This week, Prav sits down to chat with implant dentist Dr Nadeem Zafar.
Nadeem discusses how he spots potential greatness among implant students, reveals game-changing advice to his younger self and flirts with world domination at a fantasy dinner party to be remembered!
In This Episode
01.53 – Backstory
15.20 – Guy’s, VT and implants
27.26 – Blackbox thinking
33.06 – Talent spotting
37.45 – Advice to my younger self
39.10 – Last days and legacy
40.51 – Fantasy dinner party
About Nadeem Zafar
Nadeem Zafar graduated from Guy’s Hospital in 1994. In 2000, he went on to complete a master’s degree in implantology with the Eastman Institute before returning to Guy’s as a clinical tutor. He has also held associate professorships in universities in South America.
Nadeem is a former president of the Anglo-Asian Odontological Group.
The course I’ve got is designed for everyone to learn it very quickly and either do it yourself or you quickly learn that maybe you just don’t like surgery and it’s not for you. But being a dentist, even though implants isn’t taught well, undergraduate is up to each dentist to understand implants, how they work. Pros and cons of it. So at least you can refer your patient to the right person. Yeah, because your patients expect you as a dentist to understand it all. And if you don’t understand it, then they don’t think of you as a very good dentist, even though you might be brilliant at composites at Crowns That smile makeovers in that. But if you don’t understand anything about dentists, they don’t think you’re as good. So it’s important whether you end up doing implants or not. You should do a course with hands on, not just theory. You might find that you love doing the surgery or you might find you don’t. In which case you can just restore. Or you might say, Sod it, I just don’t want to touch it. But at least you’ve got some knowledge that you can give to the patient. So they still got confidence with you as a dentist, as being a competent dentist who knows things, even though it’s not necessarily your field.
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.
Kick the theme. Welcome to the Denver Leaders podcast. Thank you. And you know, like yesterday evening at the near down event, we were sat down on the same table. I think we even shared a pudding. Yeah.
And yeah, you want the good one.
And we just sat there and shot the breeze for a couple of hours, right? Yeah. You know, sometimes you connect with people, right? Well, whatever it is, the chemistry is there. And there are a lot of stories shared, and I want to try and capture some of those guys today. Yeah. I think one of the things that struck out, you know, that people like people like themselves, we’re both shopkeepers. That’s right. Yeah. So what I’d like to do is go straight back to your childhood. Right. Tell me where you were. Sort of brought up a little bit about your upbringing and tell me a few about the shopkeepers stories of being brought up in that environment and what that was like. Okay.
So I was brought up in Wembley, north west London. You know, had my father especially had worked himself up, I think he came into the UK in the fifties. He came to the UK basically just to earn money to give back home, because I think as he was growing up, he remembers having to borrow money to buy food, buy food and put it on the table and then taught like earning some money and paying it back. And he didn’t really like that. So for him, he actually came to the UK to to earn a living and send money back. And I think he always thought he would always go back home.
Well, his home.
Home is in Lahore in Pakistan, so he worked sort like all the hours in the day. He would he would study, he would do sometimes sort of like evening classes. He’d just find whatever jobs he could. He sums up be an usher in the theatre. I remember he used to sort of meet people like Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck, and he used to say to me how he used to meet them and and whatnot. But he was a really, really hard worker. Then later on, he had an operation. I think I was around about eight years old when he had an operation which went badly wrong. So he’s in the hospital for about a year. And I remember those really hard times because I couldn’t afford much. I remember thought I would be lucky to have one meal a day, and even when I went to school, I didn’t have any money to buy lunch. And if I ever got $0.10, it really meant a lot, right? That really meant a lot to me. And sometimes I wouldn’t want to spend it because I knew how hard it was to get the money those days. And then my father almost passed away because of what happened. And when he got regained his fitness and came back, he then had to figure out how to make some money for the family.
So that’s how they started the grocery store. And he built that up and mum, Dad really worked really hard. Their main thing was. At kids. We got a build a future for our kids, which is notable because they weren’t weren’t really thinking for themselves. I think our parents mind like yours. They think about their kids or what they’re going to provide for us, that we can become either doctors or lawyers or whatever it might be, because that’s what would make them proud. So I remember having to help them out in the shop and waking up at five in the morning, counting the papers newspaper. And I used to do the paper rounds as well, right. Especially on Sundays when they got this bloody big time newspaper. You can’t put the whole damn thing through the letterbox. Right. And I used to wish, you know, like in the States, remember, you know, they just throw them, right? Yeah. But no, we’ve got these little tiny boxes. I got to put this massive paper through the whole thing, you know? So I remember sort of hating to wake up in the morning, and I was only be doing paper rounds on weekends. And I know my parents will work in sort of like seven days a week. And the only day they kind of had off was Christmas Day.
But you just a quick question about the shop. Were you living nearby? Was the shop part of your home? What was the what was the setup? Well.
The set up was that we had in fact, they had two grocery stores. I had one at one point in time where it was like five, six miles away from where we lived. And then when they sold that and we moved out into Camberley, then we were living above the actual shop itself. But I really didn’t see my parents very much. I mean, you went to school and did things and they were just working full on. And I’d always wanted to be a football player. And I think my dad only ever saw me play once. But when he saw me, he was impressed, which really pleased me. But I wish he had seen me play more because those days, all I want to do was be a football player. That was it. So anyway, we had quite a hard life. We appreciate money and everything like that. And thanks to my parents, I became what I became, you know?
You know, I speak to people about the upbringing in the shop. Yeah. The learning, the art of hard work. Right. So. So I work incredibly hard, have done during my whole career. Right. But I still do not think that the hard work and effort that I put into my career even compares to what my dad was doing back in the day. I agree with you.
I agree. I mean, that’s real hard.
Now, most people think I’ll work really hard because. I have a few practices. Even when I do my normal 9 to 5. Let’s be honest where I eat food and then actually I’m on the computer or I’m brainstorming or I’m thinking about things. So technically, I’m probably working most of my day. But you know what? It’s so much fun. I don’t realise I’m working. Whereas when my parents will work, I know they really enjoy the work with hard labour. It was hard work, you know, throwing things around, going to cash and Carrie doing this, counting balls, counting the newspapers, returns and all the rest of it. And I think the other thing I probably learned from them was by working in such environment how to communicate with different types of people.
All right. Nail on the head, mate.
You know, I used to be really surprised how my father was. Really how cosy he could talk to anyone about anything. And it was more friendly with the gangsters that came in the store than anything else. And they ended up being his best mates. So I think inadvertently I didn’t realise it, but it probably taught me how to communicate, which helps me with my patients.
It’s really interesting you say that Payman, who’s a co host of this podcast, he always says that sort of mine and Kailash is, shall we say, part of our success is drawn from the fact that when we were in the shop we’d be serving everyone from your old day, your 85 year old ladies coming in for a milk and bread. Yeah, through to the young kids, the good for nothings, you know, and everyone in between, right? That’s right. And you just learn how to adapt and have different conversations with human beings and doing that from a very young age. Yeah. Muscle memory, right? Absolutely. Do you find the same?
Absolutely. You know, you can relate to people more easily. And it’s like, you know, when you see you know, for example, when Sir Alex Ferguson being a man United supporter. Yeah. And when Cantona came in, like you had to treat him different because he was different to the others and you can understand it. Whereas some people were like, well, why isn’t he the same with everyone? But you can’t.
You know, same with our staff. We’ve got to treat each person slightly differently in order to get the best out of them. So it’s understanding the psyche of who we’re dealing with.
And so fast forward and from there, you know, you’re brought up in the corner shop and whatnot. Fairly sort of unprivileged upbringing. Actually, one.
Thing I didn’t tell you.
That grocery store is my practice, right? So it’s my father’s dream. That I took over the I converted the grocery store into my practice. So he asked me. I was doing my master’s degree. And he friends and he was like, I want you to take over. And I said, You know what? I don’t want it. I want to go to the states. I want to study more. I had these dreams that I was going to work in central London as some hotshot specialist doing whatever. And life’s got a funny way of coming back around. So far, they’ve been working pretty much through almost 365 days for so many years. That his health wasn’t great. And when I said I didn’t want to take it on, they had almost sold it. And the day that the contracts were supposed to be signed, the other party didn’t come to the table. And it was it was heartbreaking because my mother and father had finally booked the holiday together, which they never had for over 20 years. So it’s heartbreaking to see that. And at that point, I was like. Okay, I’ll do it. So I took it on. And I guess my father really happy because that’s what he’d always wanted. I just looked at it as that, you know, maybe it’s just meant to be. Sometimes you think that’s your pathway as something happens and it just turns you into another direction.
Really interesting, because in a similar way, I still own the shop. Oh, really? Yeah. Funny, though, isn’t it? So when my dad gave it all up. Yeah, I bought it. And I still rent it out today. Right. To another shopkeeper. All right. He rents the shop. Yeah. And I have much to do with it. Yeah. Every now and then, I’ll go back live past. And it’s actually my dad today. He collects the rent. Right. Yeah. But it’s got history and nostalgia with it, you know? And I’m sure you’re stepping into your practice, and it’s. Well, that created this, right?
That’s right. That’s right. Well, obviously, you used to live upstairs, so it’s only recently we just finished doing a refurb. So we’ve added two more clinical rooms upstairs, which used to be our living room. And my parents bedroom and my bedrooms changed into a kitchen. So it’s nuts.
Yeah. It’s absolute madness. So from there, where is your career headed? So what were you like at school? We were swats. We were a bit of a jack, the lad, you know. What sort of grades did you need at that time? And. And you mentioned football earlier, right. We were you this wee this kid who was going to become a.
Supposed to be the next.
And I really believe that had I not had the injuries, I would have been a top player because I just loved playing with the football. I didn’t need anyone with me, but I just love football. And if you’d asked me what I want to do, I’ll just say I want just to play football. But obviously, as I got older, starting to get sort of problems without my my knees and my ankles and I couldn’t finish games. So. It was a good thing my father instilled in me from before. Yeah, you can be a sportsman if you like, but educate yourself at the same time. So in effect, I had a fallback plan in a way, so. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. And just so happen that I like to go. And she wanted to be a doctor. And she said to me, Well, I know you want to do Spore and that why don’t you be a dentist? So my reaction was. Dennis Yeah, I can’t see myself looking in patients mouths all day as you go. No, no, no. Look at you as a business.
How old would you? I will do you then do.
So what? This was a young sort of. Yeah. Childhood crush sort of, Yeah. Special relationship or. Yeah.
First kiss you’d say Yeah.
And then she mentioned about dentistry and then it made sense. Because she would say, Well, you can be your own boss just working many days as you like. And if you’re still in sport, you do sport most of the time, do one or two days there, make a little bit of money because back in the day, sportsmen didn’t make much money. Your career was also short, so probably that was best advice I was ever given. And obviously I was tempted because she said, Well, I’ll I’ll be at medical school as well. We’ll be there together.
But she’d mapped out the dream.
Yeah, she’d mapped out the dream. And then when I got there, then, then that was it. She went her way and I went my way. But it set me on the pathway. And I think it was also good because it sort like pleased my parents as well, because, as you know, they want a doctor or a dentist, a lawyer in the family. So it suited them. Medicine was something I’d never would have touched anyway, because I don’t like to be on call 24 seven. And the life of a doctor doesn’t really suit me.
So yeah, it was it all worked out in the end.
And so where did you go to dental school?
Hospital. London, which was my first choice. I was so happy to get there.
Everyone who goes to go says it’s the best. Yeah. Why is that? Just because it’s a snob factor. It’s not. It’s a.
Snobby thing, let’s put it that way. And we love to be snobby that we were. All right. So a load of BS. But guys, people are the best.
It was, it was nice to be there because honest, if I’m honest with you, I didn’t think I’d get into dental school anyway.
Because I wasn’t. I wasn’t the best student. I’m thinking about my next football game or something else. I, I wasn’t the best student, to be honest. The time when I became the best student was after I qualified. After I qualified, and when life became a little bit more serious. Because now you’ve got to pay for your mortgage, you got family and all the rest of it. Now it’s like, okay, now I really need to perfect my craft. Whereas before it was just a case of, Well, I just got to get past this. Let’s just get past that because not like industry don’t have sort of like first class, second class to 1 to 2 just pass fail or honours right now. Wasn’t going to be an honest student because I enjoy life too much. Yeah. So it was just about just getting through.
Got you. What are you fondest memories of dental school or that era.
Going to going to out with the friends partying. Don’t remember too much of the studying side of things, to be honest with you. But is this social element just mix in with lots of different people and those lucky to have a really fun group of people as well. So that was great.
So you qualified? Yeah. First job.
First job vocational training.
In Essex. It was all right. I can’t say I loved it. I think I always felt there was something more out there for me. Interestingly enough, when I qualified, people were just talking about implants and I remember the professors at university, there’d be the odd one who’s just done his first implant or something and it’d be really excited about it. And I was like, You know what? I really like to do that because I can see a need, because there’s the thing is, you don’t have that many specialities in dentistry, so you go orthodontic orthodontics, okay, moving teeth. It’s not to me, it’s not very exciting. Then you got root canals. Everyone hates having root canals. Then don’t fancy that one either. Perio period is like an invisible disease that most patients don’t even know. They’ve got it. And their arms give me thousands of pounds and I’m just going to clean a few bacteria. But they’re never going to go and you’re still going to lose your teeth.
And then There’s no disrespect to the periodontal. No.
No, Sorry, sorry, sorry. But for me, implants were straightforward. You’ve got a missing tooth that’s replace it. Yeah. And so that really attracted.
Me early on in your career. Yeah. Yeah.
And I think it was because no one else was thinking in those lines as well. But it was something I always wanted to do. And then they came out with a master’s degree in implant ology at the Eastman’s that I really wanted to get involved in that, and I was lucky enough to be given the chance to do it. So for that, I’m really, really grateful.
For that, though, didn’t you? It wasn’t easy to I don’t mean easy to get on, but there were certain circumstances in your life that you made some decision. Hard decisions, right? What were they?
It was hard. I guess what happened was I had applied, I think it was in 98, I applied to do the master’s degree in implants. At that time, my daughter was born in 98. My son was going to be born in 99. At the same time was the time that I said to my father, I take over the business and turn it into a practice. And I just bought a house. And I jokingly said to some friends and I said, You know what? The funniest thing that will happen now is if they offer me a place on the master’s degree because I’m kind of maxed out with everything. If they offer it to me, I know what to do, because financially I’ve just got these the house and the practice to make. How can I do a full time course? Anyway, I thought, well, figure out if it ever happens and. I think someone who is already on the master’s degree course who was earmarked to start it, had to pull it out. So one space was left and they called me. So I think they called me around end of July and the course starts in September. And my accountant said, No, you can’t afford to do it. If you can delay it, delay it. But now you can’t afford to to do all the things that you’re doing. Which made my missus a little bit worried that what’s going to happen if we can’t afford anything. And then I spoke to my mentor and wonderful guy, Tommy Datta, who is ex president of AOG. And he said to me, Look, education. Is great. If that’s what you want to do. Forget about the money. Just do.
Is going to help you later on. Don’t listen to anyone else. You want to do it? Do it. Don’t worry. And I think he was one of the very few people that supported me to do it. And I was like, Let’s do it then. So I went for it. So it was it was a really hard year trying to do it. And I think that’s what also led me to make my courses because I had to take a lot of time out. It cost me a hell of a lot of money. Because they still had to pay for everything. Another thing that happened was while I was trying to make the practice, my architect ran off with my money. And then I was quite good at graphical design. So I actually did all the technical drawings because I had to do change of use and everything. And I had to submit the applications for that. And then I did all the decoration myself at the practice while I was studying, you know, five days a week at the Eastman’s. So it was hard. And plus, you know, with a two year old and a one year old and the practice wasn’t close to my house. My house was in Wembley. So I bought a place back in Wembley and my practice in Camberley an hour away. So there was a journey involved as well. But they all worked out in the end.
Moving on that journey from, shall we say, doing your MSC. And you mentioned that you had this certificate, but it didn’t give you the hand skills, right? Which is sort of part of your motivation. How did you get the the practical skills for implant dentistry?
Difficult. It was really.
Hard. I think one.
Of the things was I did get a handful of patients come in and they wanted treatment. And in a way, I kind of felt like I’m an actor and I’m on stage. Because even though your heart’s beating that you think I don’t know really what I’m doing. I’ve read all the theory. I know it. But I haven’t had that much experience in front of the patient. I can’t be like that. I’ve got to say yes. I’ve got to talk it up. I’ve got obviously tell them the pros and cons of it. But if I’m your dentist, you have to have confidence in me. So I can’t give you any of my question marks and bubbles that are up here. So that was interesting. But it led me to want to go fast, track myself, to learn as much as I can. So I kind of travelled the world. I met up with some of the top speakers at the time and tried to shadow people, trying to learn techniques and looking at the finer details of things and doing some courses just to get some one or two hands on courses as well. So it took me a while to pick up the skill. And the other thing I felt was at the beginning, when you’re doing implants, you need to know somebody behind you that if you made a mistake, someone can support you.
And once I’d done my master’s degree, I wasn’t so sure I had that support. So it makes you a little bit more anxious because when you’re doing surgery, we’re taught to deal with teeth, and now you’re talking about bone and nerves and the sinus and things like that, things that actually you probably don’t know as well as you should do. So you can get a little bit too apprehensive about things, but if you’ve got a backup, it can fill you up with a little bit of confidence and it makes it easier. So having gone through what I went through, that’s why I made the courses so that you could work at your practice. Not take too much time off and still get more hands on in my course than you thought you would on a masters degree. Not to say that you shouldn’t go and get a masters degree. So I’ve had quite a number of delegates who’ve done my course. Started to do more implants, which was great because now they’re starting to pay the money back and starting to earn money off what they learned from me enough that they can now pay to do a part time master’s degree. But the benefit of that is now they understand what they’re being taught at the master’s degree. Because unless you’ve done surgery, you don’t understand what the other professors are teaching you because you’ve never done it.
Because the feedback I got from my past delegates who ended up with master’s degrees was that 90% of the delegates hadn’t placed implants, but they’re on the master’s degree. And obviously I went on my master’s degree with with very minimal knowledge as well. So probably a lot of things went over my head. Now, I didn’t catch anything. It’s only when I start to practice that the small details become really important, which you probably missed in your lectures.
So lots of people who went and done their master’s degree with no knowledge didn’t complete. Or if they completed it, they didn’t have the hands on skills. So I’d say to anyone who wants to start out in implants, I think the course I’ve got is designed for everyone to learn it very quickly and either do it yourself or you quickly learn that maybe you just don’t like surgery and it’s not for you. But being a dentist, even though implants isn’t taught well, undergraduate is up to each dentist to understand implants, how they work. Pros and cons of it. So at least you can refer your patient to the right person. Yeah, because your patients expect you as a dentist to understand it all. And if you don’t understand it, then they don’t think of you as a very good dentist, even though you might be brilliant at composites at Crowns That smile makeovers in that. But if you don’t understand anything about dentists, they don’t think you’re as good. Because I get that all the time. When I get patients who self refer to myself as they just haven’t got the confidence in the dentists or the team because they know nothing about implants. And the patient seems to know more than what they know. So it’s important whether you end up doing implants or not, you should do a course with hands on, not just theory. You might find that you love doing the surgery or you might find you don’t, in which case you can just restore.
You might say, Sod it, I just don’t want to touch it. But at least you’ve got some knowledge that you can give to the patient. So they still got confidence with you as a dentist, as being a competent dentist who knows things, even though it’s not necessarily your field.
You touched upon mistakes earlier and it’s how we all learn. We all make mistakes. Right. And I don’t think you heard the concept of black box thinking. We borrow it from the airline industry where there’s a there’s a black box right in every aeroplane, right? Yeah. And it records everything the good, the bad and the ugly and any of the bad stuff is shared industrywide. Right. And that’s why flying safety is what it is today, because they’re open and they share not just if BA’s flying, they’ll share it with everyone else and so on and so forth across the industry. But in medicine, it’s very good at sweeping things under the carpet and covering things up. And if we took that same approach in health care, I think we’d be light years ahead.
Yeah, I. I partially agree with you, and I partially don’t. Let’s put it like this. Docs and dentists ought to be competent enough that any error is within a range that isn’t critical.
And things sometimes go wrong. Like I said to you before. I might have had a rough night and maybe my surgery wasn’t as done as well as on a different day.
Or you didn’t have your three Weetabix in the morning.
Exactly. Exactly. You know, so as long as and this is, I think, an important thing, I like to think that my course teachers, they even if let’s say you don’t do anything perfect, you’re within a range that the patient won’t realise that it’s not perfect. Yeah. Because the outcome looks good.
Fine. Right. Yeah.
And so if medicine could be like that, because the biggest worry is if you start getting people scared of doctors and dentists. Everyone’s going to be too scared to do surgeries for patients. Patients are going to be too scared to see the doctor. So there’s got to be a little bit of protection at the same time. But there has to be reflection by dentists and doctors as to what they’ve done. So on our courses, we very much also go into complications and how to avoid it, right? Because it’s important to have that understanding what can go wrong and how to avoid things and minimise those issues. So because also don’t forget when you’re flying a plane, you’ve got hundreds of people on board.
And life or death.
And it’s life or death, at least in this situation. Hopefully it’s not a life or death situation. It might be that cosmetically the tooth not perfect in the implant field, sure, but hopefully we can rectify it.
But on the whole, if I were if you were to take all the mistakes you’ve ever made, multiply it by every surgeon, and that gets incorporated into the teaching, the learning, the protocols, maybe we’d advance better. Who knows? But my question. Have you ever had an oh shit moment where you’ve been in a patient’s mouth and you think. What have I done? Where you’ve made that mistake. Error, whatever it is, whether you liked experience, dropped an implant in a sinus and had to fish it out.
Okay. The reason why you see my eyes roll all over the place is you downloads.
But it’s because I’m a perfectionist. Because after I do something and I analyse it. I’m quite critical and I’m hard on myself. Because that’s the only way to grow. So if it’s not quite right, even though no one else can see it, I don’t like it. So I’d like to say that probably on most cases, it’s seldom that I think, you know what? That’s perfect. Quite often. Okay, it’s not bad, but it could be better. Or maybe I could have done this. So I think reviewing your own work and being harsh on yourself is probably the best way to be. And then to be able to teach what you’ve learned to others so that they can learn from your mistakes. But also, it’s important that they also everyone makes their mistakes, but as I said, within a limit.
So your moment, do you as a student, younger dentist or whatever, is there any stories you can tell me? Any moments where you thought, bloody hell, I’ve dropped the implant and I’ve pulled the wrong tooth out? Anything like that where you’ve had to go back to the patients? I’m really sorry this has happened. I’m going to swear it away. No, no, no.
I mean, not that comes to my mind, to be honest with you. I’ve been frustrated where I thought I could get an implant. In the end, I couldn’t do it. But with implants. It’s not life and death. Wait three months, we’ll try it again. I think in the implant field, it’s knowing where your limitations are, but when it doesn’t quite work out on the day, just tell the patient and happen. But it’s not the end of the world. We can come back and try it again. So I think in the implant world, it’s it’s relatively forgiving if you understand what you’re doing. So. No, I’m sure I’ll think of something later on.
That’s fine. We’ll come back to it if you do. Just in terms of teacher. Obviously, you’ve had hundreds of delegates through your program now. Can you pick winners? Can you spot the good students and look good? Do you know the ones who you know are going to be successful?
It’s really interesting because. Once you start to make contact with people who want to do your course once they’ve signed up, I always try to, in my mind, think, okay, where do I think this person is going to be even I don’t know them. You just I just find it interesting. It’s also, you know, okay, where do I think this person is going to be on a scale of 1 to 10? Then when we start the courses and the lectures start, then I say, Well, why am I changing my grade or what? And then once they’ve done the surgery again, analyse it. To be honest with you, you’ll always get surprises because sometimes the person who I think is going to be the absolute best, who ask the most questions, sensible questions, and you think, you know what, This guy really knows this stuff. A lot of times they can’t do surgeries, you know, their hands not in it, or they can’t spatially see what they’re doing wrong.
And then you’ve got other people who you think, you know what? He hasn’t got it, but he’s got drive to make it. He’ll make it. So it’s really about how much passion and drive that you’ve got to want it. So I’ve seen some people, I think, gosh, that person’s got no hope. They finish the course and out of that group, they’ve done more implants than anyone else. So in a way, it kind of teaches me not to judge. My first instinct is you’ve got to give everyone a chance. But it’s still a fun game to play.
So in terms of the ones who have been super successful, what is it? What are the key ingredients if you are looking for somebody? Is it the ones with the drive? Is it the ones who are just really good with their hands? Is it the ones who’ve got the earlier? You mentioned that back, right In the early days, when you’re doing your first few implants, you put on this actor’s face. Right. And it reminds me of the conversation I had with my brother when he placed his first implant. He rings me up because I’ve just placed my first implant. I said, Oh, well done. How did that go? He goes, Well, the old dear, As you sat back in the chair, she looked back at me. And she said. How many of these have you done? And he said, I look too straight in the eye and said, I’ve lost count. Look. And that was his answer. But it was that bullish confidence that gave her the confidence for him to then go and do that. Right. So what is it about the students? Is it that is it the the rapport you build with the patient? Is it the hand-eye coordination spatial thing?
You can break it down into lots of parts, but I think the most consistent thing is that they have to understand it’s the beginning of their implant journey and they have to have the drive to keep studying, to keep coming to meetings like this, meeting like we’re at today. Yeah. And to be honest, when we have meetings like this, sometimes we learn more from talking to each other, exchanging ideas, you know, over lunch, over dinner. And that’s where you get a lot of the learning. So those people who keep doing courses continue. Education and implants are the ones that do really well. The ones who don’t like, like they stop. Some of them do, okay. But they’re not really going to end up doing loads and loads of implants. So for example, I’ve got, you know, a couple of my top students is Imran and Wes, who did my course. And the thing they had in common was drive one too. They weren’t necessarily the most gifted when they started. So if I were to sort like grade them in the group, they may not have been the best, but they were critical. They would always ask question, How can I improve? How is this one invalidation for what they’ve done and looking at things critically. But more than that, they really wanted to be involved in implants. And you have to have that attitude because like with any industry, things move on and you can’t stay with the old knowledge because what I taught ten years ago, many, many things probably aren’t correct today. So you have to think of it as the beginning of a longer journey.
Yeah. Well, one of the questions that we often ask in this podcast is just giving advice to your younger self. If you if you looked back and reflected on on your life and you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
No, I wouldn’t change anything.
Why? I think.
So now I just got a positive mindset and I think that kind of comes from my sports side as well. And. There’s no regrets on anything that I’ve done. I’ve always tried to make the right decisions, although sometimes they might be wrong decisions, but you realise it afterwards. But sometimes wrong decisions can lead to better decisions later on in life. Because, as I said, unless you make some mistakes, you can’t grow. So it’s just part of life. I’m I feel really fortunate to be in the position that I am. And it’s nice also sort like to come to these events and the people I’ve taught still remember and thank me for putting them on this pathway and how they’re doing well and things like that. And it’s just also nice to hear good things from patients and stuff. So I don’t have any I don’t have any regrets other than that I didn’t become a football player.
And the last day on the planet, you’re with your kids and your loved ones and you’ve got to leave them with three pieces of a life advice. What would they be?
And what else would it be? Just enjoy the journey. Don’t get caught up in material things because you can’t take all these material things with you. But if you enjoy your life and have fun, I think that means a lot more and you’ll touch a lot more people. And it’s not taking life too serious. I remember a story someone told me about. They had a patient who was a really hard grafter and he wanted to be a millionaire by his mid forties. So all he ever did was work. So he got into his mid-forties. He’s reached his.
But now he’s got cancer and doctors giving him five years. But he didn’t enjoy his life. You don’t know what’s happening to tomorrow, so enjoy today and be thankful for tomorrow. So and I think that’s the way to live your life.
Yeah, well. The theme was the finish the sentence.
I can’t say what I want to say.
It’s too rude to say it.
The is the coolest motherfucker you’ll ever meet.
Peace. And I’m out of here.
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. And one final question. Fantasy dinner party. Yeah. Three people dead are alive. Who would they be?
Three hot women.
Not that I can think of from the top of my head.
No. But on a serious point, if I was going to. Yeah. Genghis Khan. And Alexander the Great.
And. I don’t know. Maybe.
Rameses. Pharaoh. Rameses.
It’s been an absolute pleasure, buddy. Thanks a lot. Thank you. It’s been great and an absolute pleasure.
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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