The tables turn this week as Dental Leaders host Payman turns podcast guest in a chat with Stuart Campbell and Hatem Algraffee —hosts of the brilliant One in the Chair and Two Waiting podcast.

Payman tells the history of Enlighten and how attending a dental show brought the brand back from the brink of disaster in its early days. He discusses innovation in whitening and dentistry, reveals his best and worst days, and speculates on what the future may have in store for dentistry’s next generation.

This wide-ranging conversation was originally aired as an episode of One in the Chair and Two Waiting in March 2023.         



In This Episode

02.15 – Podcasting

06.01 – The Enlighten story

23.47 – Product evolution and innovation

34.44 – Impressions and alginate

38.38 – Whitening protocols

47.42 – Leadership, culture and perfectionism

58.07 – Dentistry Vs business

01.05.08 – Mini Smile Makeover training

01.13.59 – Best days, worst days

01.19.01 – The next generation of dentistry and dentists

01.33.02 – NHS dentistry and work-life balance

01.39.07 – The Richard Kiel prize

01.41.14 – Desert Island Discs

We thought, well, what if it’s the back of. It’s the back that always moves, isn’t it? When you put a bleaching, when you put any appliance in the mouth, the front is very stable because the teeth are quite long. But it’s the back where you know, where you’ve sometimes got the teeth that are leaning in or you’ve got the short clinical crowns. That’s where and the back moving just lets saliva in. So thought. All right, well, what about an attachment to stop the back from moving? It was simple as that. Like no, no, no, no. Nothing deeper than that.

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.

He is co owner of one of the biggest whitening systems on the market. He is the course coordinator of Mini Smiles with Dipesh Palmer and he is a fellow podcaster being the co-host of the wonderful Dental Leaders podcast. Yes, listeners, it’s Payman. Langroudi. Payman.

Well, it’s an absolute honour to have you guys.

To be here, man.

I call you The Godfather, the Godfather of Whitening and of podcasts. Oh really? I hate the word legend, but you are a legend. Truly a legend. Uh, probably some of my viewers are too young, You know, being a Parkinson who used to hockey. Yeah, literally. You are. I think the Parkinson just smooth elegance in how you do things. And it’s interesting.

You say that because I always think Stewart is the most verbose guys I’ve ever come across. Man, when I listen to. I’m a fan of your podcast, by the way, dude.

Payman You are a gentleman and a scholar. You are the listener, then? Payman I’m the one.

I’m the one from London.

But all this time I thought it was Hatton that was downloading the London.

He’s not in London anymore. That’s the problem. Yeah.

I’m always double clicking. Clicking everything. But no, it’s the absolute, absolute gentleman. You are. And I’m really, really grateful because I know you’re busy, busy, busy, busy man.

But podcasting, I mean, we’re always looking for tips, as you can probably imagine. Having listened to our podcast, you probably you can probably think of a few tips you could give us. But how did you how did you get into it? And and what tips would you have for budding Dental podcasters out there?

So yeah, we got, you know, Prav and I were both talking about starting a podcast together, like we’re separately. So he was going to do one for his for himself and I was going to do one. I was just a big fan of podcasts myself. And then because Prav does some marketing for for us, you know, we talk a lot. He’s one of my best friends anyway. I’ve known him for since 15 years. And we said, Oh, maybe we do one together. And, you know, for me, I’m, I’m quite good with some things, but I’m really bad with other things. So I am quite good with, with, with creative stuff. I’m quite good with, you know, vision and all that, but I’m not really good at like execution and Prav. He’s the opposite. He’s really super, super good at getting things done. And obviously because he’s got a marketing background and understood the basics of you’ve got the product itself, which is the podcast, and then you’ve got the distribution of the product. And I knew he would be really good at that. I knew any time we didn’t have a guest, the two of us could just talk and we went for it. And you know, he’s one of those guys. If he wants to do something, he finds the best person in the world to ask about how to do that thing. And he he he said, look, I’m going to find the world’s best podcast coach. I said, is there such a thing? And he found a guy. We paid him $1,000 for a phone call. It was like a it was a half an hour phone call where he basically said, Look, just do one. That’s all He said, honestly, That’s all he said. He said, listen, go away.

Record One voice could give. I give. Yeah, basically just do one Stuart’s eyes.

But hang on. He’s a medic. And you’re a dentist.

Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, that’s correct. Because he’s a medic, isn’t he?

He did. He qualified as a doctor. He never really worked as a doctor, but, yeah, so we found this guy and the guy said, Look, do one and then come back and we’ll have another phone call, another $1,000, and I’ll tell you what to do after that. And then so we did one, and then we went back and then he said, look, this is the way to launch it. This is the way to these are the people you need. And, you know, again, neither of us wanted to spend too much time on it. And we said, look, we want to just do the podcast and let other people handle other bits. And so, you know, there’s an editor, there’s a guy who uploads it onto libsyn for the all the platforms. I personally handle the social media because I wanted to I wanted to try that so that I could then boss around my other social media managers for enlightened and Mini Smile Makeover. Um, but you know, we have conversations. The biggest tip I’d give, dude, is consistency. Consistency in all of content. Yeah. You know whether whether you do it once a week, once a fortnight, whether you post once a day or six times a day, they say on, on you know tick. Talk or whatever. Consistency is the key. The audience likes the rhythm. And then once you could do consistency, then you find, you know, your audience finds you.

If you can, you be consistently inconsistent. Payman Is that an approach that you could take? Yeah.

That’s an approach that won’t work very well.

If it works very well. But it’s certainly an approach we’ve employed. But whether it’s worked well or not, I think the listening figures of you are a testament to that. So Payman mean, we would love to indulge ourselves in a meandering chat through Dental podcasting for the rest of the evening, but I suppose we should ask you a little bit about your career in dentistry. Can I ask you a little bit about your, your journey in dentistry, really how your career started and briefly up until where you are now and you’ve now become essentially the major tooth whitening provider and also a major dental podcaster. So how did you go from, you know, to to that?

So I qualified from Cardiff with three well, two other guys and my wife who The Who later became my wife. Um, I live. I lived with those other two guys for five years in university and they became my partners in Enlightened. Um, but we, we were dentists, right? So we did. We made sure we did in the same town back then you could, um, and then we were associates. And then I was involved. My, my boss was a guy called Nick Mahindra. I don’t know if you’ve ever come across him. He, he certainly had. He had this thing where he would, he would jack open people’s bites like by a lot edentulous patients. Back then it was, it was thought of as very dangerous to open the bite by more than, you know, two millimetres. But he was like he was just totally opening them up, you know, he was he was getting these amazing results, like facial results. These people were completely constricted, you know, completely collapsed. And he’d be opening them up and then you’d wait another sort of two weeks, and suddenly their faces would relax. And he called this thing the Dental facelift. And so I was his vet when he was going through this process, and he had the insight to hire a PR company. Um, and they got this story into the Daily Mail of this woman who’d been to him and the before and after. It was just a really profound before and after, like really weird totally changed her face. And it this one article in the Daily Mail completely changed the guy’s life like the phone didn’t stop ringing for six months continuously just you put it down and it would ring again, put it down, it would ring again.

And he ended up selling that practice and going to Harley Street and then only doing that treatment and then doing it on Dental patients and all of this. But it had a real effect on me. And he was he was a really good guy. He sort of involved me in every part of his business, you know, wherever I wanted to go, he would let me go into the numbers, everything. And I just noticed, man, you know, the press, you know, like it’s a it’s a massive thing. And so when it came to starting our own business, you know, we’d been associates. We were associates, all of us were associates. And we were skiing somewhere. And we said, Hey, why don’t we do like a practice that only does teeth whitening and, you know, it’s a teeth whitening centre, you know, that was the idea. And I thought maybe these city guys would, would, would come and have their teeth flossed by a hygienist and scale and polish and, and bleaching only that, nothing else. Those are the only treatments we were going to offer. And we said we were on this chairlift in Canada and that’s where we said, Well, should we call it or we call it enlighten, you know, enlighten me or whatever, all these sort of ideas. So then we got back and there was four of us. So these two guys who used to live with and my wife who was, you know, going to become my wife soon, and we said, Look, we’re four dentists.

Let’s open four practices all with the same brand. And back then it was quite, you know, even then branding wasn’t a thing, especially branded dental practices wasn’t a thing at all. Um, and we said, All right, we’ll open 1 in 1 in the middle, one in the West end, one in West London, one in North London, whatever. And we’ll call all of them enlightened. And the thing that the sort of the thought in my head was, what is the story? Because I remember being in on those PR meetings with those PR people and they kept on saying, all right, so Nick, what’s the story? What are we what’s going to be the headline of the story? And I kept on thinking, you know, what’s the story? What’s the story? And and so I decided, look, the story has to be some amazing new technology comes from the US for the first time to the UK in these and it’s in London and there it is. You know, it’s enlightened practices that do it. So we thought, all right, well, let’s go and find the best teeth whitening product in the world and see, you know, where is it and find it. The Internet just about started, so we Googled it. I don’t think we Googled it. I think we Yahoo! Did it. And this company came up called Bright Smile. Yes. Do you remember them? Yeah, with.


With white. It was a beautiful light. It was. It was it was about five years before Zoom existed and they were making all sorts of claims. And it was funny because it turned out they they owned a duty free shops all over the world. They were the world’s biggest owner of duty free shops. And the guy had decided he was going to go into teeth whitening now and they’d raised like £25 million or something. And so anyway, we went we went over and said, Yeah, we want to buy four of your machines for four of our centres, you know, for practices. And the guy, you know, he was one of those proper American businessmen. You know, I remember being very uncomfortable in the meeting, 27 year old kid, and the guy said, look, you know, your your timing is excellent because, you know, you’re really early on this, but in a way, you’re way too early because we haven’t even got an office in New York yet, let alone an office in Europe anywhere, let alone an office in London. And he actually said he his parting shots were, you know, you guys, you’re great. You’re dentists, which is great. But we don’t need dentists. Right now. Right now we need distributors. And I don’t know what the hell he meant. I don’t know what that meant at all. So I went back to my wife’s brother, who was one of these McKinsey Hotshots, and I and I said to him, he said this thing about distributor. And he went, he went, Look, you know, in the end it’s just a different business plan. He’d written the original business plan. Anyway, he went, Yeah, listen, go back with this one, which is like, you want to be their distributor, right? So we went back and said, Yeah, yeah, guess what? We’ve changed our plan.

Now we want to sell the machine. We want to sell it all over the UK. And anyway, we’d never got that deal. Someone else got the deal, but we were so invested in it psychologically that we went and found the competitor of theirs, which was this ugly looking. It looked like a vacuum cleaner with a tube coming out of it with a crappy lights on it. Like, you know, the bright smile light was this amazing thing. They’d gone to idea. Do you know about idea that like these product design like the best product design house in the world you go there and you say look hard time. I bet you’ve had an idea for this, like interdental brush that comes in from every angle. Like if you ever want to get that product out there, go to idea. Yeah, give them like 250 grand and say, look, draw some pretty pictures. And they’d gone to idea and made the bright smile light. I don’t know Stuart if you’ve come across it, but it was like this robot thing that the head kind of came out and it was blue light. And then they had all this research that said, Yeah, the light makes a big difference. And then they opened on day one. They opened like 11 huge teeth whitening centres all over America, like in the major cities. And so anyway, we didn’t get the deal. Someone else got the deal. Um, this guy called Malcolm and he started on day one with like London cabs or with small signs on them. And we were like this other player, man, you know, this number two. And it was, it was interesting, man, because if you remember, teeth whitening was completely illegal at that point. Yeah, it must have.

Been so many people that told you it could never work.

Yeah, my parents, my parents were the main nightmare because my dad’s an accountant. Right? Very risk averse. And he read the business plan. He got to the page and said legality. And he said, I think that you’ve made a mistake on the business plan. It says your product is illegal. I said, Yeah, yeah, yeah, it happens to be. And he said, You’re going to give up dentistry to do something illegal. I said, Yeah, man. He was like, I can’t support this. He was he was really against it. He was properly and my mum, the fact she’d like struggled to get me into dental school, the fact that I was going to stop doing dentistry and, you know, to do this was was a big deal too. But anyway, what we had to do was we had to find carrier gel that didn’t have peroxide in it and then get the dentist to call up the local chemist and get peroxide, you know, chemical, mix it in with the carrier gel you could buy. Dental was allowed to buy peroxide chemical for whatever he wanted. Mix it up with this carrier gel, put it on the tooth, and then we were directly copying bright smiles model. The model was a Xerox model where they give you the machine for free and then charge you to turn it on. But we didn’t have the technology to do that, so I had to find someone to stick these card readers into the machines. And we were giving the machine for free and selling these cards for £190. And interestingly, the price of Enlightened has never changed since that date, always been that price has never gone up in the last 22 years.

The dentist would have to go to the pharmacy and have the gel made up some kind of almost like, well.

Like the peroxide liquid peroxide liquid. We’d send them this powdery stuff that was like a carrier and they’d mix the peroxide liquid with the powder and put it on the teeth and, you know, gingival protection. Lots of burns everywhere. That’s exactly.

As topical. Topical is exactly the same. But I remember a bright smile. There was a lot of relapse. It was fantastic packaging. It was the machine was great. I do remember a lot of relapse when it first came out.

It was just dehydration.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Fantastic. Packaging goes a long way, you know.

Just I know that packaging.

Right? And you can.

Put my glasses back on it. But so it was actually so it was in Dental Dental school days where you actually the passion was, you know, ignited then, would you say?

Or we used to joke about it in dental school that we were going to go into business together and we’re going to have a brilliant business and all that and.

We still together, obviously you and your wife, all four of you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you share the workload or who’s. No. Can I ask who, who does what? Or is there a silent partner or. Yeah.

My my wife and indie are silent partners now. And myself and Sanjay. So.

So what was the ultimate what was the goal? The goal was, was to give up dentistry and do this full time. And I know obviously that’s the outcome now, but are you working at the same time? No, no.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The goal wasn’t to give up dentistry. I mean, I was I was very happy being a dentist. I used to enjoy being a dentist a lot, but the workload took over. It became very clear that I had to give up dentistry. That was the problem. And, you know, one of us had to it ended up being me. And then, you know, I talked to these start ups now and they’re talking about know on day one they raised £3 million. I mean, it.

Took the first few years were the toughest years.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The first few years were terrible, man. Really terrible. We had, you know, constant cash crises, constantly having to go to my parents and beg for, you know, I need £3,000 by tomorrow. So it was a really tough time. And look, these machines that we were putting out at the time, I think we were they were retailing for 6500 pounds, but we were getting them for 4500 because we were buying so many of them. And I remember when we got to 60, 70 machines and I remember looking at the how much we owed and the amount we owed to these machines was way more than the value of my flat at the time. And and the mortgage for the machines at the time was like it was like £17,000 a month. We were spending on on the machines on their own. And one day, Sanjay, my partner, Sanjay, he’s he’s the sort of real driver of the the business. He turned around to me and said, look, you know, he’s a Patel, Right. Good with numbers. He said, look, the more machines we’re putting out, the more trouble we’re getting in. Right. And up to that point, I was like, all we need is like another 50 machines and everything’s going to be all right. And he said that we’re just getting deeper and deeper into into crisis. Every time you put a machine out, it’s costing us. It’s not making us money because we weren’t contracting the dentist to any number of treatments. It was just like, take this machine, do what you can with it. And so, you know.

How close were you to that? We’re going to give up. How close were you?

Oh, no. Many times we were we were on the brink. I mean, once the bank we missed the bank payment and the bank sent in these turnaround accountant types who you were paying, who were charging you like another ten grand for these guys, you’re like, You’ll pay us later. Um, and I remember them telling us, Look, if something big doesn’t happen in the next month, we’re going to shut you down, The bank’s going to shut you down. And I remember that was the day before Dental showcase. And we, you know, Dental showcase. It’s funny thing. Now you go to one of these shows, you look around and many. Any of the companies at Dental Showcase are staking a huge amount on that show because, you know, like this, it’s coming up in two weeks time. Yeah. Okay, now. Now we can afford it a little bit, right? We’re spending about 60, £70,000, six figures.

Some of them six figures.

Oh, yeah, some of them, Yeah. I’m going to Cologne on on Wednesday. The stands in Cologne. I’ve spoken to the people from Nobel Biocare and from the the German companies go really huge in Cologne. The the classics. They’ve spent €1 million sometimes on a on a four day show. You know, it’s a double double floored and all of that. But they’ve got money. Some of them have got money. We didn’t have money, right? So we were staking everything on this show. And I remember I remember fighting for our lives at the show. Like if people didn’t buy these, we were at this point we were selling machines or these other they were like sort of like cure machines that doubled up as teeth whitening with these little sort of stupid microphone stand thing. It was. I remember Sanj telling me he said, Dude, if we don’t sell like 12 machines at this show, that’s the end. We’re finished. Okay? And then we had an amazing we had like a, like a record breaking show. We sold like 35 machines at that show. And, you know, like the Agony and Ecstasy was just it was massive. The what it taught me was the line between success and failure is very, very, very thin. You know, that.

Was a turning point. That was after that you were saying, I presume?

No, it only started turning around when we did the evolution system, which is the one we just launched the fourth version of it. And that was really because we were in light activated, right? And we were in light activated for years before Zoom existed. And then what happened was that bright smile company went bust. Zoom basically bought all of their assets and all of their patents and everything. And then Zoom came from nowhere, like as a as the big thing. And the marketing strength of discus Dental at the time was amazing. They’d already had $200 million of sales in the US before they even landed in the UK. And so we had by that point a few customers. But then Zoom came along and we realised, look, the light does nothing. At that point we realised the light does nothing. For the first three four years we were convinced the light was the key, but someone convinced me to put, you know, a bit of cover half the light over with some aluminium foil and I realised oh shit, the light does nothing. And, and so then when we came to.

Like cannabis growing guess, Yeah.

I mean the number of times in period you’ve had something like that right. Yeah. So it came to, it came to pivoting right out of the light and Sanj was my partner. He’s one of these guys. He just wants everything to be perfect, you know, He doesn’t care how much it costs or what we have to go through. It’s got to be perfect. And he turned around to me and said, Look, dude, I didn’t enjoy being number two at all this time. It doesn’t matter whether we make money or not, whether we go bust or not, let’s be the best home whitening system around. And, you know, tray whitening. We hadn’t done tray whitening at that point, so we’re now going to do tray whitening. And so we looked at it for about a year and we said, Look, what is tray whitening? It’s. It’s the tray, right? It’s the gel. It’s the impression. And it’s desensitises. At the end of the day, those are the those are the four areas that you have to really look at.

Why? Why your trays so good? Every talks about your trays. He even did a few before. You know, moving away from John. Why? Is it because you do everything in house or you.

Do everything in house?

Yeah, but is that the secret?

That’s not the reason. No, no. What happened was we. We met a guy called Guy Rod Kirthi in the US who said, look, I’ve got this new tray that that that really is a better tray that you can do tetracycline cases with. Up to that point, you can do tetracycline. And all he was doing is he was increasing the pressure on vacuum formers by covering over the holes. And we said, look that’s that’s not sustainable. He was he was selling a book on how to do this. That was his interest selling that book. And we told him, look, the thing that’s going to work well is if we can just make these trays for dentists rather than teaching them how to make the trade themselves. And so we we. It was the first time, really, that a bleaching product was sold with the tray as well as part of it. And the results were just sort of were mind blowing to us at the time. It was just like it was just the first time you could see really white teeth, although sensitivity was also through the roof. I mean, we used to have to give patients painkillers throughout treatment, you know, from sometimes one week before treatment and one week after treatment and throughout the whole treatment because the sensitivity was so, so, so high. You know, back then, we really didn’t understand bleaching gels at all.

Everyone talks about digital flow and all this. You basically mastered the flow of whitening, haven’t you? Now, you know, would you say or know in terms of I’ve seen the Evo four, is it called Evo four? Yeah. And you’ve seen to that that pathway both for you, for the clinician and for the patient seems to be really quite perfect or. No.

Perfect is a big word.

We’re easy. Simple. That’s what everybody wants.

Yeah. Although, although our focus is the patient, not not the dentist, you know, the dentists complain to us all the time about the bits of the treatment. Our focus is the patient. You know, what we realised is realise is a big word as well, because I don’t think it’s necessarily true for everyone. When you look at Prem Boutique, he managed to go on price against the big guys and win. Yeah. Um, whereas we what we thought was there’s no way we can take on the big guys on price. So the only thing we can do is go on quality. And so we just obsessively trying to make each bit better all the time, every time we do a new evolution. So this is either towards the fourth evolution. It’s when we make a big break from what we’ve done before. So we were constantly changing all the time. Everything. I mean, my my partner, Sanjay, is just he’s just that he’s wired that way, constantly trying to improve everything.

Um, but basically you just get people, you know, to try it out, give us the answer. How do you do that? How do you go do.

A lot of split arch testing? So one thing on the left, one thing on the right, sometimes you can’t do that because either you haven’t got the patience or, you know, you just can’t. I mean, we now we’ve got attachments in the trays and you can’t you can’t split arch test attachments on the tray. It just doesn’t doesn’t work. But yeah, we’ve got we’ve got 6 or 7 sort of very close dentists who help us and show us sequential photos. And then every time a new gel comes, I mean, we get contacted a lot by every single manufacturer and try my gel. Every time a new gel comes along, we try it. And to be very frank with you guys, you know, I try it myself one night and I’d say 80% of them I reject after that first night because either it hurt too much. The teeth didn’t change colour at all or white spots came up. And I know with enlightened gel, none of those three things happen, you know, regularly. So if it happens on the first night with the first gel, that gel just gets thrown out. So then so then the other 20% that passed that test, then we try it with patients. We try it left and right with our existing gels.

Let me just come back to that every second. So that’s quite a big advantage in the gel that you’re you’re you supply. What do you think it is about those other gels that caused those issues you described?

So one big thing with peroxide gel is that it’s volatile. Yeah. So it’s the reason why it makes teeth white is because it’s constantly breaking down. It turns out the secret is to have a gel that’s very stable before it comes out of the syringe, a very stable in the syringe and then very unstable when it comes out of the syringe. And that’s quite a tightrope. Um, and then, you know, you know, when you’ve got no control over how long ago the gel was made, what, what, what sort of conditions it were stored in. As, as the gel breaks down, it becomes acidic and acidic. Gels. They end up causing all the complications of teeth whitening. So. So sensitivity, white spots, chalkiness, opacities. All of that stuff comes from acidic gel. So, you know, we’ve all come across that situation, right? You put the the, you give the patient the gel, they come back massive sensitivity, no whitening. And that’s because I mean, yeah, they could be predisposed because of their bruxism or whatever but generally it’s because that gel severely broken down, it’s become very acidic, the concentration has gone right down, but also the PH has gone right down. So some gels break down in the syringe very quickly, others don’t. And so we’re after the ones that don’t break down the syringe. And then you’ve got the viscosity solubility kind of equation. So you want it to be viscous enough so that when saliva gets in, it doesn’t, you know, immediately denature it. But also you want it to be not viscous enough, sort of watery enough that oxygen can get out of it and the radicals can get out of it and it can penetrate, you know, get. Into the nooks and crannies, if you like, of the two. So those are two variables. And then you’ve got the desensitises. We try and put the minimum amount of desensitises into our jails and have external desensitises.

What would you recommend? What’s your go to external desensitiser?

We have one which is a HEMA based Desensitises HEMA fluoride and benzalkonium chloride as the main desensitiser we use. And then we have a hydroxyapatite toothpaste that we use two weeks before bleaching. So from impression day, the patient brushes with that toothpaste. It’s a fluoride fluoride hydroxy apatite and potassium nitrate to.

Dumb it down for anatomy. What’s the name of the product? Those were some big chemicals you mentioned there. What’s the name of the product? Is it a what’s it called? The HEMA based Desensitiser you recommend?

We call it Enlightened Seal.

Enlightened seal. That’s that trips off the tongue better than It’s quite nice. Yeah.

And the hydroxy appetite toothpaste, we call it enlightened serum.

Enlightened serum.

And how long is that? This two week program before you start whitening. When did that start? Is that is that recent or is that always been the case? I out of touch her?

Yeah, that started in 2009. Wow. Yeah. So so the evolution system we started in 2006. Yeah. Evolution two was 2009. Evolution three was 2012. And now this is Evo four, which is, Wow, it’s been 11 years since we changed it properly. Changed it. And what the big change that’s happened in that time is digital and it’s a nightmare right now. Now our lab is in house and it’s difficult because you can see digital, the wave of digital coming through like it was. It was about a third of our impressions were scans, and now it’s become half of our hands, half scans, half impressions. And that means you need to separate, you know, entities in your lab to handle the physical and digital. And the digital ones are a lot easier to handle because you don’t have to pull them up and all that. But we make tighter fitting bleaching trays on stone models and we do on printed models. And the reason is the stone models gas permeable. So, you know, we’re dealing with gas, we’re dealing with pressure and suction. And when the model itself is gas permeable, that helps a lot to get the the blank to really adapt properly to it. So with the digital, we’re trying everything. We’ve tried to print holes into the models. We’ve tried maybe 25 different resins, we’ve had three different types of printers in the lab. We’ve certainly improved it a lot. We’re doing manipulations on the on the the, you know, the scans themselves make it 5% smaller, 5% bigger. We’re doing something with the bell effect. Do you know what I mean by that? No. See, you got your tooth, and then you’ve got your. The gums and the alveoli. Right. And what tends to happen is as as the blank comes onto the tooth and then you’ve got the gums, it pulls it away from the gingival margin as the more pressure you put pulls it away. So we’ve been trying to sort of undercut under the teeth so that it pulls it towards the gingival margin.

It’s amazing. I mean, you have a phenomenal product and the amazing thing, you’re constantly, constantly developing and and it’s good for us to know because, you know, it’s it’s the ignorance that we all have as dentists is like, oh, this is just a product. Nobody knows the amount of hard work, dedication, innovation that you. You know, it’s it’s it’s same thing as a dental practice. You know, why am I paying all this money? Because, you know, we’re providing all this service products, and sometimes you just need somebody to say, hang on, this is like the eureka moment for saying, hang on, there’s more to this than just a box.

Yeah. And especially outside of a, you know, breakthrough. Yeah. There’s been no breakthrough in teeth whitening since its inception, right? Since since it started. No real breakthrough. I mean, okay, we got to the point of being able to guarantee results in 2006 that that was that was a massive breakthrough that you could you could say we could say that if your patients don’t get to be one or whiter, we’ll give you a free kit. You know, that was that was amazing. But the technology itself, there’s been no change at all, real change. Um, our understanding of the technology has got more but no quantum leap, you know, And in a way that’s what keeps me up at night, right?

Because that’s what we do every morning. Yeah.

No, but keeps me up at night like it’s some, there’s some genius sitting in in Korea right now. Yeah. Working on some sort of nanotechnology thing. Yeah. That looking at a way of doing it, that that could be, you know, twice as fast. Half the price, you know, half the sensitivity. It hasn’t happened yet, but it could happen while it hasn’t happened. We’re working on marginal gains on the current technology and the current technology is gels, trays, desensitises impressions. You know, um, it’d be amazed that the standard of the impressions that come in that we get a lot of amazing ones and then we get some really bad ones too. Yeah.

Did you do that? What’d you do?

Welcome to retake. We also I mean, right now the lab is, is is asking 5% of all the impressions to retake. That’s not bad. But it’s a nightmare for everyone. It’s pain for you guys.

But 5%.

Yeah, but it’s a nightmare for everyone right now. The dentist gets very annoyed. Yeah, yeah, we’ve done that. And then he has to call up his patient and say, come back for another impression. Makes him look bad. I think it’s got something to do with alginate, dude. You know, because. Because we recommend alginate. We supply the alginate. It’s a very stable alginate. It’s a five day stable alginate. Yeah, but because it’s alginate, people get their head into alginate mode where they’re not really worried about it so much. Maybe it’s that obviously people are running late. There’s all sorts of reasons why, right?

You Stuart, this is Stuart’s speciality first day.

When did Prosthodontic training? Um, that’s what we spent. We spent the first two days learning how to take a proper alginate. And you, like you say, it’s kind of we were talking about, you know, does it matter? It’s an algebra. I remember the consultant saying to me, the punches you miss are the ones that wear you out. And he was kind of saying that these little simple things that you think you’ve got, right, you don’t. That’s the stone in your shoe that will ultimately wear you down. So get it right. Learn how to get it right. Nothing is frustrating, as you know, being asked to get the patient back, as you say, for another impression. And one of the good tips for a lower offer you get the air blows in the lower is to get a big wedge of it on a little, take a dollop of alginate on your gloved finger, hold the lower lip back and rub it into the gum before you see the tray, the gum around, the lower incisors and the alginate binds to the alginate, doesn’t it? And that gives you a nice little labial sulcus rather than the big classic air blow you get around. The lower lip is often a site for that and obviously rubbing it into the fissures as well. It’s quite handy.

With with either for we’ve shortened the tray so the tray no longer goes to the sevens, it stops at the sixes. And the reason was we were getting so many drags in, the sixes in the sevens, sorry, both in impressions and in scans. The sevens obviously difficult to get to. And and also, you know, the back of the tray, you know, the longer it is, the more likely it is to move. So we’ve the tray just to avoid that, you know, because like 10%. Yeah.

What do you think of these, um, thermoplastic trays? Payman Are you a fan of those, the ones that you kind of, you warm, you dunk them a bit hot water and you kind of mould them to the, the shape of the mouth? Is that something you recommend or do you prefer a bit of space around your, your alginate to capture. A bit of land space around the teeth, more like the thumb.

I think the thermoplastic states have have trays, have a place, but not in dental practices over, over over the counter applications of that. And we’re certainly looking at that because, you know, outside of Europe, it’s legal to go with, you know, up to 6% hydrogen peroxide. I mean, as it turned out, thermoplastic trays themselves, the ones you heat up, boil and bite didn’t turn out to be the best ones that we found. We found we found ones that you don’t have to boil that form a lot better. They’re just sort of a rubbery material that you really can put into the teeth. And I know right now, because of Brexit, Procter and Gamble are doing kind of a push to make it legal in the UK to sell 6% over the counter. Um, I guess it’s a way of getting into Europe with the crest strips and all of that. So we’re certainly, we’re working very hard on, on, on finding an over-the-counter system that makes teeth very white or as white as possible in case that happens in Europe. But also for us to be able to sell in the US and abroad.

Can pick you up on two things. Payman Just two things I just wanted to ask you about there. And first thing is we’ll come back to crest strips because I have a number of patients that go out to the States and they come back with crest strips and say what great results they get with these and they’re only $40 or something and you can’t get them in the UK. But they’re, you know, patients are finding ways to get them sent across. But when we come back to that but what what was interesting what you were saying is you would you guarantee the results and now what is your protocol, your whitening protocol that you recommend to dentists to use to get the guaranteed results that you describe?

So it’s about the the impression, the trade, the gel and the desensitises. We optimise all of those. And right now with the zero four, it’s a it’s a three week at home treatment. So we do we supply the impression material, we ask for that impression or the scan we make the tray while the patient waits for the tray. They use the hydroxy appetite that the enlightened serum to desensitise. And that also reduces things like white spots as well, because it’s a hydroxy appetite toothpaste. And then the new protocol is the first week, night time at the lower concentration, which is the 10%, the second week, night time at the higher concentration. So we call the first week condition, the second week whiten, and then the third week day time, one hour a day. And we call that blast. That’s the hydrogen peroxide. And we’ve been really careful this time to make it more patient friendly so that you don’t have to bother with the concentrations with the patient. You know, they’re labelled the biggest thing on the on the syringe is one, two and three, you know, week one, week to week three. And for some reason, I don’t know, it’s probably a historical thing. Most other systems that one syringe lasts like three days for some reason.

Whereas we’ve always from the beginning we said, look, one syringe, one week, it’s sort of obvious, right? So, so once it’s three, three weeks, three syringes and they’re called week one, week to week three. And the only thing the patient has to remember is week one and two is night time. Week three is one hour a day. And then we have attachments on the trays. So on the sixes we build in attachments, the little composite attachments, just like Invisalign and and the dentist makes, you know, puts Flowable composite into there. And then when the patient uses, it clicks into place. It’s like bond composite, just like you would with Invisalign. The tray clicks into place. And what we find is when the attachments are used, you get you get much more predictable whitening at the GINGIVAL margin. And also the patients and I’ve treated them myself, the patients who started out without attachments and then it didn’t work out very well. Then we stuck the attachments on and we talked to those patients. The patients say they’re much more comfortable with the attachments because, you know, the biggest thing with whitening, the biggest problem with whitening is para function and bruxism. Definitely the biggest issue by a long, long shot. So, you know, I’ve looked at 3000 failures and I’d say three quarters of those were due to parafunctional bruxism.

And the, you know, the patient grinds their teeth, saliva gets in gel escapes, they tend to have more sensitivity than everyone else. They tend to have thinner enamel as well. And so, you know, one, one realisation I’ve come to you guys, you guys probably understood this instinctively, right? It’s not that the patient is a bruxism or isn’t like in a binary way. You know, we all, we all at times grind our teeth within a night’s sleep. We grind our teeth. And so the other thing is, you know, how can you tell if the patient is a cyst or not? For me, looking at the teeth is kind of a bit historical. Yeah, like if it’s some 26 year old who just had a kid and now she’s bruxing, the teeth will still look amazing. They. Teeth don’t look worn yet. So I’d say a muscle examination and a tongue examination is the best sort of indication of current bruxism. And so bruxism are the big problem with bruxism. We sort of try and train from the beginning, notice the patients of bruxism and tell them, look, it might take a bit longer, we do a bit more daytime whitening with the bruxism rather than Night-Time.

The idea is. And whose idea was that? You know, the composite. Whose idea?

It was mine. It was mine. But. But, you know, they’re not. All the good ideas are mine. That one happened to be mine.

And literally, based on trying our guess.

As you said, it was, where it started was the scans. We couldn’t make the trays as tight on the printed models. And we said, What’s the way of doing it? We’ve tried so many things. We’ve tried manipulating the model, scoring the models, changing everything, changing up our pressure formers, increasing the pressure in the pressure formers, printing holes into the models, trying everything to make the printed model as good as the stone. And then we thought, Well, what if it’s the back of it’s the back that always moves, doesn’t it? When you put a bleaching, when you put any appliance in the mouth, the front is very stable because the teeth are quite long. But it’s the back where you know, where you’ve sometimes got the teeth that are leaning in or you’ve got the short clinical crowns. That’s where and the back moving just let saliva in. So we thought, All right, well, what about an attachment to stop the back from moving? It was simple as that. Like, no, no, no, no. Nothing deeper than that. That’s a good.

Idea. I’ve previously used situations where you’ve got very discoloured teeth in certain spots. Say, for example, there’s a little, you know, brown spot or something like that. Maybe Icon has diminished the need for this, but I would tend to take bond on a little bit of composite to the brown spot, then take my impression so that the the reservoir would be a bit deeper in that area with a view to some gel sitting on there a bit longer. That’s interesting my my theory but it seemed to seem to work I think in a sample size of about six. But yeah, it seemed to work. But it sounds a bit like, you know, it sounds like you’ve taken that idea to to a degree. And and you know what.

I find interesting, Stuart, is that that every dentist has a couple of hacks, right? Yeah. And then you’ve got some dentists who’ve got loads of hacks and they become teachers like, you know, like Artem, you know, or Depeche, you know. You know, if you ask Depeche, he’s got like 30, 40, super duper original hacks. Yeah, but every dentist has a couple of hacks. And, and it’s interesting when asked the younger ones and obviously they haven’t been around long enough to develop hacks, they almost find it like a dangerous question to ask. You know, like. Like, you know, no, you know, don’t do anything outside of the the the the research what’s available out there. But we all have something don’t we. We all have a way of doing it.

Well, you’re right. There was a a textbook that was produced as a German guy and I’ve forgotten his name, which is and I’ve just remembered it. Listeners, it’s Dr. Wolfram bucking rhymes with a. Plucking. So, yeah, he has written a textbook called the Dental Treasure Chest. Tips and Tricks. Tips and Tricks for Daily Practice. And yeah, it was written about in the 90 seconds, but loads of good tips still relevant from everything from the way you sit. How to make your posture better to easy removal of crowns and troubleshooting with implants, patio, etcetera. Great book, well worth a look.

I think there would be no enlighten but.

That’s that’s that’s the worry because everyone’s worried that worried about you know procedure being sued or whatever the case may be and innovation is you know, it’s being stifled because of that. Absolutely. No doubt about that. You know, certain people, you know, including ourselves, really will say, well, do I want to do this procedure on this person? Well, you know, is it worth it? You know, do I want to challenge certain people? And even people we teach to say, look, please challenge what I tell you, Try different things. Oh, we don’t want to try anything because the implications are a bit worrying. But it’s amazing because the innovation that you’ve done, has that been because you’ve been away from dentistry or because you’ve been a dentist? You know what is mean.

We just tried everything to do it. It was a matter of survival to start with. You know, we had to try and make it better and then and then you end up becoming that person. Then you, you know, you end up being good at 1 or 2 things. You know, I was talking to a guy who was saying that he was working in Henry Schein when they were buying companies and he was saying, Yeah, they’d buy companies. And then and then they’d realise this entrepreneur was good at 1 or 2 things they shouldn’t try and mess him about and make him do other things well, they just let him carry on doing the 1 or 2 things that he knows how to do and and work out. Don’t bother him on those 1 or 2. Um, and I feel like that as well. You know, we got addicted to improvement because we had to to start with and then we realised oh well that’s, that’s, that’s what we’re good at and I’m really bad at making things cheaply, you know, like I just can’t do it.

So I think whatever you do, you can’t sit still. But in saying that if we, if we, you know, I don’t know why I got this right or wrong and I’m a bit scary if, if it’s true. Um, you know, the biggest problem being a, you know, a boss, an employer is obviously employing people. It was. I’m saying that you employ 100 people. What did you say that.

No, no, no. About 44 we have now. Okay.

44. And is that the hardest challenge or no? Do you find that easy? Do you do you to pass it off to somebody else?

It’s it can be. It can be when when there’s a disagreement and when the team gets bigger, you end up having problems you never thought you would have, you know, cultural issues. There was some bullying going on. We had no idea about it until, you know, 6 or 8 of them came to us and said, look, this person is doing this. We had no idea. And because we grew quite quickly, we thought everything was fine. And, you know, it’s difficult keeping the culture going with so many people. Um, it’s difficult taking the risk of hiring loads of people as well because, you know, your wage bill goes through the roof and you know, the business becomes a very serious thing. You know, you’ve got to make loads of money just to break even. Um, and you know, the, you know, the latest thing is the sort of Elon Musk thing about, you know, what he did at Twitter, which is he said, all right, who here is essential.

And who.

He is and who here is exceptional? And then he fired everyone else and he ended up firing 70% of the workforce. Um, and that’s become a thing now. That’s become a trend and we’re certainly looking at the business in that sense as well. And in the good, good days you hire, you know, just like we at one point we had an in-house videographer, in-house, uh, copywriter. We do, we already have two in-house social media, you know, full time social media people, a marketing manager, um, her assistant, you know, just just in marketing, just in that one area of marketing, there’s like six people. Um, you know, it’s a, it’s a big commitment. Yeah. Which, which you can always outsource as well. Yeah. Um, but what I’ve found is that, you know, let’s talk about marketing, right? You, you’ve got to make things right. Right? You got to. It’s difficult to make things right. Just a simple photograph, like a photograph of a smiling woman. Yeah. Is really difficult to make that right because it’s cheesy and it’s shit, you know, like, so. And to make that better. Yeah, you’ve got to take that photo now.

Okay, Now we’ve got to take the photo. So who’s it going to be? Is it going to be a white woman? A black woman? You know, is it going to be a man? As well. Yeah. And you know, the creative comes out and says, Yeah, no, we need a white woman, a black woman and a man, right? That’s three models. Now we need, um, in London. Yeah. All the models are Eastern European and all the Eastern Europeans have terrible teeth. Yeah. Um, they haven’t, they haven’t been to the orthodontist or anything, so we had to look outside of London. After a long search in London, we found similar problems in lots of European cities, but not not for instance, in Amsterdam. So we went to the Amsterdam modelling agencies. In the end, our our hero model is a girl from Dallas. Yeah. Which we had to fly over for the shoot. And then to use her pictures, we can only use them for two years. Yeah, we spent a huge amount. The photographer is one of the world’s top fashion photographers. Um, the music we composed.

I’m panicking with this. Yeah.

And. And so, look, we get you get to this point of all we’re talking about is a picture of a model or a video of a model turning around and smiling. Yeah. And I’ve involved one of the world’s top fashion photographers. A huge search around the world for a beautiful girl who’s got a nice smile that, believe me, was a nightmare. Yeah. Because we couldn’t Photoshop, you know that you couldn’t Photoshop pictures. But dentists will see through that. So. So. So you can Photoshop for the public, but not for dentists. Um, just that. Just getting that picture. Yeah. Nightmare. Now, you can go and buy that picture tomorrow. You guys could go in one hour and buy a picture. Yeah, but they’re all a bit cheesy. A bit crap, you know.

Yeah, but do you think Payman Dental school really did not equip us for high glamour fashion shoots with texts and models? Did it just. There wasn’t enough teaching on that subject?

That was. The funny thing is that it taught you a lot about looking down the microscope and stuff.

Being, you know, being really sort of perfectionist. Want this repeating or is it your partner or is a combination of like, if we do things properly, we’re going to go to the extreme and make it right.

You know, dude, what happens is that there’s the time that that takes and the cost you the time is the time, right? But the cost it tends for me, this is the way I think about it, is the cost of design tends towards zero the longer that product is out. So if we did the exact same thing with Evo three and Evo three was in the market for 11 years, we treated a quarter of a million patients with it. And you know the you know how much I spent on the photoshoot back in 2011. Um, I spent a lot by 2011 standards. Yeah. But it per kit it tends to zero is my point. Yeah. Um, now that’s not for everyone, you know, It’s a big risk. Yeah. Doing that. It’s a big risk. We’ve got the paper that we’ve got the products made of. We’ve, we’ve put the data recorders, you know, you can get these things that that record temperature every ten minutes over a period of a week. And we put the data recorders inside the package to see how temperature stable the package is. And you should see the detail that the packaging specialist, I mean, he’s like almost like a physicist like detail he goes to to get the two sides of the package to come together. Exactly right. So that there’s no air exchange there. And then we’ve got a bubble envelope that’s plastic. And we have to you know, we don’t want to put plastic into the environment. So we’re paying another company to take out twice as much plastic as we put in and all of that.

Now, all of this, you know, I don’t talk about it in the marketing because it’s difficult to talk about this stuff. Right. But the reason for it is if you could see what I saw or what I see that when when a shipment comes in from the factory, the first few treatments are magical, like magical, magical. The teeth go super white, zero sensitivity. Then the following month they’re good, but not quite as good in the final month. And this was back in the day, you know, ten years ago when we used to keep the gel just we used to make big orders to get the biggest discount and keep the gel for six months. Sometimes the final few would get complaints, complaints coming in. So then we realised that you shouldn’t keep gel any period of time at all, keep gel for the minimum amount of time, and then convincing our partners, our our manufacturing partners to make it in small amounts because they don’t want to do that, right? They want to make it in big amounts. It makes it easier for them to make it in small amounts and ship it to us cold every month during the pandemic. You know, it was tough, but but if you saw the results that I saw from those first and we’re not quite there, we’re at the point of going from factory to patient in two months Right now, I’d like to get that down to one month because I saw the results.

I’ve seen the results. Um, the big issue with it is either you end up with, um, you know, supply issues because you haven’t got enough or you end up with wastage issues. And by the way, I’m not worried about throwing gels in the bin. Oh, shit, That’s. That’s my red wine. I’m not worried about throwing gels in the bin from the cost perspective as long as I can get a really good result. But you know, from the plastic, we’re now measuring every bit of plastic that we throw away and every bit of plastic we put into the environment from the plastic perspective obviously doesn’t work. So that’s kind of a balancing act. Interestingly, to reduce the plastic in our kits, we end up doubling our carbon footprint. So so now we have to work work out a way of reducing our carbon footprint at the same time. And, you know, I didn’t use to take this stuff seriously before until, you know, we’re now a little bit partnered with Pala, with Simon and Rona and Adarsh with their with their toothpaste apps. And I’m talking to them. I realised that these guys aren’t doing it for some sort of marketing thing. You know, they, they literally give a damn so much about the plastic and the environment and looking into it realised, oh god, yeah, all of us have to completely take care of this, you know, Dental practices included, you know, chucking away.

Still goes on. Yeah, yeah. It’s scary what goes into especially this, all this, you know, HDMI or what do you have to do? Oh, that’s. Yeah.


It’s just crazy. Absolutely. What goes, what goes into clinical waste.

It’s it’s mad.

And then and then you find out that the local councils won’t, won’t recycle. They don’t know about Scotland Stuart but you know the local councils won’t recycle because this is a business. But if it was, if it was a residential like in Kent, you know, when is it residential road? You can’t recycle because you’re a business. But the next door neighbours who are residential, they can recycle. It just doesn’t make any sense. But anyway, we. We digress. Sorry.

Sorry. Had to recycling. No, sorry. I was just distracted there by Payman spilling his large goblet of red wine. And I’m just so impressed that a man with such a snazzy smile is an avid red wine drinker that says a lot about the quality of enlightened tooth whitening products. They must be the business. I digress. I better get back on to asking some questions. Do you miss clinical dentistry? I told you miss the day to day. Do you miss doing other things like operative dentistry?

I don’t know about operative dentistry. I miss people, human beings, not dentists. I know a lot of dentists, but. But I don’t know many regular people and I miss them. You know that when you see a patient every six months you have that chat. And and I used to have some very interesting patients, You know, I was working in the city at one point, and then I was working in Hampstead after that. And really interesting conversations I used to have. And you see the kids grow up and all of that. Um, they particularly miss the teeth, although once in a while I go to a lecture at Depeche was like that for me. Jason Smithson was the same. Ended up working with him. Um, Gallup Grill was the same. Um, uh, some, some of the, obviously the guys from USC at McLaren. Um, just, there’s a few people that you see the lecture and you think, God, I want to try that. Um, and when, whenever I get that feeling, I realise, oh, that’s a brilliant lecturer, you know, whereas the actual meccano bit sticking things together and I definitely didn’t like surge surgery, so, you know, what does I take my hat off?

You’re very sociable.

It’s obvious you do podcasts. I think when you do the courses, I don’t know whether you like, you know, just move into that because you miss the social aspect. I mean. Yeah, definitely. This is another rumour I’ve heard. I heard that if there’s a squat opening your first at the front door. Yeah. Is that true? I’ve heard Payman there before. Before patients there literally just says you’re so sociable, You like. You know.

I like people. For sure. Like people for sure. And you know that that translates to, obviously, our team. Yeah. Although our team, my two teams, I’m in charge of two teams Enlightened and both of them are remote now. So they come in one day a week. So I go in that one day a week or for me it ends up being sometimes two days a week because they go on, on different, different, different days. But the social aspect of work was a big thing for me. I used to enjoy that. Um, and you’re right. Many Smile Makeover. As much as I enjoy watching the dentist, um, you know, that light bulb moment, which is, which is important and enjoyable, the meeting of the people, the conversations for me are even more important. And so your question, Stuart I definitely miss people. Um, I did up a flat, um, when I was a dentist and my patient supplied everything, you know, the kitchen, the floor, the plumber, the electrician. There were all my patients. Then I did that. This, this, this house. I’m sitting. I’m not sitting in the Seychelles like it looks like in the background. This house I’m sitting in, I did this up just pre-COVID, and I knew no one. I had no contacts apart from dentists. I knew a lot of dentists. Yes. So I called up dentists. I said, Hey, the only one who could do a house.

Can you bring some cement? Yeah, yeah, the cement is there. But, you know, dentists complain of stress. You know, we all do. It can be stressful. There’s no doubt. Clinical dentistry is stress. It’s rewarding, but stressful. Do you? You obviously have your own day to day stress. If you were to compare, you know, how you know your day to day work comparison to dentistry.

Yeah. No. Day to day. I’d say it’s less stressful than dentistry day to day. And I remember there were periods where I was doing dentistry two days a week and I was doing Enlightened the other five days a week. Um, and, you know, dentistry, the problem with dentistry is, number one, you got to turn up. That hate.

That helps.

That helps.

It’s horrible that you have to turn up. Yeah, you take it for granted when you’re like you have to turn up, right?

There’s that same ethos applied to your courses.

But the courses course courses are kind of fun. It’s like a holiday for me. It’s a bit of a holiday, especially when we do it outside London. In Manchester we go get the best hotel. We go the party and the best rooftop and meeting people. Depeche is a great teacher. I get the best projector, the best everything. You know, to try and make it just fun for us as well. Yeah, but dentistry, it’s relentless in that you have to keep turning up. And I’ve found that hard, man. Honestly, honestly. And one of the best things about not being a dentist is that if you want to not turn up, you can not turn up. Now, I’ve got a meeting with the head of operations, the operation director of one of the massive, you know, corporates with 400 practices. Yeah. I got turned up to them. I do have to turn up to that meeting. Yeah, I’ve got to go to some dentist. We do a thing called Regional Centre of Excellence where it’s our big partner in each area and I’ve said I want to be the one who turns up to those meetings. So I do have to do sometimes that guy’s in Aberdeen, right? So I have to get on a plane and go to Aberdeen to see that guy. Yeah.

How many centres do you have?

200 of those. I’ve been to every single one. Yeah. Um, now the thing is, so I’m busy and I’m turning up and I have to turn up to Cologne next week and I have to turn up to showcase. But it’s that daily, day in and day out having to be there for your patients that don’t have. That’s my best thing about not doing dentistry. And the worst thing is you don’t meet people and dentistry, even though it’s high stress, it is high stress. Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s you’re going to find it’s easy money. Yeah, but there’s some the trust the patient by sitting in your chair they’re implicitly saying I trust you. Whereas you know something to dentists is a whole different matter. You know, as dentists, we’re trained to be distrusting. Yeah. And the next time, let’s say Enlightened comes up to you and says, I’ve found this breakthrough Perio product. Yeah, yeah. No premier product. There’s a premier product that’s based on a bleaching trays that. Yeah, yeah, they do, They do, they do pocket charting and then they extend the tray up into the pocket, Right? And they use peroxide. Yeah. I could, I could, I could go and get that and make that and do that and even improve on it. Right now let’s say I come to you and say, Hey, I’ve got this new period product. It’s a breakthrough. Implicit norm. You’ve seen so much crap come in front of you before making these promises that your first thing is going to be, Well, here’s another bullshit, right? Another another marketing angle.

I’m hoping you’d turn up first.

And so it’s the same with all dentists. Yeah. They’re trained to be trained to be distrusting. It’s correct. You want your dentist to be distrusting of these dodgy companies. Coming up with all these new ideas. It’s difficult. Makes it difficult in.

This course thing because, you know, I love social media and I see. I see your courses. Depression. It’s like, wow, this is A it’s entertaining. B, it has that. Wow. You know, isn’t that like that? But you see the wow factor and it’s like, you know, I presume based on, you know, you’re so passionate about things, you go all out.

Dude. The thing is the thing is he’s, he is exceptional. He really is exceptional As a teacher. As a clinician. I mean. Yes, yes, definitely. I met him when he was one year out of dental school, and even then he was exceptional. Lewis Mackenzie contacted me, who was his big his his mentor, and he said, Oh, you met Depeche? I was like, Yeah. He said, Oh, he’s the best student I’ve had in the last 20 years. And and all he is exceptional at the teeth, he really is. And then we’ve been distributing Renamo for 12 years now, 40 and it’s an exceptional composite. It really is the best composite. Yes, it’s expensive as well, but it’s the best composite. So. So you’ve got these two things, the best teacher and the best composite. And I thought, look, it’s a case of sort of if I don’t do my bit, my bit would be, you know, put on the best hotel, the best food, the best entertainment, the best projector. And, you know, I went to this show at the weekend, the north of England one, and I grabbed the guys from FMC and said, look, we have 30 delegates and we have a screen six times the size of the one that you’ve produced for 1000 delegates. Yeah. You know, we really take it seriously. We spend £3,000 per event on AV, just on AV. Um, with the hotel, we constantly upgrade. We’re constantly telling them, how can you make the food better, the coffee better, you know, everything better. And like hotels, they find that a difficult question. Like better coffee. You know, the coffee’s crap. Can you organise better coffee? And they’re like, no, they can’t.

Honestly changed since COVID, things have changed a lot. But that’s a different story.

But that you know, you know how everything’s a bit rubbish, isn’t it? You go to a hotel, everything’s a bit rubbish isn’t it? Everything’s a bit rubbish, man. Everything’s a bit rubbish. We found one hotel in Manchester where the people are just extraordinary. The Edwardian, the Manchester, the staff, they just. They.

That’s a good hotel, but a great hotel. That is a good one.

The Ave is of a standard that we don’t have to bring external Ave in, which is amazing for a hotel. It’s like, you know, it’s brand new and the food’s good. Yeah. So in Manchester, we good in London? Haven’t found a hotel. That’s. That’s of that standard. Yeah. And you know, we’ve been trying, we’ve been, we’ve been switching hotels every single mini smile makeover to try and find one that’s at the right standard and there isn’t we have to bring in separately. Sometimes we have to bring food in separately. Bring it from. Really?

Oh wow. That’s that’s a the food.

So rubbish in this chicken and beige. Right.

The food is. Yeah it is what it used to be but that’s a side thing.

So and actually doing these courses, how often are you doing these courses. Every three months.

Four months? No, once a month. Once a month.

Wow. And that rotates from city to city. Or you?

Well, we used to. I used to I used to want to see other cities. Right. So we used to do London, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Cardiff. We never came to Scotland. We tried once and then the pandemic got in our way. By the way, dude, is it true in Scotland your your GDC or something pays for your courses, is that right?

Nhs Yes. If you apply to be a, you got to have a is that right? Cpd And then the dentist can apply to get the cost of the course back based on their level of commitment. So it’ll be capped. It might be say £400 a day and if you do 50% NHS you’ll get £200 back. And if you do 75%, £300 back, that type of thing.

That’s amazing, man.

I suppose. Is that not a thing in England? You don’t get that at all.

Payman I’d encourage you, it’s different. The education in Scotland is different. I mean, we do when we do the course, I’m there in two weeks. I can tell you it’s a different Everybody arrives on time. Unbelievably polite. That doesn’t apply to you when you turn up on time. Polite. Courteous. A feedback is always exceptional, but it’s a different market.

We did a lot in Belfast and noticed a totally different outlook from the Belfast dentist and.


Scottish person. The Dental will say, Can I leave early? You know, it’s, you know, down south it’s like, but I’d recommend it go in Scotland is where.

Do you go? Glasgow, Edinburgh, Glasgow. It’s, that’s where the population is, right. Glasgow. Yeah.

Yeah. She was, she was based in Edinburgh.

I love Edinburgh man.

Well, you could go to Glasgow if you wish, but. Oh, I’ll just stop myself there. And what I was going to say is everybody knows that Glasgow and Edinburgh are centres of both culture and hospitality renowned throughout the world. So either city would be a superb choice for a visit or to put on a Dental course we should bring you up and do a course on Edinburgh. I think that would for sure, for sure.

If Edinburgh is where we plan to do it. And then pandemic stopped us.

Edinburgh Castle. You know, I think you’d fit in well there.

We were in Edinburgh for the BCD and we had a big party there. Oh, the museum? Yes. Well, BCD had their part, the museum. But we went to a place on George Street. It was like a nightclub thing.

Some good venues.

You know what I’ve found about Edinburgh? There’s lots of cities with one little tiny pretty bit. But Edinburgh is like the whole town. The whole city is beautiful. It’s like it’s unprecedented. I love Glasgow people too. I love Glasgow. People are.


Friendly. I mean. Yeah.

Are you finding are you finding in Edinburgh you’ve got now more of the sort of the cosmetically orientated patient as well.

It’s a really good question. Edinburgh is a I would say that it’s quite traditional. So people will invest in education. There’s a high number of private schools here, but based on the size of the population buying that, you know, people tend to drive nice cars here and people tend to go on lots of holidays. When it comes to aesthetic dentistry, implants are big business, but we don’t tend to see the kind of Instagram style practices here as much as you would. Let’s say if I go down to Manchester, I’ll see quite a few of those and I’ll go to Birmingham. Go to London. Certainly you’ll become conscious of choosing Glasgow. Yes, you’re right, it is in Glasgow.

It’s amazing how different those two cities are with one hour between them, right?

40 miles.

Payman 40. It’s mad. Like totally different accent. Totally different people. Totally different people. Totally different. Yeah.

In Glaswegian, I think.

Yeah. You have. Do you have trouble with the accent?

Hutton Wow. Yes. The we.

Have a few.


Northern Ireland and, um, and a few Glaswegians. We have to, I have to really concentrate and you ask them to.

Repeat, right?

There’s one chap who who we’ve been mentoring for a few years. I won’t mention his name. He’s a lovely, lovely guy. And, um, he recommended a colleague of his Northern Ireland colleague. And I find it difficult to understand him. And he was telling me my children can’t understand my Glaswegian body. And I thought, God, how does that work? But unbelievably friendly. It just takes over everything. Polite. Nice. But yeah, there’s a I love.

That, though. I love that. That there are accents that, you know, we find difficult because in our part of the world that’s massive. Right. In Iran and where, you know Yemen and all that, you know literally two, two two villages next to each other, two different accents. Right. Um, and I love that that’s true here as well. You know, that’s but yeah, I find Dipesh he’s, he’s in Belfast a lot of times he’s like, come again? And you can’t ask that more than once, right? You can’t say come again again because.

They speak.

Really, really fast. The Northern Ireland and also some of these gloves you’re okay case you you speak very slowly. I think it’s probably because the.

Edinburgh Edinburgh is different.

Hello Dundee. Actually, boys, what do they call you in Glasgow? Hatem do not call you Haytham.

We hate him.

Hate him.

So aggressive on there. But Payman Let me ask you two quick questions. Two quick fire questions, and I’m going to ask you what your best day in dentistry was and your worst day in dentistry was. So let’s start with the best day.

I mean, it’s a little bit shallow. It was it was the model day. The model Day. Evo three. Model day. When we first time when we when we really like I called up my buddy he’s he’s in fashion and all that, I said, listen, what do I do? I need to I need to find some models. He said, just call up. He said, you know the names, the big names, the storm and all of these you just call them up, say you just want to find the model and don’t worry, everything else will be all right. And he was absolutely right. I called I called up the biggest names I could think of. And one day, maybe, I don’t know, 100, like super beautiful girls came one after the other to be to to be interviewed by me. I really enjoyed I enjoyed that day very, very much. No.

No comment. I’m not going to comment on that.

I’m joking. I’m joking. No, the best day, enlightened was the day that we sort of, you know, when when, when when patients when when dentists tell us. Yeah. That we made a massive change in the same way as when you treat a patient. Yeah. That. Thank you. Right. That you get from a patient who’s truly, truly thankful makes your day. And it doesn’t make any sense on paper. That one thank you. Makes your day. But you know, it happens sometimes, you know, when when we bring in a new process or we bring in a new product, often we get lots of people saying, Oh, I’m not happy about changes. And then we get a bunch of other people telling us how brilliant it was or, you know, the same thing. You must see this all the time, right? You do a course and the the delegate starts producing amazing work.

But it’s interesting because you I think you just nailed it. Exactly. You target patients and we know this. Patients are happy. They go back to their dentist and say, and you do the reverse bit, don’t you? You target the patient because you know the patient’s happy. You produce the product. You get the result that passes on to the dentist, passes it back on to you. Yeah.

What comes to mind, though? We did a we did a conference called the Minimalist Conference in 2017, the conference for Minimally invasive Dentistry and just, just really enjoyed that one. It was like 200 people turned up and big speakers and everything really enjoyed that one. The worst day. I mean, we’ve seen so many bad days.

I’m going to say this podcast, isn’t it?

No, no, no, no. Just in those early days, you know, those early days, the cash crises and those. Oh, I know, I know. I know. We had a product called Smile X. It was. It was. It was a it was a it was a direct application thing. And I honestly thought this was the product. It was going to make me rich. Right. Because it was it was a breakthrough. You you applied it on the teeth and your teeth after two applications a day would just go super beautifully. Lovely white. And it was because we were able to keep the in this, in this, in this um, it was like a glass container with a plastic around the glass and you squeeze the thing and break the glass and then the peroxide would come out onto this applicator and you’d apply it onto the the teeth. And we spent a whole year trying to find the right supplier, the right gel, everything right to try and make this thing work. And it was working. It was like making teeth white because we’re trying to be able to keep it fully stable in that glass container. But then we sold some, we sold some in the market. But then the supplier, the the factory in New Orleans called up and the guy said, we got a problem. And they were exploding. They were exploding by themselves. And glass was coming out of them. And and we put these in the market. We’d sold a number. And, you know, you’re thinking some patients are going to push this and it’s going to explode because they’re exploding on the shelf. You know, they were just pushing.

Um oh, spooky.

We managed to get them back. We did a recall. We managed to get them back. The ones that we could. I don’t know. There was no terrible stories. Yeah, but I was thinking, Oh, someone’s going to blind themselves with this glass that’s going to smash up. But the pain of two years, like I think it was two years of work really, Um, and thinking you’re on the edge of a breakthrough and then you’re on the edge of a disaster. Um, it was hard, man. It was hard at the time. I think we’d invested every penny we had into the project.

And what about you Got two young children. Would you encourage, discourage them dentistry or just say whatever you want to do? What would you do with the kids?

You know what? I want them to want to be dentists. Yeah, not necessarily to become dentists, but want them to want to be. It is a neither of them shown much interest. In fact, they’re saying, I don’t know what I want to do, but I know I don’t want to be a dentist.

Your wife’s a.


She’s a real dentist. She does. She does. One day a week. A real dentist. She. She does one day a week of dentistry, sometimes two days a week. But yeah, it’s. I feel like a bit of a failure. Both of us are dentists and our kids could could get massive advantage from going into dentistry. And yet neither of them are really that interested. Both of them say they want to run Enlighten.

Well, there you go. That’s that’s the.

That’s their path. They think it’s a failure. I just think that, you know, if my kids want to come, you know, I’d say, you know, if you wanted to, but I wouldn’t encourage them. But, you know, No, you should. You got to get your two girls.

Um, interestingly, I kind of my, my, my philosophy for a couple of years was what you’re thinking. Payman thought it’s almost the advantage is that you could provide them knowing the inside track, knowing the hacks, as you say. Yeah. Would would be a huge advantage but don’t know there’s it’s, it’s a stressful job isn’t it. And you just don’t know. Um, I think the best answer I had was was last episode we recorded with Grant Macari. He said, Yeah, I wouldn’t encourage it, but I wouldn’t discourage it. Yeah, that’s listen to that as well.

Good episode, that one.

I think that’s probably my feeling. That’s where I probably sit at as well. I know a number of friends and colleagues, incidentally, said they would never encourage their kids to do it, but I don’t know, you know, Do you.

Guys know about Revere?

Which is that it’s.

The the fund that Mark Zuckerberg’s dad has opened up. Mark Zuckerberg’s dad is a dentist. Oh, yeah, yeah.

Yeah, yeah. Yes, yes, yes.

This is recent. This came out recently. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So he’s he’s done obviously, very well. Yeah. He sold.

His dad. Must be gutted. He didn’t follow in his footsteps.

Well so, so, so he, he sold his Facebook shares and has a lot of money because of it. The dad I’m talking about. And now he’s investing in Dental Start-ups. And some of the ideas, I think they’re investing in one a week right now, but some of the ideas are super duper man. And like, you know, what’s going to be the future of dentistry. It’s it’s so like interesting. They were talking about nanorobots, you know that go into the periodontal pockets with the with the hygienist sitting with the virtual reality glasses driving the thing in there talking about we talked about we we talked about the link with dementia and he’s on this whole mission to get rid of that bacterial what’s it called.

Oh that would be a.

It’s lovely to see that thing. Yeah, right. You and you know, we were talking about this before, about being at the edge of a breakthrough and whether or not you can you can do it when you haven’t got the evidence. Every single move forward in dentistry or medicine has happened because someone said hey, what if I try this? You know, we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without those those moves.

All on for Champ. What was his name now? What’s his name?


Yeah. You know, he was in deep trouble, you know, they went to strike. Strike. You know, there’s a lot of issues there. And look at look at that. Now there’s people just, you know, have innovations. And they just said we said earlier, it’s it’s it’s something like we should be encouraging, not stifling. It’s a, you.

Know, the guy who invented Invisalign was a banker and he he he had his retainers and he’d forget to put them in and then he’d put them in and he’d, he’d say once he’d put them in for a few days the teeth would go back to where they were before. And then it was easy to put them in. It was to start with, it was hard to put them in, and then it became easy to put them in and he realised retainers can move teeth because he was a banker. He went and raised $1 billion and they were doing it all by hand. You know, they’re cutting the teeth and moving it by one step and suction, you know, vacuum forming onto the that they were the first Invisalign cases. But, you know, the fact that a banker had to do it, you know, some sometimes a Nick Mahindra used to talk about this all the time. Yeah. That you know, you’re lost in your in your knowledge. Yes. You know people talk about, you know, the curiosity of a child or an outsider looking at something. Can come out with something, a breakthrough that the people who are in it can’t. And if you’ve ever driven a Tesla, you know, you know that guy, he’s the fastest car like by far the best, you know, thing screen thing you know interface. He’s got the best stereo in it you know like, you know, the cars have been all these companies all these years and this dude comes along and just reimagines the whole thing drives itself, you know.

It has the.

President I’ve got one. So it has its pros and cons, let’s put it that way.


It’s ugly.

Okay. Lawsuit, lawsuit.

But, you know, it’s right now we I’m hoping we have a lot of young listeners. Um, and you’re and you’re obviously very influential, you know, when it comes to your podcast because a lot of people listen to it. Um, you know, you mentioned their reluctance to, to sort of have a bigger challenge. You know, a lot of the youngsters have bigger challenges. They’re sort of a bit too scared, a bit too worried. They overanalyze things. Exactly what you just said. Now, you know, as dentists, we critical overanalyze things. Probably risk averse. Yeah. Risk averse. Uh, what advice would you give, uh, you know, young dentists, both in terms of being entrepreneur and also a course provider and also obviously a dentist.

I mean, number one, by the way, I’m in touch with a lot of younger dentists. Yeah. I don’t know. Somehow it gives me energy to to help younger dentists. And I know I can help. You know, it’s an interesting time. Like if a dentist is, I don’t know, one to 1 to 5 years out of dental school, I can help massively propel their careers in that time. But I’m a bit you know, for me, it bothers me sometimes when they say they want to be teachers straight away, like everyone wants to be a teacher. You know, in a way, it’s like in our day, not everyone wanted to be a teacher, right? In a way, it gets to me like, why? Why do you want to be a teacher? You know, what’s the reason? And the thing with these youngsters I found is they’re so good at timing, you know, they’re so good at making you think like the way they answer questions, the way they. They’ve got all the words right already, you know? And so, you know, whatever you challenge them with, they end up giving you this answer that you could sort of think, Oh, God, right. Guess he’s thought about that even if he hasn’t.

If you think about it.

All clinicians want to be liked. And we’re not in a profession where we’re liked, so we all like to be liked. Let’s be honest. You want to satisfy whether it’s a course patient or whatever. So I just think the youngsters probably just want to be, you know, liked, admired. I presume that’s the case where that’s the issue.

I find a.

Disproportionate number of them saying they want to teach, which is fine. Okay, fine. Okay. Maybe they do. Maybe that’s the way it is. But my my advice my advice is opposite to what most people say. Most people say, oh, get out there, do a bit of everything. And then after that, decide if you want to go into one thing or. My advice is figure out the one thing very quickly. Almost pick it out of a hat. Yeah. It doesn’t matter what the one thing is. It could be perio, endo. It could be bleaching, minimally invasive. You could be whatever you want it to be. You say, I want to be a restorative guy. I want to be an orthodontist. Whichever way you want to go, you want to open 100 practices, whichever way you want to go. I’d say the earlier the better. So I’m fully, fully happy for someone to go straight into endo without doing any general practice at all. I’m fully happy for someone to to start in dental school, getting their head into endo and going on endo courses and Dental Dental School and coming out of the other end of that being way ahead. Um, it’s opposite to what most people say. Most people say, oh, you know, go spend a bit of time on the NHS and treat a bunch of general patients, see what you like, what you don’t like, and then decide, Um, I just think pick something and run.

Yeah, but.



We spent five years in dental school. And by the time you come out of it and I see this. The young graduates are desperate to learn, and they’re doing so many courses because they didn’t learn any of these things.

In dental school. Yeah.

What does that tell you? They didn’t learn the occlusion. They didn’t learn the Perrier, they didn’t learn the alignment. They didn’t learn the endo. And that is scary. That’s what scares me. Maybe. Maybe you’re right. And so so maybe we should encourage them to sort of say, Right, you can’t be good at everything. Just go for one particular thing because it’s going to be impossible for you to be good.

Dental school is flawed. What do you think? I think Dental school’s flawed in the same way as school. School is flawed. You know, the stuff that making my kids do every day is not going to help them in their life very much.

No, I think you’re right. I think there’s there’s obviously it probably comes down to, in some ways box ticking, isn’t it? You’ve got to you’ve got to cover a certain number of things. Tick that to say that, you know, to to satisfy the requirements that it’s been covered. But you know, it’s interesting what you say about, you know, should should students be encouraged to go on postgraduate courses as undergraduates to develop an interest. And and I’ve actually come I’ve encountered somebody who did that who whose father was a dentist. We talk about hacks. And she was on a course and was in fourth year at the time. I couldn’t believe this. What you do in this course, you know, my dad’s paid for it because I’m interested in this and he thinks it’s a good thing to do and I’m going to go work for him. And he he wants this service in his practice. But wow, that’s that’s ahead of the curve. And it’s like you’re saying, what an advantage this had over over somebody who who perhaps wasn’t pushed in that way. Um, but yeah, I think most students that you talk to, I did training for a while.

I As the trainer.

As the trainer, yeah, yeah. Before I went back to, to do specialist training. And you know, you come across dentists and the, the feedback you get from dentists is you we didn’t cover this or we didn’t cover that. And as Hattam says, it’s, you know but just chatting today about running a course on Crown and bridgework and it’s it’s going to be for 22 dentists signed up to it they’re all within the first five years of qualification and it’s been um it’s linked in with a corporate body. It’s their dentists and they were saying on when I was chatting to them that they’ve looked at the numbers of this cohort and they said that, you know, very low percentages of them doing any, any invasive treatment, you know, with things like crowns and onlays and endos even and extractions, things like that, they’re really hesitant to do them. So really, it’s the comfort zone, isn’t there? They’re just not comfortable doing these things. So there clearly must be a disconnect if if the graduates are not comfortable doing some of these treatments.

I mean, just just in my little world of, you know, bleaching. And I know it’s not the big priority, right? But they still don’t teach bleaching at all in Dental school. No, they do not teach bleaching. You know, your patients more interested in the colour of their teeth than all this other stuff we talk about. It’s completely safe. It’s complete now. It’s it’s been legal for 11 years now. Like fully legal for 11 years. But no dental school teaches bleaching. They have one little chat about internal, um, you know, and that’s just bleaching, which is like on the edge. I mean, but you know, there’s so many things they don’t teach and it would be, it would be good to know, like, you know, they don’t, they don’t. When I talk to people who’ve been out like two, three years, there was no discussion of digital at all. Yeah. Um, and yet, you know, we used to sit there. I don’t know about you guys, but when I qualified, we to sit there and make dentures ourselves, right? Yeah.

Think about the. You know, you’re right. I mean, you think about the kind of the pillars of of practice today, the kind of modern, modern practice, the things that prop it up and keep it going. You’ve got digital, you’ve got alignment, you know, orthodontic alignment, dental implants and aesthetic dentistry. Yeah, those are the four things, aren’t they, really? And as you say, you’re not really taught any of them, any of them into practice. Patients are probably expecting some of those services to be discussed at the very least. And you must be you must feel quite ill equipped if those things are. It’s different for us. Three, because I think, you know, implants were emerging when I qualified. They were there, but it wasn’t it wasn’t everywhere and alignment wasn’t a thing. And aesthetics were basically veneers and whitening was coming in a little bit. Um, but you know, um, and digital wasn’t a thing. So, you know, our training was pretty close to what you would get when you walked out to practice. But now, if they’re not covering those things that you could find yourself in a practice where you really you have to train all over again, you’re on the job.

And then we’ve got the disconnect between the NHS. No one wants to work in the NHS anymore, the young ones, and and I fully agree with them. Yeah, I fully agree with them. Yeah. It would be good if if the NHS was was was somewhere where you could provide good treatment and, you know, solve problems, then fine. But when you can’t, I fully agree with them not to want to work in the NHS. If you think.

They’re spending all this.

Money on these courses and rightly so, and they want to apply that and they can’t in the NHS.

Yeah, exactly.


They have no choice but to say, well, I need to apply it. So where do I what do I do? I have to. I have to go down the private avenue.

It’s in Scotland is is different. It’s still fee per item.

Yeah, it’s still fee per item.

So do people consider the NHS as a viable place to work? Young dentists.

Probably the ones I speak to would I would say no. I think you’re quite right. It’s it’s it’s getting the nobody wants to work in NHS dentistry any young dentists you know you just either they’re looking for an avenue out of it or they’re looking actually not to see general patients. I was chatting to a younger associate recently, a guy who do a bit mentoring with and a really talented guy, and I was saying to him, he was saying he’s just giving up his practice job. Nice private practice. He works in as an associate. Big list of private patients. I kind of said to him, You landed on your feet there only a few years out. He’s like, Yeah, I’ve given it up. So why is that? So I don’t want to see general patients. I just want to come in and do the stuff I like to do and go again. And he’s carved this niche for himself where he goes around 4 or 5 practices. He does a day in each one, and he’s doing just the type of work he likes to do. And he’s he said, What type of work is it? Composite build-ups, crown bridgework, veneers. And he said, That’s it. So I want to do. And if that’s, you know, I’m not not seeing patients for check-ups or broken fillings, that kind of stuff. And you think your.

Principal, right? Yeah. Yeah. So I get a lot of principals complaining to me of, oh, these young dentists, they, they come in and they say, I just want to do three days a week and I want private. Yeah, yeah. And you know, they haven’t put in their time and all that and I think, you know, that’s a good thing man. It’s a good thing that people know what they want. They want to work, you know, the work life balance and and they want to do the kind of dentistry they want to do. It’s actually a good thing. And, you know, we don’t all have to go like, you know, hard time. You did some hospital jobs, right? I did. You know, oral surgery where you got decimated by that system. Right. And and it was almost like this sort of the abused becomes the abuser kind of thing. Yeah. With your. It was, wasn’t it like, like the the consultant would make me wake up at 3 a.m. to go and push that flap to make sure it’s still, you know, perfused or whatever. And it was the system. It’s like boarding school or something, you know, Why does it have to be like that? Why can’t a dentist say, I want to do three days a week?

I think. Right.

I think it’s really assertive to say, this is what I want to do, this is what I’m going to have. I’m going to do it. And they do it. You know, it’s and yeah.

And going back to that, you know, telling my kids, you know, I really want it more for my daughter than my son because I just think it’s such an amazing career for a woman, you know, because you can you can dictate the number of days you want to do. Which job can you do that man? Which job is there that you can earn really well and dictate? I want to do work one day a week, two days a week, three days a week. You can say however many number of days a week you want and change those as you go. So as kids come along and and all of that very, very few jobs that you can do that unless you work for yourself. Right.

The flexibility of.

Dentistry is amazing.

It’s amazing. It’s amazing.

I’ll go in this field going going to research, teaching innovation like.

I went from five days a week, four days a week, three days a week, two days a week. And I did one day a week for years before I had a bad day and said, forget that. But but what I’m saying is it served me perfectly as enlightened, you know, took over it served me to, you know, pay for my life and whatever, while Enlightened wasn’t making money. And then to do less and less and less. And you can basically you can you can do exactly what you want in dentistry, which is beautiful. I love that about it.

We had discussion.

Previously, Now you’ve got dentists writing books, manufacturing thing, making things, designing things. Yeah, that was unheard of ten years ago, you know, now. Yeah.

I’m going to just rewind you a bit there, guys. Payman What I’d like to ask you Payman is we just touched on the NHS there, but we were asking this question last week that as you all know, as a regular, as the regular listener to this podcast, the other regular listener is Rishi. Rishi Sunak Yeah. And Rishi Sunak, if he comes on the phone tonight and says, Listen, I like the sound of that guy Payman I want him to fix NHS dentistry. Do you think it can be fixed? Yeah, yeah, yeah. How would you fix it?

Look, let me let me tell you what you annoy me the most was that there was a third party involved in in clinical decision making. Yeah. Me, the patient and then third parties. And you can and can’t do this. What I would say for the NHS is it’s a fun it should be a fund of money that people who are means tested have access to. Yeah. And it could be, you know, if you earn below x, you could have this much a year towards paying a dentist from the government full stop. No, what you can spend you can spend it on bleaching implants, scaling polishes or not spend it at all. Yeah, it’s up to you. You can go to any dentist and use these credits and it’s and that that to me would be the only way that would work. And it should be means tested. It should be for the poor people who can’t afford it. Everyone else, I think, should start to get into that mode of saving up for your teeth like they do in most countries, Right?

Or insurance based.

Yeah. Same thing. Right? Same, same, same story.

Who’s inspired you the most in dentistry?

Let’s let’s before we go on to that question, let’s just explain to Payman. This is the drum roll, the dry ice and, you know, the pizzazz associated with this question. Hatem, that this is the this is the Richard Thiel Prize in dentistry. You’re Richard Kiel Prize. And you know who Richard Kiel is. Don’t you Payman know.

Who’s Richard.

Kiel? Richard Kiel is the actor who portrayed Jaws in James Bond. So he had the oh, yeah, the best set of teeth in the movie and television history. And we’re going to ask you to give the Richard Kiel Prize to the person in dentistry that inspired you the most and why.

It was Nick Nick Mahendra, my first boss. He had this he used to say, he always used to say, Why not? Whatever, whatever the question was, his answer was why not? And I just seeing this one guy in a little practice in Ashford Kent come up with this new way of doing something and then put it into the newspaper and it’s life changing because of it. And actually, like chasing that little dream of of making a difference from one little dental practice. It really changed what I thought was possible. And that, you know, that idea, they say like make a dent in the world. And I think your first boss is a massive influence anyway. Right. Which which way you end up going, your first boss really sets that agenda. And I couldn’t have hoped for a better first boss. I mean, he was just brilliant, man. He really I still see him all the time. Just a brilliant mind. Brilliant mind.

Retired. Retired.

Not quite. Not quite. But he’s. He’s. He’s getting there. He’s getting there. Um, a brilliant mind, man. It just, you know, and up to that point, I was like, well, research is done in laboratories by massive corporations and scientists. And, and this guy was just in his practice in lunchtime trying things out. It was it really inspired me to try and do stuff myself.

That’s great. Nick Mahendra The Richard Kiel Prize is on its way to you. And finally, we will finish the podcast with the question we ask all guests Payman. And that is what is your favourite movie and favourite album and why?

So my favourite album is a Prince album. I was a massive Prince fan, brilliant back in the day. Um, and I just can’t get away from him and um, I don’t know, one of one of the Prince albums. I loved them all, but Sign of the Times or something. Great. Um.

Did you see Prince live?

I did, yeah.

Several. Yeah. I went to the O2 to see him. Yeah, we do.

Dodgy sound, wasn’t it? I don’t know where I was standing. It was, like, amazing. It was good Live, though.

Unbelievable. Just. I didn’t quite appreciate that he played all the instruments, wrote all the music performed. You think this guy is a musical genius, isn’t he? Yeah. Tremendous. And the artist as a guitarist, you underrated. I mean, amazing guitarist. And at the.

Time, do you remember at the time it was Michael Jackson or Prince sort of thing. And and I was I used to, you know, Michael Jackson at the time. You could even then it was like a cartoon character, right? So like, you just knew there was no Billie Jean. There was no kid. There was no person. He said, beat it to. Like none of that existed. He was like a comic book. But whereas with Prince, Right, all the songs, you just felt like he’d he’d actually been in those situations. He felt so much more authentic to me. So I liked it movie wise. I’m not a big movie guy now, but, um, I love Darren Aronofsky. Do you know him? The director? Yeah, The Wrestler movie. The Wrestler. Yeah. Not his best, but. But. But yeah, he did. He did one called Pi. Did one called Requiem for a Dream.

I’ve seen pie. Yeah. Pie is a crazy man. That’s a niche film.

Yeah. I liked it, though. I liked it. The obsession. Part of it. I liked a lot. Yeah. Um, he did one recently called Mother, which was like, a about the earth. Crazy thing. He did Black Swan. So I, like. I like all of his films and I like Kubrick a lot as well. I like I like all of all of Stanley Kubrick’s films. Kubrick.

Yeah, like Kubrick, because every film is slightly different. Different? Yeah. Yeah. Um. Favourite Kubrick.

Oh, man, that’s so difficult. That’s so hard. I mean, I think Clockwork Orange in the end, I think in the end, I was thinking of making my stand at Dental showcase that, you know, the milk bar.

The molecule. They call it Molecule. Yeah.

Molecule milk. Do you. Do you do it? These these cats, they go. They have, they drink this milk, which is like, I don’t know, you never he never tells you what’s in the milk. Right. But they drink this milk, then they go berserk. It’s drugs. They go berserk and they stop committing crimes. But I don’t know when it came out because I must have watched it years later. But it probably came out in 68 or 60 something. And this molecule milk bar. Yeah. Like if you if you see an image of what it is, it’s just all white and the tables are made of like parts of humans like women or whatever. And these guys are sitting there looking just like, like crazy psychopaths, right? Drinking their milk. I was going to do that. I was I was thinking of doing that at Dental showcase, making the molecule milk bar and and just just just having people come in and have a good time.

You could do a follow up where you make the maze at the end of The Shining as well, with the Jack Nicholson full on rage Eyes. Um, what’s your favourite.

Film, dude?

Wow, that’s a good question. What is my favourite film? It kind of changes. Do you like it? Changes it. For a long time, it was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Oh, great, too.

You can’t. You’re just brilliant, isn’t it? And yeah, in. I went through a phase of really liking documentary films, so. Yeah, me too. When we were Kings. Muhammad Ali one. Great. Yeah. Watch that every day. Just so good. Have you seen.

The one where it’s about the South African Sugar Man searching for Sugar Man?

Searching for sugar man. Yeah.

Yeah. So love that.

What a great story that is, isn’t it?

Have you seen that hotel?

No, I haven’t seen it.

Check it out. Searching for Sugar Man.

Will never happen again. That. That particular chain of events.

Not anymore.

Amazing. We’ll tell listeners the premise. If we’re known for one thing on this podcast, it is meandering and lengthy, self-indulgent chats. So let’s let’s do that. So Searching for Sugar Man was about an American blues musician, bluesy kind of rock and roll musician in the late 60 seconds. Him and he released two albums and they didn’t really make an impact in America at all. You know, a little Ripple, but nothing. And he was working in construction, so he essentially was was working in construction. Then he kind of was unemployed and he was living really a you know, he was, you know, in Skid Row, basically. Meanwhile, in South Africa, he was an absolute megastar. His because of apartheid in South Africa, there was an embargo on trade from the United States. So music that got in there and pre-apartheid became very popular because they couldn’t.

Scrape music as well. Really brilliant music.

You listen to it. Why is this? Why did he not make an impact in the States? But yeah, but because the apartheid restricted what they could import and what they were given access to this this stuff had gotten just before and it became very popular. It was on radio stations and he was a superstar in South Africa, but he did not know this. He was living in a kind of Skid Row lifestyle. And when apartheid ended, essentially, you know, people were he was still popular. But this guy then made it his kind of wonder what ever happened to him. He must be a big star in America. I’m going to go and find him. And he was astonished to find this guy basically living almost like a homeless existence.

There was some legend about he’d killed himself on stage, wasn’t it? They weren’t sure about it. So he goes and looks for him and finds him. He finds.

Him. And then he brings him to South Africa. When he puts he puts on a concert.

Huge concert.

100,000 stadium like Wembley Stadium, packed. And they said at the start, Elvis Presley and Rodriguez is I don’t know who’s bigger in South Africa. It’s between the two of them. You know, the guy himself did not know any of this, you know, because of no social media, no Internet. You know, this news didn’t travel over there. And it’s such a great story. Such a great story. But as you say, Payman great music as well. Brilliant music.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Me and my kids love that music now. Brilliant. How about you? What’s your favourite.

Song You guys are? Leon.

Oh, on. Ready? That’s good.

That’s good.

That’s a bizarrely though, Leon table. When we’re off air, it’s just.

You aren’t from.

London. You’re from Cardiff, weren’t you?

Cardiff City. Yeah.

So I’ll tell you the story about that another time.

But you know, we’re going onto two hours now. This has been amazing. Two hours past my bedtime now.

But sometimes these things feed you, man. They wake you up.

It’s been a quick one by our standards.

We wanted you on board. Honestly, it’s been a phenomenal, honestly eye opener. And it’s covered just about everything in terms of your journey.

Enjoyed it, man.

How passionate you are. You know, the love for dentures that you have, the youngsters you’re hopefully mentoring and also, you know, the perfection that you always want to strive for. You really are honestly, as they say, a legend. Thank you so much. Stuart.

Yeah. Payman Yeah. Absolute pleasure to chat to you and you can tell you’re just all upright elegance. Isn’t he just kind of easy to talk to? But as you said, the Parkinson of dentistry, I think you’re absolutely right with that assessment and brilliant.

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.

Thanks for listening, guys. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Make sure you tune in for future episodes. Hit subscribe in iTunes or Google Play or whatever platform it is. And you know, we really, really appreciate it. If you would give us a six star rating. Six star rating.

That’s what always.

Leave my Uber.


Thanks a lot, guys.


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