Join us for part three of our Leading Ladies series, looking back at highlights from conversations with female dental leaders.

Among others, we hear from Olympic dentist Jenny Kabir, orthodontic and microbiome geeks Ariane and Victoria Simpson, and Harley Street high-flyer Sandra Garcia Martin.



In This Episode

00.39 – Jenny Kabir

08.03 – Ariane and Victoria Sampson

17.09 – Raabiha Maan

26.52 – Nicola Gore

36.09 – Alexandra Luzinschi

47.05 – Hannah Burrow

50.57 – Martina Hodgson

57.40 – Katie Blake

01.07.11 – Sandra Garcia Martin

[00:00:05] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi, and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:22] We’ve had some brilliant feedback from the Leading Lady series. This is the third part and some really brilliant nuggets. Highlights of the conversations with some of the top lady dentists in the country sharing their thoughts. Enjoy. Jenny Kirby, what’s your advice for for a woman who wants to get into implant ology? I mean, tell me about it. When you say it’s male dominated. Is it is it that the sort of the back slapping, gung ho not admitting to your failures, male dominated? Is that what you mean by male? I know it’s more men than women, but. But but culturally, what does that mean culturally?

[00:01:04] I think along the lines of what you said, that’s the impression I think a lot of us females get. And I think the bottom line is that there are not many females in it. I think the cost entry points to a high, considering what females tend to have to juggle the family life and the work life balance is much harder to kind of get into that realm of work.

[00:01:26] Yeah, but but if there were loads of women in ontologies out there. Are we saying? What would be different? Would we? Are you really saying people would be discussing their failures more?

[00:01:37] I don’t know. I don’t know. I think it’s a human thing. Discussing one’s shortcomings, failures, issues, insecurities, whatever you want to call it. I think people tend to be quite guarded in whatever capacity. But I think we should change that. Open up.

[00:01:55] I mean, I can imagine the men will say, my implant drill is bigger than yours, sort of, you know. Men have a way of doing it, particularly surgeons. You know, surgeons in general. They’re that way inclined. What would you say to a woman who wants to get into an implant ology now? What should she do?

[00:02:16] I think you should find mentors that you’re very comfortable with, people that are going to kind of build your confidence, empower you, and kind of help you in your journey. I met a woman called Karen McDermott. She’s an unsung hero. She’s retired now. She was one of the first females in England doing dentistry. She’s on a par on good friends with Ashok Sethi and Sharma. So she’s of that generation and she mentored me. And she really the times when I had down days, you know, she’d rock up at the practice and be there just to kind of support me. She was brilliant, you know, And she’s not one that’s kind of in-your-face and showing off and exuberant. She’s just an unsung hero. So I think you need to come across the right kind of people that are going to be supportive of you.

[00:03:06] But okay, listen, I don’t know enough about it to explain it to me. When you say find a mentor, there’s a mentor. Someone who, out of the kindness of their heart, is helping you or is a mentor someone you pay to help you, or it’s going to be both.

[00:03:20] I never found any. I think well, I think there’s people that are generous with their knowledge to varying degrees, and whether it be a phone call or discussion or, you know, watching them. And then there are people you’ve got to pay as well, understandably so, because they’re taking a day out to come and assist you. And you pay fees to varying degrees. And that’s why the entry level costs are quite high to kind of understand the game and the skill. I used a variety of mentors and people early on in my journey because I think as opposed to using the same mentor all the time, you can learn different things, skill set. Everyone does it differently.

[00:04:00] So break it down for me. What do I do? I’m a 29 year old associate. I want to. I want to become an implant ologist. Find someone who’s very experienced and say, Can I watch? And then what? Do a course you do?

[00:04:16] I probably say, don’t do implants. I’d say, Yeah, because I think everyone’s jumped onto the implant bandwagon.

[00:04:25] It’s very everyone’s jumped on to align bleach bond Right. That’s what everyone’s jumped on to implant.

[00:04:31] There’s a greater volume of people that named AbbVie as compared to implants. I think I think this I think is great. I think to software is great. I think should I say, there’s lots of other modalities and I think implants. There’s a lot of people teaching it and they’re making money. It’s a business of teaching dental implants, so it’s in their interest to get more people doing it. But I think the risks are quite high. The learning curve is too steep for an associate. It’s difficult investment and getting your structure and set up with the nurses and the sepsis and everything, there’s a lot to it and a lot of stress. So you have to be passionate, you have to be determined and you have to be carefully considered and sure that that’s something you’re going to do. What I have heard is there’s a lot of people that dabble on training and implant dentistry and haven’t continued it forward. There’s many people who’ve done it, but not taking it any further, which is understandable as well.

[00:05:25] Yeah, well, I definitely wasn’t expecting you to hear you say that. I mean, one minute you’re saying male dominated. I’m saying, Well, woman wants to get involved, ask for your help. And you were saying you would say, don’t do it.

[00:05:38] Oh, sorry. I’m sorry. I thought you said What would you say to anyone wanting to do it? I didn’t realise.

[00:05:43] But it’s an interesting response here. You’re saying really don’t do it unless you’re very, very serious. Yeah. Yeah, that’s what you’re saying.

[00:05:50] I think you have to be. Consider it carefully. Understand? I think a lot of people are misconceived implants to be a big book, big money spinner. Let’s get into it because I’m going to make a ton of money. I think you have to understand that the learning curve is steep and it’s long.

[00:06:07] And now you kind of teach on some of these implant courses to yourself.

[00:06:12] Yeah, Not. Not massively. I think it’s me now where I’m at. Interestingly, in my I’ve done the growth, the learning, the journey, the business, the practice set up, the private practice. Female kids. I feel if if you’ve heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs, I really feel at a point in my life where I think I’ve got enough. I’m really content financially and I want to kind of give back and empower other people in whatever capacity I can. And when I was younger, money was important and it’s a natural tendency to want to show that money off, be it by a flash car, whether it’s because you enjoy driving it or whether you want to show it or designer clothes or whatever it might be adversely for me. Conversely, for me, it’s I’ve gone the opposite. I feel that I don’t really have a desire to kind of exhibit wealth. My needs have become a lot more modest. You know, I’m on a dieting program where I hardly anything now, so I can’t even spend it on fine food. So for me, the driver isn’t money in finances anymore, but more connecting with people, giving back, teaching, empowering, networking. And I really love people. I think I like understanding people and I feel that from a business point of view as well, I create synergistic partnerships, so I connect with people, try and identify their strengths and go into business along those lines. So if I tell you, you know, I’ve had a chicken and chip shop, I’ve had a car wash, a bed and breakfast holiday, less HMO student bills, property development, well, just very things. And it’s diversification. It makes life quite interesting.

[00:08:04] Arianne And Victoria Sampson.

[00:08:06] Because I wanted to do orthodontics, I had to do go through the motions of for the application, which the first part was to do a year of Max Fox, which I did at Northwick Park and the Northwest London hospitals. And that was actually the first time that I really veered off course in terms of my ambitions to be an orthodontist. That was one of the best years of my life. And the stress of it, the terrible hours, the on call, the gore, the emotions of that year of Max Fox. I loved every second of it, every second of it. And I very seriously thought to myself, I think I might not do orthodontics. I think I’ll do Max Fox. Wow. And after that year of Max Fox, I did two months more of Max Fox in Cambridge at Addenbrooke’s. Then I got a Pedes post at the Royal London. And Pedes posts were like, I think they still are. They’re like gold dust. They’re so hard to come by. So as soon as you hear about one, you have to go. So that’s why I left Addenbrooke’s only after two months. Started the post at the Royal London, and I still had Max Box in the back of my head. And so I applied for medicine while I was doing Pedes. And sometimes it takes just writing and sending off your application for you to really realise what it is that you want. And as soon as I put my application for medical school through the post, I was like, Actually, I don’t want to do it, but I needed to go through that motion to know that I’ll never regret the decision of not having tried for Max Box.

[00:09:47] I mean, the fact you enjoyed all the surgery house jobs is amazing to me. And I did an oral surgery house. I hated every second of it. I did not like it. So I guess you were all in that sort of in between. So do you now, do you now think if if life had turned that way, do you regret it to some extent, or are you fully happy that you never went that direction?

[00:10:11] I’m fairly happy. I never went in that direction. I think if I weren’t an orthodontist, but I was still in dentistry, then I would have done Max Box. But I really feel like an orthodontist, so I’m happy with it.

[00:10:25] What about you, Victoria? What was your first move out of dental school? What was the first thing the.

[00:10:31] So I did my bit and in London. So I stuck around and then I wasn’t sure if I wanted to specialise or not. A lot of people told me I should follow my sister’s footsteps and specialise and I was very interested in ended on techs and I just loved a good root canal. So that was actually where I was going to go down. And then when I finished I was finishing up my year and I started to shadow other dentists because I wanted to see what other types of dentistry were like and what I wanted to do. So I was shadowing. I was taking a day off of work to go and shadow other dentists, private NHS specialist, general dentists, everything. And I kept on shadowing them and realised that actually I love general dentistry and I love the fact that you can walk in and you can see anyone and you can be treating a six year old child and then treat an 85 year old for a root canal straight after. And I found it very exciting and just it kept me on my toes and I was meeting all of these amazing people. Like, I mean, obviously Arianne Straub is amazing, but for me I wouldn’t be able to just see a certain age group or do a certain treatment. I like the fact that I can do so many different things. So I decided that I would become a general dentist, but I would kind of explore everything. And I’m one of those people who likes to kind of learn everything and then and then decide what I want to do afterwards. So I was doing a ton of courses and I went into general dentistry. I started working part private half the week and then part NHS. And then about a year ago I made the shift to fully private and now I still do general dentistry, but I have a few things that I kind of don’t want to say specialise in, but things that I focus on and that I really like doing.

[00:12:21] Well, I know you’ve got this real research interest in the oral microbiome, but is that that’s not what you’re referring to, you’re referring to as dentists. What kind of things do you like doing?

[00:12:32] Well, actually, I do do a lot of work on the oral microbiome, but on my patients. So you do? Yeah. So I’ve started to when I was doing my research, I was realising that it’s not necessarily the quantity of plaque that’s the issue in terms of gum disease or decay, but it’s actually the quality and what bacteria you have in your mouth. I’m sure we’ve all had patients who have what seems like a very clean mouth and the patient’s got excellent oral hygiene, but somehow they’ve just got raging gum disease and you kind of blame it on like their immune system. You’re like, Oh yeah, it’s probably, you know, your body’s not reacting very well or something like that. But what I was finding was I was starting to do microbiome tests on these patients and I would just screen their mouths for the top 20 kind of pathogenic bacteria. And I was finding that a lot of these patients would have residual bacteria in their mouths from maybe bad habits ten years ago. And if we were able to modulate that bacteria and basically kick out those bad bacteria with specific antiseptics, antibiotics, like everything. So we do a lot of different things and then monitor them. We can then afterwards re redo the microbiome test and see that we’ve actually kicked out that bacteria. And the patient often actually not often always stabilises and their gum disease leaves and they, you know, it’s amazing. So that’s something that I it’s kind of my niche at the moment.

[00:13:54] Is that is it did it start with your interest in this stuff with Perio?

[00:13:58] Yeah. So what I started with, so Arianne and I rewrote a paper on the link between oral hygiene and COVID 19 severity about like I think a year and a half ago now. And it got me understanding more about the oral microbiome and kind of the invisible inside the mouth. And as you go through dental school, you’re taught a lot about how to treat dental disease, but not necessarily how to diagnose or how to monitor treatments. And so I kind of think of the mouth now and the saliva as the as blood. So you go to your doctor and you get a blood test. Why can’t you go to your dentist and get a saliva test and look at different inflammatory markers and bacteria and enzymes and etc.? And that’s where it all started for me. And I started working with the microbiome company straight after we published that paper and help them basically create a microbiome test, which I now use on my patients.

[00:14:55] Oh, wow. So, so let’s get let’s get into it then. What can we what can you learn from someone’s saliva? I mean, we understand there’s a link between gum disease and heart disease. There’s a link between gum disease and diabetes. Right. But is there more than that? Is there a whole lot of other stuff that outside of the mouth that you can tell by saliva?

[00:15:23] Yeah. So a lot of the kind of systemic like the chronic inflammatory diseases. So rheumatoid arthritis, osteo. Writers, those types of things. We’re seeing amazing results with our patients. So I’ve been working a lot with a couple of functional doctors near my practice and they refer their patients who they’re treating for rheumatoid arthritis. And these patients are, you know, drugged up on steroids. They can hardly walk. The disease can be very debilitating. And often because it’s to do with inflammation, with collagen degradation, which is very similar to gum disease in the mouth. These patients with rheumatoid arthritis often also have gum disease, and it’s not their number one priority, as unfortunately most people, their oral hygiene is not the first thing they think of when they have other ailments. And so these patients were being referred to me and these doctors are just like, Oh, can you just stabilise the gum disease and just make sure everything’s okay? And so we started to do that again, modulating their microbiome, checking their inflammatory markers. And what we were finding was that their rheumatoid arthritis was improving when their gum disease had been settled and there was a direct correlation between the two of them. So there’s a lot more systemic diseases where we can see that there’s a huge connection with the mouth. I mean, Alzheimer’s is the kind of the hottest one at the moment. There is a lot of the gastro kind of diseases, Crohn’s, all sorts of colitis, even deficiencies. So there’s so many. And I think that because of COVID and the fact that people are more understanding of their systemic health and they want to be the best kind of person they can be in as healthy as possible, it’s a great time for dentists to also show patients that there’s a strong connection with oral health.

[00:17:10] Rob Young man, tell me about motherhood. I mean, we discussed it at the beginning, the juggling. I mean, you’re are you still as sort of into teeth as you were before being a mother?

[00:17:24] Yes, surprisingly. But I find it harder to be so because before I had a I would just be like message somebody on Instagram, but like, Oh, hey, Ahmed Tydfil, you do great composites. You teach really well. Can I just come to you? Is like, Yeah, I’m in Pimlico. If I jump on a train one hour, go there, film with him, come back now. It’s like, I want to film with somebody. But I have Alana and my husband needs to go to work. Don’t want to put her nursery, so I can’t really ask to be a day where I can be like, Do you mind taking the day off? Can you watch it? And I can go film like even now today to do podcast review so that she’s not crawling around and screaming and jumping on me. I come to my mum’s house and said, Can you watch her for a bit while I’m on podcast? So it’s it’s a lot harder to work around. It’s not as flexible when you have a baby in terms of my free time is no longer my free time, but in terms of loving dentistry, the two days I go back to work now, I do love it. I actually love it.

[00:18:16] Love it even more, right?

[00:18:17] Because yeah, me time.

[00:18:19] My wife, my wife used say to me time and I can understand it needs time. Someone else. It’s not work.

[00:18:26] Yeah, I know that they say that, right? You’ve got your work life, your family life, and then you’ve got your metre. My me time. Work time is the same because I don’t really have any time. So I get to go to work, talk to my staff, I get to chat to my patients, have a laugh, do some dentistry, and then come home to my baby and just love and miss her even more.

[00:18:44] I mean, a bit of advice, you know, there’s no right or wrong in all of this year. But Nanny. Now, Honestly, honestly, you’re busy. And your mom, I don’t know where she lives and how far away she is and all that. All of that.

[00:18:58] Luckily, not too far, but.

[00:19:00] But, you know, busy people. And you should consider nannies. And we had a nanny. She stayed with us for 12 years now. Okay. It’s not always going to be like that. You might struggle. You can’t trust people. There was a time where every time my kid used to say something amazing, I was like, What? How did you learn that? And then she’d say, Oh, the nanny taught me that. And I would sort of feel like, Wait a minute, this is cool. Know you’re getting something other than flexibility out of out of the out of your nanny.

[00:19:30] My mom is like my current nanny at the moment. So she’s.

[00:19:33] Really.

[00:19:34] She’s the one who teaches a lot of everything.

[00:19:36] I mean, maybe I’m saying both sets of grandparents of my parents and my parents were both abroad, so we had to have someone to help us out or whatever. But it’s a bit like your first employee, you know, you need someone to push you into hiring sometimes, you know? Like that. Enlighten my partner, Sage. Whenever there’s a problem, he’s thinking, Who? Who can we bring in to take care of this problem? And for me, my natural position isn’t normally to think of hiring. You know, I like I say, No, I got it. Are you going to have more?

[00:20:10] I would like to. I would like to, but I kind of want to because I found out when we signed the papers for the practice in April and then we had to close the doors the next day, I was really sick. I thought it was just tired and stressed and I thought, Oh, we close the practice, know I can’t furlough the staff, can’t get a business grant because technically we counted as a new business because we were after March, anybody before March got all the grants. So we didn’t I thought this must be the stress, that this is why I’m feeling sick and tired and didn’t have.

[00:20:35] Enough cash like working capital to cover that all the staff’s wages for three months.

[00:20:40] So luckily, because the money was still coming in.

[00:20:42] Of course. Of course, of course. Cause.

[00:20:44] Cause we were able to not furlough them, but we just told them, Look, stay home. We’re going to pay you. We’re going to fix hours 96. We just paid all the staff. You’re going to get a fixed wage. If you want to come in a couple hours a day, you can do. And we had our receptionist calling all the people over 60 checking that they could get their food and shopping done and stuff like that, you know, And sometimes the nurse would come in and just reorganise the shelves and the cupboards and just a couple of hours just to keep them and they enjoyed it. So all that I would get at the house because they’re trapped at home. So they kind of enjoyed coming to the practice and they were like, Look, there’s no fixed hours, nothing. You’re paid 9 to 6, but if you want to come in, you can. And then we just started redecorating because we were inside the practice. Let’s just paint the surgery, let’s do a few things. So when I was painting, I was like, Oh man, I’m getting old. And then I took a pregnancy test. I was like, Oh, okay. So I got the practice. I got the baby exactly the same time. So yeah, that was a big, big surprise.

[00:21:37] And how about this book now? I mean, it’s not like you weren’t busy enough.

[00:21:41] We started the book before the practice and before, but really? Yeah. So when I started social media, actually about a year after, Nicola had been following me for a while. Doctor Go, I think you said you just interviewed her recently. Yeah. Lovely. And she similar to the media company just message and said, I really like the way you talk on your stories. I like you and you know, you seem young and full of energy. I have a project for you. Come meet me at my practice. And then I told my husband I was like this random lady, random Iranian lady. She looks quite sweet on her stories. She wants to meet me for a project. He’s like, What project? That’s like. She hasn’t said. She uses a secret project. He goes, Why are you going to go meet this random Iranian dentist lady? You don’t know to do a secret project you don’t know about? He looks like she could be weird. I was like, No, I can see her videos. She’s not weird. She’s just. He’s not. Why you? I said, I don’t know. She said she thinks I’m nice. She’s been following me. He’s like, okay. Then I went to her practice in a will. So she has she has two. And I went there and she goes, I want to write a book. And she’s like, people my age, they just they just don’t they’re not interested anymore. They want to retire. They don’t have the zest to this. And she’s like young people. They don’t have the knowledge, but she’s like, You’re in the middle. You seem to have the time, the knowledge, the zest for dentistry. Want to work on this project with me? And I said, Sure.

[00:22:52] I said, If we’re 50, 50 partners, I’ll put in as much energy as you want me to. But I said, I want my money, that I come from this to go to charity because I’ve been looking for a project to do for charity. So do you mind if I do something like that? She’s like, I have no problem. I said, Okay, let’s work on it. So we just started working. She had some ideas already. She’s like, I want it to be like a flow chart book. And I said, Whatever, you know, I’m busy and brown. So we talked like, if I was older than you, you just kind of say, I’ll say, Yeah, whatever you want. Nicola We’ll do it this way. She’s like, Can you come to our practice? Yes, we’ll do it. Yes, boss. Like everything. And so she loved it. This partnership worked. I had so much respect for her because she had so much knowledge and so much time and energy to share with me. And I just had the time at the time to sit there writing up stuff, looking at evidences, looking at papers. And when I started doing the project was quite exciting because I was like, Oh wow, there’s ten different ways you can do this. There’s 20 different ways you can do this, and you know, all the evidence is behind things. And we just started working on the book and yeah, it just went from there and just kind of spiralled and just got bigger. And we started making more chapters and adding more things. And it just. Came this dentistry in a nutshell, an exciting project for the two of them.

[00:23:53] Really is really interesting. So fully for charity, it was just your bit for charity and.

[00:24:02] I think Nicola’s doing a few things. Charity issue she was mentioning. There’s a few things she wants to do. I have a question. I said, Whatever you do with your you’re I always mentioned, I always say my promise 100% go there. But there is a few things she’s doing for charity as well. But I had a few places that I wanted to help. But I want is I don’t know if you know who I am. And he just Wells and Wills. Yeah. So just donated there for a village there, which was quite nice. And there’s a few schools in Pakistan and there’s a homeless shelter here in the UK hand on heart. I like what they do for their charities, so I just kind of wanted to find a way to make a difference because I feel like my time isn’t my time now. So if I call it donate, my time for charity is like a donation of wealth. So something.

[00:24:41] Rabia Why are you that person who wants to do something for charity and what believes in the NHS for what it is? And you know what? Why aren’t you the other type of, you know, like make as much money as I can and.

[00:24:55] Maybe religiously and from things that happened in my life, You know, when I got married to Carlile, two weeks, three weeks after his mum passed away from cancer, she was diagnosed four months before the wedding with melanoma and she passed away two weeks after the wedding. She was in Australia. It was really stressful time and she was flying back and forward and we got married early before the wedding date so I could fly with him, you know, practice my parents in Pakistani. They’re not gonna let you fly with, with my fiance to Australia. You get married in the mosque, go, off you go, and then you fly to Australia. And then we saw her in the hospital and she was like, No, you guys go back for your wedding. I want to see your wedding pictures. I can’t be there at the wedding, but I want my son to have his wedding. So we flew back and then three days flew back into Australia and then she was in palliative care for two weeks and then she passed away. And when my father was putting her stuff away, you know, her PhD is that Look, what do I do with her PhD, what I do with her gold, what I do with jewellery. Look, I walk in closet with all these clothes. What do we do if she’s not taking anything with her? And it’s true, we didn’t.

[00:25:54] We don’t take anything with us, you know, We only thing you really can leave behind is people who might say something nice about you. And I remember the funeral when everybody met me. We didn’t have a reception to laughter, and they were like, Oh, that girl in the black, She must be Khalil’s new wife. That’s that’s her daughter, Louis, Janet’s daughter in law. And I can hear people whispering. Then they’ll come up to me like, Oh, you know, sorry about your mother in law. She was amazing. Everyone had these wonderful things to say about her. She’s so helpful. She helped us with this and she helped me do this. And she was so kind. And it just it was amazing to hear about her because I didn’t know her for very long. And I thought, you know, when I die, what would people say about me? Have I helped anyone? Have I touched anybody in a special way, in A to to make them feel that they would want to come to my funeral and say something. And, you know, so I just felt like maybe I hadn’t made enough of an impact in somebody else’s life other than mine or my families. So I thought, how can I help somebody else? You know, how can I leave something behind?

[00:26:53] Nicola Gaul Tell me about the book Density in a nutshell. How did it come about? And Dr. Rabie, a man who we’re having on this show soon as well, your co co-host, how did you meet her and how did this all happen?

[00:27:06] So it all boils back down to me being a trainer. When I was a trainer, I was every year teaching this. So I’ve been a trainer since 2003. Now, up till now, never had a gap in between, thank God. And hopefully I won’t. I want to carry on being a trainer till I can. So I was teaching everything with tips and every time I went on a course the tips would be adding up and everything I teach them is like a cocktail of everything I’ve learned throughout my career from oral surgery, cosmetic, my M.S., my, my experience in dentistry. So when it got to one of my trainees called Kavita, I said to Kavita, Look, Kavita, this is like going back to 2019. I said, I think it’s better if I write things down and make it into flowcharts. It’s easier to learn. And she goes, Sure, how would you like me to do that? I said, So let’s start with bridge prep. Can you put that into a flowchart and write it down? Like from from the moment that we’ve treatment plans to put into study models, topical ELA, consent forms, you know everything, Let’s do it in a flowchart. She goes, okay, I’ll try. So she did it on word and she showed it to me and I said, Brilliant, Let’s do the next one on Crown.

[00:28:23] Let’s do the next one on, I don’t know, immediate dentine ceiling. So we started doing flowcharts and I got a pool of paperwork together. Then I was looking at it one day I said, Oh my God, I should make it into a logbook. So for my next trainee, it’s easier to teach. So I started putting it into a logbook. And then and then I looked at it. I thought this would make a good book. And then I looked on. I was like, looking and searching like, what else to write. So I said, okay, we’re going to have different chapters, restorative, this, that and the workload was getting too much. I thought, You know what? Let me let me find someone who’s so passionate about dentistry like I am. Then I started thinking of all my trainees. I know everybody was busy and generally busy with Smile Academy. Kavita was helping me anyway with this stuff. The other trainees that were doing, they had implants or so most of my trainees have done a master’s degrees now and they’re very busy in their own practices. So I looked on Instagram, I came across Rabiya, which I was following at the time, and she was like talking all about her cases in surgery, similar to what I was doing. I thought, She’s really a mini me.

[00:29:33] I really like her. So I messaged her on Instagram. I said, Rabiya, I have a small project I’m working on. I really want your help. And she goes, Well, what is it you want me to do? I said, Just come over because I don’t even know what I want you to do. Just come over. So she she said, Where are you guys at Harrow. She goes, Oh, I live in Harrow. I’ll come. So she came to her will. She had a look at this. She goes, Oh my God, yeah, let’s do it. So fun. You know, whatever. I said, I don’t know if it’s going to be a book or what is a project. Let’s just work on it. So we started working on it together and eventually it hit. Eventually she fell pregnant. She was very sick. She couldn’t do any more work. And then she then turned around. She bought a dental practice, then it became COVID and then everything just fell apart. So we wrote some of it, some chapters randomised, we made it into chapters, but it wasn’t nothing major. Then during COVID, we did a bit more together, which we had time, we organised all the chapters and stuff and then it hit Christmas time, Christmas time. By then Pooja, my current trainee, had started to work with me.

[00:30:39] I said to Puja, You’re so good at tech stuff, which I’m so bad at. Can you help me like tie these flowcharts up and put photos for stuff? And it goes, Yeah, of course, tell me what to do. So he started helping me and then by then I had also established the British Iranian Dental Association and I had a committee, one of the people on my committee who was my secretary, the Beatles secretary. His name is Millard Miller, and he is a fifth year dental graduate from Glasgow. You met him in BCD? Yeah. And he’s you did meet him. And he I said to him that, you know, he said, I can help you as well on this. It’s such a good project because I wanted him to proofread it because he’s in dental school and I thought it’s going to help because he’s quite up to date. So I said, Can you help proofreading it? So it started proofreading it and he goes, The doctor goes, There’s lots more we can add to the book. I’m happy to help you. So then I said, Okay, why not? Then again, it hit COVID time with lockdown. And in my family, everyone got COVID last Christmas really badly, especially Mahmood. Poor thing. His oxygen levels dropped to 78. He was awful.

[00:31:50] I mean, we didn’t take him to hospital. I nursed him myself to recovery with oxygen and everything else. And anyway, so we were on Zoom day in, day out, day in, day out, over Christmas, over January. And we metered it up a lot, worked on it. Pujan mILLAR were really, really good at helping me, organising it, giving it a bit more oomph. And Pooja was amazing at finding publishers and editing and publishing the book. And both boys helped me with, with help us with the marketing side and Instagram videos and putting the stuff together and like we had plans of how we’re going to move this forward and eventually release it. So really this book is a product of teamwork, is a product of unity, is a product of trust. It’s not just it was my project for for, I would say six months. I shared it with Rabia. Rabia helped me a lot on it. And then eventually we brought Pujan Mila Din, who actually finished it and helped us finish it and get it to where where it is now. So I would never say it’s just my book. This is our book. It’s a team team effort, and we had a group of specialists who actually peer reviewed it as well and everyone’s been acknowledged. So again, another black book.

[00:33:13] Another black. I love you. Your your stories tend to always go round. You inspired someone to do something. It’s a beautiful thing.

[00:33:21] Yeah, it’s a beautiful dude. Thank you, Payman. Thank you.

[00:33:24] We’re going to end it. We end it in the in the same way every time. And it’s weird because we’ve spoken for over an hour and a half and we still haven’t even talked about your current practice. But you told me everything you needed to tell me that the nurse is looking forward to coming to work, and that’s. That’s the best sign you could ever have.

[00:33:44] Exactly.

[00:33:45] So we’ve got two final questions, perhaps final question and my first or perhaps final question. You’re on your deathbed. You’ve got your nearest and dearest all around you. One of three bits of advice, you’d leave them.

[00:34:01] Oh, Prav, what a difficult question. Number one, always have time for people, especially people you care for. Not family first. Family always first, parents first, siblings first, then your nearest and dearest friends. But then sometimes nearest and dearest friends become family, don’t they? Payman? They become like family. So always have time, always have empathy. Try and be. If I was on deathbed with my children, whether I’d say, be organised, be organised, I want to leave that legacy behind because organisation is what helped me, you know, being organised. I have books, I have diaries, I have, you know, if I show you, I have every year I have a book. Yeah. And I write everything in here for my trips. I plan ahead, you know, and I’ve learned this. It’s not I haven’t been born with it. I’ve watched people who do it and it’s helped me. The other thing is always the people who help you. Give them the credit for it. Don’t take the pie and eat it yourself because Payman Langroudi didn’t become Payman Langroudi on his own. Nikola God didn’t become Nikola, Igor on her own. You know, we all have a story. We all have a journey. And when you actually say that, that you appreciate and you give credit to people who help you, you actually get respected more and you get to higher places and you will achieve your dreams. Why? Because people then want to come and help you because they know. Nikola go Payman Langroudi will credit them for their hard work, not going to chew them and throw them away. And I think and I hope that people who have been in my life, they feel that I am like that and I don’t, you know, use them or abuse them and I am giving them credit for the hard work they do for me. And I appreciate it.

[00:36:08] That’s lovely.

[00:36:10] Alexandra Jasinski I mean, I really hope whoever is listening this podcast and dealt with some complaints, I would really like them to send me a message to tell me if they 100% got over it.

[00:36:26] Yeah, I hear you.

[00:36:26] I hear you because I didn’t and I don’t think I will ever do. Listen, I feel like.

[00:36:32] Alex, that’s ridiculous. That’s ridiculous. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to say it’s ridiculous because it’s.

[00:36:37] Like.

[00:36:37] It’s all right. It’s still reality. It’s your reality are the other means. The word was wrong. Ridiculous is the wrong way.

[00:36:43] That’s okay.

[00:36:44] But you will get over this. Yeah. I mean, you know, I know people in much worse situations and gotten over it. Yeah. And, you know, I don’t know you. I don’t know exactly whether you you were. But my point is, you know, it’s like, it’s like, I don’t know, like. Like a like a death. Yeah, you’ll never forget it. But in the end, you know, you move on from it. Yes. You know. Well, if, God forbid, someone close to you passes away, I’m not going to say you’re ever going to get over that, because, you know, that’s that’s a that’s a thing that, you know, you’re never going to get over, but you can get back to the person you were. I wouldn’t write yourself off that quickly. You know what I mean? Very young to do that, I think.

[00:37:34] But look at you. You’re very wise, right? I probably you lived like four times more than I lived so far.

[00:37:41] So that was my job to tell you these things then.

[00:37:44] So it’s it’s it’s amazing that you tell me this. And I think you’re absolutely 100% right. But it’s like being scared of heights. You know, you can’t really control it. And, you know, when we will go to, like, my transition and stuff, and when I took some space out of it, I started to miss it. And I understood going back in the clinic.

[00:38:09] To.

[00:38:09] Value it. I’m actually doing a brilliant job. Of course, I’m not, you know, like maybe a good cosmetic surgeon kind of dentist that does impeccable bonding techniques and stuff. But the way I treat a patient is always fair and it’s with gentleness. And I think fair is the most important word here. Yes. And I do what’s right for them. And I understand that. And I feel it every single time I’m in the clinic. But somewhere, you know, deep inside, it’s always that very bad memory. It’s not just what happened, but how long it took to clear out. And it’s a relieving every time you get to go through this process, you understand that it’s an ongoing feeling that you’re experimenting. Basically, you’re you’re feeling basically and maybe it’s something you know, maybe I need to educate myself. I need to do.

[00:39:05] To in this country, we’re going through a nightmare legal situation as dentists. Yeah, in that yeah, more dentists are getting more complaints and being sued by more patients than than in every other country apart from New Zealand. Apparently so. More than America, which is, you know, we were always used to look at American dentists and laugh about how they’re getting sued all the time. But it’s happening more here. And I know this isn’t helping you at all.

[00:39:32] So that’s very encouraging.

[00:39:36] But but the thing is, talking to you, I can see you’re one of those dentists. We need more dentists like you. You know, more people who are doing it for the patient fair. You know, you’re obviously you’re an enthusiastic person. The profession needs more people like you. And it’s a damn shame if people like you who someone who’s gentle and responsive. You know, the problem is someone who’s gentle yourself. I’m not talking about with your hands, but a gentle person gets hurt more by this sort of thing than someone who’s hard and just shrugs it off. But, you know, I know dentists just just to help you out. I know dentists have been sued every year for the last four years. And the more it happens, the less they worry about it. Because they figure out they figure out the system of what is what is a real complaint.

[00:40:23] Brokers.

[00:40:24] And and so forth. And, you know, complaints. They shouldn’t happen. But but you should think of them as part of the job. Now in UK dentistry, it’s easy for me to say I’m not practising anymore.

[00:40:38] And it’s not even fair. Yeah.

[00:40:41] When I was practising, when I was, I stopped practising ten years ago, but when I was practising it, this thing just wasn’t a big issue, you know, It wasn’t as big an issue as it is right now. And I know a lot of the younger dentists are stressing a lot and we’re about to do a whole mental health month and talk to people about I know the number one cause of mental health problems in dentistry is patient complaints. So you should join that that little. We’ll talk.

[00:41:07] About that.

[00:41:07] Absolutely So so okay. So you decided it damaged you you thought irreversibly and and you decided you were going to pull away from dentistry and look at other avenues. Yeah. Tell me about that story. So how did it, you know, the confidence it takes? You know, we’ve only ever done dentistry, right?

[00:41:27] So that’s the hard part of it because I ever I mean, anything I read and anything I learned was for dentistry, for teeth. And I have a very good friend of mine, a very good friend of mine. Her name is Alex and she she always says like, But you have transferable skills, you know, I mean, I hear this so many times, I’m a bit tired of it. And I she has a very good heart and she’s amazing and she’s very, very important to me. But it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t want your dentist. No, she’s not the dentist. She’s. She’s a, she’s, she’s practising. She, she worked for Facebook and now she’s on Amazon. Wow. She’s a very good she’s practising now to be a coach and to help you understand like not a coach, like all the coach, but like a really important one. She, she helps people like high level CEOs and stuff to.

[00:42:30] But do you believe that there aren’t some things about being authentically help you?

[00:42:35] Absolutely they are. But tell me, because I applied to many jobs, especially when COVID hit and stuff. Yeah, who cares about them and who takes two, 3 minutes to understand what my transferable skills are?

[00:42:52] You know, it’s a matter of marketing early. Yes. Yeah. You know, I could put someone in front of you or say stuff like, you know, as a dentist, I’ve had to learn complex things. Being under pressure.

[00:43:03] Enabled.

[00:43:03] Me to make people happy.

[00:43:05] Time management.

[00:43:06] Time. You can, you know, the what you.

[00:43:08] Talk about meant.

[00:43:09] Yeah. Although I can see you being the sort of very in the short time I’ve had with you, I can see you being this very sort of honest to honest person.

[00:43:18] Maybe that’s my problem. Yeah.

[00:43:20] Yeah. And, you know, marketing is about first lying to yourself and then telling other people that lie.

[00:43:30] Like, you mean, like, fake it until you make it kind of thing.

[00:43:34] But lying to yourself, you have to. You have to believe. And in this new thing that you’re saying. And so that takes a degree of confidence. And, you know, I mean, lying is the wrong word for it, but it’s this present presenting it, presenting it to yourself in in, in in a way that makes sense to you. And then you can you can sell it to other people. Yes. But, you know, again, in dental school, we weren’t taught marketing either.

[00:44:00] So go on. Losing art, no business skills, nothing. Just how to.

[00:44:05] Feel. What happened? What happened? Where did the flower thing come from? Had you done anything like that before? Or did you always.

[00:44:10] Want to something? So listen, I didn’t give up on dentistry very easily. I did. Well, first of all, with me, I didn’t give up.

[00:44:17] At all having given up yet.

[00:44:18] But no more than that. So I had another baby. I kept going. So I worked until I was pregnant. I went to work from London to Chichester and my eighth month of pregnancy every day for I love it, you know, I didn’t care. Yes. I didn’t want to leave my patients. I knew it was time for us to come back to London because things weren’t very good with my husband job. And we said, if we need opportunities, you need to be in London. So that was the reason. It was a good choice for us. But that meant for for until I got to my maternity leave, I had to travel. I think it was seven months, four days a week, sometimes five London to Chichester, back and forth. But I loved it. It was home for me, you know, I really like that clinic. The staff was fantastic. The people at the CEO and stuff. Amazing. I liked it. It worked for me. I had some some freedom to learn some stuff, to use some materials. You know, you can’t as an associate, you don’t really have that all the time. So when I moved to London, I said, Give, please give me the opportunity to work in Fulham in the Sainsbury one.

[00:45:26] And they said, Yes, of course, gone. I went not full time because, you know, I learned my lesson. Let’s do it a bit more part time. I had a baby at home as well. So I started with two days. Of course I loved it. I always loved teeth and see patients. And I think talking with them and making them feel a bit better, it’s something that I really, really enjoy. So I started working there and at some point I think maybe they felt they have a little bit of problems with the with the overall organisation and they will have to sell. So they, they wanted to sell the practice to me. You should have. And I was I was ready to buy it. We started the papers, we starting everything, everything, everything. And then the COVID hit and my lawyers, I had a very nice lawyers and financial advisers was telling me, Alex, I do appreciate your enthusiasm to close this deal, but if bigger names in the industry don’t buy that, they don’t buy anything at this moment, I can’t let you buy. It’s just not a good move for you.

[00:46:33] Well, that was bad advice, but.

[00:46:37] I don’t know. You know, listen.

[00:46:40] Because I heard I heard about the prices at some of those Centre for Dentistry went for and they were bargains. Bargains.

[00:46:48] Yes. But there are many things that, you know, they aren’t out there. You can you can you can I can take you in private because I was I was I wasn’t given a bargain deal.

[00:47:06] Hannah Burrow. How do you even set up these meetings? How does that work?

[00:47:10] Luckily, we’ve got really good network through through the incubator that we went through. So they have like created these they’ve made these introductions to begin with. And now you kind of you’ve got that network and you can reach out to those investors. But you also then because we’ve now got other investors that are invested in Heroku, they really are extremely powerful in terms of making more introductions, meeting new investors, and it really is just kind of back to back meetings, talking through your business, talking through answering any questions they have. Quite often it won’t even be that they don’t believe in your business. It might just be that they aren’t the right investor to feel like they’ve got the knowledge to support you. But all the same, you do feel it. I think actually my day would be quite different of my my most difficult day of Heroku and it would come down to team. And when we had an employee who handed in the resignation, which happens, you know, it just wasn’t a good day either. It’s just part of part of the process. But when there’s someone that you really, really respect and they’re not continuing to work with you, even if it’s because they’re going to start their own business or they want to be exposed to a different type of technology or whatever it is, that.

[00:48:23] Sort of thing.

[00:48:24] Exactly like that for me, felt like a huge failure of leadership or communicating vision or being effective at listening to not even sorry, not customer employees. So that was for me a really that was kind of a tough time.

[00:48:43] I definitely agree with that. I remember that day that’s only happened once.

[00:48:48] And it’s not that we’ve only had one one resignation ever. We’ve had more than that. But quite often, you know, they’re coming. But it wasn’t even the first one, actually. It was just a particularly difficult one where we didn’t see it coming. Whereas a lot of our resignations, we’ve known from early doors that they’re considering starting their own business or, you know, it’s been a conversation. And I think it being unawares felt like a huge failure because it’s, you know, that is you should have been able to pick that up sooner.

[00:49:15] What would you say is your biggest weakness? Hannah? To the classic interview question.

[00:49:21] I think my biggest weakness and I’m giving you a really classic answer because I’m going to give a really I think I’m not going to say that because that’s just not true. But I think my biggest weakness is probably also a big strength of mine and is that ability not to not quit, not to give up, because I think sometimes that’s allowed me to have real grit. But I think sometimes I put myself in a situation where it’s not returning what it should anymore. And I haven’t called it because I just didn’t even consider I should quit. That would be a failure.

[00:49:58] Yeah, I’m the same. I’m the same. And you find a lot of times your biggest weakness is your biggest strength.

[00:50:04] Yeah.

[00:50:05] Because I’m giving you example of that moment when you just would not quit.

[00:50:09] I think for me, actually, this is going to sound really like, but like, not a big deal. But I think it was just when I was I was working in a practice on Saturdays as well as doing Kokrokoo and to say it was 9 to 5, as is not the truth. So like doing a very kind of intense job and doing every Saturday and did it for two and a half years. And I think I just got to a point where I actually just wasn’t going out and seeing my friends. I wasn’t going out for dinners because I was just always so, so tired. And I eventually got to a point which was like, Why am I doing this? It just I hadn’t even considered that I shouldn’t be doing that anymore. And even if it was just kind of changing when I was doing it, you know, it’s not even that I’m not doing any clinical work these days, but I think that for me was me just doing the same thing over and over again and not considering that I could I could change it. Martina Hodgson I don’t really believe in mistakes. Not all like grapes. I think everything in life should be a learning experience, but I do wish I’d had the confidence I have now. But when I see all these young dentists out there doing crazy, amazing stuff and achieving all these amazing things, and I think, oh, this, I’d have that confidence 20 years ago, imagine what I could have achieved.

[00:51:29] Yeah, I know what you mean. I interviewed a fourth year dental student for this show and he’d figured some stuff out that I figured out last week, pissed me off a little bit.

[00:51:44] I think that, like these young dentists is so different to how.

[00:51:51] Yeah, but their big stress. Their big stress heads. I was going to go into the empowering women in dentistry. Yeah. How did that come about? Was that was that kind of this thing that you found yourself, you found your confidence then you wanted to share that with other women.

[00:52:08] So what happened was I went into this into Costa Coffee where I live, and there was this. Amazonian glamorous women stood in front of me in the coffee key, and I looked at her and I was like, Oh, it’s Andrea and Andrea Eby. I’d always this top 50 dentistry failure. Like every last 20 years it’s been coming out. I’ve been reading it. And she was always in it. And she was she was quite the trailblazer, you know, in terms of marketing and all this kind of things. And I’d followed her for 20 years, never met her. And so I introduced myself. I said, Oh, hi, I’m Dennis, and we just hit it off and we got chatting and then we met up again and we sort of both female practices owners, of which obviously we are outnumbered by men in terms of practice ownership. It was, it was a real delight to to speak to another female practice owner and we both really enjoying our conversation and the way that we approach running our practices seem to be different from maybe the when the way that men do it. And we felt like there was this big need out there for women to come together in dentistry because we recognise this huge lack of confidence amongst women and this kind of imposter syndrome, this feeling that you’re never you’re not what people think you are and you’re never going to achieve what people think you can and all this.

[00:53:41] And it’s huge. It’s a huge problem that I’ve always suffered from as well, and we just felt like it would be fun. It was like, Yeah, it’s just one of those stupid ideas again. It was like, Oh, wouldn’t it be fun if we just did a conference and got those women together and got some cool female speakers in and just tried to be a bit inspiring to women and tried to help other women the way that we were helping each other and that Andrea was helping me and growing my confidence. And so we did. And so we started doing it and we got this really amazing response and through lockdown and everything, it was really incredible. And so that’s how it came about, really. It was just seeing that kind of opportunity and seeing this thing that was missing.

[00:54:23] Who spoke at the conference.

[00:54:26] What we had. So we had Mind Ninja Lady, we had Morreau, That’s Mark Lawson, We have Sally Gano. She was like our keynote speaker. That was amazing. She took us through that whole mindset of how she won gold at the Olympics at the 100 metre hurdles and that was crazy. Like the way she rehearsed that in her mind thousands of times before she did that run. And she just every set, every step was rehearsed in her mind. And it’s that a whole kind of visualisation and I think successful people do that a lot, this visualisation of, of what it is you want to achieve because you naturally think about your goal all the time. So inevitably it becomes something that’s going to happen. But yeah, we had some amazing speakers. It was a fun day.

[00:55:21] Did you say juggling motherhood and business ownership has been a challenge to you?

[00:55:28] Yeah, it’s a challenge because it’s a psychological challenge to me. I have huge working mother guilt and I have a massively supportive husband without whom I couldn’t do achieve what I have achieved. He’s very flexible in his job and he’s very willing to do a lot of the childcare. But every day I struggle with my guilt of not spending enough time with them or not being present enough. But this comes back to this, and I think I do, by the way, I do think I do spend a lot of time with them, but I’ll never stop feeling guilty. But then that drive side of me knows and my husband knows that if I was to give it all up, which, you know, I want to do every day sometimes, but if I was to give up doing what I’m doing, I would be miserable, depressed, very bored person.

[00:56:31] I was I was reading I was doing some research on you, and I came across some article in dentistry where he said, every Sunday I go to the spa and recharge Sunday evening. And I think it’s such an important thing because too many ladies in particular, I think I’m sure there’s some men like this too, but too many ladies in particular are sort of martyrs to the everything that they do, and that leaves nothing for them. And there is some there are some particularly sort of more, I call it enlightened or forward thinking people who realise that that there’s like if you’re not taken care of, you can’t take care of anyone else. When? How long? How long ago did you do that? You still doing that?

[00:57:18] You still going to do that? Excellent. Let’s go to Sunday night. I took some more dinner. We’ve had a nice weekend, and then I just go off to the spa for 2 hours, and I just sit there and think about stuff. And it’s the only time I get headspace sit and think about. And usually I think about work. My next idea. But yeah, it’s just my headspace, really.

[00:57:40] Katie Blake. You know what I was I was quite impressed with because obviously, you know, I’ve got four kids. I’ve worked with numerous associates, some who have taken longer time out of dentistry. But you were very clear. You was like, okay, so Prav, we’re going to we’re going to tailor the implant campaigns down because I’m going to place my last implant on this day. Then I’m going to have X number of weeks off and then we’ll just take and then I’ll start doing some simple cases and then and then I’ll go straight in.

[00:58:14] Yeah. I mean, what’s stopping you? Save your baby. People having babies for centuries all over the world.

[00:58:21] Do you do you think do you think it’s harder for women to do dentistry?

[00:58:26] I think well, I listen to one of your other podcasts. I’ve forgotten the lady’s name, who was you were just discussing a lot about about women in dentistry. Forgive me for not remembering her name. And I think, you know, like you said, that it’s a great career choice for women. You’ve got that flexibility, you know, to be in and out, alter hours and things like that. I think the only difficulty somehow is when everybody tries to do everything, you know, And of course, I feel the pressure is the same as anyone else, you know, owning your business, having kids, you know, some something’s got to give somewhere. But children are resourceful things, aren’t they? They just get on with it. I think my opinion is that sometimes we’re all a bit too led by children and they just have to get on with it. But, you know, very little. So we’ll see how they turn out.

[00:59:15] Yeah, I mean, it’s an interesting point, isn’t it, to be led by your children or to lead your children in different directions. But there must be a tension, right, between the amount of time you’re spending with them and the amount of time you’re spending at work. And do you feel that you don’t feel that like others do? The guilt and all of that?

[00:59:35] Yeah, I think it is sometimes stressful. I’d say the thing that does often give is having any time for yourself, which I know is is a challenge. You know, there’s obviously been a lot on social media in the news and stuff recently about this kind of burnout stresses mental health and all of this. I think it’s a really interesting point I’m very good at, I personally think, compartmentalising things so I can go home and not think about work for a whole evening, you know, which can be a negative, I guess can be a positive. But it does mean that for me, at least when I’m not at work, I feel I don’t really get too involved. Not lying. I do occasionally wake up early and think about it, but I don’t struggle to get to sleep at night, you know? So whether that’s a good or bad thing, it probably is what allows me to be very busy at work and then go home and be a mother. And there isn’t much crossover between the two. I’ve got a great team at work. Makes a big difference. You know, occasionally I can think of even a couple of weeks ago my husband was away skiing since February. Very important to go skiing even with a newborn baby at home. And I had a late patient and so I sent the treatment coordinator to go and pick up the kids from nursery down the road, and she brought them back to work because I can get there. So I think everything you can’t do it all by yourself, can you? You know, so so having that that support team, whether it’s for childcare, for the house, for the business, it’s, you know, it’s a team effort.

[01:01:03] Okay, Katie, your husband’s your right hand man, not just in life, but in your business as well. Right. So just before we get into that, you mentioned you met at sixth form. Yeah. Ten years later, you got together. Just just how did that just tell us about that, that little joke. I’m just curious.

[01:01:26] Maybe just a slow burner. I think I read a big group of friends, you know, and I think it’s a case of. Right, right. Person, different time, right person, right time. Everybody sometimes as you think. What would life have been like if you’ve recognised age 18 or whatever? We met Robin 14, you know, but actually all your experiences make you the person that you are today. So so we got there in the end, you know, and yeah.

[01:01:54] So did did you have a ten year gap or were you in touch with each other?

[01:01:57] We were in touch, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Oh, we’re still friends. We were the same friends. Yeah. Oh, cool. So. So. So yeah, we’ve we’ve essentially grown up together, but, you know, it means, you know, each other and each other’s families. So bizarrely, my parents didn’t actually realise his first name for about the first. Two years that we were dating because we all call them by a surname, which is Blake. You realise it wasn’t to use it to the relationship because I’ve never heard him call anything else.

[01:02:28] Blake. Blake. So, Katie, how far did you go in all surgery? Did you just do the one little house job, or did you take it further?

[01:02:36] No, just the one house job. Yeah. And then a moment of clarity that although I loved the job, I needed a life. So I actually tapped out of London and went down to Cornwall and did a few locum jobs. Took a bit of time out, you know, having done London and London for seven years, you know, I wanted to go get a bit of bit of headspace, which is a great thing to do, you know, lovely area bit the back and beyond. So I thought I’d come back up for work where I came from then.

[01:03:04] So your oral surgery job didn’t particularly help with being a implant surgeon. You hadn’t had enough experience of cutting people.

[01:03:13] And I think.

[01:03:15] Was it one of those jobs that you did jump in and take wisdom teeth out and all that?

[01:03:20] A bit, yes. I think that the most important thing and why I would still always say to new graduates that doing a job like that is great is after you’ve been the on call person for a trauma centre in London and your first person, nothing faces you, you know. So and I distinctly remember my last day on the job being on call and being called to the neuro ICU and they’d hit something whilst doing a tracheostomy. And I was the person they called to stop to stop the bleeding out of hole in the neck. So having, having had that as your kind of you are the person that they call for those sort of issues, really, you know, teeth are just teeth, which, you know, so I think can put things into perspective a bit. Not saying that it could make people blasé because I think there’s obviously we all know there’s risks of everything, but it certainly makes you think, okay, you know, it’s going to be okay.

[01:04:22] So then you decided you’re not going to go down that path. And then what’s a general practice became a goal.

[01:04:30] Yeah. General practice. I was in a busy NHS practice in Essex called Often Union said Can I have a job? And they said, Yeah, there you go. Which in that is the practice. In retrospect, at the time I thought, wow, I must, you know, they really, you know, really good friends. In retrospect, I think if someone like me called me up now and said, Can I have a job, I would say yes. So I can see see where it’s where they were coming from. So did a bit of that and then went up and did Patel’s employment course at UCL and it carried on from there really, which is a great, a great foundation interest course taught me a lot, exposed me to a lot of interesting lectures and things like that, and was a pretty robust course as I found it robust, just put it that way.

[01:05:24] Take us through the decision making process because the vast majority of men and women, by the way, don’t go to implants. What is it about you that made you want to go that way? Had you decided from the beginning that you would be doing implants? Was there a particular patient, a conversation, someone you spoke to, a mentor? Like? What made you make that call to go on Dev Patel’s course where so many people don’t like me as a dentist? I’d never even considered it for a second.

[01:05:52] Yeah, I think for me it was being in the right place at the right time with the practice principle at the time was quite enthusiastic about implants and supportive of somebody who wanted to do that.

[01:06:05] Was he placing himself being.

[01:06:08] Yes. So you were watching him. Where? Where? Yeah, well, your boss sent messages through. Oh, I’m just about to do this. Do you want to come and watch? And the answer’s always yes. Go and have a look. See what they’re doing. So, you know, not a academic, high flying guy, but just, you know, a decent dentist placing decent implants. You know, that that I think is important. Obviously, that or surgery experience has always been really interesting, which I think actually stems from going out on a few charity projects. I’ve done a few over the years, sort of bridge to aid a few other of the Ugandan projects and Euro Central America, things like that. So the doctors in the surgery had come from a few of those experiences over the years as well. So for me, it seemed like a natural step, you know, how can you make or some kind of surgery sit in with general practice? I think for me that was the obvious way to go. And looking around at courses probably, I think still at that time, definitely, you know, you see others, one of the reputable ones, as far as I was concerned anyway.

[01:07:11] Sandra Garcia Martin Let’s talk about women. Let’s talk about women in dentistry. If you felt it, if you felt outside of the obvious, right. I’m sure you’ve had some patient fall in love with you and say, oh, will you marry me or whatever, outside of that sort of outside of that sort of thing, yeah. Have you felt subtly that it’s more difficult being a woman than a man as a dentist?

[01:07:33] I’ve been asked this several times, and I always say the same thing either I was very like in my own little world. I just don’t think that way. So whenever. But now, looking back, I, you know, situations I’ve gone through, I said, Oh, that was probably because I was a woman. But at the time I never thought about it that way. I never I’ve never seen the limitation. I just again, because of this way, I just went for it. Right? So I remember once I was asked if I had got the job because I had I had had something with the practice owner and I thought, What? And then, you know, and then the next thing that person said, well, you know, as a woman. And I thought, that’s a strange comment’s make. And now looking back, I said, Wow, a lot of people thought that way. But because you’re a woman, clearly you have less power and you’re not as capable as doing as doing things. In Spain, for example, male doctors are more popular than female doctors because it is a very sexist country when it comes to that. So not now. Things have changed, but, you know, the older generation, they’d rather be seen by a man, by a woman. So so I guess, yeah, it’s everywhere. It’s just that I’ve never thought about it that way.

[01:08:53] Rather be seen by an old man in Iran. In Iran, the older your doctor is, the better he is, you know? So like, there are some guys walking around 85 year old doctors, right? People think they’re the best doctors they must be. There’s it’s that that way of thinking. But so you’re saying you’ve never felt the limitation. But looking back on it, there are some comments made or or whatever. But do you see that more as a societal thing or as in dentistry, we have a problem because there is you know, people say the industry, we have a problem with not enough female role models.

[01:09:28] Which might be I think it’s I think probably as a society thing a little bit, not so much in this country that it’s it’s very equal. But definitely when I go to conferences, there are not enough women and I don’t know of it because we’re scared of lecturing or because it’s just don’t call us, you know? But it is true. Like you go to big conferences and it would be one female speaker. And that’s it’s shocking, you know, because I can tell you several now that are amazing and they’re doing fantastic work and, you know, they’re hardly ever invited. So. So yeah, I don’t know what it is. I honestly don’t know what it is. Well, but we make it.

[01:10:05] Does this fewer to pick from.

[01:10:07] This is. But do you think it’s because we’re scared of just putting ourselves out there? Because, for example, for me, it’s been throughout the years that I mean, many times I’ve been asked, why don’t you like Sure, why don’t you do this? I was always like, Oh, I’m not good enough for that. So it was coming from a place of fear.

[01:10:27] By the way, there’s many men also scared of putting themselves out there, too. But but I think you’re right. I think I think there is part of. There are some women who are eminently capable. And, you know, I noticed it. I went to a practice of one of our one of our customers. And in the practice, she was she was very strong. You know, like she said, she was saying exactly what she she she thought I thought, you know, she was she was the boss and she was saying it. And then and then I spoke to her on on the podcast. And I found a much more reserved. Much more reserved. And I wondered whether, number one, is it that it’s a strange situation being on a podcast, Right? Or number two, is there that thing in society or as a as a woman, you feel in society that you can’t be loud and out of what’s the word like? Not out of control, but, you know, like stand out outside your box, you know? But I’ve always noticed you’ve never really had that issue. But I’m I’m interested that you’re saying you do feel that and you haven’t lectured because of it. It’s interesting.

[01:11:33] Yeah. When it comes to lecturing. Yeah. When it comes to work. I’ve never had fear of being a woman at all. But when it comes to being in a public where where people can can judge. Yes. Yes. Not because I’m a woman, but clearly because it’s because it’s me that is scared of doing that, because I always feel like, oh my God, they’re going to say this. They’re going to say that, which is a silly thing because, you know, no one’s perfect in this world.

[01:11:58] So when I think about myself or my wife in a social setting, she’s 100 times more capable than I am. You know, I’m really socially like. Like if we go to a dinner party or something, I’m a little bit awkward. I’m very shy. Very, very, very shy. And she’s not she’s she’s she’s very strong, you know? And what she’ll do is she’ll find the one person in the room who isn’t talking to anyone and go and talk to that person and, you know, be very nice and understand everyone. And but then if you ask her to stand on a stage and talk, you might as well ask her to do something, you know, to her. That’s the most difficult thing in the world. And I wonder if I tell her if that’s a man woman thing or what. You know, by the way, I don’t like standing on stage. I like this format because I don’t have to be seen. You know.

[01:12:51] You can hide.

[01:12:52] I can hide. So tell me this, Sandra, if someone wants to download your course. How does that work? Where do I get. Let’s say I want it. What do I do?

[01:13:02] Go to the head. Yes. Veneer veneer school. That’s where all the modules are. Is there a taster.

[01:13:12] Of it somewhere? Like if you want to taste it before you buy it.

[01:13:15] On my Instagram, which is at Sandra Briggs. Well, there are loads of videos of like little I think there was one today about preparation. So yeah, a lot of a lot of videos where you can see the formats. It’s an interesting format because it’s a bit like a movie, you know? So it’s it’s nice to show it. They did a great job. They really did. And the patient was was amazing because, you know, it’s not easy to be there hours and hours of recording and the mouth open and then the rubber dam. I mean, you know, because we did everything under Rubber Dam as well. And then we did like a bonus of mini rubber dam course with the course. So she was the one that I picked to do everything. So I have a funny thing halfway through the fit isolated every single tooth. And she’s a makeup artist and she says, You know what? I have a client that really needs a makeup. Can I can I go? I said, You must be joking, Right? And this is 9:00 PM on a Sunday and No, but what do you mean you could go? She’s like, Oh, but it’s I can’t say no to the job. So I numbed her, removed everything that you know how much it takes to rub a dam? Everything. She went to Knightsbridge, to the Mandarin Oriental to do her stuff. Then I said, okay, let me order some, some food for for the camera crew and stuff. And she came back and we finished. So it was like, Wow, seriously, after we put there. Yeah.

[01:14:52] I’m going, I’m going to wrap it up soon. Sandra But we always have a dark part of this podcast, and it goes around the question of biggest mistakes.

[01:15:04] In dentistry, the biggest mistakes that I’ve done, like.

[01:15:08] It can be clinical, it can be tactical, it can be management, or ideally something I’m going to give people, something people can learn.

[01:15:15] From. Yes, clinical. Not checking on a full composite case like veneered composite veneers. Not checking what my nurse was given to me. The shade. So I did a bit of mismatch.

[01:15:34] Different colours on different teeth.

[01:15:36] Colours and different teeth.

[01:15:38] That was only realised after he’d finished everything, right?

[01:15:42] Yes. I said, Wait a minute. That was like, Whoa! Once and no, never again.

[01:15:50] What did you do? Repeat the work.

[01:15:53] I couldn’t because it was already so many hours in. So I called. I called the patient to come back.

[01:15:58] And removed it all, removed the bits you had to remove, I guess.

[01:16:01] Because it was it was this bad. It was like B one against a two, you know, a two or three. It was like, really? No, it was.

[01:16:11] Obvious when you told the patient, when you when you told the patient what had happened.

[01:16:17] You know, the patient might not even realise. That’s the funny thing.

[01:16:21] Yeah.

[01:16:22] Probably the following day. But there she was like, Oh, yeah, I can see, I can see. But it was so late as well that she was like, It’s okay. They look beautiful. And I’m like, Yeah, the wrong colour situation when you might not be. Thank God the essentials are the same. Uh huh. Get that wrong. It was lateral, pre molar and then canine premotor as well. Yeah.

[01:16:50] And the patient was understanding.

[01:16:52] Yes. Yes. And I said I didn’t check. I must. We must have grown out of this, and I’m so sorry.

[01:16:59] So the.

[01:17:01] Thing.

[01:17:02] I’m interested, if you’ve got a story where the patient wasn’t understanding, even if the mistake was a smaller mistake, did you have any time like that?

[01:17:09] I’ve had. And now I’ve learned from this. Whenever you do a veneer case, given the expectation that it was, it was always going to be perfect in the fit. Not saying, listen, this can go wrong several times. It’s like a central right. This can go wrong several times. Many times is the most difficult truth of the matter. You have to put it on the really negative side. And if we’re so, so lucky than a second next appointment, everything’s perfect. Then we’ll fit. But it’s unlikely that that happens. That’s my talk now. My talk back then was like, Oh yeah, two weeks of fits and it was sedation case. None of the patient remove everything. Nothing fits it. Nothing fits it. Because when I took the impression silicone impression, the patient opened a little bit and then I, you know, and then I positioned it again. So obviously it wasn’t my fault. They work on a model that had a different like the reference was completely different. Not one that was like that patient. So my patient today, what he was yeah, imagine sedation and the whole trauma of having every single tooth removed, temporary removed and yeah, that was Yeah.

[01:18:25] Was he not understanding why he was sedated. So you couldn’t really argue.

[01:18:29] No. But when he, when he obviously has sedation and he’s like what is this? I had documented everything. What happened. He was like, what connections At the time he was was a CEO of one of these big supermarket chains. He was not having it. So he had very limited time. And so.

[01:18:51] What happened?

[01:18:52] He well, I took everything, all the screams and all the nastiness. And then I said, and we have to we have to redo it. I’m really sorry, but, you know. Did you like the colour?

[01:19:11] 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.

[01:19:26] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, 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 had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing and if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.


From humble East End beginnings, Sarah Elliston followed her dental vocation with a nursing, fresh from high school, before moving onwards with a place at Royal London Hospital’s competitive therapy training.

She recounts how her finals and first job were almost interrupted by a life-threatening illness, discusses hierarchies in the profession and answers the question on everyone’s lips: Just what is guided biofilm therapy?  

Sarah lets us know why she recently left therapy behind and offers a few tantalising clues about an exciting new road ahead.  

In This Episode

01.53 – The state of play

06.33 – Skills and training

17.15 – Hierarchies in dentistry

24.05 – Backstory and career progression

37.08 – An unexpected diagnosis

47.53 – Guided biofilm therapy

52.19 – Blackbox thinking

57.56 – Bear

01.05.07 – Fantasy dinner party

01.07.08 – Last days and legacy


About Sarah Elliston

Sarah Elliston spent 11 years in dental nursing before gaining therapy qualifications with the Royal London Hospital in 2010. She has also worked as a clinical educator for Essex University. Sarah recently took a break from practice to develop a new range of dental products.

[00:00:00] Probably stay at the wrong job for too long. That’s probably one of.

[00:00:04] Them, but one where you weren’t happy with, you’re.

[00:00:06] Just not happy. Yeah, you just, you know, I think you stay sometimes because of patience as well. You know, you got like and also money as well, isn’t it? So if like, especially after COVID and everything and just think, you know what, not you’re not getting what you need from somewhere that you’ve been promised, get like an interview or wherever. And then when it comes down to it, it’s just like backtracking and you just sort you keep waiting and wait and way in, but then it just doesn’t happen. So it’s sometimes just best to cut your losses sometimes and just know your worth as well.

[00:00:45] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:02] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Sarah Ellison onto the podcast. Sarah I first met Sarah as a therapist, dental therapist who I first met on the Smile Academy course with Gillian Kish, who was doing a whole whole year course with them, I think. And then I met again at the Square Mile famous practice in London when we were doing some, I think, enlightened training and mini spa makeover training. And I was particularly impressed with her work, number one. But her enthusiasm number two and and I think this this show, if we’re calling it dental leaders, needs to include different members of the dental team. So I really wanted to talk to a therapist. And I think we will be talking to others other than dentists going forward. Lovely to have you.

[00:01:50] Sarah Oh, thank you for having me.

[00:01:53] It’s a pleasure. So, Sarah, this show is kind of like a life and times kind of show. But I want to start with the question of therapy first, where we are. What’s the state of play with dental therapy? Because I feel like they’re being much more recognised these days.

[00:02:11] They all are. But I think that they’re not regulars enough, to be honest with you, like we do so much more than what practitioners know. We work for a full scope of practice. I mean, for years I was on the NHS doing band tours and just doing the restorations for the dentists and everything within bands within my scope while they concentrate on more complex stuff. So I think we need to be using or utilise a lot more. But yeah, like you say, we are getting recognised more, but I think there’s still like bigger opportunities out there for us. Definitely.

[00:02:45] I feel like in the future that the practice a lot more practices are going to be relying on therapists both in the health service and privately. Do you get that sense?

[00:02:56] Yeah, I think so as well. I mean there’s like in the new regulations are not regulations, but really saying that we are going to be able to be allowed even working for the NHS, work within our full scope of practice, but as in direct access on the NHS, which we aren’t currently allowed to do. So that’s something to look forward to. But I also think as well it depends on the therapist as well, because if someone’s been out of practice for a while, well they didn’t even get the opportunities to do therapy then it can be a bit daunting as well. And you need to work together as a practice and I like where you are at. And look, it is a team based approach. But yeah, I mean, we give us the opportunity and we’ll, we’ll, we’ll shine.

[00:03:35] Do you mean therapists who haven’t been able to do therapy but doing hygiene for years?

[00:03:40] Yeah, a lot of time. It’s really sad to see actually, because I just feel like it’s a little bit, it’s a bit of a waste because we don’t get the opportunity again because we’re not we haven’t been recognised. But like you say, things are changing for the better.

[00:03:53] But do you see that as some sort of like a situation where the dentist knows you’re allowed to do it but isn’t referring the work to you? Yeah. Or literally doesn’t know you’re allowed to do it. I mean, surely. Oh no.

[00:04:05] I think yeah I think yeah it depends. I just think it. Yeah. I suppose sometimes it’s like especially in private settings as well. Dentists probably don’t want to let go of their work for a for one thing as well financially, which it could be also as well. They’re we’re perfectionists at the end of the day aren’t we. So it’s like we’d be like, Oh, they’re going to do a good enough job as I’m going to do for this patient. But also as well, if a privately patient goes see a dentist and then they’re referred to a therapist, they’d be like, But they kind of feel that we’re under skill, not on under scale, but that we’re not going to provide the quality of a dentist. So sometimes that could be a bit of a barrier as well.

[00:04:46] So they come across that with a patient said something.

[00:04:48] Yeah, yeah. Well, not, not a couple of times for me. I mean six years ago it’d be like, oh, but because I was a dental nurse for years as well and I used to, I actually went back to the same practice and they were like, oh, she used to be on reception. So it was, it was. But what we said, please do my teeth now. So I was like, No, I’ve been to uni, but it was like kind of, you know, that situation. So yeah, good. Dentists obviously are qualified in other other things, but I mean in within our training we actually do more restorations than dentists when they first qualify. So we have like more of a well, more of experience then I kind of feel then going into practice because obviously we exit before and then they go on to do pores and stuff like that. So I had the best training because I went to London and I trained with bedside exactly the same training as BDS until I accede. So that’s another thing that a lot people don’t realise the level of education. So I had the same training as a dentist did up to that point.

[00:05:44] So the London hospital.

[00:05:46] Yeah. Royal. London. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:05:48] Well Whitechapel.

[00:05:49] Yeah.

[00:05:51] So. So.

[00:05:52] Okay.

[00:05:54] I just remembered. I just remembered when when I went for my interview in White Chapel, and I think I’d been living in London for 20 years at that point. I came out of the station and I saw that market and I was like, What the hell is this?

[00:06:09] That’s the extent now.

[00:06:11] Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, you know, I grew to love it because a lot of my friends were studying. I didn’t end up there, but a lot of my friends were studying there, and I actually ended up really loving that area.

[00:06:19] Oh, I love it. I love it. I love for the first time.

[00:06:21] Where did you grow up?

[00:06:23] I grew up in Brixton, in East London, and I was born in.

[00:06:26] So, you know the area you need anywhere.

[00:06:28] And I really want you to go there as well. So it’s like a lot of. Yeah, a lot of love for that place.

[00:06:33] So before we move on to your back story, look, I’m surprised that you’re saying dentists don’t realise the level of training and don’t realise the skills and all that we should just for the sake, sake of the ideal for the, for the, for.

[00:06:47] I’m sorry, this is just my opinion. I’m not saying that everybody’s the same.

[00:06:50] But we should, we should go through it. What’s the scope of practice? What can a therapist do?

[00:06:55] So we can do all black classifications so we don’t just do small fillings or baby teeth. We we can do everything on children, obviously paediatrics, we can do Pottawattamie We can’t do pop it to me. We don’t really do them there anyway. Yeah. Crowns thanks to crowns or with whole technique just popping them on or even a little bit of a prep. We can do composite bonding and composite veneers We can’t do. We can do in direct. Sorry. Direct.

[00:07:22] Not in who do direct.

[00:07:24] Yeah. Direct diagnosis as in direct as in in the mouth. We can’t do lab work.

[00:07:31] Because one, two, three, four and five.

[00:07:33] Yeah, yeah. Everything. We can do everything.

[00:07:35] So not that well. Yeah. No, no, I said let’s for completeness.

[00:07:39] Let’s go through it. Yeah, well obviously I do, I do diet caps as well, so I feel like a little bit closer. I’m not going to start. Yeah. Not going to start doing the partial root canal, but it’s been closed a lot of times in East London, let me tell you that. Yeah. So composite amalgams. Yeah.

[00:07:56] What about things? Like what about things like temporary crowns, that sort of thing?

[00:08:01] We can. Yeah, we can put them on. We can put them on with a temporary cement. Yeah. Only temporary cement that we can’t use. We’re not. That might change, I’m not sure. But I mean we can’t, we can’t cement them as in permanent cement, of course, bond or something. So and obviously someone’s like, well, I won’t touch your implants. I’m not that.

[00:08:20] We make temporary crowns as well.

[00:08:23] Do you know what? I don’t know, but I can’t see why not.

[00:08:26] Because in the US they do. Don’t I know.

[00:08:28] I mean that’s the thing is. Yeah. I mean because we can, it’s like it’s really fine because my, my old boss, I mean he’s retired now. I’ve loved him. Yeah, he’s great man. Doctor Graham Dingle And he used to do sic tech. You ever hear a sic tech where you like? It was like fibres and you used to do like.

[00:08:44] You build composites on the.

[00:08:45] Composite to fab. Yeah. Temporary bridge or something. So we inferior. We could do that. So we’re actually making a tool for our composite as a temporary, but we can’t cement permanent crowns. So. Yeah. So everything. And then the only thing we can’t obviously do root canal, any pros or extraction of adulti we can do perio risk for perio.

[00:09:08] And is there, you know, you know, you get ortho therapists and regular therapists is an ortho therapist course completely separate or is it.

[00:09:15] Something you.

[00:09:16] Decide halfway through?

[00:09:17] No, no no. It’s completely different. So all five therapies at the time this do you know what my knowledge on this is a bit not as good as it was because I’ve been there.

[00:09:29] We had a collision.

[00:09:30] I’m sorry. No. So all five are okay? I’m not that up to date with it at the moment, but I know it was. You could be a dental nurse and you could be Warwick Hospital. I think you said it was a year training, and it was literally. They’re also orthodontic specialists. Will give you a treatment plan, and you would just pop the brackets on and do the wires so you’d know about occlusion and stuff, like going into more depth with that, which we do as therapists, but not as much as what dentists would. So it’s completely different. So that’s all they can do. Unless somebody has become a hygiene therapist like myself. Yeah. And then they’ve gone on to do orthodontic therapy, which quite a few people have, and they just do that.

[00:10:08] Then they can do. Okay, so some people do both.

[00:10:10] Yeah, some people do do both. Yeah. A couple of people that one person I know, Benji Plumb, he, he does both. I think he just does ortho therapy now.

[00:10:18] So And you’re the the course is a three year course, right?

[00:10:22] You said when I was at the London it was two about two and a half years.

[00:10:26] Two and a half.

[00:10:27] I think it’s three years now because it’s a degree now. But mine was a diploma.

[00:10:31] And you, you first learn the hygiene piece and then then do the therapy piece, or is it just not fully integrated?

[00:10:37] So it depends on what hospital you go to, like where you where you train. So my I think the train at the London was amazing the way it was because I think the NHS are going to try and start doing that. There’s a couple of things I think going on behind the background in the background, but what they did at the London We train exactly with the dentist, so we had the same period with them. So I was, we were put into groups with them, so we did it all together. So you do perio and cons or whatever you’re doing in them and you just, yeah, you don’t just do one or the other, but then they’d be like the, the, not the X-Men sorry, Essex University, because I used to be clinical educator for them for five years. They used to, they do the hygiene which is about two years and then you can do add on which is therapy for a year, but that’s in practice in placement. So they get they get the other side of it working in practice straight away because that’s how they learn, which is quite another good way to learn, I suppose, because then you’re getting that because in hospital you’re a little bit unless you’re being a dental nurse, I think, or you’ve been in dentistry before, you kind of get a shock when you come out, isn’t it, because you haven’t got 2 hours for an appointment.

[00:11:36] Yeah. So yeah. So it’s like, you know, there’s, there’s all different ways to do it, I suppose. But I just feel the way I had training was, was amazing because I think there’s talk about if you heard about the advanced dental care programme, but they’re now saying so dentists say that don’t end up. So they get to our stage as a therapist and they don’t end up passing the fourth year. I don’t know. They they qualify still as a hydrophobia because I did know a couple of people that didn’t pass dental school, but they did make it past what we did and it’s a shame that they didn’t end up still getting a qualification. So or you can then add on or go forward because I always wanted to be a dentist, but I didn’t have the grade. So it was like.

[00:12:16] What’s what’s best practice? I mean, to stop that patient saying you were the one on reception. How does the dentist approach it when they’re sending a patient to you? Do they do they tell them, Look, that’s my therapist and she’s better at this than I am or something, But how do they do it?

[00:12:30] Well, a couple of my friends are both. So obviously I say my friends because they are. I’ve been working for years and they actually used to say that I actually was better than the Celine’s. So you just say, go in and I’m doing like an MD a day for like a year or so because I was doing all them for him. So it was like Sarah is actually more worked actually better than mine in that field. And also but then I talk to them and say, Look at exactly the same training and this is my work, but then it’s down for them as well. And also you have to try and figure out from them. And sometimes dentists would then go ahead and see it or just say, Well, it’s really tricky because you want to try and keep everybody happy. And also so you do have to be a little bit of a thick skin, don’t you? I kind of feel like I’m like jazz hands as well, isn’t it? It’s like you could be in a bit of a bad day, but you’re like, Oh, you know, I’m ready to go. We’re on stage. But it’s like, you know, this is what I do that, you know, just like, try and reassure them. But then if they really are adamant that they don’t want to, then the dentist sometimes would end up seeing them. But then there would be another person say, look, I actually one of my other friends I worked with, she was like, I don’t do that anymore. I only do like surgical like the implants. Yeah. And so that’s why Sarah’s here with us. So that’s what it is. And then it was fine and they were happy.

[00:13:36] So what about when it goes really subsub gingival or something? I mean, do you electro surge or.

[00:13:43] No, we can’t do that. So what we do, I would just temporise it is in the back. So yes, yes. Yeah. So you can just send back whatever you know, you don’t you feel like you think is going because there is loads. You do get that as well. You do get, you get all the tricky because.

[00:13:57] You don’t really know where it’s going before you start drilling sometimes too.

[00:14:00] You know. I know. Yeah. I’d love to show you some of the stuff I’ve actually done. I mean, you’ll be like, Wow.

[00:14:05] That was. I was very impressed with your work on the on mini spa makeover. And it’s interesting. Yeah. Because when we get quite a lot of therapists, you know, definitely one sometimes two of the group are therapists and they do the best work. Now, let’s maybe it’s because the kind of therapist who chooses to spend the money on a composite course is the kind of therapist who’s really going for it. I. But often their work is the best. But we always say at the beginning as well say no pressure, but producing really great work.

[00:14:38] I just think is because it’s like it’s kind of like the wood industry. You kind of do a bit. You do everything, don’t you? Like a little you know, I’m talking about kind of not so much where you do you choose or you want to become specialists in something, but it’s like, Wow, I’m talking for myself in some way. But we are really passionate about what we do and we are good at it as well. And it’s like, you can tell and it’s like, you know, it’s we did it because we want you to go further. And a lot of people are being a dental nurse before whereby it’s like they look, they, they just loved it and I would work with them. But you know what? The way I felt was that I want to be in that chair. I want that that’s going to be me one day, you know, I’m going to see how I get air and I do what I did. I actually didn’t want to be a therapist in the beginning. I was like, Why would I do that? I’d be a dentist. But then when I did it, I was like, This is why this is me. I actually am really a a therapist at heart, although I do love hygiene, but I am. That’s what I love to do because it’s like you see the difference, don’t you? Straight away, More or less. Kind of.

[00:15:34] So I guess it’s a brilliant point. Yeah, because you’re right. It’s someone who’s already chosen to push themselves forward from, you know, if you’re if you started as a dental nurse to say, I want to be a hygienist and then say, I want actually know I want to be a therapist. So that’s already someone who’s driven to.

[00:15:51] Get to that point because there’s some people that there is. Obviously people don’t. Let’s not forget we do do things because money does play a part as well. But I think sometimes I always say to people that especially nurses or people that I work with, I mean, it ain’t always nurses that go into dental hygiene. I don’t want people thinking that either, because people can just want to be hygienic. But it’s like I say to them, Look, you know what? If you don’t love this job, you’re not going to last 5 minutes because it’s difficult. Yeah, it’s difficult. Like, you know, musculoskeletal problems, you know, the demand of everything, you know, trying to, you know, you know, yourself. But it’s like when you make that different, you see that person happy. Like, that’s how I get my cup to get food from that, if that makes sense. But sad really to say that. But I love yeah, it’s like I just, I love what I do. And also it’s about education as well. So I grew up like from a really low social class, uneducated family, sorry family, but that’s where I come from. So it’s like we didn’t know about that. I think people lost their teeth when they were like in their fifties anyway. And that’s not even, oh, my mum and dad had dentures. I just thought that’s what happened, you know, I was just, I mean, I was like, what? And it’s about, you know, primary socialisation and where you come from. So when I kind of went where I worked and my boss had pushed me further, I was like, actually, I opened up a whole world of like this education that I wasn’t exposed to when I was younger. So yeah, yeah, no, it was amazing.

[00:17:15] So and, and so we’ve been we’ve been having this series of about women in dentistry and, you know, there’s quite a lot of women, dentists, women, dentists sort of saying, oh, women aren’t given the same sort of, you know, they’re not, they’re not put on stage as much and they don’t lecture as many as many men do, and they’re not at the top of organisations and so forth. And I’ve always thought, you know, if the biggest issue with women in dentistry is is the DSPs and some the way I know that is was you have worked in several practices, but on that hygienist group, I don’t know if you’re on it the Facebook one.

[00:17:55] I’m not on Facebook and.

[00:17:58] There’s a I think it’s the hygiene sand therapist group, but I’m on it. And some of the things that happen to hygienist in dental practice.

[00:18:08] What I’m so glad we’re doing this podcast because I’ve been really lucky where I’ve worked actually, and I’ve worked with people that work as a team and I’ve been kind of included, but there has been a couple of occasions like I’ve temp somewhere ever for a long term temp or, or there’s a job left and you do feel a little bit excluded because sometimes as well and things and it’s not about that, it’s about all working together and I do I maybe I’m going to regret saying this, but I do find that there’s still a lot of hierarchy in dentistry. There is, yeah, massively. And that annoys the hell out of me because I just feel like you should treat everybody the same. Like, you know, I don’t get I leadership and there is a level of boundaries and stuff like that. But that is one thing that really gets my guy out, to be honest with you. Like, I just it yeah, it’s just an example.

[00:18:55] Give me an example. Something you’ve come across.

[00:18:58] So. So be like you be. Let me try and think of it. I don’t know how to put it. I’m just a bit worried about what I’m going to say now.

[00:19:08] Just saying.

[00:19:09] It. Yeah, you just. You just like cause you’re not seen as like, a clinician. You’re not even sometimes. Sometimes there’ll be nurses that won’t even talk to you. But then they’ll be like, I always make an effort because I think, you know, they probably don’t talk to me because I probably have people just not talking to them or you just get excluded or you. It’s quite a lonely job as well, because a lot of the time as well, especially now, which I do think is ridiculous. But dental nurses are not given hygiene. It’s not given a nurse. And it’s like, you know, you’re just you’re just constantly battling for what you what you what you should be what you should be given anyway. Like you’re trying to like. I’ll buy my own equipment, I’ve got my own like EMS and only the hand handy one, but I still got my own stuff because I just think. Joe. What? It’s just constantly battling, trying to find or get what you want. I mean, not everybody’s like that, but then they’ll be like they’ll go see a group of people that will go out to lunch and they won’t invite you and stuff like that. And that’s not doing and not saying good morning to you or just being dismissed. And I’m like, that’s just really rude. Like because I’m telling people I’m really like, Oh, good morning. Like you should read it. But then it depends on people having some people having a bad day. Don’t get me wrong, but I just think like you spend most your life at work, don’t you? And it’s like you shouldn’t be like that. And I just don’t know. There’s that Michelangelo quote, isn’t it? It’s. What is it? It’s like people never forget. Like how how they how you made them feel like that works both in good or bad ways, doesn’t it? You always remember if you’ve been, like, singled out or you know, a bit, you know, just just dismiss.

[00:20:41] Look, I think there’s a couple of things that I think that I totally agree with you. There is no doubt there is a level of hierarchy in dental surgeries, and there’s definitely a level of disrespect that I’ve come across in some practices, certainly not all practices, but in some practices for for, by the way, all the DSPs, but somehow the hygiene. I mean, I haven’t worked in a practice where there was a therapist, but some other hygienist has got this sort of in-between position and.

[00:21:07] Often it’s quite difficult.

[00:21:08] Often works in several practices, so they don’t feel like they’re fully part of any team. At the same time, on this question of the nurse for the hygienist or therapists gonna to have to have a nurse. Right. But, but yeah, but for a hygienist, the nurse question. So I think it makes absolute sense to give a nurse to the hygienist, if only for the fact that then the hygienist has time to sell teeth whitening that she.

[00:21:36] Can do that. We can. We can. I mean.

[00:21:39] I think I think there is a caveat. I think there is a caveat because these days it’s really hard to find staff in all industries. You know, there’s a massive shortage of workers. And I can understand how in a dental practice, if you can’t find enough nurses, the nurse for the hygienist is the first one that falls off. Now you could say, why? Why is that? Why there’s the.

[00:22:01] Hygiene, Because there’s a hierarchy of Yeah, yeah, we go to it always. It’s like.

[00:22:06] But it’s also about the amount of money coming in from each chair and stuff.

[00:22:09] I know you say that though, but then some of the ideas are more than a dentist other day and the dentist has got a nurse to do a check up, but they can’t do a check-up on their own. But yet we’ve got to.

[00:22:19] Like, Oh, I get it, I get it.

[00:22:21] So I always tell it. I’m like an indoor crap. Sometimes if I work it on my own, you know, not flying around the room like a lunatic, I need to be an octopus. And it’s like and, and I’m doing I’m trying to take impressions for whitening, and I got no money for the practice and then rest and airflow and I ain’t got nurse. So anyway, we won’t get into that. No.

[00:22:42] What can we shoot though? I think we should. That’s why you’re wrong, right? That’s why you’re on to go through these subjects.

[00:22:46] Oh, so the GDC, if you look at the actual, the actual guidelines of the GDC, we are supposed to have a nurse. And you said. But the only way I think personally or the staff is at the moment, but it’s down to money. We all know that. Yeah, know.

[00:23:01] Well, my point.

[00:23:03] That people make money. I know.

[00:23:05] My point is my point is the hygienist will make more money if she’s got time because the hygienist is. For example, I’m from the world of whitening, Right? In the world of whitening, the hygienist is definitely the most important person in the practice. And if she’s got time, if the hygiene isn’t having to run around cleaning all the instruments and doing all the work, then she’s got time to talk to the patient and talk. If she talks to every patient about the colour of their teeth, I guarantee you that room is going to make way, way more money than that room without a nurse.

[00:23:38] Yeah, it’s about looking at it another way as well. But it’s just I think again, we just so people just get, you kind of get like, what’s it called. Tunnel vision isn’t it. I like your blinkers on and you get what you used to and it change is difficult and even I don’t really like change, but then you need to look at things logically and be like, it would make sense. You know, it’s you know, it does make sense because I’ve worked in a practice that did that and I only left because my boss told.

[00:24:05] Let’s let’s go back to your history. So you said you grew up in the East End. Yeah, I was. Dental nurse. Your first job?

[00:24:14] Yeah, it was actually. I left school, went straight into it. How old are you, really? I did really bad at school, so I didn’t realise how important education was. I didn’t really understand it. Mom and Dad were like, If you just go and get a job after you leave school, We got 16.

[00:24:26] Yeah. And so you’ve always been in dentistry from from the moment you started in the work space.

[00:24:32] For now, more than half my life I’ve been in dentistry, so I’m, I’m 40 next month or January. So I was like, that’s quite scary actually.

[00:24:40] Feels like 24 years. But what I was going to say, what I was going to say was, you know, that’s a level of experience, isn’t it? Experience around the end. History that, you know, if some some some kid who’s been an associate for three years thinks he’s he he knows more than you. You’ve been 24 years in dental practices. Right. You’ve seen you’ve seen a bunch of people do things right and a bunch of people do things wrong.

[00:25:09] And and they used to come to me, the associate. So especially the vet, says to come and ask me x rays and stuff. And that made me laugh because I was like, What do you think that’s. And I was like, Well, yeah, that’s definitely gone through the enamel and I better go in there like, Yeah, you should. Yeah, it was good, right? Cool. Sarah But it just it’s like, it’s not just that though, but I also don’t know everything. And that’s one thing you need to know as well, because a lot of the newer people that come through, they bring something to us as well. So it’s about you’ve got to always be open to everything, you know.

[00:25:38] How many years were you a nurse before you decided to go and get extra education?

[00:25:43] I was a nurse for 11 years, but then I had to reset on my GCSEs and not to do like equivalent A-levels, which was the access to science. So I had to do that and work like night school.

[00:25:55] And what, to get into therapy.

[00:25:57] Yeah.

[00:25:58] So what was it what was, what was the trigger that made you think, I’m going to go for this?

[00:26:04] Really? Yeah. I used to play the receptionist and no, it wasn’t just this, but this was one of the triggers. I see the receptionist at reception. No offence to anyone listening. I would say no judgement, but as I cannot be on a reception desk in my sixties doing this like I need to, I need to do something for myself. And what happened was actually the first trigger was there was a hygienist I used to work with actually my and my boss used to give him a nurse. It was like best practice guy. But I keep mentioning him because I love him. I still yeah, that was like a dad to me, really like mentor. And it was like this lady I worked with, her name was Jenny and she come from similar background to me and she told me what she had to do to get in. But she went to two guys, I think, and it was only 11 months then. And she had a baby when she was younger. And I never even heard these stories before because I just thought university was people that had money. I didn’t think it wasn’t. No, no. Because you don’t know where you come from.

[00:26:58] Don’t know. Really, really, really naive. But it’s so true. I didn’t I just didn’t know nothing. I thought I knew everything, but I didn’t. And she then I was like, So she had to reset all GCSEs and do it. And I was like, So you did it so I can do it. And she was she encouraged me. And then another person on board, actually she’s one of the tutors at the London and she actually worked in my practice years ago before, before I worked there. Same boss again, encourage her to go further and she had the same similar background yet to reset actually. So I was like, actually. So this is doesn’t matter where you come from, but if you want to do something, you can do it does that right? Let’s do it. And then yeah, that was, that was that’s what it was. And it wasn’t just to do with by when I just, I just love, you know, you see the calculus come off. I’m obsessed with, you know, watching Dr. Pimple Popper. I love that as well as you discussing that. I just I’m just obsessed with that or anything with blood or, you know, I. I miss.

[00:27:53] It. I miss it. I haven’t practised for ten years now. That is one thing I miss. Yeah, I actually watch it. I watch videos on on Instagram.

[00:28:00] With.

[00:28:00] Calculus.

[00:28:02] Yeah, Calculus or like tonsil stones. That’s disgusting.

[00:28:04] But I know exactly what you mean.

[00:28:07] Yeah. So I don’t know what that is. I think.

[00:28:09] I know exactly what you.

[00:28:11] Just tell people. I was like, You know what? I would love to do that. And I was like, because I’m not, as you can told you’ve got ADHD. And I’m like, I could not work in the office because I couldn’t sit still long enough. So I need something that’s occupied me and like to get a hyperfocus on. And that’s why I think I’m so good at what I do.

[00:28:28] So when you got to London Hospital and you were in your first few classes, or I expect there was a level of pride, you felt like, you know, I’m doing something for myself and getting in is really getting in is really hard, Right? Right.

[00:28:41] Yeah, really hard. Guys, I found 3000 applicants for, like ten, 12 places. They’re not. Not 3000.

[00:28:48] To 10.

[00:28:48] 12 places, I think. Yeah, I think that’s what they said. Yeah. So.

[00:28:53] So you must have felt really amazing when they told you you’re in, right?

[00:28:56] Oh, yeah. Awful lot. Won the golden ticket from Childhood Chocolate Factory. Really? Yeah. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, Oh, you’re my dad. Everyone’s. Everyone’s really heard this story and that, you know me anyway. But my. Do you know what a rag’n’bone man is? You ever heard? Yeah, that’s what my dad was. He used to go round. We’ve still got horses actually go round on the horse and cart wringing about old scrap metal where now die. And that’s what my dad was. And my dad, he can’t read and write and he goes, Oh, what a fool, we arrogant rag’n’bone man in history. I can’t believe it. He’s just mad. Everyone. Well, well, up we go. Well done, my lads said. But I’ve been in prison. Drug dealers or, you know, people. These are people that I’ve, I can, I can communicate with like people from all walks of life. Yeah. It works a lot because I’ve. I’ve lived it. Yeah. So yeah, I was. Oh my God. I was so proud. Yeah.

[00:29:50] And how do they take how did you take to the. To the the classes themselves and the education. Let the work because it’s quite a full on course.

[00:29:57] Very creative. I mean you know what I’ve because I did a room audit if anybody’s listened to it at once become a hygiene therapist, I would definitely encourage them to do the oral health education certificate before. That helped me so much, especially about like the psychology behaviour change, you know, is about, you know, that’s what I’ve become an oral health educator. I forgot to mention that so long ago I did one nurse on the easement, which was like over 20 years ago. So.

[00:30:26] So which was which you were you then? Which was your two years that you were. No.

[00:30:31] Oh London. London I am. I got in September 2010 by my graduation in 2013, but is two and about two and a half years. I think.

[00:30:41] So. So the work wasn’t daunting or was it that you were so, so proud of yourself? You put your head down.

[00:30:47] Yeah, but I just loved it. I just loved it. I mean, to be honest with you, like, I’m. I’m dyslexic as well, and I didn’t get picked up to a uni, so it was like, not terrible, but it was like I did take I take a long time to, like, write stuff, you know, it just takes me longer. I say it’s probably because I’m, I probably, it’s probably because I’m so disrupted all the time. So it was like that that Yeah that that part would I’ll struggle with it would be like because I find I would find research boring. I shouldn’t really say this because I do want to go back and study dentistry. So yeah, that would be like, um, research and we like, although I’m interested in it, but putting it to paper and doing literature reviews was like, my worst.

[00:31:24] Nightmare is boring. That is boring. Let’s, you know, let’s call it out. If it can be boring, what you’ll find is most researchers are the only ones interested in the research they’re doing.

[00:31:36] Yeah, but you know what? Those You saying that. You know what I’m going to say, though? But it’s like there’s. Have you ever seen that? I think it’s Einstein quote and it’s like it says I’ll go there’s like these animals lined up It’s a really good like your poster and there’s is animals lined up. There’s a monkey I don’t know, a hippopotamus, a giraffe, I don’t know a fish and a monkey. And then it goes a man standing. It goes, Oh, go and climb that tree. And then the monkey goes and climbs it. But that’s because they’re good at that. And a fish wouldn’t be able to climb in order because the educational system needs to change as well. Now, because we’re all different.

[00:32:12] It’s one size fits all, isn’t it?

[00:32:13] Yeah, that’s the problem.

[00:32:15] Yeah, you’re quite right. I mean people learn in different ways and you know, what I’m saying is you don’t have to feel bad about not liking one piece of it, right? Because you know.

[00:32:26] What I hate is.

[00:32:29] The dental world itself, right? I think the biggest skill is people skills.

[00:32:35] Yeah, I do as well. I completely agree, because you can be a really bad dentist. But like if you’ve got the people skills, people like, you.

[00:32:41] Know I didn’t you’re not really bad dentist. Right. But what, what I’m saying is that the hand and eye skills I’d say a number four or five most important thing I’d say people skills and then, and then you know planning planning and you know that that sort of thing as make making the treatment as of course you need a whole lot of skills to do all of that. But people skills number one, right? Number one, I mean I’m sure there’s many dental technicians who’ve got much better hand and eye skills than most dentists. They can make more beautiful crowns or whatever, but being a dentist or being being being someone’s dental therapist, right. You got to have the people skills to put people at ease. What about first time you give an injection?

[00:33:25] Does it bother me? My mum’s diabetic, so I used to do it all the time.

[00:33:28] Oh, really?

[00:33:29] Yeah. That wasn’t a metal.

[00:33:32] And.

[00:33:32] Anything. We used to feel a bit sick about that. The idea that you should make me feel a bit gagging because it’s so deep at the back. Yeah, that used to just make me feel like, want you to throw up because you just went. It’s going to come out the back of the front, but someone’s mouth from every well that used to just make me want to. Yeah. When I used to watch it as a nurse. But you have to got over it though. Yeah, that was fine. I loved uni, actually. I loved.

[00:33:58] It. Did you? Did you?

[00:33:59] I want you to be there. You know, I want you to be there. And that’s.

[00:34:02] Like. And what was it like? I guess you went from school to work without uni. And uni is a lot of fun, Right?

[00:34:11] Did you.

[00:34:12] Did you enjoy it as well?

[00:34:14] Well, being older was probably the one. Well, actually there was quite a lot of us, I would say oldies, but there was actually I was a dental technician. He was in his thirties and children. It was a guy was a solicitor. I end up changes the industry, so there were quite a few of us, which was great because I was like, You know what, you’ve decided to change and it doesn’t matter how old you are. If it is it and it was like you decide, you know, you shouldn’t let people’s like, I don’t know, like these social I don’t know what I’m trying to say, but you shouldn’t let anything stop you. I don’t think if you want to do something you’ve got you’ve got to do it, then go for it.

[00:34:47] So people’s expectations.

[00:34:50] Have a lot. Yeah. I mean I still. Yeah, I still. Yeah, I still went to the pub and yeah, had a good time, but I didn’t really get involved with like the 21 year olds, you know. Well one thing I knew erm or. Yeah. That would be lovely. People like friends and stuff, they’ll probably say they’re friends, but I mean it’s like a different level. I was like I was, I was probably about 28.

[00:35:10] So.

[00:35:12] I mean yeah I a bit like Yeah. A bit older. The old person in the pub you know when you like you got the youngsters there when you’re a young guy and then you go over to the bar, you’ve got a 30 year old still in the pub and you’re like, you’re sad. I sad.

[00:35:28] I know that feeling only too. But, you know, I’m thinking about it. Yeah. I went to university with I think I’d done a two weeks of work as a, like a shop assistant in Oxford Street. And only because my my parents made me come. Like, they. They forced me to do it. Oh, my good. And and I remember I used to spend more money getting there, getting back. I used to take taxi to work, taxi back.

[00:35:58] And taxi.

[00:36:00] And have a steak for lunch. And I honestly used to spend more money every day than I used to make in that job because I hate I didn’t want I didn’t want to do that job. But my parents realised I was a spoilt brat and they said, You are going to work. But what I’m saying is.

[00:36:15] I’d like that, I like that.

[00:36:17] I got to uni and that was the only bit of real world that I’d seen. Apart from that I was just in school, you know. So. So yeah. And so it’s a different person. You’d been working since you were 16, so you don’t, you done 12 years in the workplace by the time you got to uni.

[00:36:35] Yeah. Yeah. It’s weird, but it’s like a kind of it would have been nice to do, like, the traditional way, the normal way. But then I suppose I wouldn’t have had the experience that I had. I definitely wouldn’t have known as much as I did. I don’t think, to be honest with you, the way I was back then, I don’t think I would have been able to deal with the level of education like the education there as well. Only doing the dental nurse in a recent My Jesus and everything that I had to do to get where I was helped me. I wouldn’t well, I would have done better in school, obviously to get into uni, but I don’t think it would. I don’t think it would have been right. I wouldn’t I don’t think I would have done it. It wouldn’t have been my path.

[00:37:08] So it’s okay. Let’s move on. You qualified and tell me about the first few jobs you did. Did you manage to get therapy jobs or did you end up doing hygiene?

[00:37:19] Yeah, I did. I did. I actually before I told you before I qualified that I had cervical cancer, I didn’t want to talk about that.

[00:37:27] I do want to.

[00:37:27] Talk about cos.

[00:37:31] Go on.

[00:37:31] What, You want to talk? Yeah. So when I was in my I was getting confused with the years now, 2011 November I was diagnosed with 1b1 cervical cancer. So that was like, oh I was, I was thinking I was getting in my way now of qualifying. So when that happened I was, I went, I had to have had the first surgery was unsuccessful, so I had to have what’s called a radical colectomy to try and save my fertility and my lymph node removed. But then I went back to you and you after six weeks and then I qualified.

[00:38:09] Six weeks after the surgery.

[00:38:10] Yeah, well, I made the doctor sign me, signed me off because he said to me, they recommend against it. But I said, I want you to go back. So I needed to pass.

[00:38:19] So take me back. Take me back to see what You had some symptoms of bleeding or whatever it was, right?

[00:38:24] Yeah. No, actually, I didn’t have any symptoms at all. Yeah, I had like a little bit of bleeding, a little bit of discharge and stuff. So by. But mainly. But you didn’t.

[00:38:33] Expect it to be cancer, right? So you went to your GP?

[00:38:35] No, no, not at all. And then they come back with dysplasia like precancerous cells, which I was really surprised about because I always, always really good with my smear test. I went every time they asked me to go and I was so obviously changed really rapidly in a short period of time. Every three sorry, every year, every three or every year, I don’t know, three years. And then it come back. I had the cells and I was like, okay, comb, biopsy, and even still then they said to me, Oh, look, it’s probably not that you’re quite young. It’s really, really rare. So two years before that I was having bleeding and they said they found Apollo, but they didn’t want to remove it and it wasn’t cancer. That’s what they told me. And then carried on, carried on and then had had that come back with a dysplasia. So that’s what I’m saying. I didn’t have no symptoms. And it was like if I would have waited another year, I would have probably won’t be. You know, that’s the scary thing about it. Yeah. Because into the cervix.

[00:39:31] So they said dysplasia and and what at that point did they say you’re going to need you need to need operation straight away.

[00:39:38] No, no, no. So what I did was I had like a colonoscopy done. So take a little bit of the cells away and go inside and cut a bit wide biopsy then. But even then they were saying, don’t worry, because obviously they want to reassure you, but sometimes you shouldn’t say that. You know, you don’t think it is. And then they said, actually it is cancer, but it’s early. We think we can get it from a biopsy. So they normally go in and just like cut part of the cervix away and hopefully they can punch it out. Quite a lot of people have it actually actually have kind of I burn the cells away. Don’t if you heard about the burn in. So it’s actually quite common but no one talks about it standard isn’t it. Anyway, so they said to me when, when I went back it was like, like every time, you know, if you go to hospital and there’s like a nurse with the doctor, you know that they’re saying wrong because I have like the million people with them. Yeah, like, I think it sounds like, you know, You see that? Oh, God, here we go. And then they sat there and sat down and they draw pictures and I was like, Look, your cancer’s here.

[00:40:34] We would normally do best practice would be hysterectomy. But because you’re not at children, there’s a pioneering surgery called a radical colectomy we can opt for and in my family all have it because I was panicking. I’ll just call it all away. But if I if I did that made that decision, I wouldn’t have I would have lost my fertility then. So I wouldn’t. And I haven’t got children now anyway. But I want you to, although, you know, you don’t know if you want kids. It’s like someone says to you, your choice is taken away. That’s a different matter, isn’t it? It would be like that was that was like you want it’s got to be your choice. It really did affect me. And then I went back and then they just they we did the biopsy and I’ve been in remission for ten years, so. Well, good. And I’m actually did this I did an advert for the for one of the charities and that should be out so and actually about promoting cervical smear testing because not enough people go for it and it can be treated if it’s caught early. And also they’ve actually saved my fertility as well.

[00:41:29] How did you feel that when they said cancer? Did you did you think, shit, man, like I’m going to die? Like how how did you feel about it?

[00:41:36] I think you know what? I think I went into shock. I think I went into shock. I don’t think I even dealt I still haven’t really dealt with it. I don’t think. Oh, yeah, I just got on with it. My mum and dad were in tears and I was like, always comfort in their mouths that they can treat you, that it was like I can treat, I can treat it like, let’s just don’t worry until like, you can’t sit in upset until we know like them. Let them do what they’ve got to do. And if that, if they didn’t, if that wasn’t successful, not the biopsy, the other one, the radical, the colectomy, then I would have to have chemo and everything like that. But that was from that person who wrote that. Not a lot of people have had that Finding Surgery is quite rare because you have to be very early stage cancer. It has to be one bay or one, so 11b one’s the final. But if if I went up a stage a tiny bit, one one up, which would have been two, then I would have to have a hysterectomy. And I’ve literally just gone back and my tests come back clear again. So I get checked every year by the London I go there.

[00:42:28] So do you think that was some sort of like coping mechanism or are you are you that person who just gets on with things anyway?

[00:42:36] I do know. I don’t know. But you say that it’s really funny because other things. Normally I have last couple years, I think I have been having a little mini breakdowns because I’ve been like getting really up, especially with my mom just dying and my dad’s been diagnosed with cancer now, so he’s got that one up next month. So it just feels like I must have been a really bad person in my past life because I’m just like, Oh, I feel like the shit cloud on top of me that just won’t go away. I mean, you can’t feel like that because you got to be like in life. But, you know, you’re just, you know, I think was I was in uni. I think I was like, you know what I was thinking to myself? I’m not letting this not stopping me. Like, I was like, I’m going back. Life is like it’s like you’re saying else it’s like putting in my way. So maybe the university forced me to focus on something else because I want you to cool off. Well, I had to stay on a couple of extra months to do a couple of modules, obviously, but I’ll still end up doing graduation with my my year and stuff like that. So but I was like it was early enough, you know, And it was I think, well, probably I’ve lost my lip now, but I mean, at the time they did save my fertility, so. Yeah, but it was a coping mechanism. Yeah. And also as well, I don’t really like attention as well. Like my family was all getting upset and I was just like, I feel like I’ve got to protect everybody else. So I don’t know. I’m kind of like a bit, you know, the person who tries to make everyone happy or laughs. I was like, I can’t let them get upset about it. I’m not stop crying. I’m still we’re on on. So maybe it worked.

[00:44:02] Yeah, but, you know, people bang on about mental health a lot these days, right? And and I don’t be amateur psychologist about it, right. Because I don’t I don’t know the answer to these questions, but. And you do need to worry about if you feel like you haven’t dealt with it. I haven’t processed it properly because these things end up being cumulative, you know, like you’re saying.

[00:44:24] I don’t know because it’s.

[00:44:27] Your.

[00:44:27] Mum go.

[00:44:28] Your mum and dad. Yeah. Once you start coping with those two situations and there’s almost this cumulative thing and suddenly you end up, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but one day you wake up depressed, you don’t know why. Yeah. And it’s, it’s the coping of, of not dealing, not, not processing these things.

[00:44:45] Yeah. No. Yeah. That’s the thing, You have got to process it. But I just feel like I have never had to. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I was doing these courses, but I mean, you’re right. You are right. And I think because I come from a back and not like in my family as well, it’s like everything they didn’t talk about stuff like that as well. And my dad doesn’t even say the word cancer. It won’t say it because he’s family. Come from a time where TB was a bad thing. So someone died of TB because I’m the youngest of four. My dad was the youngest of 11, so it’s like 50 or something. It’s just crazy. There’s like all Victorian time, so it’s like everything’s swept under the carpet, stiff upper lip and all that. But we need to change that, don’t we? So I.

[00:45:25] Think there was, there was some sort of idea that if you talked about it, it was going to happen to you in a strange.

[00:45:29] Way. Oh, well, that’s like, it’s like manifesting, isn’t it?

[00:45:34] Yeah.

[00:45:35] They say there’s been a few things where people that have actually acted in something and then that has happened to them or.

[00:45:41] Yeah, but.

[00:45:44] I don’t know. There’s strange things that happen there.

[00:45:47] So, so, so then you got over this and you did your exams. Was this your finals?

[00:45:53] Yeah.

[00:45:54] Wow. I’m past your finals, right?

[00:45:56] That. Yeah, we’ve married. I say that and I’m like.

[00:46:00] You must. You must be so on top of the world after that.

[00:46:05] Just being that I was, I’ll be shit hot. My. I’m serious. And then you’ve got these people though, and they’ve got a migraine, so you need to sort yourself out. I’ve just gone from, like major cancer surgery to extenuating circumstances. I had a headache last night. No way. And I didn’t put that form in ever. I didn’t put it the extenuating circumstances for me. Neither did.

[00:46:29] You. Did you know? But it’s funny. The agony and ecstasy, isn’t it? The nightmare you’ve been through. And then. Passing your exams after all of that. And it’s almost like we don’t know how happy we can be until very sad in life and life.

[00:46:45] But that’s why I think that’s the way it is, though, and that’s why I’m trying to look at it. Because without the dancing, it wouldn’t be high, as would there. We’ve had the highs. It won’t be the lows. That’s why they raised that, because otherwise it would be black and white, isn’t it? You know, that’s what it’s all about. And that’s trying to learn with that. And I always say. One of my favourite quotes is this too. This too shall pass because it’s like happiness that passes and yeah, like good point, you know, But then sadness will pass as well. But I mean like you say, and you have got you got to be careful of that toxic positivity because I hate that. It’s like, you know, you’ve got this and whatever because sometimes people haven’t got it and like you are allowed to be sad as well, you know. So that’s saying that I’m learning to deal with at the moment. So I’m not trying to be like, you know, I’m not as tough as I make out to be.

[00:47:35] Look, look, I say it comes back to bite you. If you if you if you don’t deal with stuff, you know, that’s that’s what I’ve noticed.

[00:47:41] But 100%, I even say apparently people will hold stuff in for a long time and they’re saying about this stress and causing cancer as well. Stress and a lot of stuff. So, you know, you have got to deal with things.

[00:47:53] So listen, listen, let’s move forward and talk about look, I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what is guided by a film therapy.

[00:48:05] How is the EMA? Oh, it’s just a name that they made up, I think, because I don’t I just I like the machine. I think it’s really good. I love the way it works. I don’t I’m not not an ambassador or anything like that, but I mean, they’ve just that’s their name that EMS have come up with. They’ve that’s their slogan I think. So it’s like. So it means they’re just the blast in a way. The biofilm with the airflow. That’s it. So yeah that’s that’s what I.

[00:48:36] The guided piece.

[00:48:38] Your aim and your guide on the turf I suppose. I don’t know That’s what I’m.

[00:48:44] Is it. Is it.

[00:48:45] Oh you disclose it first. Maybe because you know where you go, you disclose it. I don’t know. I love it though, because I’m not going to knock it. I’m just saying. I don’t know. I don’t because I’m not the person to ask. You need to have somebody that actually know details.

[00:48:58] So so I was talking I actually know a bit more about it than than I let on because I was asking someone at the weekend. So but but I thought first time I heard Guided by a film therapy, I thought it was like a new thing where you guide the the plaque in a particular direction using particular I don’t know. I was thinking like, like Gore-Tex or something like some, some sort of, you know, barrier that you put in place. But, but it’s.

[00:49:24] Guided into the depths of how.

[00:49:27] But it’s more, it’s more then I, I spoke to someone at the weekend about it and, and I figured out it’s more like mini smile make over is like an hour word for composite bonding. Yeah.

[00:49:38] So I think it’s marketing. Yeah. Yeah. It’s quite clever. I mean, because it’s like their thing, isn’t it? It’s so people can say, oh.

[00:49:46] It is clever. It is clever. Right. The fact, the fact that it’s even come on my radar. Right. It’s come on my radar somehow. Yeah. So it’s.

[00:49:53] It’s a great machine I’m telling. I mean I’m just this is someone that’s like I’m not biased or anything because, you know, I just that’s why I purchased it myself. Because I really. I really fancy amazing scaler. I mean, I haven’t I haven’t really used the piezo actually, but I mean, yeah, the of the master. And that’s really because it has like it warms the water up as well. A lot of people have problems with light sensitivity. It’s one of the main problem. So it’s really cold. It’s bloody expensive though. That machine, it works out about 13 grand and all the bells and whistles. Yeah. Yeah. With everything about 13,000. Yeah. We’ve like the extra tips and that you need because it also has like the period tip as well, you know, like which you can go down with another company’s brought out like metal ones which probably better but.

[00:50:43] And it’s okay.

[00:50:44] Yeah. Yeah. And okay Yeah. Was one the.

[00:50:48] Oh.

[00:50:50] Yeah.

[00:50:51] So so all right it’s just it’s just a bit of marketing so but then do you do tell patients that I’m doing guided Python therapy.

[00:50:59] Is it just, just an airflow. The thing was it my machine and the practice like I work there there’s have a hygienist there and they don’t use an airflow but I used to just do it on my patients. So because I just because I was working on my aunt, I have a nurse as well.

[00:51:14] To upsell it. Like, do you charge more for airflow?

[00:51:17] You can do it better for my back, to be honest with you, to use that, rather than bending over with the Polish and Polish kind of in my hair, I find that I mean, I know the normal air flows. Years ago, they could be so messy. We’re not looking at snowmen like the patient being pure white or that.

[00:51:34] And I would. The last place I worked, I was sure that the airflow machine was was bringing on staining like it was scratching the teeth. Was it just the way we were using the wrong size parts?

[00:51:46] Yeah, it’s probably the party. And you’re be careful because it can be abrasive. You might have been using no room. I’ll go. What’s it called?

[00:51:53] When you aluminium oxide.

[00:51:55] Yeah. It blow staining. I probably would. Yeah. So it’s really good because that powder as well, like bust powder you can use up Gingival as well. So it’s really fine and you can use it on the tongue as well. Aha.

[00:52:13] Let’s move on. I know we’ve talked about some dark things already.

[00:52:17] Yeah. No, that’s a bit more happier.

[00:52:19] No, no, but I do want to talk about mistakes. Tell me about mistakes you’ve made.

[00:52:23] Probably staying at the wrong job for too long. That’s probably one of them.

[00:52:29] But one where you weren’t happy with you.

[00:52:30] Just wait. You’re not happy? Yeah, you just. You know, I think you stay sometimes because of patience as well. You know, you’ve got like and also money as well, isn’t it? So if like, especially after COVID and everything and just think, you know what, not you’re not getting what you need from somewhere like you’ve been over promised something like an interview or whatever. And then when it comes down to it, it’s just like backtracking and you just like you keep waiting and wait and waiting, but then it just doesn’t happen. So it’s sometimes just best to cut your losses sometimes and just know your worth as well.

[00:53:06] What about clinical mistakes? I know we don’t like to talk about it, sir, but it’s important to know.

[00:53:14] It is important. Yes, it is.

[00:53:21] Was there a medical history that you missed and. Or did you.

[00:53:28] Know.

[00:53:28] Shorty? Shorty. Surely you removed someone’s crown when you were trying to clean or something or went.

[00:53:33] Yeah.

[00:53:33] No, no. When you drilled.

[00:53:35] Yeah. No, I mean, yeah, actually, it was like there was actually a couple. So one one. I didn’t do it, but it was like patient was pregnant. And, you know, normally you don’t. I always says, don’t even think, change your medical history. But she didn’t want to disclose their pregnancy anyway and then also taking an x ray. And then I was like, Is there anything you need to tell me? And then she was like, I’m pregnant. So, so lucky that I asked. And that’s one thing that I find that a lot of we all don’t ask if someone’s pregnant and because some people don’t want to. And what she said was, I said I said, it’s really important that you tell us because the thing is, you know, you’re not supposed to take when you shouldn’t, because I didn’t want to say anything because I’ve just just not recently lost a baby, so I didn’t want to jinx what it was. Yeah, that’s what I mean. So you’ve got to be really careful with that. Make sure you definitely, definitely ask, because it’s so easy for us to get roped up in our own world. Another one physically as well has been when I’ve gone, I y you always go above and beyond and I give too much anyway, I suppose.

[00:54:31] But I can’t help the character. My character, Oh, that’s who I am. And I really do care about people. I mean, that’s why I’ve got like my own patient list and people come to me, you know what I mean? That’s why I, you know, I’ve got my own little my little thing goes. So yeah. Like, well, no, I wouldn’t I’m not, not like social media patients know who I am. And then they tracked me down or fired me from somewhere. And I’ve got like my regulars, like, find out where I’m working and stuff, and they will wait for me to go back. But I’m not actually working at the moment. So but it’s like sometimes it’s like you go above and beyond sometimes and it’s like one time you could be like you you’ve not. You have still given them that time, but you haven’t been like that again the next time. And it’s like if you’ve had a complaint, I’ve never really have complaints, but then it’s like, because I haven’t, I don’t know, done something that I did before or something because, you know, it’s about sometimes, well, just just try and be don’t go. I don’t know what I’m trying to say. No, I know what you mean.

[00:55:29] I know what you mean because I.

[00:55:31] I would top down with top too much sometimes because sometimes in that upset it upsets me when they’re not when, when that happens. Because I like to give my heart and soul to what I do. And then that time I know you’re not happy now and I even run over or I’ve done something that really I should have charge for and I’ve just done it. And you’re expecting it’s like sometimes it’s never enough. So sometimes. But that’s again, about learning your worth as well. But I like I always want to help people out. That’s probably why I never have no money for my my practice for free. But it’s yeah, about knowing when to like stop stop giving too much as well.

[00:56:07] You know, there’s there’s an art there’s an art to that. Right. I used to have a boss. He was maybe he used to charge maybe four or five times the price of everyone else in that town. And yet he would give everyone a 15% discount. And his patients used to love him for it. The 15% like, Well, I sometimes I would see his patients and I’d say, Oh, well, I’ll extend the 15% discount to you as well. And they’d be over the moon about the 15%. But the price he was charging was literally four times what everyone else was charging. And he’d, he’d figure it out. And I really it really made me learn about that, that question of people valuing what you’re doing, whereas you’ve done the opposite, right. You’ve done something for free and haven’t even told the person that you’ve done it for free. You know.

[00:56:56] That’s that’s where I go wrong sometimes, because maybe I just think, yeah, but you need to inform them, like with me, really, I should say to them, I’m doing airflow for you, like, but not everyone would do this for you. And normally they charge people charge so much more. But I just I like using it and it’s what I do for everyone anyway. And it’s bad for my back when I’m practising. But really I need to look at it. You know what I’m thinking. Yeah. So it’s things like that really. But it’s a learning curve, isn’t it? You just need to learn and also as well, like I’ll be a little bit uncomfortable sometimes with the money side of stuff as well, because I come from an NHS background, a lot of it before. So that was like I’ve learnt a lot working in private practice and especially not working in Square. My like the guys I love, they’re, they taught me a lot and had to, you know, well value yourself isn’t it as well because you steal your time like I’ll be, I’ll see somebody and think oh I haven’t done as much as I did on the last person. I want to charge them less. So what is wrong with that? I still my time, isn’t it? You know, I just. I don’t know.

[00:57:56] Yeah, it’s very common. It’s common to to not be comfortable talking about money and all that. It’s a common thing, but it’s a massive error. Yeah. I mean as soon as you start dealing with some lawyers and things you realise, you know, they charge you, they charge you to read a letter, to read a letter, but then now you’re not working because now you’re focusing on products.

[00:58:22] Yes, I am. I am.

[00:58:24] But I’m going to I’m going to. You just say what you want to say about these.

[00:58:30] No, I’m going to go for it. So I’m working on my own dental product at the moment and it’s not launched yet. Planning to launch in the next three months or so. The brand is called Bare as in a bare bare like a raw bear rather than bear skin. I’ll just put that in there. The whole idea about that is like base band medicine, and it’s about back to nature bearings for strength and healing. And also my mum used to call me Baby Bear and I lost this February, so kind of a thing for her as well. But also the products actually going to contain CBD oil. So as for the benefits that it will have, I don’t want to go into too much detail because it’s still in under works at the moment, so I don’t really want to give too much away. Yeah, watch this space. So it’s going to be a bear. It’s called Bear Oral Care and it’s going to contain CBD for like health wellbeing.

[00:59:27] What are the, what are the health benefits of CBD?

[00:59:30] It’s got anti-inflammatory properties. So recently it’s been licensed as a medicine for, I think epilepsy and arthritis, but there’s obviously still a massive grey area in the UK around it. So if you sell CBD, it has to go under normal foods as a real because at the moment I can’t say it’s a medicine because of all the clinical trials and things like that, but I’m going on theory based as it’s the same as if you go and buy CBD oil in a shop, it will say it’s a normal food or supplement. It won’t tell you and say to you, Oh, this is going to make you feel better. It’s going to, but it will contain other ingredients and it’s going to be bigger and eco friendly and it’s made in the UK as well. So that’s what I want to try and bring home, try and cut down the waste and everything. We have got, much as we have in the dental world, but also to consumers as well. So yeah, I’m just.

[01:00:25] And you know how people confuse CBD with THC and you know the.

[01:00:32] Psychoactive.

[01:00:33] Yeah. So, so just, just just outline what is the difference.

[01:00:38] So CBD is actually an extract from hemp cannabis and it can contain THC. That’s the psychoactive ingredient which obviously gets people high. If people.

[01:00:48] See other bit of it, not the bit that.

[01:00:50] Yeah, yeah, it’s not, it’s been extracted from it so but will it. As long as it contains less than 0.2% THC. Yeah. You’re allowed to sell it legally in the UK with licensing and things like that, which is still a bit of a barrier, but I do believe it’s going to become legalised soon anyway, fully with the UK and the US and everything. But no one is quite controversial and people are a little bit weary of it. But the products I’m going for as well, it’s actually to do with because I’m making an oil polymer product as well for dental oil and I’m hoping that we’re not hoping if they vary that CBD oil will actually go into the body systemically like sublingual under the tongue and through the gingival sulcus mucosa because you have the oil pull for 15 to 20 minutes. Yeah. Which has been around for years and years but. No one’s marketed it yet apart from me.

[01:01:48] So, you know, quite a big quite a big step. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, listening to your story, I’m I’m actually very proud of you for wanting to do this. Right.

[01:02:00] Oh.

[01:02:00] Thank you. Because it is a it’s a big thing to do. And it’s it’s thinking outside the box and taking a risk and, you know, all all of those things. But what I would say to you is, you know, take advice from lots of people and make small steps and, you know, figure figure out the social media side.

[01:02:23] Of that side of things. You can probably see my Instagram with about five pictures on there.

[01:02:26] You’ve got to you’ve got to and and and, you know, be careful of being the first.

[01:02:32] Yeah, I know. That’s what I’m worried about.

[01:02:34] We think a lot of times that being the first is is, you know, there’s that classic first mover advantage isn’t it, that people talk about. Yeah.

[01:02:41] But it’s like we say Facebook wasn’t the first was it, you know.

[01:02:45] When business took that first mover advantage. They’re talking about the first winner advantage. Right. Yeah. That said, the first winner in a category like let’s say let’s say in the energy drink category, Red Bull. Yeah. There might have been 12 other products before Red Bull, but Red Bull’s considered the first mover advantage. It’s the first product that made it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Interestingly, Red was one of my favourite companies in the world, right? Because of just their marketing. So beautiful.

[01:03:15] Yeah. The fly, the wings, isn’t it?

[01:03:16] Everything about their marketing just, I. I’m just totally seduced by that company’s marketing. But then.

[01:03:22] Brilliant.

[01:03:22] But then, now, now recently there’s a drink called Trip that you’ve probably seen.

[01:03:29] Oh that’s got CBD.

[01:03:30] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s a, well there’s, there’s a whole lot of drinks that are CBD drinks that I think they have a name.

[01:03:36] So now actually Oh yeah.

[01:03:38] It’s on fire and it’s what, what’s amazing about they kind of copying Red Bull but it’s like equal and opposite. Right. They’re saying Red Bull gives you healthy.

[01:03:48] Yeah.

[01:03:48] No Red Bull gives you wings. This is kind of like a slow you down drink. You know.

[01:03:52] Like chill out.

[01:03:53] Relax with it. It’s got a name, The category’s got a name. I’m not sure exactly what it’s like a down or it’s not down. It’s like it’s got another name, but it’s the same idea of.

[01:04:01] I know what you mean. Yeah, it’s just a flip side of it.

[01:04:03] Yeah. And also in the small cans, I mean always used to get me about Red Bull was to take on Coca Cola, you know, like back in my day, that was like, it’d be like taking on the US government or something. Yeah. So you take on coke. There you go. They just held up, just held up a Diet Coke. They take on a drink like that with, with the can. That’s one third the size and four.

[01:04:26] Times the price.

[01:04:27] And win and win. They won right. Oh well yeah, they didn’t, they didn’t win against Coca Cola but I’m saying they, they won in the world. Right.

[01:04:34] The market. Yeah. Well the one of leukocyte as well didn’t they. Yeah.

[01:04:37] Yeah. For sure. So you know I wish you a lot of luck with that and it’s an exciting that the agony and ecstasy of of of launching a product would be very similar to the agony and ecstasy of getting into dental school and therapy and, and all this stuff you went through before that. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on. So I’m going to end it with the same two questions we always ask.

[01:05:06] Yeah, go for it.

[01:05:07] Fancy dinner party, three guests, dead or alive? Who would you have?

[01:05:14] This was really difficult, but I’d love at ten. But I’m going to say Elon Musk definitely is that guy. Yeah, I just think it’s quite a bit crazy. Like, he just. He just. He just don’t care. And he uses eccentric and I just think, yeah, just everything about the whole persona, like the guy is just great. I think he’s a fantastic, good sense of humour. Sadhguru Another one. Have you heard of Psych Guru who’s a Yogi?

[01:05:43] Oh, I think I do know that we’ve worked with the beard. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:05:48] I know him. I think he’s amazing like this.

[01:05:50] Yeah, he’s.

[01:05:51] Good. He’s making me calm down a bit rather than be like, Oh.

[01:05:56] I get. I get him on Tik tok a lot for some reason.

[01:05:59] Oh, really. Yeah. Yeah, I’m on there. Yeah, we know. And the third one will be it’s gonna be Elvis. Oh, yeah. Elvis Presley. Wow.

[01:06:10] Yeah. What a dinner.

[01:06:11] Party. Yeah. This Apple Music, it was always. It was the first person that did dentistry and Woman in London. And, you know, Lily. Lily. And your name was. And. Yeah, there’s others, but. But. But it would go on forever, won’t it?

[01:06:29] Have you seen. Have you seen the Bob Marley musical?

[01:06:32] No. Oh, my goodness.

[01:06:33] It’s amazing. It’s amazing. I don’t like musicals yet, but that one, my goodness, it was excellent. And it’s not what you’d expect. I mean.

[01:06:41] They still go in probably.

[01:06:43] When I went. It wasn’t that long ago and it was kind of new. Amazing, amazing, amazing thing. The different arrangements on the songs and.

[01:06:51] And just. Yeah, I love him. Yeah.

[01:06:53] Just the, the, the sound of that. Like you feel like it’s a live event, you know, like a live concert. You should definitely go to it. Definitely. Definitely go.

[01:07:01] Music does it, you know, doesn’t it? It’s like you could be singing down and it just, you know, it just does something to you, doesn’t it? Just lift your soul for sure.

[01:07:08] So then our final question. You’re on your deathbed.

[01:07:14] Yes, I’ve been there a couple of times. Yeah.

[01:07:19] After your story, this question’s a bit a bit poignant. On your deathbed, you’ve got your nearest and dearest around you, your family, hopefully your children by then, because of that operation, was so successful. And three pieces of advice you can leave for your family and for the world.

[01:07:41] Don’t ever let anyone intimidate you and have the courage to go. If you think you can do something, just go for it. Like don’t about anything. Stop you like where you come from, you know, just. Just go for it. That would be one one of them questions and about. Yeah. Just. Just know your worth. The other one, would they treat everybody as as you would want to be treated? Because you never know. But you could you could bet on people on the way up and then you don’t know where you’re going to fall. You always need and I’ll just say you should always treat the CEO and a janitor. They say the same, isn’t it? Because, you know, you should be humble. And then the last one would probably be. I always tell people that you love them because you never know when you’re not going to see them again just yet. And I do think love love is a cliche, isn’t it, really? But I think love is all you need, isn’t it? Really? It’s so true. That’s what it’s all about. Love. Love is everything. I think so, yeah. Don’t cry, baby was.

[01:08:47] No. You know what I was thinking? I was thinking of one of my friends is his mom passed away, and he said to me, Call your mom every day. But. But. But he wasn’t saying about because one day she’ll be dead. His his mom was sick, you know, had dementia for a few years before.

[01:09:05] This terrible disease.

[01:09:06] And he was saying, call your mom every day while the lights are still on. Like while while she’s there for you. Let her be.

[01:09:12] Yeah, but I don’t think we do that enough, though. Even with friends, the way you should tell people like and I always say, I always compliment people because everyone’s so quick to be negative. And you should always be like, if you like, don’t tell them. And you know, because like, the world can be quite dark and if you can, against that Michelangelo thing as well, isn’t it? You know, people will never, never forget how you make them feel. So, you know, if you can make someone stay a bit better, then do it, you know?

[01:09:38] That’s definitely, definitely, Yeah. I’ve really, really enjoyed this error.

[01:09:44] Me too. And I hope, though, I hate my voice.

[01:09:49] We all have our voice, so. And I know I’m going to be seeing you hopefully enlightened soon. So I.

[01:09:56] Really.

[01:09:56] Look forward. Look forward to that.

[01:09:58] Thank you so much.

[01:09:59] It’s been a pleasure.

[01:10:01] It’s been great. Thank you.

[01:10:04] 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.

[01:10:20] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, 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 had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing and if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.


Welcome back to the second part of our ongoing Leading Ladies series when we look back at highlights from conversations with female dental leaders.

This week, we hear from diverse voices from across the profession on a whole host of issues faced by women and the profession as a whole.



In This Episode

00:35 – Lauren Sparkle

09:39 – Shaadi Manouchehri

11:08 – Elaine Halley

16:59 – Fazeela Khan-Osborne

22:44 – Zayba Sheikh

30:43 – Gina Vega

33:50 – Hannah Woolnough

35:05 – Shazia Ahmed

36:20 – Slaine McGrath

38:23 – Jasmine Piran


[00:00:05] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:22] Welcome to Leading Ladies Part two. Our mini series combining some of the best parts of our conversations with inspirational lady dentists. Enjoy. See you in part three. Number 54. Lauren Sparkle.

[00:00:39] The fact that I do hold several media roles so frantically sort of trying to figure out what to advise members as well. So yeah, I think the first six weeks or so I was averaging about four or 5 hours sleep a night just trying to keep on top of, you know, meetings, constant contact, WhatsApp messages flying around and things.

[00:01:07] And you’ve got you’ve got your practice, you’ve got your kids. How many kids have your three? Three kids? You’ve put your brother and your dad and now you’ve got mental dental and now you’ve got all these BDA roles. Are you the type of person who just like says yes to everything and then works it out later? Or do you love do you love being in the middle of it or. You know what I mean? It’s a lot to do.

[00:01:35] Yeah. I mean, we’ve got confidential as well.

[00:01:39] A confidential thing.

[00:01:43] Yeah. My dad at my wedding, when my dad gave a speech, he called me perpetual motion. And I think that, you know, that probably that probably is right. I’d like to be on the go, and I like to help. So if there’s an opportunity, then I’ll take it, because I think that if we’ve got the option to help, if we’ve got the ability to help people, then we should. So yeah, if there’s if there’s an opportunity to help, then I will.

[00:02:18] Lauren, how would you squeeze it all in? What’s a day or a week in the life of your sort of activities like so with running the practice just one day, rather, you know, and then running all of these organisations and WhatsApp messages and stuff like that. What’s it like for you? Typical day, typical week.

[00:02:38] So I will wake up sort of at half, six, seven and just immediately check my phone. As unhealthy as that is, immediately check my phone, scroll through messages, reply to anything that has come while I’ve been asleep.

[00:02:57] While you’re in bed, you’re in.

[00:03:00] Bed. It’s like when I open, it’s like scrolling through and I’ll replace any immediate messages. Then get up, get kids up, ready for school nursery, sort the dog out, sort of cat. So chicken on the duck. So I’ll get the girls onto the school bus. Sonny comes with me because he goes to nursery just opposite the practice.

[00:03:29] How old are they?

[00:03:30] So Brooke is nine, Grace is six, and Sunny is doing well. And so, yeah, I managed to even be spaced out. My husband was joking a little while ago, was like, Oh, come on, now it’s time for the next one. They will be four more. We’ve done it three. We’re both really tired all the time. He still tries to come into bed with us every night. So. So yeah, he I mean, this is this is the reason I’ve got so much time is because Sunny actually has never slept very well. So I’m usually up so I can I can manage a lot from my phone. So that’s, that’s kind of what happens. So yeah, on a typical day, Non-covid, I’ll go in and see patients and, you know, replace messages, lunchtimes and then usually zip from the practice to get sunny, to get home to sort kids out, that sort of thing. And then, you know, like in between times I’ll be replying to messages, doing emails and that sort of thing. So yeah.

[00:04:36] Is it a mixed mix practice?

[00:04:38] It’s a mixed practice, yeah. So we’re about 80% NHS and that. It’s obviously we’ve been really, really fortunate to get some NHS funding in Wales. We’ve had 80% of our contract value initially. We’ve just recently gone up to 90%. So that is being helpful. But obviously the private side has died off really because the priority is being NHS patients kind of because we’re we’re so restricted about what we can do. We’ve really just tried to focus on getting everybody healthy. And a lot of the a lot of the private stuff I was doing was aesthetic. I got a small amount of patients who I’ve been looking after as well, but we’ve just we just mainly been focusing on keeping everybody healthy through this time.

[00:05:34] How many how many rooms is it? How many dentists is it in the practice?

[00:05:36] We were we were two surgeries. And then this year I was appointed as a trainer, so I just put in a third surgery.

[00:05:47] Goodness, you are busy, aren’t you? So tell us. Tell us about mental dental. How did it come about? First of all, for someone who doesn’t know, what is it?

[00:05:57] So Mental Dental is Facebook forum for UK dentists. We’ve allowed a couple of Irish dentists to join because there wasn’t something similar for Irish dentists and we thought that we would still have some crossover between our problems. But it’s mostly UK dentists, so we have close to 6000 members now and it was started really as a kind of a support group. So I mentioned earlier that my mother was the director of a charity when she was alive. She worked her way up to become the director of that charity, but initially was just a volunteer and she used to help to run support groups for people whose children had speech and language problems. And I remember that the support groups were super useful because it meant that people with the same issues and the same problems and the same fears could come together and share them and give advice and support and just hints and tips, but without judgement, because everyone was going through the same thing. And I just I thought, you know, we’re really, really isolated as dentists. We all say it all the time. We’re really isolated as dentists. It’s slightly better if you work in a practice with more dentists, but not always because you don’t always feel you can talk to your colleagues. Some people, you know are very private and I just thought that a Facebook forum would give that space quite nicely to dentists who are all over the country. I’d seen on some other forums that people were really suffering. Burnout is something that is really prevalent in dentistry. I’ve suffered from it myself. I had a breakdown in 2015 myself and I just didn’t want anyone to have to face that alone anymore. So I just wanted to make a space where we could come together and we could help each other.

[00:08:07] So when when you went through it yourself, did you find there was no one to talk to?

[00:08:11] I didn’t want to talk to anyone. And this was problem is that I had hidden this part of myself for so long that nobody had any idea that I was suffering. No idea till until it all completely fell apart. And it was manifesting even physically, because I spent about two weeks with just I was just shaking and vomiting and could barely move. So it was really, really I had affected me not just mentally, but physically, also.

[00:08:50] A lot on the outside. If I knew you passing by and all the rest of it, I wouldn’t have a clue, right? Yeah, I’d be blind to this, but something was going on inside until you exploded and it all fell apart. Would you mind just sharing what it was and what led to that? If you’re comfortable doing so, obviously, and then perhaps just sharing, not necessarily mentioning names, the typical things that you see in your group that perhaps somebody listening to this and is experiencing similar problems would feel comfortable reaching out and knowing that this helped.

[00:09:28] Okay. Well, for me, I think it was a combination of things. So it’s never just one thing in isolation that causes us these issues.

[00:09:39] Number 67 Shaadi Menu Cherry. The tick tock must take time. I mean, I was. I was. I was going through it last night. What do you do one day?

[00:09:52] Well, I used to do one, two, three, three a day. I think that’s the that they say one, two, three a day. Yeah, but you have to be relevant. You have to be out there. And that’s the thing with social media. I think you have to be consistent. You’re going to have off days, but you have to have content pre-planned. But all of this is pre-planned. So I film and do all of that. So if I have a filming day, then I will film as many videos as I can that day and plan it. But it takes a lot of time, especially if you want to do well. You know, if you just want to create videos for the sake of it, then that’s another thing. But if you actually want to spend time editing them, planning them, filming them, and it does take time.

[00:10:28] How many can you produce on a day? Like a whole day?

[00:10:32] Yeah. So if I have a day where I’m not at the clinic, I’m at home, then yeah, I’ll plan. I would have planned them from before. So whenever I get an idea, I dropped it down and then for that day I know how many filming. So for example, for that video that went viral, I think I created like 25 or something videos in that day. And that just happened to be one of the videos.

[00:10:51] Oh, really?

[00:10:53] Yeah. But you get you get you get good at stuff. And a lot of it isn’t like just me pointing to stuff. It’s reacting to stuff. So thankfully on TikTok, there’s a lot of videos that you can react to and just talk about what’s happening and people seem to like those as well.

[00:11:08] I’m a 72 Elaine Halley.

[00:11:11] We were the first in our area to put an ad in the Yellow Pages that actually, you know, we had a logo which prompt a print or someone came out with our cherries. Cherry Bank, Dental Family Dental Centre. And my start line was caring dentistry with a gentle touch. And we put we I guess we built a story at a time when people were just putting lists and their names and numbers. So we started off with a box and then we moved to a column and then we got bigger and then other practices started to follow suit, so we had to do other things. We also did leaflet. I mean, I went around with leaflets myself and put them through doors. I joined the Chamber of Commerce, I joined the business network. I made myself and as I said, as I explained, I talk and teach now, but I was that doesn’t never came easily to me. So I made myself join business networking groups and, you know, have to stand up and vouch for what I was doing. So I remember people saying, you know, most new businesses fold within the first 12 months, so I’d get to 12 months and write a few, and then it would be. But most businesses fold within the first three years and then most most don’t make it to five years. I can remember each of those milestones thinking, Oh my God, it’s like, when can I feel like I’ve made it? So yeah. Then you learn.

[00:12:39] Your three practices now. Elaine Right.

[00:12:43] And no, not quite. So I did open a second practice in Edinburgh and I have sold the majority stake in that practice to a group of practices in Scotland, the Pain Free Dentistry Group, and I work for them as a clinical director, so helping to mentor the associates. So I still have some ownership of Edinburgh, but I don’t work there anymore. So I had a brief dalliance with corporate, which didn’t go well, which I could have probably a bit like the I need to work for myself. So I realised this isn’t going to work, manage to get myself out of that by, by then selling to a dentist who who understands what it is to be to be a dentist. So I really enjoy balance in my working life. So I work clinically part of the time in my own practice in Perth, which is now back to being just mine, which is brilliant. And then I work Mentoring Associates for a pain free dentistry group, and then I also teach as well. So I love the balance.

[00:13:44] And so you said you’re a bit of a control freak. What are you like as a as a boss? Are you touchy feely, caring, sharing like boss? Were you a bit strict on that?

[00:13:56] You’re probably not the one to ask. I have three team members who’ve worked with me for over 20 years, so.

[00:14:03] That’s a good thing.

[00:14:04] I can’t be that bad. And yeah, I think. I. I don’t know. I don’t know. I try and be kind. I try and respect my colleagues, but I also know how I want things to be. And I think sometimes I have to remember to do the touchy feely stuff, you know? I think most business owners have a kind of mindset of getting the job done and making decisions. And yeah, sometimes you have to remember that people aren’t just they don’t can’t read your mind and they’re not necessarily just going to come with you. You might have to check in with them occasionally. So but my my core team, my team here in Perth, as I say, most of them have been with me for a long time. So they’ve figured out how to manage me. Probably more than you must have.

[00:14:50] You must’ve had some some periods of overwhelm, though, right? Because, I mean, before you had more, more practices, more associates, more staff, you hold back commitment. You’ve got how many kids?

[00:15:02] Three.

[00:15:03] Three kids. There must there must have been moments where. Where it was just like too much. What was your what’s your darkest kind of days in your professional life?

[00:15:15] I’ve had lots of moments where it’s been too much. I mean, I don’t think you get through life without, you know, without ups and downs. I think, you know, I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to maintain ownership of my first practice. And I think anyone who started to swap practice, not anyone, because some people are very good at starting businesses and selling them and letting them go. But for me, you know, this building, this these people, these patients I’ve been looking after for for 25 years have been my rock throughout some of the other ups and downs of life. Absolutely. I mean, starting Edinburgh was an ambitious move. I try not to have regrets in life, but there were some pretty big moments where I really did regret stretching myself financially and emotionally. And I have massive respect for people that can manage multi site practices. I mean, I struggled with two, so I don’t know how these people do it that have have multiple sites. I realise that that’s not that was possibly an ego driven situation. I’m doing so well in Paris, I can certainly do it somewhere else. I think what they learnt about myself was I’m good at what I do, but growing scaling is not. That’s not what drives me. So yeah, I mean, I have three children. My first pregnancy, I had appendicitis in the middle of that pregnancy and was suddenly off like suddenly off for six weeks with a new practice. No associates. So lots of lots of ups and downs that life throws at you. Yeah, certainly don’t take any of it for granted, that’s for sure.

[00:16:59] I’m a 76 physio. Lakhan Osborne Without question.

[00:17:04] I definitely had a much more feisty. I think you’ve mellowed with age. I definitely had a much more feisty. Well, you put the barrier down. You know, I, I’m a great believer when people talk to me about barriers, I say to them the barriers in reality and the barriers in your head. And I think more barriers are in our head sometimes than in reality. And I am a person that if I want to do something, I’m either going through it, round it or over it, but I’m not going to go under it. And I fall down all the time. I fall down all the time. But the thing is, I am surrounded by a family that love me. Come what may, they are unconditionally at my side. I’m supported in by my friends. You know, I said about Corey, even Asha, you know, I have friends I’ve had for 30 years. And even when I fell down in the sense that, you know, I don’t know whether you will bring this up, so I’ll bring it up. When I got my GDC letter. Right, that was four years of hell. Hell, because you suddenly feel that everything has been swiped from under you and you suddenly start to believe that you’ve done something terrible, you’ve really done, you’ve hurt someone. And it’s appalling. And I remember Corey and Zacky coming to my practice on the day, and they sat down and read the letter and said, Right, what are we going to do? And it was always we. It was always the Three Musketeers, you know, And I and I hugely and I remember Corey saying, if they come for you, they’ll come for me, too. And so I was always really lucky because loyalty to my friends, you know, if any of my friends call me any time of the day or night, I will get in my car or walk there barefoot if I have to, to get to them, because that’s what friendship means to me. And I think that’s why I’ve survived this long.

[00:19:02] Really busy. Tell me about your patient experience, because from what I’m hearing right now, your whole life and everything is about loyalty, love, care and all of that. And so how do you how do you wrap that up in your in your patient experience? It seems to me you’re less of a businesswoman and more of a someone who’s there, as you mentioned, to serve to give that 96 year old the ability to bite into a steak for the first time in 20, 34 years. Talk me through your patient experience. What happens? A walk through the door? Who do I meet? If I pick up the phone? Who do I speak to? What is the experience like in your clinic?

[00:19:41] So usually a lot of my work is referrals, so it’s either referral from in-house patients. I think that’s a big plus for us. And also a lot of my students same work, But although we’re doing that work together a lot of the time or it’s just direct referrals. So for example, I take I have referrals from Uchenna and, and other people in the area that I work with, so they will ring and we will have normally had a letter before, so we’ll be aware. So my front of house will know straightaway that someone’s called and they. They will be welcomed and say, yes, we’ve got the referral. We’re going to send you an email. Would you like to send us back your availability? And we would normally say to them, we’ll call you by the end of today to get this sorted for you. Then they’ll come to me and show me that. And if I don’t know about it already, we’ll try to find the appropriate time. So for example, if the patient is 90, I’m not going to offer them a 9:00 appointment. I’m going to offer them an 11:00 to 2:00 appointment because they’re not going to get out of bed at seven know. So things like that I’m fairly attuned to then, depending on what it is, they will be called by my head nurse who looks after all my patients and she will get to know them.

[00:20:58] She will ask them if there’s anything they’re particularly concerned about. She’ll ask them how they’re getting to us, you know, just in case there’s any delays, all that kind of thing. And then she’ll follow it up by email saying, I’ll call you the day before your appointment. If you have any concerns, please contact me before. So that happens when you walk in. We’re ready. We know you’re coming. So my head nurse will welcome you pre-COVID. We would have known. We will have offered you a cup of coffee. Whatever you want. You will sit down and then they’ll tell me straight away and I will go to. To the waiting room or the waiting area and pick up the patient myself. I’ll then take them through and we sit in like a little coffee, an area and sit down and have a chat. So the first thing I do with my patient in that scenario is to sit down and learn something about them, learn what makes them tick, why they’re there, what their experience has been, what worries them, what makes them happy, what they’re concerned about today.

[00:22:00] Is it that away from the dental chair?

[00:22:01] Yeah. So we have a couple of armchairs, we have a coffee table, that kind of thing. Very simple. They might have a cup of coffee still in their hand. And then we’ll move towards the dental chair and I’ll say to them, You know, this is what I’d like to achieve in the next 45 minutes. We’re going to go through it in this way so they know exactly what’s going to happen before we move to the chair and then we get to the chair. So I will do full exam photographs. I tend to ask them what are the three or four things that they want to achieve? And I write them down in their own words. And I say to them, If you decide that I’m the person who’s going to help you, we’re going to come back and look at this at the end when I fit. So I know whether I did this right.

[00:22:44] Number 83 Sabre Shake.

[00:22:48] I think actually you’ll be surprised that a lot of it is in the is in the now. And I’ve learnt that being in the present is everything because that really shapes what’s going to happen. But I think that a lot of my head is in, in the, in the entrepreneurial growth of where I want to be, but actually from a day to day aspect, I’m not doing that every day. I would like to do more. But I think like we said before, Roo is still in its infancy, you know, and the team need me and I hope they need me more so. But, you know, the fact that, you know, having a short maternity and just getting back on my calls and being there, you know, that value add for me, I feel is definitely needed every day and wanted as well. I do see that that I am part of the brand and that the team need that it’s not just patients are so important and giving the patients that flavour of your brand and your quality is everything. But actually for the team, what they need from the brand is me, really. So I’ve got to do that every day in terms of that, that leadership, I think that’s so important.

[00:23:54] So how often do you have those conversations with them? I mean.

[00:23:57] So at the moment I probably structure runs where we now have we’re doing everything now over zooms as well as meetings, but we will meet with different levels of teams. So I would say managers meetings are weekly. Then you have board meetings with group level teams are kind of monthly, but actually group level members, I’m probably speaking to them three or four times a week. So it’s very informal there. We’re in too many WhatsApp groups and Re dental. We really need to relax with those. But you know, we’re always on, you know, in conversation with them. I think I have a really good relationship with all of them that it’s very informal. It’s like, Saba, we need you for this X, Y, Z, and I’m their number 85. Nina Wadia Yeah, I think it’s a completely different skill and I personally think this should be taught at dental school. I just don’t know why. I mean, I hope it changes in the next few years, but that skill of running a business, understanding figures, understanding revenue, all that kind of stuff is so important. It should be taught to everyone. So yeah, I had to learn it, I think so. Read books again, my mentors, business consultants, we went through all the metrics and all the things you need to know which you aren’t towards dental school and then. You learn as you go along. So you see what works. You see what doesn’t work and you change things. And I think everyone mistakes, but you come across things actually that didn’t really work around. Let me try this. So it’s a skill that you have to learn. I do think what I definitely had to was and I guess some people in built with that sort of business ethos, but I definitely wasn’t. I was very academic, so it was a completely different ballgame. But yeah, it was fun learning about it. And I think then combining both skills worked really well.

[00:25:44] Reno What are the best and worst things about running a business? So sometimes there’s things that you do in your business that you just do because you have to do, but you just don’t enjoy it. And there’s some things that you do in your business where you’re in your zone of genius. And if you were doing that 100% of the time, life would be great.

[00:26:02] Let me start. I guess the best thing about running your own business is literally the fact that you can do every single thing your own way using whatever equipment you want, spending however long you want with whoever you want, because you get to choose who your team are. And that makes all the difference in an environment you want to as well. So especially with the new clinic, it’s really made a difference to how much I always really enjoy everything, but it just magnified how much I enjoy going to work. So I think the best part is, and the thing is also working in a team is really fun. I don’t see my team members as I’m the boss. You’re the all. We all collaborate with each other, so we all bring different strengths and we try and support each other and build each other up. So that’s kind of the best thing about having your own own business. And I guess you’re in control of things. You’re in control of the future of your business and who you bring on to the team and things, treatments you might want to offer. So there’s a lot of you’re in charge, I guess, with all those kind of things. I guess the negatives are you just can’t switch off.

[00:27:01] It’s yeah, you’re you never know. I don’t really call it working for me. Well it’s like play to me. I just I enjoy it anyway. But you don’t switch off from your business. For example, you get an email or something happens and sometimes they’re very minor things, but you have to deal with them because it’s your business. So the way I’ve kind of tackled that before, actually in the first year or so, I got quite I tried to zone out work and play and I try to take I’ve done for the day and then I just get like patient emails or this and that and I get really stressed out. Then I realise quite quickly on if you want to do this, you just have to take a lifestyle approach. So and that’s how I work now. It’s more of a lifestyle. I don’t see it as work and play, it’s just a lifestyle. But that’s the thing. You can’t switch off no matter how much you think you can. You just can’t. If it’s a bad thing, it’s just something you got to be aware of. So I guess that’s that’s the hardest bit for sure.

[00:27:53] And so how, how different is life now? You were talking about studying for your specialism. Wake up at 5 a.m., go to bed at midnight. Does the business of dentistry live with you during those hours as well? The first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is check your phone, see, see, see what you’ve got on or whatever and so on and so forth. How how is it now that you’ve moved from studying to having your own business and the integration of the business into your life?

[00:28:23] Yeah, I think it’s quite different now. I think in terms of hours of the day, I still wake up very early. I still probably wake up at five, 530 every day, wake up. I’m quite religious, so I do some meditation in the morning. I actually don’t check my phone till I start having breakfast because I don’t. Personally, I think your first hour of your day is that’s when you have your best ideas. That’s when you want to be fully focussed. I don’t look at my phone, I don’t look at emails the way I see emails. Emails are just like a to do list, like someone’s telling you what to do. You want to just I personally zone that out for a later time in the day. So yeah, the first I think the hours are the same, but my day is far better balanced. So I have time in the morning where I don’t work and then I walk to work. So I have 20 minutes where I listen to a podcast or listen to some music, depending what mood I’m in and just think about my day ahead. Then I get into work. That’s when I turn of career mode on and then I look at my day. I have to say through the move, obviously I’ve been building the new clinic. It’s been stressful, so my hours have been longer, but on an average day, probably start work at around 830 and finish about six, 630, 7:00 sometimes.

[00:29:34] So it is a long day. But, you know, make sure I have a lunch break. It’s a quite nice paced day. And then when I get home I do try and do non dental stuff, which I think is quite important. Some days I’ll have like podcasts or webinars or things on, but I’m not doing that every single night. And I think on the weekend I definitely try and do some non not switch off but just do some non dental stuff, other things that re-energize me essentially. And also I’m not working, I’m not in the clinic, I don’t do, I don’t see patients every single day. So I’m working three and a half days in clinic and then I have a day of admin, which is quite nice and doing non clinical stuff as well. So I try to balance my week, not just my day as well. And what I’ve now set up is sounds a bit strange, but all my calendar on my iCal, I have a zone, my, my actual calendar, so I have anything that’s work related and read anything which is fun and everything’s fun. But anything that’s non dental, it is having blue and every so I try and make sure I’ve got my balance right, which really helps me actually. So I know if I’m just too much red in the diary and try to book in some more blue. So yeah, that that system seems to work for you now.

[00:30:43] I’m a 91.

[00:30:44] Gina Vega No, I am very happy with the way things are. I have achieved a lot. I have no plans to open another practice. I do still have a little bit of room for growth. Within the practice that I’m going to try to to I’m actually September trying to expand that part of the business. But I, I have always something under my sleeve. You know, I have like a moment on my speakerphone recently. Now I have done a few webinars. I’m going to do another webinar and soon. I’m also at the moment working with as part of the educational committee of the VA. And so for me that that is something that I want to explore a little bit more. So personally, I think the moment I only work three days a week at the Practice, I don’t have any more intentions to work four days at all. The fourth day is in my house doing my clean checks and doing my paperwork, my admin, and actually July is my first month that I’m not working on Fridays. I’m not even answering emails on Fridays anymore. I, I have decided to do that because after the pandemic we were working 12 hour days and it was killing us. So we have changed. And that’s why I think at the moment I want to need to be more of a work life balance. I want to spend a little more time with my family. I want to spend more time in my house because I enjoyed it when we were in the lockdown. So so now for me definitely is growing a few to maximise the space of the practice, but also growing my my name as a speaker, as a committee member, things like that.

[00:32:55] Tell us about the family, Gina.

[00:32:57] Well, I have two children. My husband Mike, as I mentioned before, and the kids are they’re amazing. You know, my son just finished his GCSE in May. I’m very, very proud of him because we tell him that he had to find that he was going to have a summer job and he’s embracing it with both arms. He is doing some gardening 2 to 3 days a week and he is loving it. So he has his first job and he’s yeah, he’s amazing. And my daughter Sophia, she just finished a senior school. Sorry, junior school. She just that was a last year junior school. She had her Leavers party and now she’s going to senior school. I can’t believe how quick time has gone.

[00:33:50] I’ve got 93 Hannah Woolnough.

[00:33:54] So I graduated. So I’d love to say that I’m really, really youthful, but that is probably just some of the boat stops talking. So I graduated in 2006, so it’s 15 years since I graduated and I think I first started going to things like Ldl-c meetings and getting involved with HIV about ten years ago. So and it started off quite gradual just attending the board meeting. But as I say, these things tend to snowball, especially if you live in remote areas where we find it really difficult to recruit somebody to come and do a job at the LDC, no one wants to hold a chequebook. So if you’re willing to get involved in any way, you sort of end up getting sucked into it and just being given more and more responsibility. Because if you’re interested and it is interesting, it’s not that you’re being lumbered with jobs that you don’t want to do. It is interesting stuff. It’s just finding people that have the capacity to deal with that. And I think in our profession there are lots of people who are really, really worn out with everything that they’re doing. And the thought of asking them to go to a meeting at the end of an evening of full clinic day and talk about dentistry even more, that that can be quite an ask number.

[00:35:05] 104 Shazia Ahmed Now one.

[00:35:10] Hands are tied, hands are tied, limited. A limited time, limited.

[00:35:17] Materials.

[00:35:18] Materials, you know, and we’re supposed to produce the best, best outcomes.

[00:35:23] Yeah. So. So. So personally, for you, what made you stick at NHS Dentistry? I mean, did you not think, Hey, I’ll go private?

[00:35:34] For me, I’ve actually worked in high needs areas most of my life.

[00:35:40] And it’s even harder, right?

[00:35:43] Very, very difficult. Yeah, very difficult. And you know, when you’re a woman and you’ve got young children, yeah. Sometimes you have to take on a bad deal just to be there for your kids. Yeah, and I was one of them. I took on the harder jobs just so that I could finish work at 3:00 and pick my kids up myself. And the beauty of that is that you do become a very good dentist. You learn, you learn techniques, you become the best dentist you could be.

[00:36:20] Number 106 Slaney McGraw I guess you’ve been in and out of enough dental practices to see what’s going on, right? But I guess when running a bit different, being an associate, totally different. Being an associate than a principal though.

[00:36:36] Yeah. Yeah. And I think from a setup perspective, I mean, I’m lucky that I have been involved in the opening of a clinic before and from a Sikh perspective and all of that I’ve been involved in in the interviews. And so I’m I know that’s a lot of work, but I’m I’m not otherwise working at the moment.

[00:36:53] So but my my point isn’t that my point is, you know, when you and Kerry working at RU.

[00:36:59] Yeah.

[00:37:00] When you’re not the boss, there’s a different relationship with the staff. And when you are the boss.

[00:37:06] Right.

[00:37:06] Of course. And how that’s going to translate, What kind of boss are you going to be, what kind of post you’re going to be?

[00:37:12] I think there’s a line between being too close friends with your colleagues because then it or sorry, not with your colleagues, with your employees, because it then becomes very, very difficult if somebody is not kind of working at the standard that you’d like them to be. So I want to be very, very fair. I want to get on very well with my employees. But I’m also not going to be going out with them on a Saturday night and partying every week or with anybody else for that matter. And I’ve got two children and I can’t. But if I could, I might.

[00:37:43] Talking of that, we’re coming to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks, aren’t we. For And so I did. I heard that.

[00:37:49] There’s a babysitter in that job. Pardon.

[00:37:52] I was going to say Thursday the 11th. I hope you’ve got your babysitter sorted.

[00:37:56] I know I did actually have to message Susie because I have a babysitter for the Friday of I’m coming to see the money talking on Friday, but I just don’t know if my youngest will be able to stay on her own because she’s not great at feeding from the bottle. So I had a message, Susie, and was like, Can I take her? She was like, I don’t care what anyone else says. I like babies, become friends with the baby, but not on the Thursday night.

[00:38:23] I’m 108. Jasmine, would you tell your kid to become a dentist?

[00:38:28] Oh, that’s a really tricky one because I really want to say yes. I really want to say yes to that question. And I have to be honest, I think I would say no, because I. Chain, I feel like, and I hope it passes. I feel like we’re we’re going through a period in our profession, which in some ways is incredible. I think we’re so privileged to be in a situation where we’ve got great technology. You know, digital dentistry is phenomenal. We’ve got great material sciences, you know, the things we can do artistically, aesthetically, for patients without, you know, very minimally invasively. I you know, I get such a kick out of that side of things. I absolutely love it. So that side of things is amazing. But then you look at the kind of the litigious ness of the population that we’re living in. You look at the lack of support that we get, I believe, from our regulators the way that that all plays out. I just think it’s become quite difficult. And certainly I feel so lucky that I managed to kind of pave the way for myself within dentistry into the types of clinics that I’ve worked at because, you know, I read on these forums that the kind of the situations that a lot of associates working in very busy NHS practices are going through. And I just think that must be so hard. And we we need that to be going on because we need the NHS dental system to be working and we need patients to have access to that care. But working in that way within that system I think is really hard. And if somebody came into the profession now, they’d have to work through that first before they could get to a point where they’re not having to do that anymore. So that’s probably why I would have reservations, I think.

[00:40:12] I don’t know if if you’ve seen that British Dental Action Group.

[00:40:16] Have and it’s it’s a little bit soul destroying. And I read the post and I sense there’s such a kind of there’s a bit of a them on us between associates and principals and. Both sides seem to just so often see the worst in each other. And I’m sure there’s reasons for that. But I find that really sort of disappointing because ideally, if you’re in a situation where you’re either a principal or you’re an associate, it should be based on a place of trust for either your associate or your principal. And I think not being able to have that and feeling like. You’re kind of constantly being screwed over, for want of a better word. It’s just really sad and it’s a horrible kind of environment. It’s a bad energy to be working in, I would say.

[00:41:06] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts. Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[00:41:21] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, 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. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing and if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.


Back in 2020, Payman and Prav sat down for a fascinating chat with up-and-coming cosmetic dentist Zainab Al-Mukhtar.

Zainab spoke so fondly of her inspirational mum Fareeda Daar that it only seemed natural to Fareeda’s story.

She describes how she settled on oral surgery after realising a medical career wasn’t her thing and recounts her journey to the UK from Tanzania via Romania, Yemen, Oman and Vienna.    

Fareeda also discusses the trials and tribulations of running a busy practice while raising a family and reveals the secrets behind the success of her Harrow on the Hill practice.  

In This Episode

02.12 – Inspiration

06.26 – Study in Romania

14.29 – The UK and Oman

32.29 – Practice purchase and the secrets of success

38.42 – Risk and resilience

47.01 – Social media and confidence

51.50 – Instilling value and values

54.04 – Blackbox thinking

01.11.06 – Plans

01.16.55 – Fantasy dinner party

01.17.55 – Last days and legacy


About Fareeda Daar

Fareeda studied dentistry in Romania before moving to the UK to gain a master’s degree in dental implantology.

She was the principal dentist at Park View Dental in North West London from 2000 to 2010 and has been the principal at Harrow on the Hill dental practice since 2010.  

[00:00:00] The thing about experience is you can’t really buy it. You can’t you can’t accelerate experience. Experience comes from a set of things that essentially go wrong over those years and then you’ve got experience. And so it’s a funny thing because, you know, if these things don’t go wrong, then you’re going to have big problems going forward because you’re not aware of the things that can go wrong. It’s one of those that’s why we call it dental practice, right?

[00:00:31] Practising dentistry, word experience by itself. You just bought yourself right now and I’m thinking about it, the word experience is learning is what you have learned and you have learned from the good, the bad and the ugly mistakes to learn from and not to make them again.

[00:00:53] This is Dental Leaders the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:10] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr. Farida Dar onto the podcast. Dr. Dhar is a principal implant ologist, now retired, of course, a mother of three dentists, one of which ZAYNAB, who was on this show herself. Episode 14 For any of the listeners who want to listen, and really the reason why we have her on this show is because in that interview with Zainab al-Mukhtar, she constantly referred to her mother as the source of her inspiration and the reason why she does what she does. And then after a few conversations with Zainab, I was telling Zainab about women in dentistry and Middle Eastern women in dentistry and in medicine. She said, Well, you really should talk to my mom. And and, you know, she’s got a great story to tell. So so here we are. We’ve got we’ve got you on the show. Welcome to the show, Doctor. How are you?

[00:02:01] Nice to be here.

[00:02:02] So this is kind of a sort of a life and times type of podcast. But but I want to start with who was your inspiration in the way that you were?

[00:02:11] Zainab’s Right. So completely different to my daughters, who just sort of took it as a as a, as a natural thing to become a dentist because they came to my practice all the time. They saw what I did, they saw how I enjoyed it. And that’s such a bad thing to do for the rest of our lives. For me, I wanted to do medicine and I got a scholarship to go to Romania to do medicine. But I was very troubled with with the ID because I had come to England and see my brother, who was working in Oxford at the John Radcliffe Hospital. And when I saw his type of life and what he was leading, what life he was leading, I thought, I’m not going to have a family life at all with being a doctor because the hours are terrible. The responsibilities are far too high, and I want it to have a life with my children, with my family. When I did have them. So I was very troubled. I enjoyed my course. I had started it, but I was not happy about the outcome when I’m already a doctor of what my life is going to be like. So I went to the Minister of Education and asked them to change it the bedtime time. I didn’t know what to change it to because I didn’t want to do anything else but medicine.

[00:03:39] My brother, when I asked his opinion, he said, Oh, if you could change the pharmacy, that’s quite close to medicine. So I went there and they agreed, which is quite unusual that they agree to change when you’ve already started a year. But when I did start pharmacy, I told to me hated it. I didn’t like anything to do with pharmacy. I didn’t like the chemistry, biochemistry, the botany. It was not just me. It was my interest at all. So I went back and I started thinking, What else should I do? So being quite miserable in our hostel or where I was in our accommodation, there were long corridors with loads and loads and loads of rooms. That’s how it is in university campuses in the Eastern countries. So one day I was sitting in my corridor trying to study, not really wanting to then trust a girl and she I looked at her and I said hi and she said hello. So we sat together and chatted and I asked her what was she doing? And she said she was doing dentistry. I said, Oh, now that wouldn’t be a bad idea for me to change to. So long story short, I went back to the ministry and they said, No way, we can’t keep on changing you from one thing to another.

[00:05:01] So I pleaded with him and he refused. So I went out because winter was snowing beautifully and I did a little prayer just outside the ministry and something inspired me to go back, but not to go to the same person. I went straight to the person above him and I knocked the door and he looked at me. I had a kind face and went inside. Half in English and half in Romanian. By the time I at that time I wasn’t that fluent in Romanian language. I pleaded and I said to him, Look, I’m a I’m a good student. It’s not because I’m not serious, but I would really like to change. And for the last time to to dentistry in Romanian is closed dermatology. Dermatology. So I said, oh, all I can say is that if you get all ten out of ten in your upcoming exams, which is the end of the first year, then come back to me. So I said okay. And I went and studied. I locked myself in the library and got those things and flew back to the universe, to the to the ministry. And she handed him the results. He agreed. And since then I never looked back. I certainly enjoyed my course and my career every day up to when I retired. So how did you end up?

[00:06:26] How did you end up in Romania to study?

[00:06:29] So we at that time I was in my country, which is Yemen. We had just come from Africa because there was a revolution in Tanzania at that time. So my father thought we were not it’s not very safe to remain there. So we went back to our country.

[00:06:48] So you were growing up in Tanzania to start with. You were born in Tanzania and growing up in Tanzania.

[00:06:52] Oh 47 So just before I finished my secondary school, we had to go to Yemen. Aden is a beautiful place at that time, not now anymore. And so I did my last year GCSEs and having got amongst the ten best results in the results list. They offer scholarships to to the top students and the only offered at that time to Eastern European countries. At first they gave me a scholarship to Russia, but I didn’t like the language at all, so I refused. And then I said, Give me anywhere else but not Russia. So I had to wait for another year and worked at that time in a military museum as a guide for foreigners who spoke French and English. I could speak French at the time and then I went to Romania and I loved it. I absolutely loved the country, the people such that my own practices I employed just Romanian girls in my system.

[00:07:57] Which year are we talking? Which year was.

[00:07:59] This? So 1975.

[00:08:02] So, so for for a I mean, in 1975. For a for a lady. To be even looking at dentistry, let alone a middle Eastern lady, to be looking at what was going on. I mean, were there how many brothers and sisters were you was there was there a dentist or a medic in the family? I mean, you said your brother.

[00:08:22] Was a medic. My brother was, yes.

[00:08:24] Were your parents anything to do with medicine?

[00:08:26] No, but my parents promoted education very much. My dad had just passed away before we moved to back to Yemen. So But he he promoted education. All my everybody went to university In my family. We had nine, six girls and three boys, and they all ended up well. My eldest brother, engineers, pilots, surgeon, my brother, the one who was the petroleum engineer, construction engineer. And these are girls, girls in construction and also my sisters. So yeah, I mean there was from in Yemen at that time, there was there was very little taboo about girls study, which is an open country. The Russians had just landed, but not just because of the Russians. Even before girls went to study the university. Later on it became a little bit closed up and became more conservative. But at that time, the English the British had just left like 67 and the Russians came 1970. So the country was still left open. And yeah, I mean, I must say we were just two girls and 21 boys in the group that we went to in that year. But this is not to say that there were not many girls in other years.

[00:09:52] So at this point you said you spoke French. Did you speak English at the time?

[00:09:56] Oh, yes. The medieval construction in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania was was English okay. But French was a second language school. And I had family in Congo. Bujumbura, actually, which is Burundi, was Burundi at the time. And they used to come often to our house every summer. And I loved learning language. So I just learned there, which is very easily.

[00:10:23] And I expect you spoke Arabic at the time.

[00:10:25] Not very well, I’m afraid, unfortunately. Yeah. Unfortunately it is a really big, unfortunate thing is that there were we learn Swahili, so he knew the local language. My mum and dad tried to teach us Arabic, but just like our children. Now here is such a big struggle to teach them our language, the television, the friends, the school, they just pull their parts and it’s difficult unless you’re really strong. They are very strict with coach. Teach your own language. My girls. All right. They can speak quite well. Arabic, their father insisted.

[00:11:05] What was your what was your feeling about Romania when you got this? I mean, going from East Africa to the Middle East and then to Romania Must’ve been a massive change. Were you scared or were you excited?

[00:11:16] Yes. At age 17, it was scary to cross the seas. I bet to go to a completely new place, not knowing the language, not knowing anyone my age. It’s a time when you really take big risks without thinking too much. But there was an uncle that lived very close to our house in Aden. His wife was Romanian, and so I went to ask her about Romania. She was this very gentle, beautiful lady, and she said, There’s nothing to worry about. It’s a beautiful country with very nice people. And I think that was enough for me to take it, to take with me and and go with confidence. But it says I reached there. It was fine. We were very well looked after.

[00:12:10] So was this the time of Ceausescu?

[00:12:12] Yes.

[00:12:13] Indeed. So communism?

[00:12:15] It was Yes, it was socialist and socialist country. Everything was very restrictive. People couldn’t travel. They were not even allowed easily to talk to foreigners. Yet there were so many foreign students coming to Romania from all over the world because it was very cheap to study in Romania. So people paid and they came. And for me it was a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world for the very first time in my life. So European, South Americans, very few from the east, like very few from China or Russia. But otherwise, yeah, it’s an eye opener I wouldn’t regret. I would have done the same thing if I was living at that time again. But now the world has changed.

[00:13:09] So how were you in dental school? Did you see it as this massive opportunity and just really get down and study or do did you did you have your freedom for the first time from family and you sort of trying to explore the world?

[00:13:21] We were brought up with a huge amount of freedom in Africa. We were not brought up with television. There was a television in the house. We never opened it. It was always outdoors, swimming in the sea, playing out up the trees and down. Africa is Africa. It’s a wild country and you’re never restricted. So I had that. I had that spirit of free living. And in Romania I felt sorry for the Romanian themselves because they didn’t have the freedom that I was used to, you know, go places, do what we wanted. Of course, always with boundaries, because the Arab families had like everywhere in the eastern cultures, they have boundaries. And once we know our boundaries, that’s it. We just do everything we do within the boundaries. But we could travel. We were travelling every long weekend. We were out either in Italy or Bulgaria or Poland. We travelled a lot. It was nice. I enjoyed that very much.

[00:14:26] So you finished the course? Became a dentist?

[00:14:28] Yes.

[00:14:29] And then did you stay there or did you go somewhere else?

[00:14:32] So I went to Vienna, where my sister’s husband was working as a second person in the embassy there of the UAE. And I stayed for three months thinking what to do with my life. I didn’t want to go back to Yemen at that time because that would have been a dead end. I would have just worked at no, not no progress. But then after three months, I one day was tidying up my handbag. These are the little stories that I find interesting to recall. And I found a little card or a business card, something like a personal card that my professor had given me, my oral surgery professor had taken out of his pocket to give it to me after the very last exam that I did at university, my very last final, because all oral exams were never, never written exams in Romania. I didn’t already know about that.

[00:15:30] No, I didn’t know that.

[00:15:31] Yeah. Anyway, after the interview and after the exam, they can ask you anything under the world, under the sun. So he asked me, Well, what do you want to do? And well, I thought the only place I can go is the UK to do further studies. So I said to him, I’d like to do that because my brother is there and I’d like to continue to do postgraduate. So he fished from his pocket, this card almost wrinkled, and he said, Well, if you go to London, contact this friend. He’s a friend and he will he perhaps may help you. And that was Professor McNeill here at UCL. I took that card and I put it in my handbag and after three months I found it and I thought, Why don’t I write to Professor McNeill? Long story short, he responded and said, I’d be very pleased to offer you a. Actually, when I wrote to him, I was asking if I can apply for a job for a post office. He said, We don’t do that just from abroad. You need to compete with other people in this country. You have to have an interview. But what I could do is offer you an unpaid attachment for three months, if you wish. That was just the beginning of my whole career. I came here, was very impressed, and then I applied for a job there, and I got one. After the attachment, but at the same time I applied in Bristol, so I had a choice to either stay in London or go to Bristol. I thought, I’ll go to Bristol because it’s a new place and I wanted to see. And that’s where I went out to Bristol to do it.

[00:17:10] She was this was this late seventies.

[00:17:12] That was early eighties. Early eighties Margaret Thatcher time. Yeah, the course was five years and then I came here in the eighties and so I spent three years in Bristol.

[00:17:27] And did you study more in Bristol?

[00:17:29] I did the statutory exam for people from abroad. At that time you had to do this very difficult exam post a tutor exam, which is equivalent of free time. You could only do two times. You only had two times an opportunity, and if you failed the second time, you would have to leave the country. So I was working at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Bristol Dental Hospital, doing all my junior jobs, and I passed the exam and then I got a registrar job there as well at the same place. But then I had a knee operation, which was an emergency knee operation, so I had to resign and then I moved to the Midlands, to the Midlands to do my proper registrar job in surgery.

[00:18:17] So all of this was oral surgery?

[00:18:18] Yes, I did nothing but sorcery for a long time before I went into practice.

[00:18:23] So you were doing what the wisdom teeth was? Was it more than that? Was it was it operations, cancer operations and all of that?

[00:18:31] No. Predominantly wisdom teeth. At that time, there were being taken left, right and centre out of the mouth. Not anymore.

[00:18:43] Talk to me. That sort of.

[00:18:44] Thing. Yes, exactly. Which I love doing. I like doing very delicate, tiny things. I like doing that. And then, yeah, the cysts, soft tissue, bones. And then, of course, when you’re doing an oral surgical registrar job, you come across lots of trauma RTA, road traffic accidents, fractures and main infections.

[00:19:09] Did you have did you have by this point, did you have the feeling that you were going to settle down in Britain?

[00:19:14] And at that time, as I was going along, I must say no. What were you thinking to such hot countries in other and meeting countries like Africa? I was not happy with Britain too much at that time because it was always cold.

[00:19:34] Yeah.

[00:19:35] And you’re in the middle of a crowd, which you can feel lonely in certain places in person. Because why isn’t that same?

[00:19:46] There isn’t that same feeling of community for someone who’s come from the from especially from some of the third world countries. You know, I was just in Montenegro last weekend and my car broke and my rental car and literally three people started helping from nowhere. You know, people stop their car. And one guy, he had a he had a little girl in his car and she was just sat on the on the side of the road. And he was he was helping fix my car. And it reminded me of Iran, you know, where there isn’t services, the community come together and help each other out. And that itself has got a certain feeling about it that you miss out in a you know, let’s call it a first world country. You know, where there is, there are services. But then the other thing is people forget early eighties, Britain was just after the winter of discontent. It was quite a bleak place. It wasn’t it wasn’t Britain as we know it today. You know, the whole Thatcher thing hadn’t happened. I mean, the Midlands where we’re in the Midlands where you.

[00:20:48] I worked in Hull. Oh yeah. Early eighties. Hull. I think at that time it must have been the most depressing place in the whole island of the United Kingdom. The only nice thing at that time was my team that I worked with. Yeah, there was super, super friendly and very, very supportive and so kind. I love being with them. My consultant was amazing and after that outside work, there was nothing else you could do except go drive in front of the suspension bridge. If you’ve known if you know it, and just sit there and imagine you’re in San Francisco or something. Yeah.

[00:21:33] So where were you? Where were you thinking of moving to? Because you were you thinking Africa or Middle East or were you thinking yet another place.

[00:21:40] Now not to get to that place? I think by that time I had already started putting my roots in this country because I had just got married before going to college. So.

[00:21:51] So you met you met your husband here?

[00:21:53] Yes, in Bristol.

[00:21:55] Oh, really? Really. And he’s a surgeon.

[00:21:58] And he’s a surgeon now. I still work. So he was working in Scotland, I was in house, were travelling up and down. And then he said, Look, I married you because I wanted a wife, not tomorrow. So you move up here, I can’t move there. So yeah. So I finished my job, or just about maybe two months before finishing my post completely there I handed in my resignation and apology and then we were together all the time following where he went. I could always find jobs. And then that’s when. When I got my three years later, I already had two children. Oh, my goodness. Yeah.

[00:22:45] So at this point, had you pulled out of hospital dentistry and now you were doing practice jobs wherever your.

[00:22:50] Husband was working? Yeah, exactly. So when I left my surgery registrar job, the second one, I think I followed him. And wherever he went, I just slotted it into local practices. Luckily, without profession, you can get jobs anywhere up and down the country. Yeah. In practice, this one I started general practice. And believe it or not, when I first went on the list in Scotland, it’s extremely busy. The first day I went to a general practice post, I was presented with a variety of things to do, which I had not done for a long time. I hadn’t touched our city or composite feelings or amalgam feelings for ages. I got worried, so I pulled it. I remember the lady, the assistant, the dental nurse assistant had so much experience as she was beginning to teach me. And the very first day she was handing me the right instruments and I pulled her out. One day I said, Listen, I haven’t done dentistry for a long time. The last I did was when I was a student. Can you remind me to do this and that? What do I do? So kind of very nice. Yeah.

[00:24:10] Which town was this?

[00:24:12] Glasgow. Well, we initially. We went to Greenock and then. And then Glasgow.

[00:24:17] Did you have trouble with the accent?

[00:24:19] Yes. I bet you did. Often. I had to ask her. Excuse me. What did you do for.

[00:24:27] So. So then your. Your husband. Did he eventually settle down somewhere for a number of years? Was that Glasgow or somewhere?

[00:24:34] No, In at that time, doctors used to travel to move about so much every six months in the junior and then every year slightly up the going going up the ladder. It was getting slightly better and better. Well, I did mind. I love travelling and I love new places. So I loved going where he went, Oh, he travelled a lot. And sometimes he would do locums between jobs, between posts. If there is a time lag he would go to locums, Isle of Skye, Shetland, Orkney, all those little remote counties and islands.

[00:25:13] Is he a Yemeni as well?

[00:25:15] No, he’s from Iraq.

[00:25:17] Iraq. Okay.

[00:25:18] Okay.

[00:25:19] Yeah. And what kind of surgeon is he?

[00:25:21] He’s a general surgeon. So he was one of the first people who went into keyhole surgery very early on when it started to get very interested in that. He’s a very good surgeon, I can tell you that.

[00:25:37] Oh, sure.

[00:25:38] Terrible with DIY at home, but very good. He’s been too.

[00:25:44] Busy. Too busy studying, isn’t he, to do any DIY?

[00:25:47] That’s the problem.

[00:25:48] With our colleagues. So. So then when did you end up in London? How did it become London? Because eventually you set up this practice in Harrow.

[00:25:55] So when the 1980s were late 1992, when I had three children at that time he decided to come. He was given a post here in London, and I was reluctant to come to London because of the hustle and bustle. And I was so happy where I was in Scotland. By that time we had our own house in Paisley. So he came and then and then he was offered a longer it was first just a local and then it became a more of a local for more months, then.

[00:26:32] Longer.

[00:26:32] Periods. Yeah, it kept on being extended and I said, Look, it’s not easy now to travel up and down. I’ve got three children. So I moved down here and then we bought our house here. And then about a couple of years later, the fourth kid had arrived Well, and I was offered a job abroad in Oman. So we discussed about it and we thought, let’s just give ourselves another few years of trying something else somewhere else and let’s see how it goes. So I went and I worked in this new private hospital there, the the first private hospital, Muscat, in a month as the head of the oral surgery department. Well, and I introduced implant implants for the first time in the country.

[00:27:26] And had you already been doing implant ology at this point?

[00:27:29] Yes, I had already done here in London. I had done courses and in the practice that I was working in here in Neasden, I started doing a few.

[00:27:40] For an associate.

[00:27:42] Associate.

[00:27:44] So look, this, this juggle doctor of four kids and a husband who’s travelling around. He’s a surgeon who I’m sure you didn’t see very much of. And then being an associate and deciding to learn implants.

[00:27:59] Yes, that’s a lot.

[00:28:01] To do, a lot to take on at the same time.

[00:28:04] What was the.

[00:28:05] Drive? What was did you not consider not working and being a stay at home mum.

[00:28:10] For it was never on the table. So what is it?

[00:28:14] You mean career wise? You would just. You’re ambitious, career wise. What’s what’s the story? I mean, I see that in your daughters.

[00:28:21] Yes, I had my girls by that time. The three older ones were at school when my fourth was born. But I went to do Scientology early on. In that three years that I came to London, I stumbled into this course upon this course in Hardy St, forget his name. Now, he was one of the first people to do proctology in this country. 6 to 1 are the address of the place, 61 Harley Street. That’s where the course was. And from the minute I went to the course, I became so interested in implants. I was talking and eating and thinking implants since then.

[00:29:05] Really? So was it was it because you had this oral surgery experience?

[00:29:10] Exactly.

[00:29:11] It kind of spoke to you more.

[00:29:13] Yes. That allowed me to go back into the bone to raise flaps. The time for ontology. It was raising flaps. Yeah, spending time, drilling bone, etc.. So by the time I went to Oman, I had done a few good cases, so happy about them. And then I thought, Well, let me introduce this procedure in this new private hospital. And we became very busy very quickly and I gained more and more experience while I was there.

[00:29:44] Who is who was the teacher? Was it was it.

[00:29:48] Harris was his name Haris.

[00:29:51] Skidelsky?

[00:29:54] No, no, no. But I know I knew him at that time. Who was?

[00:30:02] Was he an Indian?

[00:30:04] No, he was English. Cool. I’ll try. Try to remember his during the course of it.

[00:30:13] So? So then. Okay. You started putting implants in at in your associate job. And were you were you thinking at that time that you were going to only do implants or you like a normal dentist, your normal NHS or private dentists? What were you doing? What was what was your day to day? How much implants was it and how much?

[00:30:32] Very few. I didn’t do too many at all. Okay, Again, associate. I didn’t do too many.

[00:30:38] So you were just a regular, like a regular NHS dentist at that point?

[00:30:41] Yes, but it was a mixed practice. Yeah. So, but I just grabbed the opportunity of being able to. The principal just allowed me to do anything that came in.

[00:30:55] So then when you move to Oman, when you moved to Oman and it was an it was like more like a hospital job, right?

[00:31:02] Yes, it was a hospital job. It was in a hospital. Private hospital.

[00:31:07] And did your husband move as well, or was he still here?

[00:31:09] Nothing. Not not because he had taken on that long locum here and he was just about to finish what was required for him to enter into the specialist register. So he didn’t come with me, but he said as soon as I get into the specialist register, I’ll apply for a job there. He then got a job there, which is a bit far from where I was in Moscow, which is about 45 minutes away. He wasn’t happy travelling. So he came back and took up a consulting post, permanent one. And so I had to come back reluctantly to England, I guess to say. I came back kicking and screaming, which was all for the good, very good that that could be.

[00:32:01] And I mean to be taking care of four kids and running all surgery department in a new country.

[00:32:09] Just to me. Seems like I had my mom with me and I had a maid, so it was much, much easier than being in London. That’s why I wasn’t happy coming back.

[00:32:24] So then you came back and then was this around the time you set up your own practice or do you know?

[00:32:29] Yeah, that same practice I was an associate with. The chap wanted to sell it. Unfortunately, it had problems and so I bought it and I ran it for 15 years. Oh, wow. And. But after the ten years I was there, I decided I don’t want to do the NHS anymore. I was finding it extremely difficult to cope with doing implants. The demand was going up for implants and NHS and general and private. It was far too much. So I started another practice in Harrow on the hill from scratch. The building was being refurbished, so when I went to see the premises it was like a it was like a construction site. No ceilings, no floors, mud everywhere. Anyway, when I looked at the floor floor plans and the guy had reduced the price of the apartment that I was looking at quite substantially because he had two failures, tried to sell it twice and he was they failed to continue. The two buyers failed to continue with a purchase. So he thought I must reduce the price and sell it quickly. Then I trotted log in and bought it immediately and I waited for the construction to finish. Luckily, I was there when it was finishing and then I asked them to put all the plumbing for the chairs, etc. So I got the premises on in March 2010. Started it with zero patients, but many patients were sort of following me from my other practice, so very quickly became busy. And then by 2018, I thought, okay, that’s it. Final Got to take an exit from dentistry. Now, look, I ran for about nine years.

[00:34:25] And that’s when you sold it to Zainab?

[00:34:27] Yes. And her husband.

[00:34:29] And her husband. Ahmed. Yeah. So, look, you’ve you’ve run a couple of, I guess, successful dental practices while at the same time as running a family. What would you say is the secret to, you know.

[00:34:43] Successful Dental people that if you want to do something very hard, you have to know how to balance your sleep, how to eat well, and how to be very organised, and how to make your life as a routine. So I slept early. As soon as my kids slept, I would not waste time. I would sleep early. Yeah, wake up early, make sure that my house is clean in the morning before I leave, girls go to school. I go to work and I always took one day off in the week. I never worked full time until very late when they were all at school and they were older and they could look after themselves. So I had one day to re charge and go back to my settings and do what I needed to do to look after myself and everything else, to do some more paperwork, etc.. So that helped that I could split the week into two. I never worked on Wednesdays, so Wednesdays was my my day off. So yeah. So the secret is to have very good rest and not to be lazy and to wake up early and eat well. Fair enough.

[00:36:00] But you could say that about any, any life though, right? You could say you could say do that for any sort of good life. But what about a dental practice? I mean, did you have key people? In the place that that we’re running things.

[00:36:15] And yes, so I think that to run any business is to know it very well. Yeah, not to worry about competition ever. If you’re confident, even if you’ve got three dentists around me like I did in my other NHS practice, there are so many practices around me it never bothered me. In fact, I strive to cooperate with these practices and be friendly with them. So competition is not a problem. You should never worry about what you’re going to get. As far as income is concerned. There’s always bad, good, bad and ugly days. Just have to know that there are going to be bad days. And they’re going to be good days. Just keep going. Be focussed on what you do and ensure that you do the best for the patients. Very honestly work with a lot of integrity and a lot of honesty. Be charitable people who ask for discount and now discount and we will be busy and you’ll never fail if you give your sincerity to your work. Take time off travel, go swimming, relax, unwind. Be happy as much as you can. It’s not easy in England, but funnily enough, I used to draw happiness and cheerfulness for my children and travelled a lot with them without their dad because he was always busy. So I used to take them and go places with them and have fun.

[00:37:52] It’s refreshing to hear you talk about it in such sort of simple terms because, you know, like anything, the basics really are important, right? Getting the basics right. And you’ve described a sort of a simple case of look out for your patients and and they’ll look out for you in the end. Right? You didn’t you didn’t say anything about, you know, the things people have to do these days with Instagram and Google and advertising and any of that. You know, you just look after people and and that was it.

[00:38:25] But yeah.

[00:38:27] You know, you.

[00:38:27] Must be in that position yourself.

[00:38:32] Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been a dentist, but I’ve never, never been I’ve never juggled as much as you’ve juggled.

[00:38:39] Yeah. Women always do more than men. Yeah.

[00:38:42] I’m finding that out. Talking to two lady dentists and finding that how hard some people work in their lives. Well, I mean, my wife’s a lady dentist, right? So. So I should. I should be aware of it. But. But. But, you know, it’s an interesting story, right, that you’ve done all of this. I want to find out why is it what is it about you that makes you comfortable with jumping into the unknown? The way that you have. I mean, you’ve done so many things where, you know, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t have the balls personally to go and study in another country. Number one, I wouldn’t have the idea of going and setting up a as oral surgery in a in another country with, you know, you seem very comfortable with jumping in. What is it about you?

[00:39:37] I must have inherited that from my dad.

[00:39:39] It Was he like that?

[00:39:41] Yeah, he was very. Literally, there is an Arabic saying that it means just take the step with God behind you and you’ll not fail. So he took that literally. And whatever he did here, he was a business man. It never bothered him to work hard. He would wake up in three at three in the morning. He was a he was a butcher master. So he had lots of butchers around. And he did a packing meat packing business. And that required very early brides choose your cattle to be slaughtered for that day, etc.. And he used to travel far to, to choose the cattle to bring back to town, etc.. Back in Africa, he was always doing hard things, but seemingly easily. And kept my mother on her toes because he was sometimes travelling very late at night with only one driver. And he was very brave, enterprising and always charming. They always laughed and kept us happy, just like I think myself. Now, as I said to you, I think that to be content and happy, however little you have, is very important. Rather than being always stressed and you are a millionaire.

[00:41:03] It’s so true.

[00:41:04] If you are content, that’s it. We’re here to be happy. We’re not here just to earn money and have lots of money in the bank and then have to wonder what to do with all that money and be stressed about it. So I think my dad was that kind of a person and I emulated him and I always think about him, God bless his soul maybe. And also I inherited, I must say, thankfully, his strength as well, and the conviction and his sincerity at work. He always used to say to us, you know, if you want it to be successful, never cheat, give rather than take if you have to. And so what if you lose money? Doesn’t matter if you’re making the other person happy, be charitable to your patients or other needy people, to your children, to your friends.

[00:41:56] It’s it’s it’s a great way of of in the end actually running a business, isn’t it? Because if at the end of the day, what is a business, it’s it’s a set of customers, a set of suppliers and a set of staff, you know, people who work in the business.

[00:42:15] And if you have slightly better I’m sorry, I’m paying you very well. Yeah.

[00:42:20] So what I said was what a business at the end of the day is a set of customers, a set of a set of staff and a set of suppliers. And if you can, if you can keep those three groups happy, you’re going to have a fantastic business. Right. And and it’s you’re right that some people do difficult things and make it look easy.

[00:42:43] Yeah. And yet I think.

[00:42:46] Have you noticed today with the younger generation with let’s say with with Yusra and Zainab and Fatima’s generation, you get a lot of mental health concerns, people worried about their mental health. Is it is it that we’re now talking about it and we weren’t talking about it before? Or is it that you guys were just made of a more resilient. Thing than these guys?

[00:43:13] I don’t know. I think it’s a set of a combination of things that is causing there, there. Sometimes I get surprised at how much influence they have. Not as much. Zaynab But my youngest, she’s very interested in mental health and how to help others. Infectious Saturday, a group called the Dental Bond. Now we use a bond bonding system when we do our right. So she chose that word. It’s a self-help kind of group or group help for people who are undergoing a lot of stress in dentistry. We all went through stresses in dentistry, but it was. It never culminated or we never thought about it, that we are stressed. We never thought that we’re stressed. We just got stressed in different ways. I would say to my husband, Look, I’m really stressed. Let me take the kids to the pool today. Let’s go swimming. And that’s it. That’s it. That was for me. Good. But they this generation, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a competition. Competition defined Instagram and social media that they think that is causing them have stress. Thank God my girls are not really indulging in to stress, but they talk about mental problems more than we did at our downtime.

[00:44:39] Yeah, for sure. Definitely. Definitely. People are talking about it more. But, you know, I’m thinking is is it is it that or is it that they’re you know, they’re not as resilient as your day.

[00:44:54] It could be. As I said, my child, our childhood, especially back in Africa, I’m sure in many other similar countries, we were more outdoors than indoors. And I think that makes a lot of difference. So being outdoors, you get that means of survival or bonus or not between animals in Africa. But we went out were more streetwise. People were not afraid if we went out. Now our kids can go outside for 2 minutes without us having a heart attack. They’re always indoors. We protect them too much. Obviously they’re not going to come out with a lot of strength in a strength like we did in time is not going to get better. I think the world is getting worse in this in this aspect, in this problem because. It’s becoming more and more dangerous out there, More crimes. Is that.

[00:45:49] Is that true? Is is is there more crime now than there was before? Or is it that we know more about it than we knew before?

[00:45:56] Well, I think there is. And I think and I think there is more crime because the world has not become a better place in that time. There’s more poverty even in the West. There’s more. There’s a bigger gap between the rich and the poor. And the poor, of course, will take drugs and then go and commit crimes and robbery and theft. There was I mean, I must say, during our time in Africa, it was also security wise, it wasn’t very secure. We had robberies and we had big dogs like fierce dogs outside our house. In order to ward off the burglars. But nevertheless, it was the type of upbringing was different. And now it’s different now more television and more and more influence to get from the TV as well. So your message to.

[00:46:53] Your daughters have famously done very well on social media.

[00:46:58] You did well. I’m so proud of them. So when you.

[00:47:01] Look at that. Does that? Does that sort of. Would you if you were a dentist now, would you be the Instagram dentist? I mean, it takes a certain it takes a certain type. It takes a certain type to be out there with.

[00:47:18] Yes. I think that like you said, like you pointed out, I was not very fearful of taking steps forward or putting myself out there for different things. I was out when they were young guys to take them to conferences in America and Las Vegas, Chicago, wherever I went. Did you? So that gave them also, I think, the feeling that, oh, if mom can do it, so can we. You know.

[00:47:47] So it’s funny, Doctor, I talk to I talk to dentists now and they say things like, you know, I’m so busy with work that I can’t see to my kids.

[00:47:57] I can’t.

[00:47:58] I can’t give attention to the kids. You know that. They say sometimes they’ll say something like, The kid wants my attention, but I’m busy on the computer or something. And, you know, mother’s saying this. And and often I think, you know, the kid’s learning something. By watching the mother do that in the same way as your kids, you know? You know, why was it ZAYNAB just kept on saying. My mum, my mum, my mum throughout her, you know, she watched. She watched you do what you did.

[00:48:28] And.

[00:48:28] People forget that, you know.

[00:48:30] Yeah. I mean, I used to Zainab when she started school used was at the nursery but she didn’t like her nursery very much. Just yesterday we remembering this. So I used to take her to the surgery that I was working in. I was an associate in Scotland, in Glasgow, Southside of Glasgow. And if he’s listening now, he will he will remember this, the practice, the practice order. And you’re still just sitting there amusing and chatting up the patients in the waiting room is about for such a cute kid and she was so good she would sit there. There was a game she played and when we finished I just took her away. So it was like, you know, she lived my life almost in a minuscule way. She enjoyed it. I enjoyed having her tiring for her, of course, but we had a little room that she progressed. So. Yeah.

[00:49:30] Doctor, what are your top tips? What are your top tips for parenting? Because your daughters are so confident. And as a parent, now that I’m a parent and you think about what can you give to your kids? And confidence is the most important thing. The way I’m looking at it. But without arrogance, you know that there’s almost a thin line between those two positions. And yet your daughters I haven’t met you properly, but I’ve definitely watched quite a lot of her content. And Zainab, I know quite well they’ve got a real confidence about them.

[00:50:07] What’s your what’s your what’s.

[00:50:08] Your tip on parenting for confidence?

[00:50:12] For confidence. I think it’s to highlight their strengths. Positive, rewarding. Encouraging.

[00:50:21] When you say when you say positive, rewarding, what did you literally say? If you get this in your exams, I’ll get you that. Was it like that all right?

[00:50:29] It was not rewarded with material as much as, okay, we go for a trip if you get if you do. Well, I never forced them to sit down and do their homework. For example, I used to supervise their homework, by the way, when they were young. I never worked till five. I would finish school hours, pick them up and come home with them. So it was always with them, dropping them to school and bring them back home. They wouldn’t be at home alone with another person.

[00:50:55] Did you never have like a nanny?

[00:50:57] No.

[00:50:58] Not even in the Middle East?

[00:51:00] Yes, In the Middle East? Yes. When I was there, I had to work very hard as a new hospital. I had to help the building build it up. So I was working very late, but I had my mum and that made them. Everything was done for me there. So it’s a positive, positive reward.

[00:51:18] You said.

[00:51:19] You said not material. So yeah, my girls, I brought them up a little bit like myself. We were never thrown into a heap of toys or it is more like for me and my girls, it is more like, okay, we’ll go here and we’ll go there and we’ll do this. More activities rather than rewarding presents and toys and dolls and feedback that they would get. Toys, mainly educational toys, but not much.

[00:51:50] So did you did you was it was there a point where I guess you got quite successful? Was was there a point where you were not giving them things on purpose so that they would sort of feel the value of.

[00:52:02] Not giving them.

[00:52:03] Not giving them whatever it was, you know, whether it was a holiday business class or, you know what I mean? Did you hold yourself back on purpose for them to get the value of money or the value of life or value of work?

[00:52:18] I would not shower them with whatever they want.

[00:52:20] On purpose.

[00:52:21] Right? Yeah, that was exactly what they needed. But they wouldn’t get more of what they wanted. But they would get I mean, if they asked for this and that they would get it. But it wasn’t like showering it all over them such that they would be so full of what they have and not aspire for both. And I think another thing I learned from my dad is, you know, bringing up children, you should always leave a little something that they should want and work for it before they get. Yeah.

[00:52:55] And what about dentistry? Did you actively encourage them, the three of them. And you’ve got four daughters now. How the how is it the three of them ended up wanting to be dentists?

[00:53:04] Yes. I didn’t actively encourage them. But did they ask me? I would tell them that it’s a very good profession where you enjoy working with your patients. You put music the only, I think, the only profession where you could put music, smile and sing along with your patients while you’re working with them or break into a dance behind while I’m dressing up my dress for doing my implants, for example. So they saw what I was doing and they knew it was a fun. For me, it was fun. It is still fun. If I went back today to do dentistry, I would still have fun. I like working with my hands, doing minuscule things, tiny, delicate things is my passion as I love also painting. So. So it was a way through an enjoyment.

[00:53:59] Okay, let’s. Let’s move on to darker times.

[00:54:03] Yeah.

[00:54:04] On this show. We like to discuss mistakes. I want I want to hear I want to hear both clinical mistakes. And maybe business business mistakes.

[00:54:15] Business was critical. Mistake. I remember the very first time I went into theatre as an officer to remove some teeth from a child. And at that time when I came to this country, the notion of left and right was new to me. So what is right should be left and is right the opposite way. While in in college in Romania, we use international 1 to 3 number and number and the very first child I remove the teeth with the wrong teeth on the opposite side. Wow. First child, four of the four.

[00:55:01] What did you what happened?

[00:55:04] There were deciduous teeth or very little rotten as well. There were caries all over the everywhere, rampant caries. But I didn’t remove the worst of them. I did not so bad. So when I realised actually it wasn’t me who realised first it was the nurse, my assistant U.S. attorneys. And as soon as we finish she came. She was a stern lady and stood all over me. It was over.

[00:55:30] Was general anaesthetic.

[00:55:31] Again? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes. And she said, Here you are. She gave me that piece of paper that I was supposed to read correctly. And she said, This is what you removed. You should give her modesty. I looked at my speechless, heart pounding a bit and not knowing what to say. And she looked at me. She said, you know, I’m going to have to report this to your consultant. I said, Yes, of course it’s a mistake. And I will not deny that it is a mistake, as we all are. Human beings can make a mistake. And I walked away saying, Yes, we are all human and we can make mistakes. But I was kicking myself and I thought that that was a huge lesson for me to be extra careful ever again. So that was my biggest mistake.

[00:56:22] What came of it? What did you say to the patient? Was it as simple as that?

[00:56:27] I went to the parents. I went to the parents after the patient recovered and the teeth were in the container. And I went straight to the mom. Who didn’t already knew it didn’t look please at all. I do apologise. I made a mistake. I own it up. I’m so sorry. Whatever. Whatever is required of me, I’m going to do it. You know, I didn’t know what was required after that. I had no clue. I was a very junior person. So then my consultant just wrote a letter to them and apologised and offered any help that they required. It died down a natural death, but I never did it again.

[00:57:12] So it never got to legal or anything. I guess back then it wasn’t such a legalistic world.

[00:57:16] It No. Even now, I don’t think such a huge simple human mistake will necessarily lead up to litigation.

[00:57:26] But I’ve done it. I’ve done it too, By the way, I drilled the wrong side. And and you know what it was? The OPG was labelled incorrectly and there was no no fillings in the mouth at all. And I was going to drill lower, left seven and it turned out there was lower. Right. So and the funny thing was I kept saying to the patient, you know, I just, I just can’t find this decay. It’s weird because I can see it on the on the x ray, just not getting to it. You just need to go a bit further. It’s a weird shadow or something. And then drill, drill, drill, drill to it and suddenly think, wait a.

[00:58:05] Minute and.

[00:58:06] Look on the other. The problem was I just met the patient that day and that’s always problematic. And this fear came over her eyes and she she got up and walked out and the boyfriend came in and I told him, look, this is what’s happened. And then and then they did they did see me. I think we ended up paying £3,000 or something, but it’s easily done. And you’re right, you only do that once.

[00:58:32] Yeah. When I was a trainer in my knees in practice, I used my experience because there were new dentists. Yeah, I would tell them this story and that’s why it’s quickly came out. When you ask me this, I repeated a few times. Yeah. And I told them, Look, I did this mistake. I’ve learned from it. I want you to learn from it as well, even though you haven’t done that mistake. So I told them and then one time another typical mistake is I was using those days. We used to use a tool.

[00:59:07] To fill the root canals.

[00:59:09] Yes.

[00:59:10] Yeah. The spiral filler thing.

[00:59:12] Exactly. So we use that nowadays. They are not even introduced to them. But I had them in my practice because I love using them. So I was teaching my all my vet trainings. I was a beauty trainer from 22,003 till 2009. And I was telling them if you wanted a really good canal feeling, you can use this, but be very careful, because when I was a junior dentist myself, I made a mistake and I pushed the pedal fast and this thing went right through into the sinus and broke. And then the patient had to have a sinus lift. Don’t do that if you’re going to use it. And I’m telling you this one time and I’m not going to say it again in front of my staff, use it very slowly.

[01:00:06] So that happened to you.

[01:00:09] So at least they knew what could happen if they were to use it.

[01:00:14] What about what about with implants? Surely with implants, you must have had something where you went, Oh, God.

[01:00:20] You know, with implants. Implants. So well, you plan so well, you take CT scans, you do your measurements, very little room of mistakes. There’s very little room to make a mistake. And I don’t even recall. I’ve done hundreds or thousands. I since 2000 and 2003. I’ve been doing it until the time I retired.

[01:00:43] What about a case of.

[01:00:45] Oh, yes, there was a year where I thought there was enough bone because there was a lot of thickness down and a young lady, a beautiful girl who was missing a little hole close to the nerve, too. So I thought, Oh, there’s enough bone, there’s no need here for me to do a CT scan, the metal frame far towards the thigh. So I knew there was enough space. And a few years down the line of starting implants, I stopped raising flaps. I would just puncture the top part of the government and then drill down through taking care, not only to realise that her bone is so thin, it’s not going to it’s not going to. In the lower region, you can’t expand bone very well because the bone is very thin. It’s thin, that’s it. You can’t really expand it. But in the top where it’s sponges and soft, you can expand the bone using aggravated osteoporosis. So and she’s such a patient person, was the last person I wanted to not do an implant in her because she really needed it. Just halfway down I realised, oh my God, I’m puncturing this bone to the lingual side. Wow. I realised that I’m going to be more appropriate on many levels. I realise it’s going nowhere. So I said to her, Look, it’s. I should have taken a scan. Sorry.

[01:02:14] So was it. There wasn’t enough width of bone. Yeah. Rather than depth. What’s with. So then what you abandoned pulls out and abandoned?

[01:02:25] Yeah. Yeah. I bended it and I just then raised a flap and closed the, the, the gum rather than leaving a hole there and said, I really am sorry. Would you refund all your deposit is not going to be possible unless you have a good augmentation. And augmentations don’t really work very well in this region unless you do a graft from the hip or from the chin. And even then they can all dissolve. So they don’t go through all that. Just do a little a little bridge and you still go to bridge this about ten years ago.

[01:03:00] And then did you end up always taking a CT scan in that area going forward? From then on.

[01:03:07] Increasingly, as years went by long and sometimes something tells you, oh no, it’s it’s okay. It would be alright here if the patient finds it a little bit difficult to go all the way to town to do this. It is cash.

[01:03:24] Sure, sure. What about a situation where it might even have been the patient was, you know, had some, you know, expectations that you couldn’t meet or where a patient lost confidence like a management, a management problem rather than a technical problem. Did you have any of those?

[01:03:43] No, not in the sense of management. But I remember I treated a lady who had a very deep bite class to this to a very difficult situation where she had lost two front teeth, wanted nothing but implants. She had a bridge that she didn’t want to have. Again, it was a bridge. And so I did the implant with the bone was was orienting towards the back. But the team, the rest of the team were tasked to leave to come down with. So if we as a matter of having a very animated Batman, which we had to make it custom made in order to get that angle. After that, we had very good results. The results were unexpectedly good. But there was a little bit of protuberance in the region here of the emergence of the gum, naturally, because of the angle. And thankfully, she had a low smile. So even when she smiled, it was not showing that area. But when.

[01:04:56] You lifted the lid, puppet looked weird.

[01:04:58] And she kept looking through the mirror with the lip up in order. Now, what do you have when you have a bridge? It’s different because they can mask these little defects. So she came back and she said, I want all my money back, which is not as I expected. And in spite of in our consent form, we always included a clause or other sentence saying that the results may not be as you envisaged or as you visualise it, because we cannot really go inside your head to know what you’re visualising it. So they signed this contract. But sometimes, like in that case, she came back and said, No, I’m not happy. I want my money back. And then so I contacted my DPP. I think it was the Medical Protection Society I was with and told them the case and they said, okay, we will advise you to write so-and-so. So let us going forth and back forth. And I said then to the them, I said, Look, it’s not worth my while. She wants the money back. She can have the money back and she can use those implants for the rest of her life. I give her her money back and off she went and off I went. So sometimes this would happen very, very difficult.

[01:06:21] I mean, you know, the the thing is, I was talking to my previous guest about this. You’ve been a dentist for 30, 35 odd years or whatever. And you can say you’re a highly experienced dentist. Right. The thing about experience is you can’t really buy it. You can’t you can’t accelerate experience. Experience comes from a set of things that essentially go wrong over those years and then you’ve got experience. And so it’s a funny thing because, you know, if these things don’t go wrong, then you’re going to have big problems going forward because you’re not aware of the things that can go wrong. It’s one of those that’s why we call it dental practice, right?

[01:07:08] Practising dentistry, word experience by itself. You just worked it up right now and I’m thinking about it. The word experience is learning is what you have learned and you have learned from the good, the bad and the ugly you learn from. And not to make them again. Again, there was another case also way back when I was younger, where I did a set of dentures to some Italian, and he was very particular about his appearance. An older person, full set of pictures, and he went away and came back a year later and said, I don’t like them. A year later. And he said. Refund my money or I’ll take you to court. And I said, a year later, you want to take me to court, take me to court then, because I’ll win this case, because you used it for a year and now you’re coming back and you want your money back. Oh. They started shouting at the practice and I don’t like them. And they keep coming all the more, more and more. As time goes by, they’re coming off more. And I say this because your lost your bone. We removed a few teeth. The becoming lose. There is a solution to that. We can rely on them. No, I don’t want any line. I want my money back. And this was another case that I had to pay back his money and he’s gone. When I tell people this, they said to me, You shouldn’t have given him his money a year on. And I said, Yes, but what is money is going to give me trouble. I’d rather pay no more trouble.

[01:08:49] Of course.

[01:08:50] And just finish with this trouble.

[01:08:52] I think, you know, I totally agree with that with that approach. Right. Because you can think of it as a cost of business. You know, that’s what it costs to be in the job that we’re in, that once in a while you’re going to have to do this. That’s all good. But sometimes people you know, I’ve heard stories where people think the patient is actually on purpose doing something to get something for free. And then once you’ve got that in your head that it’s not just an unhappy patient. It’s a patient trying to, you know, quote unquote, steal from you, then then then you become defensive about it. And it’s funny because in our business, we’ve got a bleaching business and we’ve got this thing, this be one guarantee, the guarantee the result. And one of the biggest issues with my team is to get my team to whether or not they think there’s a problem to believe that the dentist, you know, to say, look, we’re going to believe every dentist, even if one or two aren’t being 100% honest about it, because it’s the other 98% that I’m interested in keeping happy rather than the 2% that might be doing something, you know, And it’s having having the sort of the zoomed out approach to understand that that, you know, even if this Italian guy was was was was doing it cynically, you need to believe.

[01:10:15] For one thing, then I would be very selective, more selective out of it. But yeah, I mean, it’s very fun and it’s a lovely profession and it’s so enjoyable. But I think you also have to be very careful about taking on certain tasks or certain treatments or certain people. You’ve got to know how to select your cases, really.

[01:10:45] I mean, people talk about a sixth sense when it comes to that. They say there’s something about the patient that wasn’t right. Have you put your finger on that?

[01:10:55] I don’t know. I mean, I think that it’s just a pot of luck. You might just be so friendly and so happy with the patient and he can turn around and be quite unpleasant. Yeah.

[01:11:06] Okay. Well, it’s been a real pleasure getting your story and your experience. What are your what are your future plans? I mean, now that you’re retired, how did you find that? Not going to work every day? Did you find it quite difficult or easy?

[01:11:21] Yes, actually, I was building a house back in Oman at that time, so I was super busy in terms of my everyday tasks. But when I finished the house and finished furnishing it and not having a job and not being able to swing my legs in the morning out of bed, having a goal, what to do, I passed through about two weeks of feeling quite low. Two weeks for the first time in my life. Yeah.

[01:11:53] And then you got.

[01:11:54] Over it because I decided to travel. Let’s go, Let’s go. I don’t. I don’t feel good. I must have a change. Well, building a house is very hard anyway. Very stressful. So I needed a break. So we went to Malaysia and we had a very nice time. When I came back, I said to myself, I have to do now seriously take up my real hobby, which I loved all my life but never had the chance to do, which was painting. And I started learning more techniques. I was already quite good at painting, but not technically like very good. So then I started studying and going to classes, studying from YouTube, and I started painting. Very nice work. Yeah. Oh, love got hooked.

[01:12:47] And how was how did it feel losing your practice to your daughter? I mean, I’m sure it felt great, but did you did you find yourself sort of worrying about your practice or which direction they were going to take it in or, you know, Tell me tell me about that. How does it feel leaving this baby that you I mean, the practice you said you set up from scratch, right?

[01:13:07] Yes. Yeah, from school. I guess there was a time when I had to leave my girls, Zainab and Yusra, to work there. Very good.

[01:13:17] I mean, when you actually sold the practice to Zainab.

[01:13:20] Oh, when I saw the.

[01:13:21] How did you feel about it?

[01:13:23] I think I was quite ready and I was so happy that is going to enter into the family there. The family’s hands are very happy because I declared to them, I said, Look, it’s for me now it’s time to sell. Anyone wants to buy here it is up for grabs. So yeah, they were lucky. I think they were very lucky because it’s hard work to bring it up to the standard varieties, which I did.

[01:13:49] So yeah, from nothing, of course.

[01:13:52] But then there’s a lot of modification in the upgrading to their taste, lots of things and they’ve done their own logo and their own branding. It’s quite amazing what they’ve done. Very, very proud of them. Yeah, it was not easy actually. It was easy to give up my initial practice for sure.

[01:14:17] But yeah, you must, you must be proud when you see their work as well. I mean.

[01:14:22] Yeah, they’re quite skilled also. I mean not just in facial aesthetic, they’re very skilled in minimally invasive, but yeah.

[01:14:30] Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

[01:14:32] Well of course I think it’s a year year course in composites, so she’s well, well trained. Yeah.

[01:14:43] Yeah. That’s how she came. She came onto our radar that way when one of our page managers, we were looking for dentists who are really good at composites. And that’s. That’s how we found Zainab in the first instance.

[01:14:55] Beautiful. I sometimes have a look and say, Oh, wow, I didn’t know how she did that. But yeah, the other day I looked something they did and I said, Wow, I’d like to come and see how they do. And she said, Oh, mom, let me remind you, you’re retired. Okay.

[01:15:17] So do you think do you think you’ll ever do any dentistry again or not? Is that it? It’s over.

[01:15:23] I must admit. Sometimes I get tempted to reregister. So now she. She’s got her own practice. But it’s. It’s just up to now. It’s just facial aesthetics. Is that in Liverpool? At Liverpool. Yeah. She hasn’t put in dental care yet. She’s just about to do it and I have the urge to go and help her start it all up. But I think she wants to go straight into cosmetic dentistry and things like Invisalign and adult orthodontics and more inquisitive is doing more cosmetic work and everything which which had past that that had passed me and I hadn’t taken initiative to be really good at it. Corporate bonding of the front teeth.

[01:16:15] But you can’t be really good at everything, right? You’ve got it. You’ve got to pick the bit that you’re good at.

[01:16:19] Wow. So I said to her, okay, so if you wanted me to start, you wanted me to reregister for a little while. I would do general dentistry only and perhaps implants, but not bonding and not Invisalign and not the adult said, No, Mum, let me just go straight into that. I don’t want general dentistry. I said, Well you’ll have to because lots of people need dental dentistry, proper dentistry, general public. So she’s still in two minds about that.

[01:16:55] It’s been a real pleasure to have you, Dr. Wonderful. We’re going to we’re going to end it with our usual questions. Let’s start with the fantasy dinner party. You can have three, three guests dead or alive. Who would you have been alive?

[01:17:14] In her life. I think I would invite my parents. Well. Salim and Jamila, my mom and my father and I haste, I hesitate to say, but wouldn’t I just love to have Prophet Muhammad with me at some point, even in an imaginary situation? What an honour it would be to be in his presence. Of course. Hopefully when we meet in heaven. Hopefully in heaven. Yeah.

[01:17:55] Amazing. And the final question. On your deathbed. You got all your loved ones and by now you will have loads of grandchildren as well, all your loved ones around you. One of three pieces of advice, you would leave them and the world.

[01:18:16] Is to remember the good. Forget the bad and keep your bond and friendliness always tight in family. Keep together, forget to box. Who said what? What they said. Why they said These things are not important. Always be good to each other. Be fair and honest. Be helpful to each other. I’m going to have my count in more than three.

[01:18:50] It’s an interesting thing you’re saying there, because the older you get, the more you see family breakdown, brother and sister not talking to each other, you know. You see it a lot. So sometimes I know sometimes in our in our culture, it tends to be a money thing sometimes, isn’t it? That I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe because the laws aren’t as stringent. And then. And then things fall apart. And this thing you’re saying about, look, it doesn’t matter what people said, but stick together. I’ve seen it with friends. Friends, good friends where the two brothers aren’t talking to each other anymore. Where it started out with something as simple as that. You know, this guy wanted that guy to apologise and that guy didn’t apologise. And then now, seven years later, no one’s talking to each other and.

[01:19:40] That’s really.

[01:19:40] Bad. You must have seen it too, right?

[01:19:44] Um, luckily we’re very close, but we siblings, I don’t think my my children have seen how close we are. We really love each other, help each other, visit each other, never take grudges. We never do that. We’re really very close knit family. I think they too always want to be like that, but seen the benefit of that. So I have seen me in other families, definitely. But since I retired, I’ve also gone deep into learning the holy book, the Koran, deeply and repeatedly. I mean, the third, third time now to learn each verse and its meaning and background and the story behind the verses. So and I realise how many times it says in the Koran, one of the big things that God doesn’t like is cutting off family. One of the big things in His eyes is he considers cutting off and not talking to family is one of the bad things. One of the big, big sins. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I know. Hopefully that would never happen within my midst, within my surroundings. And another thing is just to. To ensure that they learn why they’re here in this life. It’s not just about enjoyment. It’s a journey. It’ll end one day. And to learn why you’re here. Learn the only one book that was given to us. We have libraries of books that we have read. But has everybody read one book that we were given to read? That would be my next most important advice.

[01:21:33] Have you talked to her? Have you ever found your faith being sort of questioned, questioned your own faith?

[01:21:40] When I was younger. Yes. I have gone through like everybody else questioning and a lot of questioning. But I think you will find all your answers if you search for them, if you truthfully, if you are sincerely looking for your answers, you’ll find them. It’s not just about hearsay. Asking people or scholars. No, but reading yourself. Look and read and find. And all the answers are there in one single book. Only 606,600 plus. Verses and everything is there. So.

[01:22:18] Wonderful to have you, Dr.. It’s a real honour. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

[01:22:26] My pleasure.

[01:22:27] Best of luck for four for your retirement and and all the paintings and things you’re going to do in the future. I hope you really enjoy all of that. Thank you so much.

[01:22:37] Thank you very much.

[01:22:40] 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.

[01:22:56] Thanks for listening, guys.

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