good energy. Yeah.
And so what would you like this to say then? So Sergio was. Dot, dot, dot.
Oh, I would say. Sergio was a nice guy.
Simple as that.
Simple like that.
Simple as that. Yeah, mostly. Yeah. And imagine you had a fantasy dinner party. Okay. And you could invite any three guests. Dead or alive. Who would they be? I won’t tell you in the and situation.
The first the first person I think I would I would invite her to come would be my grandfather. I have had good memories of my grandfather. We had fun together and he was a nice experience. A nice example for me.
Yeah, yeah. So I would say my grandfather. You know. I don’t like to regret the good and needed the bad things I’ve done, the bad things I’ve done because no one is perfect. I try to fix. And so. I tried to be with the person when. When when someone is with me. And I believe that true friendship and true human relation, even though sometimes you cannot provide the proper attention to the person, the patient that the person deserves. If is a true friend of you, he wouldn’t, you know, he will understand.
You understand the situation.
Why you cannot be with with with them. So when you say three people is hard for me because I believe that a. Most of the people that I’ve been living with, I try to to be with them when we were together. So I would say, you know, I don’t feel that I don’t have this feeling, you know, I’m missing. I miss it to do this or miss it to do that. That’s why the only person that came to my mind was my my grandfather.
So that was one of my choices. Yeah. Grandfather. Just because I miss him today. Yeah. Yeah.
And maybe because he. I mean, we lost him when I was too young. And so let’s say I wasn’t mature enough to.
Exactly to have a population with him. So that’s that’s why I was thinking about him.
Any celebrities or any one that you’ve sort of sort of thought, I’d like to sit down with that person one day. I wish I’d have had the opportunity to sit down with those.
And speak with someone. Let me say, you.
Know, over dinner.
Yeah. I don’t know. I think I would like to speak with Albert Einstein. Yeah, it seems like an interesting character. Yeah. Maybe. And you know who come to my mind when you said Clint Eastwood? Maybe because of the cowboy movies.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool. Sergio, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate that. Thank you. Thank you so much.
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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