Getting through dental school is an experience few dentists would be keen to repeat. 

Spare a thought then for Shima Ghazi, who has qualified in dentistry three times in three countries.

In this episode, Sima recounts her journey from her home country Iran to study in India before making her way to the UK. 

And from a new home in Birmingham, Shima found herself starting over once again as she worked her way up the career ladder from dental therapy to general practice.



In This Episode

02.55 – Choosing dentistry

08.06 – Arriving in India

11.10 – Dental school

17.40 – Women in dentistry

21.32 – Studying in India

26.00 – Qualifying

32.41 – Working in India

40.54 – Moving to the UK

46.49 – Therapy to dentistry

59.52 – Dark moments

01.08.16 – Black box thinking

01.13.26 – Plans

01.17.20 – Culture and etiquette

01.20.59 – Fantasy dinner party

01.23.00 – Last days and legacy

When you come here and you see the situation with with women here, do you still think women are, you know, disadvantaged here or do you think. No.

They are still the word hasn’t still become 50 over 50 yet. And I see that even here even here when I go for an interview. Okay. This is very interesting. I went for an interview. This was a clinic. I really wanted to get in a nice clinic in Birmingham. And I saw my folder like, you know, they were like piles of CDs. And I saw my file in senior section and then it was senior female. And then there was like, you could see that there was like sort of a hierarchy, like, you know, like in a sort of like from what’s the most favoured person? Like it was like senior male and like de de, de, de, de, de, de, de de. Then senior female. Not necessarily.

Not necessarily, though. Not necessarily.

It was, you know how I got to know about it. Okay. When we were talking, the questions were literally the questions were, are you married? Like And then she was like, you’re asking this all these things and like, you know, do you have any children? Do you want any children? And is your husband a dentist? And like sort of like, you know, too many of these questions and like I was putting these things together and when are you trying to have children? So, like, you know, and this is not the first place I have been to where they have asked me these questions.

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.

A lot of us take our Dental career for granted. We do our GCSEs, we do our A-levels. We get into dental school if we’re lucky, and we manage to pass through it. And then someone like me actually gave up dentistry as well. On the other side of it, and sometimes you don’t realise that to get to the same place that we got to so easily. Some people go through all sorts of struggles and it gives me great pleasure to welcome cIma Gardner onto the podcast today. Someone who’s qualified as a dentist in three different countries in order to get here and has worked as a dental nurse and a therapist and now finally has gotten through the system with the system and is about to start working as a general dentist. It’s a massive pleasure to have you on the podcast.

Cima Thank you so much. Hi Payman And hi to everyone who’s listening now, and it’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me here.

Pleasure. So, cIma, tell us, it’s much rather hear it from your own words here. Tell us in your own words, just the story of you even thinking of becoming a dentist back in Iran, Right? How old were you when you first thought of it?

Um, to be honest, in our culture, it’s whether you’re a doctor or you’re not a doctor or a failure. Exactly. But, you know, that’s how it is. And as much as I was a very good mathematician, my mom, my mom’s dream was for me to become a dentist. Not that I didn’t like it. I did remove all of my primary teeth myself. I was a bit of harsh girl. Um, but like, you know, I think it was around my high school when my mom was one day she came to me and said, Look, my father didn’t let me become a doctor because that was her dream. And literally they didn’t let her to go to another city to study because of cultural issues. And she looked at me and said, like, you’re the only child of mine who is actually capable enough to become a dentist or a doctor and don’t expect anything from you. But it would really break my heart if you don’t become one because you simply can’t. And that’s when literally my life got a like received a very sharp bend towards dentistry that became an ultimate goal. So do you want me to go on or should I keep going? So and then I was in a very posh high school, to be honest, not that I’m a posh person, but as I told you before, so I’m always the last person who made it so I think I can class myself as someone who worked hard, even if I wasn’t talented.

I really worked very hard. No vacations, no like, no holidays, no summer, like, you know, enjoyment, like studying 24 over seven, 12 months a year, and then got myself into this school where like everybody were like, super like, you know, they had it all, to be honest. And, um, there was a girl there that she told me about England and how great it is to study in England. But there was a problem. We we made this team together and she said, Let’s go to England and study dentistry and then we can do this and that. And that’s when I started studying English and growing this dream and picturing like, I want to be this person. So this person being from like, you know, have like, you know, girls like me, they don’t dream this big from my past, you know? And then I was like, Yeah, let’s do it. Why not? But before that, I know, like the cost. And then, well, it went ahead. I applied for some sort of scholarship. I had a scholarship, but I still couldn’t afford to come. And that broke my heart, like, big time. I was just 17 and she made it, although she didn’t have a scholarship. And that’s when I first realised I’m just a daughter of a teacher and so many things doesn’t happen to me. Like, you know, like many things, although I work ten times harder, it’s simply not going to happen. And well, I really was depressed for a while.

And then I made a deal with my dad. My cousin, my male cousin was in India and he was studying to be an engineer, an engineer. And then but I went to my dad and I said that like, I know England is really expensive, but I really want to study in English because like, sort of I want to be linked to the world. What about India? Like, you know, cousin blah blah is in India? And he said, Yeah, just figuring out how much it is. So I did the calculation and I said that, you know, with this money and that money, if you do this and that, we can probably send me and my sister to, you know, India. And it was a very difficult decision for my dad being from his background, sort of like, you know, they don’t send their daughters away. So I don’t know how it happened so fast. I don’t know how I convinced him, me and my mom, to send me and my sister away. But then we went to India. I remember when we reached there first month, my dad was like, I’m not I’m not going to leave you guys here. That’s it. You’re just 17. And it’s like reality sort of slapped him in the face and he was like, I’m not going to leave you two here. I can’t, like, literally, like, we never travelled with my parents anywhere from that to being on our own in India. So like, it was so scary.

How did it feel? I mean, the first time when you got off the plane and had you been to India before that, was that your first time?

No, it was my first time. And then it was a scary for me. It was very scary. No.

Did you have your place already in Dental school?

We had made, like, you know, the payment, the first instalment.

So you were going to get you knew you were going to go to dentistry in India. Yeah, but.

We had our interviews when we were in Iran. Like they sort of like they took our marksheets and like we had the interviews because this was a like, okay, like school, like we asked to be enrolled in one of the, like, sort of like, you know, good schools. And then like, they were a bit more picky. Um, well, we went there and still like, you know, you make a payment, but then still it’s not 100%. You have to go there and see and like, you know, have more time spent with deanery and everyone like, you know, to be enrolled to see the they see like you’re even like good enough to be enrolled.

What was your first impression? What was your first impression of India?

Because we landed in Bangalore, you know, and in Bangalore, the airport was really, really like fancy. If you go to Bangalore International Airport, it’s, I think, one of the coolest looking, I would say like modern, really modern. Yeah. International airports I’ve been to. But then as we were driving towards the city, like I was a bit shocked. I didn’t know like what I had in my mind, like from India in the movies. It wasn’t anything like that. And it was simply just sort of like very different to where I used to live. Um, that’s like, you know, as a 17 years old, like I was shocked. Like, I think everything was a bit shocking.

So you were, you were, you were living in Tehran before, right? Yeah. Yeah. As a as a town. How did it compare with, like, bigger, smaller, you know, more modern?

Very big Wrangler is really, really big. I think if not bigger than Tehran. It’s really like the same size as Tehran. And it’s a very populated city. However, like, you know, in the span of time that I lived in Bangalore, it really improved a lot. A lot because of it. It’s like it’s the number one. It like city in the world now.

Yeah, yeah. It’s known as like the Silicon Valley of India, right?

It is beautiful. And like there are many international students there, it’s a multicultural city. So I think it was one of the best choices we could have made. And the weather was beautiful as well. So all the like, you know, I think we were not, let’s say, experienced enough, you know, to make you know, what I’m trying to say is that like, you know, sort of many things should have gone right for this to happen. And a lot of it happened because of, like, you know, sort of coincidences.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You didn’t plan it like.

We didn’t have the knowledge to Payman. We didn’t know what we have to look for. It just happened.

So tell me about Dental school. How many people were in your year?

Uh, in my year, I think we were around 30 people. Uh huh, 30 out of which there were like 4 or 5 Iranians. Oh, really? Yeah, like me, my sister and few more. And it was a bit difficult for us at the beginning because, as you know, we study in our own language in my country.

Yeah. So how was your English? How was your English at that point?

It was good because, you know, I had to study for like Iran’s national examination, and that’s not an easy examination. So if you like, sort of up to that standard, like you are quite good at grammar. De de, de, de, de, de. It’s just a matter of like being in the right place to practice all of that to come up. Yeah, exactly. And like sort of practice. So yeah, it was 30 of us and the.

Dental school itself was, was it like, you know, quite modern or how was it?

It wasn’t modern, but we learned a lot. And I learned ethics in India. Like I learned to be hard working in India. I learned to work hard, expect, have like sort of like realistic expectation of life. Because I think before that I had my head in the clouds. Yeah. And like, you know, sort of expected to work a little bit and be rewarded a lot. But when whereas in India because there’s so much competition.

Yeah, but.

You have to really like stand out if you don’t like literally like I think out of five people like out of 30 people, literally like probably 20 made it to second year and like proceeding like they were not able to keep up. It was difficult. And like each examination at the end of the year, it’s like sort of like a national examination, like state examinations, like, you know, you all go to different universities. Yeah, it wasn’t easy. At least for me.

And what kind of ballpark cost was it? How much did it cost per year? Kind of around in pounds. How much around can you think?

Well, why the figure I’m going to give you is in 2010. Yeah. So in 2010 I think we spent around 50 K each for the university. Yeah. 50 K each for university for the.

Full five years.

Yeah. For five years. But then this is what, what it was just university. So accommodation, cost of living and the sanctions happened so.

Oh Iran’s, Iran’s banking sanctions.

And then that’s when like it heated us hard because what we planned to pay, we ended up actually have to like spend double as much. So like, for example, you sell your. Oh, because.

Because the exchange rate.

Exactly. Exactly. So we like literally had to sell way more than. And we expected.

Yeah. So for people we take we take these things for granted as Iranians. But the currency tumbled. I mean less than half the value. So like less, much less than half. Was it.

You know when in 2010, when I went to India, the dollar price I remember was 900. Okay. Now, how much is it? 900. Okay. Now it is 45,000. I think. 45,000. That’s the difference. We are talking about the conversion. Exactly. Remember the first year me and my sister, literally, we used to go to this shopping malls and then, like, you know, without hesitation, if you needed, like, a t shirt. We never used to look at the price tag. I mean, we wouldn’t go to Burari then, like, you know, sort of we were okay. But then towards the end, we had to sort of like, you know, even be careful how much chicken we want to buy or how much rice we want to buy. Are we going to make it till the end of this month? Or like, it was really difficult. So how did.

How did you manage? I mean, you’d planned for a certain cost and then suddenly that cost is doubled or tripled. What did your parents just keep on giving? What happened?

They sold our house, like, literally like the house living. Yeah. And this is the cost you all have paid. Like, you know, not only me, we are talking about a society like people. And imagine, like, we were like, let’s say middle class, like higher middle class. Maybe. Imagine what happened to those who, like.

Didn’t have anything.

Underneath us. And then, like, it is a sad story. And, you know, it’s confusing for me, although I’ve lost a lot. I look at my friends and like, you know, in that school, like before I go to this fancy school, I was in another school, just a normal people, let’s say school. And then out of like 30 students who were very talented, I must admit, 28 or out of Iran and like literally all 28, they cannot have still they can’t have children. And these are all girls school because like, you know, life just keep on pushing them back. You know, that’s like, as I told you earlier, like I didn’t start from zero. I started from -200. And I competed with rest of the world, literally. And there are people in Iran or like other places, India, like, you know, that they started like mine is like, you know, even more like, you know, like they’re literally there was a lady who every now and then the first year when we could like, you know, life was better. She used to come and help us. Honest to God, it was like her English was better than mine. And she was so talented. She was so smart. Her name was customary. And like the life lessons she gave me, she was so wise. And all through my like for years, she used to come with me and like, sort of help me to find patience and do this for examination and everything. And I don’t think I could have done my course without her. And like, Kasturi stayed in that neighbourhood that she was born in and like, got like she was forced to get married to a guy that she was, you know, she had to get married, forced to have children, Forced, forced first. What about Kasturi? You know, that’s like literally like that’s the area I’m interested in history. But inequality, like, that’s what I don’t understand, Like.

So it’s interesting. So, you know, you told me that you were born the wrong sex in the wrong country, and now you’re calling. Now you’re telling me this, right? When you when you come here and you see the situation with with women here, do you still think women are, you know, disadvantaged here or do you think. No.

They are still the word hasn’t still become 5050 yet. And I see that even here even here when I go for an interview. Okay. This is very interesting. I went for an interview. This was a clinic. I really wanted to get in a nice clinic in Birmingham. And I saw my folder like, you know, they were like piles of CDs. And I saw my file in senior section that really was, like, you know, upsetting for me. And then, like, it was senior and then it was senior female. And then there was like, you could see that there was like sort of a hierarchy, like, you know, like, you know, sort of like from what’s the most favoured person? Like it was like senior male and like de de, de, de, de, de, de, de de. Then senior female.

Not necessarily. Not necessarily, though. Not necessarily.

It was, you know how I got to know about it. Okay. When we were talking, the questions were literally the questions were, are you married like. She was like, You’re liking this, all these things. And like, you know, do you have any children? Do you want any children? And is your husband a dentist? And like, sort of like, you know, too many of these questions and like I was putting these things together and when are you trying to have children? So, like, you know, and this is not the first place I have been to where they have asked me these questions. And I don’t know, like when it happens a few times and you put them together, like you’re like, okay, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong as well. But what I have seen is that me being a woman is not helping me with my God.

You. No, listen, I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m not saying you’re wrong. Yeah, but but at the same time, I mean, some of those questions, I think are illegal to ask in an interview. Well, now, now, now. Just because they’re illegal to ask doesn’t mean people don’t ask them. I even think I might have asked that question myself somewhere. Jeremy, I don’t want to make myself out to be someone who’s 100% right on this, because as a small business owner, you know it’s a factor, isn’t it? How long are you going to stay and all that? It’s real. It’s real. Okay.

But what’s the solution like? Everybody knows the problem. Okay. Yes. Women have to have like, you know, maternity leave. Women have to have this and that. What’s the solution like? We like always like I’ve been thinking about that a lot and I’m like, okay, why don’t we sort of like, you know, at least for NHS, Like, why don’t we have any help? Like a nursery? Yeah. For women, like as a support, like that’s going to be sort of like a big relief for lots of women like me.

Which I mean childcare, childcare is just a gigantic issue all over the world, but but definitely here as well. But, but, you know, I mean, you shouldn’t have been asked, are you married? You shouldn’t have been asked, do you have children and you shouldn’t have been asked, do you want children? Those those those are real. No, no questions in interviews.

But like I think like, you know, at least a very simple enough to ask me those places. I think like they think of it, they just simply can’t ask it. They try to figure it out in a smart way, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So it is still a man’s world, in my opinion, even here. But it’s much better than the rest of the world. That’s what I would say. I think we are going towards the right direction, but whether or not my generation is going to see it, I’m not sure.

Let’s continue with the story in India.

Yeah, sure.

No, because we’ll jump around. We’ll jump around. Yeah. Yeah. So. So tell me about the course itself, because you’ve gotten in and your parents were struggling to pay all this and the exchange, were you studying your your butt off?

Of course we were all doing that. Of course I was making mistakes as well in between just being a young, confused girl because like from a very protected society, like people, I’m not talking about general my country, I’m just talking about me and my society around me and just the whole like, you know, place, but sort of like from that to freedom, like a pure freedom, you get confused. You don’t know where you’re standing, how you should behave. You make 1 or 2 mistakes. But then, yeah, when it is like, you know, sort of when it comes to studying, literally, like we all studied so seriously to just like sort of finish the course.

Expand on that. What what do you mean by that? Did you go berserk A little bit. Did you party too hard? What what.

Happened? Not to be honest. To be honest. 1 or 2 heartbreaks. So I wasn’t really like a person who would party hard or. Yes, I did go to parties like, you know, every now and then. But then, like, you know, nobody taught me in school what I should do. Yeah, like sort of like, you know, when I come across, like, heartbreak. Sure. So that’s the issue. And I think, like, the fact that I wasn’t raised with males around me. Yeah. Sort of like being in a schoolgirl experience. I didn’t know how to behave around men. To this day, I still feel like, you know, like I’m not the best with my male colleagues. I sometimes I’m confused, like how to behave. Yeah, yeah. And it’s an issue, to be honest.

What about socially in India? Did you don’t know the food, the customs? How did all that come across to you? Did you did you did you guys used to stick together, the Iranians in India or what was the story?

I think first we tried to avoid each other, but like a sort of like a, you know, a survival mechanism for a bunch of kids. We gathered together and later on, my brother also joined us. He was only 14. He joined us to study GCSE and A-levels. So my mom came over, ended up coming over and staying with us for a while, but then she had to go back and my young brother also was there. So literally I had the responsibility of like him while I was growing myself as well. It was difficult, literally. Payman There are days that now I’d be talking about it. It comes up and like, I want to cry about it now. But then I had to stay strong. I had no other options. So we stick together and we survived. It was the matter of like survival, but not because, like anything specific, because of like our lack of experience at that young age, you know?

And did you manage to get back to back home a few times in that course or. No, because it was too difficult.

I think first year I did like, you know, first or second year we used to go once in a year. But I think there was a time that I didn’t go back for three years because the course simply was like overwhelming at some places and the food was amazing. We got used to the food quickly and we loved it.

And so basically, you grew up very quickly, right?

We had to. I think it’s not optional. It’s not something to be proud of. I think, you know, when somebody is really sick and comes out of it and everybody say like, oh, well, you know, wow, you’re stronger now, blah, blah, blah. But no, like it doesn’t necessarily have to happen, you know what I mean? Like, there are certain things, like everything is good at its own right age, you know, like you need to enjoy, you need to like at that age, you don’t have to have that responsibility on your shoulders to be so scared to, like, sort of go through lawyer because you thought, you know, you’re like the owner of the house is like, you know, making you to move like two days before your exam or like sort of, you know, like those things are hard to deal with on my own. And the problems with my brother as a teenager like, you know, growing up. So there are lots of details. Yeah. Yeah.

So then you both, you and your sister qualified as dentists in India? Yeah. How did that feel? It must have felt good.

It was good. My sister wasn’t really interested in dentistry at all. I just wanted her as a company because, to be honest, I wanted her to come out of the society around me, and I wanted her to want more from her life. To be honest. That’s why I wanted her to come with me. I don’t know. I was. That. Was that different? Like, you know, that different child. I don’t know why. Like, I don’t know why, but I wanted more. Like when my cousins wanted to get married and have children, I always was looking around the things they of like, you know, dream of. I wanted more. I never from I don’t know. I was wired differently from beginning. I was different. I don’t know if it’s good.

It’s interesting. Sheema You know, I’ve been looking into, like, high achievers. Yeah. And I’d class you as a high achiever. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Because I know how competitive it is in Iran. I know how competitive it is in India. We will get back to the rest of the story where you came top in the exams and the people, people who become high achievers, they’re generally either some things happen to them in childhood. It’s some sort of stress or some sort of I’ll prove you wrong. It’s an amount. It’s a certain amount of it. It’s not too much. If it’s too much, you end up becoming a drug addict or whatever. Yeah, but but also, it’s not that comfortable. You know, a totally comfortable child doesn’t ever become a high achiever. Exactly. So when you think of that, that idea, it’s not a good thing. Does that resonate? Were you running away from something? Running towards something?

Definitely. It was for like, you know, the fact that I’ve told you some about my life and I’m I’m willing to open this not because I don’t have boundaries, because I want others to sort of like see my story and maybe inspire 1 or 2 people that I’m inspiring, but like, sort of like, you know, I don’t know. I feel like some people need to hear this. So like, okay, my grandfather, he had like 6 or 7 daughters, seven, six daughters, three. And my other grandfather also had like 5 or 6 daughters. And one son. So it’s like it wasn’t like they had six daughters. They failed six times to have a son. Literally what I’m saying, like, we should laugh and cry about it at the same time. I know it was old in time, but like, sort of like it is fading away, that culture. But still it’s taking its time. And I am Africa, boy. So like and then remember the year I was born in my cousin, my aunts gave birth to male cousins and they were like receiving gifts. And I was never receiving gifts because I was a girl. And they like my like, as told me, like, even like as a joke.

Now we joke about it because I’m not the same person I was yesterday, six months ago. My dad is not the same person. So we are different people now. But back then he was literally he was resenting me for being a girl as a second child. And I think he sort of like bring this up like you talk about it openly because he won that wound in me to heal as well. When you address an issue, when you have got lots of question marks in your head that you add up things, I think it’s realised that am maybe a little bit smart enough to piece out things to understand and question. So he has to answer me. And that’s, I think, what’s happening in my tattoos. Like I am asking questions, trying to find the root of But why, but why the why this, why that? And like he literally told me like I wasn’t really happy. Like, you know, I was a student, second daughter. Everybody had sons. I had my second daughter. And I was like, you know, my father was treating me like a failure and like and I am the product. I am that failure. The second one, can you feel that after seven Daughters of Grandfather, I’m the ninth failure.

So that’s a lot like sort of like now. Even if you tell this now to them, they might ignore it. But like the impact on me was like and like I was an outgoing person, I wanted to go cycling. I wanted like more. I liked mathematics. I used to like mathematics. And then these are the things that wasn’t designed for me, like my aunt, like when we were having my mom was open to it. But like my aunt, when we sort of like after dining together, they would ask us with other female cousins to go wash the dishes. And I would never do that. They would give me ice. I’d be like, No, I’m going to go play with the boys. Sorry, I’m simply not going to do it. I was that rebellious person. And I remember literally my grandmother called me one day, Don’t like you. She was like, you know that serious. You know what I said back? And my dad always says that. I said, like, don’t care, you know, don’t care. And it was like 3 or 4. I said, like, I don’t care. My mom likes me. My dad.

You think, what do you think is the reason? What do you think is the reason that one person accepts that situation and another person rebels against that situation?

Lots of things like I think, yes, genes play in it, but then environmental factors like lots of things change.

I mean, clearly, clearly your mum, your mum was on your side in all of this. Yeah, of course. She wanted you to be a dentist. She was happy for you to leave the country. And all of.

That was rebellious as well. Yeah.


She was. She was like me. I was like her. But it’s funny. You know why? And I’ve asked that question for myself many times. What happened? Why was I like this? And then I see some of like a little bit of my grandfather in me, a little bit of my uncle in me. Like it’s like a genes or like a cocktail, like, you know, sort of like you get like sort of everyone and to be like, you know, sort of sitting the way it has to sit for you to become you, it’s a miracle. And I have no explanation for that, you know, and life is not fair. The reason why my sister, for example, wasn’t good enough, why I was good, why she was good in art, why I’m not in good as good in art. I don’t know. Like these things are just. They happen, you know?

Sure, sure. So then you then qualified. Then you started working in India?

I did. I qualified. I started working in the hospital at the internship that we had to do.

What kind of density was that? Was that particular type or general?

And to be honest, I was a bit like disappointed. I always used to think like, you know, dentistry in India is a bit backwards, but I must admit all the pressure they gave us and all that pain on the dentures, especially like, you know, we had to make like 10,000, like, you know, pairs of dentures. And it was so annoying. We had to do all the things like improvisation, everything, the blah, blah, blah, like.

The lab. The lab work as well.

Even the lab work we had to do. Yeah. And like, now I understand. Like, why I feel like, you know, for example, NHS dentistry is quite easy. It’s not easy. It’s just that I have so much time on the basics. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because once your foundation is okay, you can build on top of that. Yeah, yeah. It’s like one thing that actually I’m, I think like, we struggled was endodontics simply because that year when I had my endodontics, like sort of they started taking master students on Endodontics So they were giving our patients to them. Okay, yeah. And it’s funny how like I always thought like, that’s a negative part of me.

Yeah. And there’s a funny one, you know, I’ve had so many people on here who say one situation in Endo put them off Endo forever, and they never, ever did Endo again and referred everything out.

Yeah, exactly.

It’s one of those. It’s one of those. So then, okay, you did the job there and then decided to go back to Iran?

Well, I didn’t decide to again. I had no other option financially. Exactly. I had a actually I applied for Rutgers University in New Jersey and I got through a master’s course. Oh, well, yeah.

But super expensive.

Exactly. And to be honest, the head of the department actually reach out at me and said after the interview and after I said, okay, now I’m remembering. It’s interesting. This is a good story. So I remember when I had interview with them, they really liked me. They were like 5 or 6, like, you know, this heads of department sitting. And I was so excited. I was like, yes, finally. Like, it’s working. Like, you know, what I wanted is happening. And then as we were talking, it’s all sorted. Like they emailed me. I got through like and again the finances came again. My mum had to sell their house for me to go and my mum was like, I have to do this for you. I didn’t do it. I regret it. And like I remember it was the dollars went to 4000 that time. I think it was 4000. So from nine.

Exchange rate.

To 4000. Yeah. Then the day I got my admission, it became 4200, something like that. And then tomorrow, day after that, it became 4900. And as it was going up and it was like beginning of a new era. So I emailed them and I said, as you can see in the news, that like, you know, it’s all about Iran. So I’m not sure if I can afford because this had happened to me before. So I was scared that if I go and if it goes higher, I cannot do it.

But do they do they not give loans to people who are going to be do a master’s program?

Not necessarily.

And did you look into that?

I did. But for the program that I wanted to go for, like, you know, and to be honest, like you need to spend some good time to get that master’s or that loan. Yeah. And I couldn’t afford that time. I needed to earn money. I needed to, like, sort of, you know, work a lot. And, you know, it’s really challenging. It’s easy to talk about it. But when you’re in that point where, like, you know, you put all the facts together.

So I don’t know, maybe they don’t give loans to people who are not American, American residents or whatever.

I think it was such like, you know, I think had a look at the loans and I don’t remember exactly what happened. And I asked for it.

It wasn’t an option.

It wasn’t an option or it was something like, you know, I had to spend a year on, you know, and I was like, you know what? I spend a year and I don’t know if I’m going to get it or not. Just like, let’s be realistic. Let’s just like sort of settle in. Leave it as it is. Yeah.

Okay. So then you knew you had to go back to Iran, were you not? Was there a new idea of like staying in India, like living and working there a bit longer?

I think I looked into it, but I knew like I have to go back eventually, so there was no point. So I went back And so.

Did the Indian degree count in Iran?

So India is a Yeah. And Iran does accept India’s, you know, degree. But I think in our field, any country that as you change countries other than few countries, they don’t really accept each other’s like you know there’s going to be exempted of examination and well I had to do set of examinations by this set of examination for deeds and I had to do a thesis like a doctorate thesis. And this by this exam is set of examination. I mean, like, you know, sort of four sets of examination and one set is like 13 exams, 13 practical exams in of university, like each department you go and in each department, they make sure you know yourself like they won’t let go, like know easy.

Yeah. Because dentistry is super super. I know that it’s super competitive in Iran. It is.

In Iran. And that’s when I ranked first in that national examination.

You came first in the whole country.


You have to study.

You did study a lot for that exam. I did study a lot. And it was, you know why I studied a lot? Because sort of like, I mean, in India, I think I was an average student. Not because I wasn’t. I wasn’t capable simply because I had too much to deal with. Yeah, a lot to deal with as just living wise. And I think once that load was lifted from my shoulders, Yeah. I think suddenly, like I shined like, you know, and that was sort of a very good opening. After that I had sort of like an okay job, a breakthrough, like a small breakthrough. Nice sort of started working and I was trying to find my fit. And then next chapter happened.

But you could you could you could have stayed in Iran. I mean, dentists do very well in Iran, though.

It is very well. And although, again, remember Payman I am the first dentist in the family and fortunately, unfortunately, I don’t know, like in India, in Iran and in England, what I have seen is that like sort of now dentistry is like a little bit of a mini like sort of I don’t know, it’s in control of, you know, a group. And this is what I’ve seen in all three countries. Yes. If you’re really good, you can shine and you can come up. But if you’re just an average person, unless you have got good contacts, you can’t break through. That’s what I felt in all three countries. I don’t know why it’s happening.

That’s a that’s a universal truth, right? You know who you know sometimes is more important than what you know. Exactly. But what my point is that, you know, you knew more people in Iran than, you know here.

Yeah. Yeah. No, to be honest, like I had gone back from India to Iran and I had like, you know, gone back like after 6 or 7 years. And all of my friends already had left the country, had all moved out, came back, and like, I literally had no friends. And I started making friends. And I’m not saying I started working in good clinics, like, okay, not like not uptown Tehran. They won’t let like you to get there easily. Yes. But then sort of as much as I could.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, okay, you decided, I guess. I guess the dream was to, you know, you know, to move out anyway, you’d gone through that struggle in the first place. So tell me about coming to the UK. What was the story there like? How did it how did it pan out?

All right. So when I was in India, there was this guy that, like, as a result of my heartbreak outside with my friend for her birthday, and I was feeling really, really down. And I remember I was sitting at the corner of her birthday party and I was like, I just wanted to leave. And then someone came to me and said, Can I have a dance, please, with a very cute accent. And then, like, I looked up and I said, Sorry, no, because I was feeling really bad and my sister really pushed me to have a dance with him. She was like, Go on. Like, you know, you miserable, blah blah blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, well, I went and started dancing with him, and then he started dancing crazy and I topped with myself. Well, foreigners are meant to be reasonable. Why is this one broken? And I think that’s why our feeling was broken. Well, and yeah, now it’s 11 years later, and that’s how I ended up here.

That’s your husband now?

It is my husband now. And it’s interesting how the world works because I ended up in Birmingham, although he’s not even from Birmingham. So the city I wanted to come to, he found a job there and out of nowhere we ended up. In Birmingham, and that wasn’t even planned. We wanted to like, you know, wanted to go to Canada. We had broken up when I went back to Iran and I was doing my dentistry. He reached out to me. And to be honest, when I was in Iran, I started dating again and it wasn’t going very well. And I knew like, you know, I wasn’t sleeping in the society anymore. You know, like my everything had changed and I was trying to sort of gain steps backwards.

Five years is a funny time. You know, I meet a lot of people, you know, all the way from dentists to, you know, the guy who fitted my aircon or whatever. And he says he’s five years out of Romania or whatever it is. It’s a funny thing. In five years, you know, you don’t you definitely don’t fit in in the country. You’ve moved into whichever country that is. But then you also don’t fit in in the country you’ve left anymore. Yeah, because it’s five years, you know, it’s been a long time you’ve been away. It’s interesting. So. Okay, so so Birmingham. So some sort of you felt like that was some sort of, as we say, grace. Yeah. Kismet. Kismet. Destiny. Yeah. Yeah.

That’s it. Like, you know, to be honest, when I first and it’s very interesting because as I said, Ollie’s is not even from Birmingham, and we had no idea, like, sort of when we were.

Is he in it? Is that why he was in Bangalore?

No, not really. His dad had a company that wanted to open a company there with like a colleague. And and it was all like sort of actually yesterday we were walking in a park together and I was we were talking together and we were like, What were the odds like when we first met? Like when you ask me, where are you from? I said, like Iran, he had no idea where Iran is. And I said, Persia. And he said, Oh, I played Prince of Persia the game. That’s how much he knew from my background. And we were the perfect match. Like we tried both, like, you know, we broke up, we tried dating other people. It didn’t work out. And then like we sort of like, it’s as if like we were each other’s the end of the world thing, you know, when, like, that safe place, that, like, home. Yeah. You know, that’s how we felt. Always together.

So you got to England. Had you been to England before?


How did that feel? Tell me how that felt. Like, what did it like? I mean, I’m not talking about, you know, exciting, scary, scary, scary.

Yeah, It was a scary to come here on my own again. Immigration. So I’ve immigrated to India. I’ve immigrated back to Iran. Now I’m immigrating again to a new country. And believe me, I’ve lived out of my luggage for so long in my life that I don’t even have lost the concept of home. So like when I was coming here, I was hoping that this would be home. And then as we were like, sort of as my plane was coming towards England, first impression was that why is it so green? Like from.

The sky?

Yeah, yeah. Like green dots. And it’s like, where is that green place? And everybody’s like, Oh, that’s England. And I thought it would be more modern, to be honest. I thought it would be much more modern because like, I’m from Tehran and Tehran is a very modern city. Yeah, I expected in England to be much more modern, but it wasn’t. And like I remember, like I didn’t felt home for a long time because simply they’re not, you know, long, you know, at the towers there are no towers around, like at least not in Birmingham, not as many as you would see in, well, like skyscrapers.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

And Toba is like, that’s where home is for me.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So it was a bit confusing. Like, it took me a long time.

And so what about, like, did it feel cold suddenly?

Oh, gosh, don’t make me start on that. I hated.

It. Did you arrive in winter?

Yeah. April. No, no, it wasn’t winter, but I was freezing. Literally. I was freezing my toes, like, you know, I hated the weather. And then I used to wear, like, lots of layers. And because it was Covid, I only could bring 20kg with me.

Oh, is that when you came in? 19. Yeah, it.

Was at the end of. No, no. I came in 2021. Oh 21 sort of like as soon as it opened literally. And I only could bring 20kg and I didn’t even have enough clothes to wear and Payman neither me or Oli had big money. We started with writing like sort of 5 or 6 K together and we had nothing we had to work out like work our way up. And that’s why like sort of had to do nursing, had to like, you know, lots of different jobs. He had to like get the first job he was offered and was in Birmingham. And we never dreamt that, like, you know, one day in two years time we would be where we are today. Although like, human beings always want more and more and. More.

You know? Yeah. Well, listeners to this podcast have heard the Sandeep Kumar story and you know, he first thing he did was a nursing job. Actually, he cleaned a supermarket and then and then he did a nursing job and didn’t even speak English. Yeah. And now he’s one of the most successful dentists in the in Europe. Like so so, you know, it could go any direction for me, but. Okay, let’s tell me about nursing. Tell me about nursing. Like having been a dentist.

Yeah, I wasn’t I wasn’t the best nurse at the beginning simply because, like, I never was in the other side of the chair. And we think it’s an easy job. It’s not.

It’s a hard job.

It is a job. It’s a hard job. I always heard like, you know, why is my nurse in the room not in the room or why this and that. And and then I realised, oh, my gosh, all that is stress that the dentist feels literally the nurse is the punching bag. And that’s like really hard. And like for me it was like because I couldn’t understand the accent, especially at the beginning, few of the practices I worked like, you know, they were super not very nice to me, not at all. And they, like, I was the one who had to clean the dishes. I was the one who had to like, sort of like clean the floor, even bathroom, all the like. Maybe nobody else had to do it, but they knew, like, I have no other option. Yeah, sort of. I was a stuck. And had to do it. Not the Dental nursing part. You know, dealing with inequality. Again, my problem wasn’t washing the dishes. It was that Why should I be the only one who has to do the dishes, you know, deliberately? And that was sad. You know, remember, there was a day that I was cleaning the bathroom and I was crying. I was really upset. And then I was like, I was talking to my God, and I was like, God, this cannot be it. I have really worked so hard in my life. I deserve something. And then and then I remember all this like, you know what? I don’t know. I talked to myself and I said, Look, all day hasn’t been a success story that you’ve had. And they didn’t say that. There was a time that I used to clean bathrooms. I was like, Maybe this is a sign of success for people who have clean bathrooms. So I was like, okay, it’s all right. Come on, Sheema, you can do this. You’re a strong girl. This is nothing compared to, you know, other things you have been through. And I think that pushed me to work even harder. Like staying awake till 4 a.m.. Working.

Coming back from studying?

Yeah. Studying, like, till 4.

A.m. for the for the. For the Dental exam.

Of course, because like, I wrote the exam on April 2021 and they announced the exam 20 days or 21 days, I think before the exam, a month to 20 days before the exam. And this was after two years of waiting. So literally they like two years of my life was vanished on the earth. And so suddenly they said there’s an exam. And I had to, like sort of stay away. And it is not the first time in my life I have stayed like stayed awake till 4 a.m.. But remember when I was in middle school to getting that like, sort of good school in Iran in high school, my dad used to wake up like 2.

Or 3 a.m. to turn off the light for me and push me to sleep like he literally used to, like sit down. Like I could see the frustration in his face. Like, come on, girl. Like, just good, good. It’s okay. You don’t need to, like, do it. But I want to. I wanted to bring that change to my family. I wanted to be that regular person and be like, Look, the things you guys think or look like is bigger than this. Like, yeah, like more than this. Like, I knew there is more, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how I knew more, but I knew there is more out there. Not a bird who is in a cage has no idea how freedom is or like sort of what’s outside world. But I had a vision of outside world. Like I wasn’t like, you know, we didn’t have social media like growing up, like it wasn’t a thing, Facebook or Instagram. Like, yes, I used to watch movies and things like that, but.

It was never like. I don’t know. It was never enough. The things that was around me they should have been was like, life cannot be this much, this meaningless. Like, you know? Yeah, it has to be something at the end of it.

So. All right. So then you did that and some hygiene therapy type roles.

Yeah. So I did hygiene job and I did therapist job, and I was told that I cannot do hygiene job. They literally a person said, No, no, no, no, no. A person standing in front of me. This person sat in front of me, looked me in the eye after knowing me for a while and is like a professional person and told me that you cannot be a genius in this country. You’re not good enough. Like, you know, maybe you were something in your country, literally something like this. And you cannot be like, you’re not good enough to work in this country. These were like her words. And then I looked at her in the eyes and I said, You have no idea how far I have come for you to just sort of like leave this comment. Like whether you’re stupid to not see my potential or you don’t know your job. Like literally like you don’t know what I can be. And like one month or two months down when I started my hygiene, the second month, I had more Google reviews than, like, you know, the other place combined.

Yeah, I saw your Google reviews. I saw them. I even I read some of your Google reviews, lots of lots of glowing reviews about their new hygienists. I know.

And that was like, you know, the first, the first patient I did in England, my hands were shaking because this was like after like a year or two that I was touching. Yeah. And then I remember my hands were shaking and then Saneto shout out to Sunil and he’s a lovely, lovely dentist in Birmingham College Road Dental Practice. Then I went and like sort of started like he arranged that case for me. And when I started I touched the of hand and I was freezing. My hands were freezing, as is Sonya. I’m really, really stressed. It’s been a while since I’ve touched a patient. And he looked at me and said like, Look, it’s okay. I’m in the room just clean. And so it’s just a clean. That’s how I express. It was like blacking out, like, you know, it’s not the job. Like it’s the financial struggle, the exam. Like, it’s not just a job. For me, it’s like everything. There’s a lot of pressure. So I did it. And then as I entered to college road practice, I looked at this practice, which is very fancy, very. And the first thought I had was like, Oh, they’re not going to give me a job. Why am I even here? Like. Like they’re not take it like a girl with her accent and that. And then like, I did it. And actually, apparently the patient review was very good. And then they after that, they called me and they gave me the job. And I was so happy I was over the moon, especially when I was told I’m not good enough. And then I smashed that job. Like last week I said goodbye to College Road and actually we won a few awards for College World last year of dentistry. Sure. And yeah, it was it’s a journey. Like you never know if you don’t risk if you stay in your comfort zone, if you believe whatever comes out of people’s mouths, you’re never going to make it.

So true. So true. So you’ve left that job now because you’ve passed your and now you want to get a Dental dentist job?

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve done like therapist job now and for dentistry bit like, you know, I did pass like the exam in January, but then it takes time and I just do the paperwork back and forth and now I am going for interviews. So if you’re listening to this and you’re looking for a new girl.

You know, look, I understand why they gave you that job because I saw you in the what was it, dentistry show or something? Yeah. And and I could just see the passion in you. Like, I don’t know, you were just spilling over with with what you’ve done. And also, you worked at his place, and he had nothing but good things to say about you.

He’s amazing. Like he and his team. That’s where I saw good dentistry. Like, that’s where like, you know, sort of they, they’re very kind to me like, you know, they did gave me like, you know, when I was near my exam, like out of the blue, I was like, oh, I just have to disappear. Sorry for like, you know, a week before my exam, for example. And then, like, they were like, they’re really cooperative. And they did like, you know, I saw literally good dentistry there.

Yeah. Both of the manager and the pitcher both. I mean, they are I knew I knew the person, you know, I’m working with Depeche but but manage also brilliant dentists. Brilliant below the radar, both of them.

Both discipline good skills. And like, you know, there’s another person who works for them. Rajshahi. I know.

Raj. I know Raj. Raj is good, good.

Good, good. Amazing. All of them are so amazing and like it was my honour. I think like that widened, like sort of my horizon in regards to what can be achieved in dentistry, because I used to think like every dentistry fails, but not if you’re one of Palmer brothers.

Deficient stuff doesn’t feel just mean.

It was like he would like do it in 40 minutes. Like. Like how? What? How? No, this doesn’t make sense. It makes me feel bad about myself. But they were very, like, sort of helpful and, like, even, like my job, they offered me jobs. And like, even for dentistry, they owned me and they were like, What are your plans? And like, like they were like. So like, I was very lucky. Like, these people came across, you know, my hat. And literally, like, I think I was lucky. And probably my life is picking up. Yes.

Yeah. You know, whatever whatever situation you’re in, whatever rat race you’re in, it just another rat race comes up and becomes a, you know, struggle again. You know, it’s a nature. It’s a nature of achievement. And you’re the kind of person who wants to achieve. Yeah. And, you know, like we mentioned, Sandeep before, who was cleaning the the supermarket, the the guys got like, you know, 14 practices and a network of Invisalign, the biggest network of Invisalign users in Europe. And so and that’s that doesn’t come stress free you know that there’s loads of stress and I think they’ve got 200 employees or something. Yeah. So I mean at the same time it would be good. It would be good wouldn’t it, if you could, you could be in the comfort zone for a while. Oh yeah, yeah.

But I don’t know, like, you know, when you are used to that adrenaline rush.


And that’s not something optional. I was raised with that adrenaline rush every second of my life. So literally, like, I think I’m sort of addicted to it now. And another reason is that, you know, Payman the problem is that if you don’t succeed a person like me, if I don’t succeed or if Sandeep doesn’t succeed, it’s just simply a sad story. Yeah. You know, to me, like if, if we don’t like, if you just almost make it, it’s like sort of.

What’s the closest you’ve been to sort of giving up and dropping out as that, as that even been on the horizon, What was the worst situation you were in?

Well, I can’t really like sort of share my voice situation. There has been very dark moments in my life. Very, very dark, like with family issues and everything. Like with my country, like sort of like, you know, the pressures of sanctions and everything. Um, it’s been very rough. Like, literally, like, you see, your loved ones are struggling to the darkest bits. And it’s not fun, believe me, it’s not fun. Or you see your friends, like, sort of disappearing, you know, out of sort of taking their own lives. And it hasn’t been 1 or 2. Like you deal with like a lot. You go through a lot that sort of you realise like you become a realistic person. Like you’re like, okay, this is, this is what I can do, you know, this is how much I have control over. And then you make peace with gradually, you know, other sort of, you know, option than making peace with what you were born into. And then once you accept that, then the next step is that, okay, what can I do if I don’t want this to happen again? Or like what you do to just go one step ahead, even one step ahead. And there has been like, you know, I never thought that giving up is an option for me. I never thought like not in my wildest dreams. But then a few months ago, my aunt, there’s a very I have a very bright Aunt Netta, who’s like, she’s in she’s a university, she’s a professor at the University of San Francisco, and she’s a very, very intelligent girl, very intelligent.

She’s only 40. She’s one of like sort of few like professors. And then a few months ago, in November last year, she called me and she said she, like, I need to tell you something. And this is just between me and you. And I just don’t think I can share it with anybody else yet. Um, I’ve got. She doesn’t smoke, she doesn’t drink, she exercises. She’s like my goddess. And she now has got stage four cancer and we don’t know how long. And you make it, you make it hardcore. And this happened, you know, and then after November, I have changed a lot. The, you know, before I was just a hotheaded I want it all. But now after November, I’m like, okay, what if I put it on and this happens? So I take it a bit easy on myself. I’m like, Don’t be too harsh on yourself as well. Like, you know, you never know. You never know. And at the end of the day, this is just like, this is what it is like, you know, and just feel. I just wish people were like a bit kinder to each other, especially in our industry. Like, sometimes I feel people are too competitive.

Yeah, sometimes, you know, based on the the best thing for the patient. Yeah. We feel like we can shout at each other and be rude to each other because we’re doing it for the patient. It’s almost like the patient is this sort of cover for being horrible to each other. And, and then there are egos. And I think the other thing is, you know, some of the stuff you said about working in practice and I bet you when one day you’re going to have this super clinic and you’re you’re you will, of course. But your experience with being on the other side, being on the nursing side, on the staff side, the washing, the toilet, whatever, that that will help you loads here. But I think in our industry we’re we’re undermanned. There’s not enough humans, we don’t have enough people running. When you when you think about what’s actually going on in a in a dental practice, you know that I always thought the nurses job was harder than the dentists because it doesn’t end when the treatment ends. You keep going. Yeah, dealing with.

Dentists is hard, to be honest. The worst the worst part is like, you know, and I see it now because we are in our own headspace. When we are treating the patient, all we are thinking about is patient. We don’t we don’t think about the nurse in the room, right? Like when you’re doing the treatment plan, when you are opening the cavity, you don’t think about how my nurse is feeling. I haven’t even talked to my nurse like in hours. She’s a human being sitting there with her thoughts, you know, And that’s the worst bit. And then there are times that I didn’t know this about myself until I was a nurse. Like the times that, like, for example, you take the suction from them to get an idea that like, she doesn’t see. And she. Actually feels bad because.

She feels like she’s not doing her job properly. You know, the way you take it or the hand or what a nuance. And then I talked to a few of the other nurses when I was with them, and they said like, Yeah, like it really hurts. Like, what a nuance. I would never have thought like and I was thinking like, yeah, like, you know what? Like they are, right? Or like when, for example, like in my practice when I was practising like, you know, Birmingham, like whenever we ran out of water. The water bottle, like every now and then I’d be like, okay, you stay with it. Like patient, I’m going to get the water this time. Or at the end of the day, like now I ask them, like when I was a nurse and I was like sort of bagging the olegovich at the end of the day, you know, And I would see all the dentists just walking outside. I would just wish like, one of them would ask, just literally, just ask. I didn’t expect it, but just ask like, Do you need help?

You know what I mean? Simply just because. Because I’m human. Like, you know, just me, you know? And then, like, I always do this with my nurses, I’m like, you know, when you signed up today, I asked him, do you need help? And then just like, wipe it once or like, you know, I go get that water bottle. Like if they go ten times, once I got, you know, like these things, small things like it’s good to like, you know, acknowledge people around us for sure.

How many different dentists did you work with?

And I have worked with loads two, three, four, five, six, I guess six, seven, seven different dentists. I think I’ve worked and this is a common issue. Each dentist has its own, you know, sort of like, you know, negative part with nurses and probably I’m not the best as well, like now that I’m working. But I try now I try because I understand it’s a difficult job. It’s difficult to deal with dentists. Honestly, all seven dentists I’ve worked with, not even one has been easy to work with really. We all have our own, like, you know, that kick that I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s funny when you’re the third person in the room and you see all and think that’s the reason why there is a lot of nurse like, you know, leaving the practice because like, be honest, I don’t think many, many nurses like sort of feel appreciated in their job. Like they don’t feel like, you know, they, they’re not rewarded, you know, emotionally or not rewarded. They’re not acknowledged. And then there is broken communication in lots of practices to the point that like, you know, the nurses are like, you know, what’s the point?

Yeah. Mean and there’s no there isn’t much career progression, right? Yeah, there isn’t many places for the nurse to go in some practice. Of course some practice there is. But in many practices there isn’t anywhere like career wise. That’s correct. Yeah, it’s very correct. So look, on this podcast, we like to talk about mistakes because basically we don’t talk about our mistakes enough in the industry. Yeah. And is it possible that someone can learn from one of your clinical mistakes? What comes to mind when I say clinical mistake?


Did you perforate?

Okay. Okay. We’re going there. Let me tell you.

If we’re going.

Let me know. It was when I was in Iran. There was this clinic that I used to work one of the first clinics I went to. This was in a very deprived area. Okay. So like we’re talking about. Okay, so because of sanctions already, the quality of the materials are really, really low If you’re working in deprived areas. And then the clinic owners, they provide you files, but then you have to keep on using the files until they break down. That’s the policy. So you use until they break, until they break down. So you use so you have to learn how to retrieve a file that’s like something you have to master. So like, literally, like, you know, a file would be used on 2025 different patients. Okay. So what I’m saying.

Are we talking hand file or rotary? Both. Uh huh.

Okay. And so the one I’m going to share, like I gave you some background so you don’t judge me based on like I didn’t have good, like, you know, source of materials. Yeah. You know, and there was this case where literally there was, like, this beautiful lawyer, like seven. And I have to admit, this is the part I had done wrong, is that I was too confident that I can do it, you know, and like and now, like, I believe that there’s no heroic dentistry. Shima Know your boundaries. So like, sort of when it says seven, think twice. And then I started like sort of doing it. And as soon as I entered, like, the file Rotary 25 did the hand filing, 25 it broke down and it broke down past, you know, past.

The apex.

Past the apex. And then like, literally it was as if like, you know, have taken like, cold shower. It’s like I was sweating. I was it was a nightmare. But I referred the patient and I took care of the cost and everything, like, you know, and I explained to the patient, to an endodontist. Yeah, but the patient literally didn’t go to the dentist because she didn’t care. And she was like, Can you please instead remove my tooth and give me money? So she ended up actually taking money.


It was sad, but like, you know, I begged her to go to an endodontist and she was like, No, I don’t have the time. I don’t have like, you know, I’m like, this and that. It’s just one tooth. I don’t care about it. Just I didn’t even want the root canal at the first place. Just take it out. And if you give me some money, I’m happy. And that’s how it was solved. But I think like.

So the mistake you’re saying the mistake was overconfidence, as in you pushed it too hard or something?

Yeah, exactly. I knew that I don’t have good equipment. Yeah. And I knew that, like, seven is going to be challenging. This patient cannot open her mouth, like, fully. So why would you do it? I was too confident.

I get it. I get it.

Anymore. Well, I have good luck, you know. I have regretted, like, you know, sort of giving patients treatment that they don’t own the problem. I think that’s one of the most thing that is helping me now because I worked in deprived areas, specifically working for NHS. I think I am I am one of the only confident dentists in the practice I’m working today that can actually look at the patient and says like, you know, I’m not going to do it because sort of like, you know, I have a feeling like this and that indirectly, you know what I mean? So like if a patient is coming to me and has got five root canal treatments and eight fillings to do, and they come to me and they demand that root canal treatment to be done right there, right then. And like they sort of have the attitude of like, it’s my problem, I have to guarantee it. Or they want to put me in that awkward situation that I tell them what they want to hear. I don’t give it to them.

It’s very true. It’s very true. You know, the problem is there’s we’re here to help. Yeah, absolutely. And you’re right that that boundary does get broken sometimes and people treat it like a clutch of a car or something. Exactly. You know.

There’s a lot here, and I’m glad, like, I’ve done enough mistakes by over promising people or like even simply promising anything in dentistry. Maybe like the patient manager can promise. I can’t. Like, I know I can’t. I don’t think like many dentists can. But even like them, I’ve worked with them. They always like go according to statistics. And that’s why I love, you know, working with them. Realistic.

What do you reckon about the future? Like if if I could wave a magic wand and give you I don’t know if I could be your some, some some billionaire said, I really trust you. I really believe in you. What would be your dream outcome? Like what would you like to do? Would you like to specialise? Would you like to be a businesswoman? Like which one? What would you like to end up being? You know, look, I left. I left dentistry. I know you’re not going to do that with the struggles you the struggles you went through. I don’t think you’re going to do that. But. But there’s so many different directions you could go.

Then I would work on kids, like literally like not in dentistry. Kids like I would work on like, the potential kids can have. Like if someone like me as a kid, if somebody like, like people around me didn’t know Payman If somebody who knew would have given me some direction, some direction or would have been like way ahead of my life, I had potential. I, I was simply like I was in problems. I had to that potential had to go for problems a lot. Like, I feel like as much as like I would say I would like to like, you know, charities, this and that. But I feel like if we sort of support those with potentials, they actually can help those like, you know what I mean? Like, I’m investing in investments and those investments can actually like have a more impact than like, you know, going and trying to cover like a charity. So yes, you can really help a charity or you can train two teachers to go teach in the charity, two different charities, and you cover like more number of people. So my ultimate dream is like to be able to sort of encourage science simply because it’s the free free thing which is available and be available.

And it’s a funny thing because if you want maximum impact. The best thing is for you not to be involved with any of that stuff. Go make loads of money and pay pay pay loads of other people to do it. But but, but, you know, I’m. I’m talking passion. Yeah. Like, okay, you’re saying if someone had helped you, then it could be. It could be that you become a teacher in dentistry. Right. And just teaching a young dentist gives you you know, I’ve heard that story many times, right? People say, I didn’t get it when I was a student. But you can in dentistry, where do you think you’re going to go in dentistry specifically?

Well, I do love perio simply because my dad had it and I had to witness him struggling with it. And I love perio and I love being a teacher. In fact, I love because my parents were teachers and I always had that soft spot, like for, you know, teaching. And I think I have like, you know, that gift of being able to word things like, you know, a little bit like a story. Yeah. After my parents. But yeah, I think that would be a good area like in general you know area to talk about like perio and teaching. But if I had like a position, let’s say that magical magic wand. Yeah, a magic wand, I think I would have sort of made dentists to be like less competitive, you know, and more forgiving, more like sort of kind, you know, because as a person who has come from two different countries, like being in two different countries, people are more open in India and Iran to help each other here is like everybody wants to like, you know, sort of like lock their knowledge and hide every bit of their knowledge. That’s why I felt it’s a bit I’m.

Surprised you say that. Although although listen listen to this yet that let me give you an example. I remember I mean, I left Iran when I was six here, but I remember my mom’s car broke down or something and 40 people came and helped like one guy, you know, he took petrol out of another car with a thing and whatever it was. And then and then over here, your car breaks and no one helps. Yeah, but then. But then. Yeah, yeah, but the reason is over here you’ve got like you push a button on your phone, you know, you’ve got the AA and that’s, that’s how it works because that’s how it works. There isn’t that community spirit thing that you’re alluding to. Yeah, but I mean, but by the same token, I’m sure like if you end up in hospital, yeah. In India or Iran, you need your family to look after you. Yeah. Yeah. Because they haven’t got the manpower to look. So you could say, oh it’s the families are better there or so but, but it’s not the it’s you know culturally things come around because of these different things and, and and you know, the question of dentistry is actually much more people much more willing to help than than you might imagine. Yeah but but you’re right as well. I’m not saying you’re wrong. Yeah you’re right as well in that people do get very competitive. We see it all the time.

Yeah. So I think I need some more time here to, like, you know, make that call.

Over here, You know, people. People don’t say what they mean as much as back home. Yeah, and that’s a weird thing. You have to get used to that. Yeah.

I think so. I think, like, you know, it’s a bit difficult. Like, I think etiquette is sort of like, you know, to the point that it covers how people really, like, feel or look.

Remember this, Remember this. Here you are. If you think back to India. Yeah, you’re in your second year of dental school. Yeah. When you where you didn’t know people, you didn’t know the system. That’s where you are right now in the UK. Yeah, you’re right. It’s tough. It’s tough because you’ve moved so many times, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Hate like to make like, you know, these statements that, like, I like, you know, and everybody does, but like, you know, sort of wanted to say this at the beginning, but I forgot I wanted to talk about this. Like, you know, probably this like, you know, voice of mine is going to be available in a few years time. I’m going to just listen to it and laugh and probably like, be like, What the hell? Like sort of like, you know, thought about making such a confident statement about life changes and big change. And I’m sure like, you know, that sort of I’m not going to be where I am mentally and like, you know, sort of like, you know, life wise, few even weeks down the line.

Of course. Of course. So where do you think you’re going to be next? So you think you told me you’re thinking of moving to London.

Is that simply because it feels like home to me a little bit? It’s more like Tehran, to be honest.

As a big city, you mean?

Yeah, I am used to crowds, crowded people. Funny when I go to underground. Yeah, but feel like I’m in Tehran, literally. Like, you know, that’s people everywhere. Exactly. That’s craziness. That chaotic life. Like I am a city girl. At the end of the day, I can’t. I’m not used to like leafy green suburbs. I can’t.

Yeah, I get it. I get it. Well, it’s been a massive pleasure. You’re a massive inspiration. You really are.

Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for having me. I’m going to look forward to to see exactly where you go and what you do next. And and that determination of yours will get you through 100%. Thanks so much. Listen, without with our usual questions, okay. Fantasy dinner party.

Okay. It’s going to be three guests. Gianluigi Buffon.

Who? Oh, the Who’s Gianluigi?

Buffon. He was the. He’s the former goalkeeper before. Yeah, I loved him. He was my first crush in life. And I loved him so much. I named my hamster after him. And for a long time, my name on Facebook was cIma, Buffon. And like, everybody knew me as cIma.

Buffon, the Italian. The Italian one, right? Oh, my.

Gosh. Yeah, I loved him. Yeah, he’s Italian.

But did you were you were you a football fan or was it just his face?

I am a massive football fan.

Are you. Are you. Are you? Yeah.

Yeah, I love football, but yeah. So it’s going to be Here.

Is the last person I would have imagined. You’re going to say no.

Buffon Like this guy love to spend a dinner.

He is cool, gone.

And then next is going to be my grandfather who is not in this world anymore. And I couldn’t say goodbye to him because I was here and I couldn’t go back. And so him. And it’s going to be. Can I take two more? Sure. One. Sure. Okay. So it’s going to be my mom and it’s going to be my husband. They have to be there.

This is much of a fantasy man. But I get it. I get it. It is a it is a fantasy time.

With Buffon and my grandfather. It was impossible for them to see those two people again.

That’s nice, man. That’s nice. Okay. Let me let’s go to the final, final question. You’re on your death bed. You’ve got your friends, family, children, closest, dearest, nearest, the six aunties all around you. Give three pieces of advice that you would give to the world to give to them. To the world.

You know what Payman like. To be honest, I don’t think I would give any piece of advice to them. Is that an option?

Not really.

Because you know why? Because we all live different lives and like, you know, like, I probably would make a joke. I don’t want them to be upset after I’m dead, you know? So it’s like, you know, I would make the silliest joke that they always laugh. Like, you know, whenever they remember me. Like.

You’ve got to give three pieces of advice. You gave loads of advice in this podcast already know if.

If I’m dying and it’s like, this is a scene of a movie. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I would say be kind. Like that’s the most important thing. Just be kind. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. And you know, this too shall pass. This trip thing has taken me like, you know, that has made me put on because life is not always, you know, happy hours. It’s like down parts and like, I think life is more about making it through those down parts, the celebrations, you know? So I think those would be the things that I would tell them.



Thank you. I really look forward to seeing you on the lecture circuit. Bcd, Mini Smile Makeover, all of those things. So I really look forward to seeing you. Like, you know, I just get the feeling that, you know, someone like you is going to be like going out there getting better and better and better and better. And I’m sure having talked to you now, I’m sure you’re brilliant with patience as well. Thank you.

So much. Thank you.

You know, I’m very, very, very proud of what you’ve done. Amazing. Thank you so much for doing so much.

Take care, Payman. Thank you. Bye.

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. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

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