This week’s podcast had our hosts wishing they had more time. Prav and Payman chat with legend Linda Greenwall about the role of women in dentistry and her pragmatic approach to raising a family while in practice,
They also find out all about Linda’s charity work, and talk at length about why whitening may be one of the most neglected disciplines in all of dentistry.
“No secrets. The secret is no secrets.” – Linda Greenwall
In this week’s episode
01.06 – Entering the family trade
03.55 – Women in dentistry
13.33 – On work-life balance
22.03 – What-ifs and creating a better now
36.42 – On whitening
59.26 – Looking back and speaking up
01.08.42 – Why no dentistry is the best dentistry
01.16.51 – Influence, leadership, vision and chill
01.28.56 – Linda Greenwall’s last day on earth
About Linda Greenwall
Third-generation dentist Linda Grenwall was born in Cape Town South Africa and graduated from Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 1984.
She is a prolific lecturer on the international circuit on whitening and also runs a London-based multidisciplinary private practice.
Linda’s debut book, Bleaching Techniques in Restorative Dentistry won the award for Best New Dental Book 2001 and her latest book, Strategies for the Aesthetic Dental Practice was published recently by Quintessence.
Linda is founder and chair of the British Dental Bleaching Society (BDBS) which educates dentists on whitening and lobbies for science-based policy change.
In 2011, Linda launched the Dental Wellness Trust (DWT) charity, which raises awareness of oral health issues in less fortunate communities across the globe.
Connect with Prav and Payman:
Linda Greenwal: So we have our plans and our things to do to, to work on that.
Prav Solanki: Unbelievable.
Linda Greenwal: You have to pay-
Payman L: By the way, we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the things you can accept. Honestly, we haven’t.
Linda Greenwal: We have to also talk about how do you chill? Do you know what I mean?
Payman L: How do you chill?
Linda Greenwal: So how do you-
Payman L: Do you chill?
Intro Voice: 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.
Payman L: It’s a real pleasure to have you Linda on the show. We go back a long, long way, particularly with everything that’s happened in bleaching over the years. I guess for me when I think about you, you’re the person who does the most that I know in the world. Every time I come and visit you, I go back home and start complaining to my wife, “We were not doing enough.” And you come from a long line of dentists. Tell us a little bit about that. Tell us a little bit about the history.
Linda Greenwal: Okay. So, I’ll tell you a bit about the family history. So my grandfather’s brother in 1918 decided dentistry was for him. So he came to Guy’s hospital, and he trained at the London hospital. So, there were no dental schools in South Africa, so he had to train in London. He was a keen rugby player. So, soon became very popular, was in the rugby team. His name was Joe Greenwell. And then his brother, four years later came from South Africa and trained at Guy’s.
Payman L: Your grandfather?
Linda Greenwal: My grandfather, yes. And then they went back and the two brothers didn’t have a practise together. One had a city centre practise and one opened a practise in the suburbs. And my grandfather was very dedicated. He did all his own gold work. He had a technician. And then 40 years later my father came along and they worked together in their practise. And then I joined them in 1984 when I qualified.
Payman L: Oh well the three of you practised at the same time.
Linda Greenwal: Yes, my grandfather was just retiring, but he used to come and have coffee at the practise. My grandmother would kick him off, out the house, he’d catch the train and go and sit and have coffee with his patients. Cause they’re all long-term patients, and he would just enjoy being in the surgery environment.
Payman L: And what do you think it was about you that made you want to be a dentist as opposed to you and your brother, wait did you have a close relationship with your grandfather or something like that?
Linda Greenwal: I personally like to work with my hands, and I like art and the creative process. So originally I was looking at physio and OT, the creative and helping and working with your hands. And then when I was 16 I asked my dad, “Are women are allowed to be dentists?” I didn’t know any and I thought maybe they’re not allowed to. And he said, “No, of course you could, women are allowed to do dentistry, but you have to realise it’s a really hard job. Maybe you want to be a hygienist.” So I thought, well let me try dentistry and if I fail first year, then maybe I’ll do speech therapy or something else.
Payman L: Were you an achiever in school?
Linda Greenwal: I coasted along until I found a subject that I was really interested in. I went to an all girls school and they had certain guidelines of how ladies should behave and all that and how women were in the sixties and seventies. And when I realised I was looking at a medical career, I needed to change schools because they didn’t have that kind of facility to study sciences, changed schools, did my graduation and then went on to dental school.
Prav Solanki: Where did you go to dental school?
Linda Greenwal: Oh, I went in Johannesburg. At a university called Wits Dental School.
Prav Solanki: Uh-huh.
Linda Greenwal: That was the only one that was in English. And there are five dental schools that were English speaking.
Payman L: Okay. Its got a very good name, isn’t it Wits?
Linda Greenwal: Yeah, it’s a very good school.
Payman L: A lot of the top guys have been to Wits.
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Prav Solanki: And you mentioned that you sought permission or you asked, are women allowed to do dentistry? Just why was that a thing back then and also how many women were on your course?
Linda Greenwal: I didn’t know. I had never met a woman dentist, so I didn’t know that women did this kind of thing. I knew about women doing medicine. So, on my particular course there were six out of 60 and we had quite a tough time shall I say, with the people in our class. And we soon realised there is a difference between men and women and we all had to learn how to get along because there were a lot of joking and side remarks and comments, and we realised there’s a name for this kind of stuff that used to go on. It’s now called sexual harassment and hashtag me too and all those things. But in those days we didn’t have that.
Prav Solanki: So, we have interviewed another guest Mahrukh who has set up a group of dentists who focus on empowering women in dentistry. And I know you do the same Linda, and I just want to get an insight into a bit more detail into what that was like being a trainee dentist as a female back then?
Payman L: By the way do you feel it’s harder being a woman dentist than a man dentist today in Britain?
Linda Greenwal: Today not, but I think that there still many issues that need to be dealt with. So, when I qualified as a dentist and I went to work straight for my father, I did a research study and I looked at stress patterns of women dentists. So I did a survey of all the dentists in South Africa, which is not really a lot, and I looked at the responses. And I looked at what stresses a male dentist versus what stresses a female dentist.
Linda Greenwal: What stresses a female dentist is, her child is ill, she’s been up the whole night and she hasn’t had much sleep and she still has to go to work. What stress is a male dentist is the suction and the compressor’s broken down and he can’t work. And that’s a terrible thing. And I looked at ways that they dealt with stress because I wanted to know, I wanted role models, I wanted advice, I wanted to know how to do that. And as I was doing my research, this is in 1984, I started reading about this lady called Jennifer, who’s just retired now, although Jenny, she’s one of my role models, amazing woman.
Payman L: Lovely lady yeah.
Linda Greenwal: And I read that she was taking Canada life to court because of the issues with medical sickness insurance and the unfair changes. And I read about her and I started reading about a few other dentists, female dentist who were doing things. So when I came to the UK we met up and in 1985, we set up the Women in Dentistry. And that was a very big help for me and the excellent society to help all these issues that women had. And we dealt with lots of issues.
Linda Greenwal: We were able to change pension legislation, we were able to change all the maternity issues. We’re able to get women dentists, maternity rights. And I was one of the first to benefit in 1991. And that was very helpful. And so through that organisation we did assertiveness training and training for building your practise and building your teams and met people. And that was really excellent. And it went on for 30 years and we retired a little bit.
Linda Greenwal: But now we’ve realised there’s still more issues that need to be dealt with. And very well known dentist came to see me. They said, “Linda, seriously, you need to do this again.” I was like, “Really?” So, we started again and we’ve set up, it’s called WDN, the Women Dentists Network. There’s a Facebook site and we having a conference next year in June to deal with a lot of the issues and they’re plenty of issues.
Payman L: So what are the issues now?
Linda Greenwal: So another interesting thing that we’re looking at, and I’ve written editorials about this is the pay gap… The gender pay gap.
Payman L: How does that work? Even in hospitals?
Linda Greenwal: No.
Payman L: I mean in private practise from a pat-
Linda Greenwal: And everywhere.
Payman L: From the patient perspective.
Linda Greenwal: Not from the patient-
Linda Greenwal: wow.
Payman L: Whether it’s a man or a woman.
Linda Greenwal: Why do women, dentists, women lawyers, women physicians, why do they earn less? Why? If they self employed or if they’re government employed, why are they earning less? Why? So I’ve started to look at these issues and the whole gender pay gap, you know the gender pay gap has started the whole discussion about it at the BBC, and nothing newsreaders get from their interviewers and their shows.
Linda Greenwal: And then it brought this whole thing to Line. And The Royal College of Surgeons did a whole thing on the gender pay gap in medicine. And-
Payman L: I get it in a hospital situation for the same job being paid less. But if we’re talking private practise, then the market is deciding what anyone gets paid and-
Linda Greenwal: Wow, it may be the market, but then there’s two people who’ve done PhDs in the subject and they looked at does it work against or does it work about hours? The hours worked, the number of children and all those things, and it doesn’t relate to, we thought that maybe if women have a lot of children they don’t earn so much because they have to be at home, but there’s many issues, which are not resolved, which need to be looked at. And the issues that women don’t ask for pay rises.
Payman L: That’s true.
Linda Greenwal: And even some of the corporates have now had… they do have those studies and there’s ongoing research.
Payman L: Do you not think the biggest exploitation of women in dentistry is with the nurses and hygienists rather than with dentists? I mean, I definitely think there’s lots of exploitation of women, but it’s formed the-
Linda Greenwal: And how do you think hygienists are exploited?
Payman L: Well if you look at the hygiene group, if you read their posts, some terrible stories of the way hygienists are treated by their bosses and we’ve all seen nurses being treated badly by people in practise. I certainly think that’s an issue that needs talking about for sure.
Linda Greenwal: So there’s the bullying aspect, which is another bullying aspect of associates and bullying aspect of all staff of course. And that’s another issue. And Jenny, that’s one of the issues she wants to tackle, the bullying of associates in corporates or in positions like that. So, thats another issue.
Linda Greenwal: We also looking about the working patterns of women’s lives, how they balance having family and working and those issues, but also finance issues and pension issues. And we had a really interesting meeting discussing, ensuring women’s futures and what happens, what provisions do they make for themselves. They go, Oh, they get married and their husband gets, “Don’t worry, I’ll do all that.” So the woman just leaves it to the husband. Suddenly they’ll end up divorced, discovered that they’ve got no pension provision, they’ve got no this, they’ve got no this, and they financially better off. What they didn’t take, they left it to their husband.
Linda Greenwal: So those kinds of issues. So there’s a social issue. There’s the social aspect, there’s the woman’s life aspect, there’s the career profession aspect. There is not enough women leadership in terms of many of the organisations. Where are the women’s speakers? I know I speak a lot, but-
Payman L: That’s true.
Prav Solanki: Very true.
Linda Greenwal: Where are the women speakers? Because sometimes this is controversial so I’m just going to say it, when they decide a conference for example, when is it decided? It’s decided at two o’clock around the bar in the evening where everybody’s had the one composite plan in the next hundred. The women dentists are actually nicely tucked up in their bed because they’re absolutely exhausted. They’ve checked in with their kids and they’re sleeping and they are not considered when it happens with a conference and that has to change.
Payman L: Having set up a conference recently myself, we were talking to Bertie Napier on this subject.
Linda Greenwal: Yes, yes.
Payman L: Yeah, he was saying that there should be a rule, they should be a minimum number of women.
Linda Greenwal: I actually think they should be because many women don’t put this themselves forward and not, and at this moment, probably for the next five to 10 years, it needs to be considered. Later on when there are known and they’re more women speakers, then absolutely it’s a natural. But what people have said to me, and I’ve just spoken in class for the whole day on Sunday. They said, “It’s actually a pleasure to hear a woman’s point of view from the clinical side of things. It’s actually really interesting.
Payman L: Definitely.
Linda Greenwal: And so that is often the comment that-
Payman L: But the notion that there needs to be a minimum number. So, we set up this conference and there was nine speakers, and it was difficult actually thinking of women-
Linda Greenwal: That’s what I mean.
Payman L: To put on because for me, the top nine speakers on the subject were men. I mean it would have been you Linda, but I took that bleaching, I did the bleaching myself.
Linda Greenwal: Took it away from me yeah.
Payman L: But I just felt the top and in the end, well we did have one speaker, we had Slaney who was a woman, but-
Prav Solanki: Still is.
Linda Greenwal: She is still a woman as of, yeah.
Payman L: The idea that along with all the hassles that you have when you’re putting on an event to have, to have that minimum number of women in as well as the fact that you want people to get it for their own, for real rather than because there’s a quota. What do you feel about that? Do you feel like it devalues-
Linda Greenwal: Okay, so the thing is-
Payman L: The information to speak?
Linda Greenwal: Not really. I think let’s look at who the audience are now and what’s the age group of the audience and what’s happening because of the big swing away from just the known quotas. But there are a lot of women dentists qualifying now. It’s up to 60%. And because at the moment still they are the ones having babies, the mark could change. But that kind of career balancing, those kinds of gender stereotypes-
Payman L: Let’s go there because you’re the ultimate career balancer of four kids.
Linda Greenwal: Four kids Yeah.
Payman L: How did you balance four kids, a practise, the teaching, this womens thing and all the other things. The charity work you do, the changing the law several times.
Linda Greenwal: We’ve got more work to do on that.
Payman L: I know. How do you balance? And I’ve got a small insight into it. Trying to arrange this appointment with your PA, and your minute by minute scheduled. I did get this well. But what do you do? What’s a hack for other women?
Linda Greenwal: Is it like? What is it like?
Payman L: A hack, it’s a-
Prav Solanki: Shortcut .
Payman L: Or cheat something other women-
Linda Greenwal: How do you do it?
Payman L: Yeah. How do you do it? What’s your secret?
Linda Greenwal: No secrets. The secret is no secrets.
Payman L: Do you wake up at 5:00 AM and go to bed at 2:00 AM?
Linda Greenwal: No I do sleep. I know you have to sleep and you have to have a lot of rest. You seriously do. When I was deciding about having kids, I was married four years I was at 29. And I was thinking about studying for my masters and I was thinking about what do you do? How’d you do this? Should you do the master’s first? Should you have a baby first? What happens? Then I thought about what happened if had this fabulous, brilliant career and it said 45 I decided, okay, now I’m ready for kids. And then they don’t arrive.
Payman L: Yeah.
Linda Greenwal: It’s not so easy. So I thought, well, what is more important to me in my life and it’s more important to have a family. So I thought, why actually let me see if I can start a family side. Started with trying for a baby and I registered for a master’s at the same time. So, my life when I finished the master’s was like this and my specialty, I did Monday, I finished my specialty exams and my MRD exam. So I did a masters and I finished my MRD, it was Monday, Tuesday, I opened my dental practise, and Sunday I had baby number two.
Payman L: Wow.
Linda Greenwal: And that was the one week, and that was a little bit crazy. And while I was kind of having maternity leave, I didn’t really have a maternity leave that time. While I was there my mom said, “Just come sit in the practise and you’ll see what happens and somebody will walk in and you know, you’ll start your practise like that.”
Linda Greenwal: So I did that. So eight days later I took the baby in a basket and brought him there. I was just about walking by at that stage, and started the practise and people curious, walked by trade started and about four months later a journalist came to interview me from the local newspaper Ham & High. And the next morning we had 500 new patients call the practise and at last-
Payman L: It kick started.
Linda Greenwal: Yeah, kick started. So I did all my clinical stuff and then I realised, “Wait a minute Linda seriously like how do you run a practise?” So I did five degrees in dentistry and diplomas, et cetera. When the specialty or prosper and restorative, I actually had no idea about how to run a practise. I had my vision of how I would like it to be, but I had no idea. So during that time I read this book called Great Communication Equals Great Production by Cathy Jameson. So, I read the book and I thought, actually this is really fascinating.
Linda Greenwal: I loved her approach and what she was saying about communication. So I wrote to her and she said, “Linda, do you want me to come and train me?” She’s lives in Oklahoma, I’m in London. And she came and trained me for the year, once a month and we continue to train for 25 years and we still train.
Payman L: Wow.
Prav Solanki: Wow.
Linda Greenwal: And she taught me a lot of strategies. She taught me protocols, strategies, systems in the practise. She’s taught me about delegating. The dentist does only what the dentist is allowed to do and everything should be trained by staff, by the team, the hygienist should be used to do, not to be used, but should be an integral part of the team that they do the best that they can be. They be the best hygienist they can be with full clinical skills using all those clinical skills.
Prav Solanki: Just taking a couple of steps back. You had a baby, you opened a practise and you just passed your exams.
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Prav Solanki: Now I know, from having four kids myself, that bringing a child up is a full time… It’s more than a… I’ve got a full time job. I’ve got several full time jobs, my wife has got it lot, lot harder than me. Okay.
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Prav Solanki: I go to work and she is at work every minute of every day. How did you do that? I mean just the routine, the baby cries, you doing dentistry, you’re running a business, you’re hiring people, you’re firing people, you’re marketing, all these cashflow, all these different things to think about whilst bringing up a newborn child. I’m assuming you must’ve instantly fell in love with it right?
Linda Greenwal: Of course.
Payman L: Would you recommend it to others or not?
Linda Greenwal: What falling in love with your babies?
Payman L: No.
Prav Solanki: No, no, no.
Linda Greenwal: I think the issues these days in the world is everybody wants to have a perfect life and a perfect life and all that. So we’re very much into box ticking these days. Everyone thinks that when they choose their partner, they has to tick every single box and be 95% compatible before they’ll even consider a date with that person. And I think that we sometimes have to let go a little bit, so that we don’t micromanage to go, “What if you can’t live in constant anxiety about what if? And what if I do this? You have to go with the flow and trust your instinct sometimes. But coming back to the baby, the baby number one, his name is Andrew and Payman knows him.
Payman L: Yeah.
Linda Greenwal: He did a Master’s in Finance Works, in the bank for property. But I took him to back to work. I was working with my husband at the time, and our receptionist looked after him and that’s how I managed, and I’d go and see him at lunchtime in the practise and that’s how we did it. And then when baby number two came along and I went back to work that same week. I realised that, wait a minute this is pretty hard going. So, I actually asked my mother-in-law from South Africa to help me to send one of the ladies who works with her and she’d already been working 30 years with her family, and she was running the photo shop, the one art developing shop. So, she came to London and she started helping me look after the baby and she stayed with us 20 years.
Payman L: Did she pass away recently?
Linda Greenwal: Pardon? Yes, she’s the one who had passed away.
Payman L: I met her at your house.
Linda Greenwal: You saw her on Facebook, Susie, she has an amazing, amazing, amazing woman and she had a wonderful temperament and she was like sending a grandmother, sending my mother-in-law there, he was just wonderful with the kids and the kids really, really helped her.
Linda Greenwal: But when I had baby number four I was like, “Okay, how are we going to do this?” So at baby number four, it turned out that my receptionist was also having a baby, within two weeks of each other, we hadn’t planned that together. And so I thought what do we need to do now is we need a practise nanny. So we had a practise nanny.
Prav Solanki: Wow.
Linda Greenwal: And so what happened? The practise nanny arrives for the first day in the job with thigh high boots and a micro mini on. And both of us are standing with our babies who are about six weeks old thinking, “Again how’s this gonna work?” And that was kind of her standard uniform so I said to her, “Actually I’m going to give you a track suit cause I mean you need to be on the floor, change the baby, it will be more comfortable for you to wear the track suit.”
Linda Greenwal: And we had these two babies in the practise for two years, and that worked really well. But in order to get that baby ready to come to the practise, he’s now 16 years old, just on GCSEs. In order, that meant I had to get up at five o’clock in the morning and feed the baby and then express milk and pack the baby ready to come plus, all the food and whatever was needed, then drive to work at seven 30 in the morning to be at work by eight o’clock, but get the baby settled, the nanny would start at eight o’clock in the morning. Nanny desperately needed to go out for lunch to smoke. And so she wouldn’t let the babies crawl around the passage way, the hygienists would get angry and we were left at lunchtime holding our babies, answering the phone and feeding and everything else.
Payman L: Wow.
Linda Greenwal: But it was a really wonderful time.
Payman L: Which baby was it that became a dentist in the end?
Linda Greenwal: Joseph, number two.
Payman L: Number two?
Linda Greenwal: Yes, yes.
Payman L: Was someone going to have to become a dentist out of those 4?
Linda Greenwal: Absolutely not. There’s no pressure there.
Payman L: Really?
Prav Solanki: It was obviously the baby who was born the week the practise was up, right?
Linda Greenwal: There’s no pressure, but he chose, he wanted to, he came to me at 16 and said, I think I’d like to do this. There was no like, Don’t you think there was none of that .
Prav Solanki: And he just got a place in Harvard I saw?
Linda Greenwal: Yes, his a
Payman L: Excellent.
Linda Greenwal: Yeah.
Prav Solanki: Wow.
Linda Greenwal: Yeah. So yeah, so we just went along with the flow. But I think you have to be flexible. I think you can’t take yourself too seriously. You can’t live in the “What if?” you have to live in the now. And that’s one of my really key philosophies is to appreciate now, live in the now, what’s gone is gone.
Linda Greenwal: Can’t change the past. You can live in the present, the present is the present and don’t think what if? About the future. Cause you can’t do that much about that now, you can make plans, but you’ve got to be in the now and you’ve got to be present now and enjoy the now and be 100%.
Payman L: Linda where does the can do? Where does the arrogance, if you like, come from? Okay, mother of four a specialist practise. Most people would carry on with that and that would be that. But then write a book, teach all over the world. This was the can do. What’s the process? Well, I’ve, I’ve thought some times I’ll do X, Y or Z, and just haven’t done it. What is it about you? Do you just take action straight away? What do you do? What are your-
Linda Greenwal: I think that I looked at this, why kind of, why me story in terms of what is it? And then I looked at the patterns of my life. Even at dental school, I was the social secretary. I had to run all the student balls, all the cocktail parties. I was even arranging dates for the dentist who didn’t have them so they could get to the ball so we could have enough people at the ball and the food and all that stuff. And my professors got really angry with me. Again, “you’re going to fail.” And in actual fact, because of that, I actually had to get firsts to get the prizes to do that because of the balance. But I’ve always been somebody who’s been involved and engaged with people with change making. If there are injustices then there should be changes. So I have a strong self, a sense of-
Payman L: Right and wrong.
Linda Greenwal: Right and wrong. But also not the complaining aspect, not the, “Oh, isn’t that so terrible?” But, “Okay, this is the situation. What can be, how can we rectify it?” Don’t dwell in the negative.
Payman L: Practicality.
Linda Greenwal: The practical, what can I personally do about this? What small changes can I make personally? So when I had a significant birthday, somebody sent me a video and they said, “Watch this video.” When you’re about to reach a major age change. Watch this video and the video said, how you should contemplate your life and consider your life before and consider your birthday and be grateful and look at the gratitude and then look at, if there’s anything that you really want to do that you always say, “Oh, I’d love to do this.” On your birthday you have special blessing because that’s the day you were created. It’s very philosophical, but it’s the day you were created.
Linda Greenwal: And they actually say that on that day. And this is very spiritual. Your stars were aligned to be created. So, actually you’ve got power in terms of doing good in the world. So if you want to harness that to do good, that is the day. So you build up to that day to think about changes, over as you change from one age to the next. I always spend time on that day, and like a week before starting to contemplate my life so far, what needs to be done? What needs to be changed? What good can I bring to this world? And I’m very serious about that because there’s so many issues that need to be done.
Prav Solanki: And you do that on every birthday or has it been specific-
Linda Greenwal: I’ve been doing it for the last eight, nine years. After I watched this video, I was like, “Okay, seriously, we need to do that.” And that’s when I decided that I wanted to start the charity. And I’d been thinking about the charity for quite a few years and thinking about giving back and looking at ways that I could do that. And I thought, well, I do know a little bit about dentistry and maybe this would be, we can do something with dentistry.
Linda Greenwal: And I’m astounded at how we’ve been able to grow and there’s more growth that needs to be done. There’s global issues with dental, there’s oral health inequality, there’s so much. But again, going back to the basics, there’s a lot of work to be done.
Prav Solanki: So what are the top three things you want to achieve in your next sort of set of goals or your next vision that you’ve got planned?
Payman L: Thought there’s nothing left is there?
Linda Greenwal: No, no there is. So I think again, first of all, on the humanity point of view, I think we always have to consider our role as humans. But the humanity side, and the kindness and the caring and creating a better world because there’s, I mean, a lot of healing that needs to be done all over the world. And so that’s one of the key things. That’s one.
Prav Solanki: What do you mean by healing specifically?
Linda Greenwal: Look at the issues. You pick up the newspaper and see what’s going on.
Prav Solanki: Of course.
Linda Greenwal: And then you see how healing can take place and how it can be done.
Prav Solanki: Is there anything-
Linda Greenwal: And look at the tolerance issues, the issues with all the kinds of things in the world that we live in. And somebody said to me recently, “Linda, what are you personally doing about this situation?” And I thought, “Actually that’s not on my agenda. I’m not looking at that.” And I go, “Well you should.” And I went back. I thought, actually wait a minute. As a human in humanity, if the situation’s wrong, then what are we going to do about it? You can shout and scream, you can march in the streets or you can do something practical and so that is how I looked at that. So the woman dentist issue is an issue that needs to be up there.
Payman L: So to your point, when you were, especially when you were younger, the apartheid regime in South Africa, did you see it for what it was or did you accept that, that’s the way life is because you grew up that system?
Linda Greenwal: No.
Payman L: Or what was it? What sort of things went-
Linda Greenwal: Not really. Growing up in the 60s in the apartheid story, there were already many inequalities that as a little child we noticed and our parents explained those things coming back to humanity, the injustices in the world. And again, there was, we got to dental school for example, and they go, “Now listen here dentists, you are here to do dentistry. You’re not here to do politics. So no marching in the street. And none this.”
Linda Greenwal: In those days there was a secret police. And I think a few years before that, a medical doctor had died in torture, Steve Biko. And there were many issues and Wits University is an anti-apartheid university and a very liberal university. And that’s the opposite way around because of other issues is that went on over there. But because of that, the tolerance and the importance of being, because remember we talking about dentistry, we are carers. We in the caring profession, we care for our patients. So we bring that with us when we come to the patient to treat them. And it’s about when you treat the patient, knowing what’s behind the patient.
Linda Greenwal: Understand their family life and their issues, their concerns specifically about dentistry. But you keep, retreating your human say you need to look at what’s behind the human and if the thinking, maybe the patient’s aggressive and rude to you, maybe it’s because it’s not to do with the dentistry. It’s not to do with any of those things. They’re nervous or anxious or stressed because they’ve had a major life event just yesterday, which has happened. So those are the kinds of things.
Linda Greenwal: And as we lived through the system in 1976 where the riots, so I was in high school and they had the anti-apartheid riots where all the schools were closed because the black students didn’t want to study Afrikaans. And the slogan was we don’t need no education. And we had to be at home because of the dangers, because of the rioting, et cetera, et cetera.
Linda Greenwal: And 10 years ago I went with rotary into the townships to see how we could help, eight years ago, to see how good help with a charity. I’d actually never been into the townships in South Africa because you are not allowed to. I would be arrested. And I looked at what I saw and I wrote to the mayor of Cape Town I said, “Seriously, what are you doing about the oral health of these children? What are you doing?” And they go, “Would you like to open a clinic here? We haven’t opened a clinic, but it’s our intention to open a clinic. We need more money. We need lots of help.” But at the same time, so we looked at that and we looked at how we could, what positive can we do now? What can we do now? And that’s when we started with a research study doing the toothbrushing.
Linda Greenwal: So we started doing the toothbrushing and very quickly we grew to look after 10,000 children a day in Cape Town, in the townships. And what happened was this woman who was one of the teachers who was involved in our programme, she came to see me. She said, “You know Linda, this is an amazing programme you’re doing in the schools, I think you should do it at night. And I’d like to do it in my home with a hundred children.” Her name is Mavis. I said, “Mavis, how are you going to do this?” She said, “Come and see.” So I went to her house at six o’clock she wasn’t even there, because she was only clocking of work at five 30 she’d got eight year olds and 10 year olds to set up the toothbrushes to get them all ready to pet it, place the toothpaste on the brushes to take a roll call to go and fetch the local children in the community to come to do the brushing programme.
Linda Greenwal: So she had one group at five o’clock one at five 30 and one at six o’clock by the time she came home, that’s a hundred kids.
Prav Solanki: Wow.
Linda Greenwal: And then she spoke to other mamas in the townships and told them about it. And very quickly we grew that to what it is now. And toothbrush mama Mavis, that’s what she’s called a toothbrush mama. We’ve just recorded an album where they’re singing and they teach. It’s part of the African culture to teach through stories and drama and singing and dancing.
Payman L: Mm-hmm
Linda Greenwal: So, they created a whole series of oral health songs. You can download it on SoundCloud. We took them to the recording studio to do that. And I have learned you go to set up a charity, but actually what you get back is so much more than you’re ever expecting. It puts a completely different perspective on life, on the way you look at things.
Linda Greenwal: Not only to be humble and grateful, but you see the joy that you can bring in a simple way. And that’s been totally outstanding. So then we started here in London, in Luton and Luton, for example, 16,000 children out of 18,000 live in poverty in Luton. Did you know that? It’s very high, very high. It’s half a knot from here. And so we looked at what we could do and could we implement the same programmes. And one of our trustees, his name is Dr. [Saul 00:32:49], spoke at the poverty conference in Luton. And the schools approached him to say, please could you run some toothbrushing programmes in the schools? And we went to see one of the poverty charities, it’s called level of trust. So we went to see the uniform exchange where they give free uniforms to kids in Luton. And it puts a lot of things into perspective.
Linda Greenwal: We live in different worlds in our life. We live in so many different worlds. We live in our dental world where every 0.3 of a micro millimetre is 100% important when we are assessing a bite and we live in the world where our patients are such a perfectionist, they bring selfie photos of every angle of themselves to have a tiny micron removed from the central incisor, which is not perfect.
Linda Greenwal: So we live in such diverse worlds and so the giving back puts things into perspective. The other issues, which we have a lot, is the burnout of dentists, their stress levels and the intensities. And my one cousin also became a dentist, but he found it extremely stressful working on the NHS. And he, he did a countdown in his kitchen of the months when he could actually give up because he was so stressed working full time on the NHS.
Payman L: Do you do expert witness work as well?
Linda Greenwal: Absolutely. I do. Yes.
Payman L: You must see some stories.
Linda Greenwal: Yeah, and it’s very sad. I think it’s terribly sad when we see this expert witness the stories or meet the people who are making a complaint or to understand the story. How did it get to this level that there is a major lawsuit? How did it get to this level? And what could have been avoided? Because we always want to learn from this, from the experiences, what could I have done differently that wouldn’t have led to this problem and how and who’s making the complaint and why, et cetera. And I think it’s terribly sad because I think it shouldn’t get to that level. I think as soon as problems arise, I think it’s also expectations of patients, expectations of dentists or expectations of dentists themselves to try and be perfect and do the perfect outcome when it’s not always possible.
Payman L: I think there’s been noted where can, even people don’t sue people they like.
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Payman L: Things like that. So the communication side of it is big.
Linda Greenwal: Yes. So the communication is really, really important. And that comes back to the same discussion with Cathy Jameson. So, when I started the practise, the most important thing was to have a room to sit down and communicate and actually talk it out. Talk first, talk first, talk to the patient. What are your hopes and aspirations? What would you like from me, what would be your expectations of me and ask and wait and, and build a different rapport with the patients so you can totally understand what it is they want from you and what they’re expecting. If they want to be on love Island tomorrow with the whitest teeth, that is a different story.
Linda Greenwal: And recently I was teaching in Derby and the dentist told me, they said, “My biggest problem is everybody wants Jack’s teeth because Jack won last year, because his teeth was super white and they were so white, he went off to Turkey to have a new shade called toilet bowl white.
Linda Greenwal: And so those are her problems, which was really interested. So we looked at ways to strategize and to talk to patients about those kinds of patients who want that look or those expectations, particularly with what whitening can do and what not to do. But what does that look mean for the future to have 20 veneers, what does it mean? Some of them are going to break, some of them are going to need root canals. Some of them the gums are going to recede, they’ll need more dentistry every 10 years and those kinds of things.
Payman L: Tell me about when you got into whitening, because young dentists now take whitening completely for granted, but when I got into, it was around 2000 and I think you’re already an expert at that point. You’d already written your first book. How did you get into whitening? How did you get in touch with the Van Hayward and all that? How did it all come about?
Linda Greenwal: So I was doing my masters at Guy’s 1990 I started and my first research study was then on amalgam toxicity because that was a huge controversy. Everybody was complaining that they fillings are toxic and they are having behavioural changes and memory loss and all those things to do with it. It was a huge controversy in school the toxic tooth syndrome and dentists were changing their practises to have a mercury free practise. This was in 1980, in the 80s, and I wanted to know as a scientist, what is the reason? Are they really toxic? And what are the issues with it? So as an inquiring mind that’s when we started to end the controversy. I like to know about these contemporary issues like the charcoal toothpaste. Which is published on net.
Payman L: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Linda Greenwal: But coming back to that. So I was doing this research study and I spent six months researching the toxicity of amalgam to understand who gets mercury toxicity? Who loses their mind? Who loses in their memory? Is it genuine? Is it valid? Where’s the clinical evidence? Because as a scientist, that’s our first training and we discovered that actually people who complain of their mercury fillings do not have a job, are unemployed, have major life issues and they used different things, but the mercury was the issue because we looked at those people who had mercury fillings. Did they die sooner than those who didn’t? And a big study was done in Sweden. The only clinical fact was that, if there’s a mercury filling like a buccal amalgam next to the gingiva and there’s lichen planus there, then that’s a reason to take it out. There was scientific evidence of that, which I’ve used to base on that.
Linda Greenwal: So then I had to start the research study, the clinical research study and the professor goes, “No Linda, I know what you’re going to find. So find something else to research.” And I was like, “What I’ve spend six months doing this research? How could that be possible?” So I had to go back into the library and I was recently looking at some of the journals and I saw the Quintessence cover. The Quintessence covered Van Hayward’s article 1989, which is now 30 years ago, had a picture of the upper teeth white and the low teeth are yellow. And I’m kind of a visual person. So I looked at it and said, “How can that be? What is this? What’s going on?” So I read the article about the whitening and I went to my professor and I said, maybe I should research this. I’d like to look at this.
Linda Greenwal: He looked at it, he glanced at, he says, “Okay, you go girl, you go do it.” So off I went to start on the research study and then there was very little evidence about whitening. So the first thing we wanted to know is does it actually work? Is it valid? Is it genuine? Does it work? Is it safe? Those were the key things.
Linda Greenwal: So we took blood and we spun it into wisdom teeth. We sectioned them and we tested eight different techniques. So coming back to the story, it was 1990 it was a year, 1991 it was my first mother’s day and I was in the lab on a Sunday making saliva, fake saliva to test on the whitening, I was like, “Seriously, are you really doing this, it’s your first time you’ve been a mother and now it’s mother’s day and here you are.” And so we looked at that and then we looked at all the studies.
Linda Greenwal: So this was 1991 and 1992 all the studies, all the research, all the evidence about whitening, and it’s a fascinating subject because it was basically brand new. It had been done for 200 years. It was super popular in 1860’s to have power whitening. But there had been no updates about it. And so I looked at everything, every single journal as abstract, every single thing that came out. But in those years, which wasn’t a lot, now there’s thousands and thousands of articles per month. And we still track and look at the research, but we wanted to understand the mechanisms. And then we discovered there were some basic ways that it works. So of course I contacted Van Hayward and I believe that again, coming back to the communication, we should meet these people. You should meet, who is the best in this? Who do we need to speak to?
Linda Greenwal: Have the chutzpah – it’s called chutzpah – to call him up. Call him up, go meet him. Go see him. Go learn from him, learn from the best, and continue your quest for knowledge. That’s the genuine knowledge. Now there’s all this fake news and so you have to be very distinguished as in terms of as a scientist, what’s valid? What’s right? For example, when you go to a lecture, you want to get the facts. You don’t want the nonsense. You don’t want the, I’m so awesome. You want actually the real stuff. Why have I taken off the day today to come to a lecture and somebody is giving me a whole spiel, but I want to know what’s the truth? What’s the evidence? So I started going to these bleaching lectures and I would hear the whole story about the power whitening and all that stuff. And I was genuinely, genuinely interested because when I started it, I couldn’t see much difference.
Linda Greenwal: This is now 1993 I’m in my practise, I’m doing power whitening. I’ve spent five grand on the light and I was like, I’m not really sure, but I think it’s me, but I don’t see anything happening. So I’d go to these bleaching lectures from lecture to lecture and I’d ask the lecturer and find time afterwards or during or when there was a break and say, “Seriously, what really happens? Because, I’m not seeing much happen.” And then quietly they would tell me the honest truth where they also don’t see much happening. But in the lecture they will give me a whole story. And so I was trying to like, well whose right? And what is the story? Which continued the quest and then we discovered the whole legal aspect.
Payman L: Yeah.
Linda Greenwal: And then we discovered all that stuff. And I’d been talking about this a long time. And then, so Paul Beresford, he heard me one day speaking at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and he goes, “Linda, not many people understand your South African humour, but don’t worry cause I’m from New Zealand, I get it, I get it. But he says that I really want to help you. We need to make some changes.” And so we set up in 2008, the British Dental Bleaching Society to lobby for change and to make dentistry the tooth whitening within mainstream dentistry, but specifically to get dentist to be able to practise legally, safely, and to have the patient’s best interest at heart. And so-
Payman L: And you got it done in 4 years, was that 2012 when it really happened.
Linda Greenwal: But Now there’s still more issues-
Payman L: Of course.
Linda Greenwal: And now there’s the issues of the under eighteens.
Payman L: I think the first time we met Linda, we were taking the peroxide out of the gel. We were selling carrier gel without peroxide to the dentist. And then we were saying to the dentist, get your peroxide from wherever you want, but this is where you should get your peroxide. And then the dentist was mixing the two at the chairside at the time the dentists could buy peroxide then use it for internal. We could sell the carrier gel to the dentist without peroxide.
Prav Solanki: Wow.
Payman L: But these were the hoops we were having to jump through and people don’t realise that we were in from 2001 to 2012 selling illegal products and you were teaching on it. Martin said he’d go to jail for it if-
Linda Greenwal: 6 months in Jail.
Payman L: it was an interesting time.
Linda Greenwal: For supply of gel. And then the link with Europe and what happened with Europe and the European legislation and still, what’s happening? And the Brexit issues and all that because so it took a long time. And people like Stewart Johnson, who in the BDA made changes and represented Britain on the scientific committee in Europe. And we have the, there was a tooth whitening committee where we would go and Britain was leading the way in this.
Linda Greenwal: I’m not shy to say that because we had taken whitening onboard, tried to be legal, but the uptake and the education, and it comes back to educating dentists about that. We are quite advanced in our education process with whitening and aesthetic treatments, et cetera. But the current issue is not really an issue, of the under eighteens whitening, It’s not really an issue. It’s only a classification thing. It just at the time when they made the change in the law, they didn’t think they could change two laws. So they kept it simple. But there’s no reason for it not to be. It’s perfectly safe. That’s why-
Payman L: Clinically, yeah.
Linda Greenwal: Clinically it’s perfectly safe for kids under 18 to have it. And that’s why we having the conference on the 15th of November. We are going to lobby and change it and we’ve got an action plan ready to go.
Payman L: So today, well, where we at today in July of 2019, if a dentist has a child who has got a non vital teeth.
Linda Greenwal: Child patient.
Payman L: Child patient, yeah. Or if a dentist has a child patient who has particularly dark teeth that they’re being bullied, should they or shouldn’t they bleach their teeth today?
Linda Greenwal: So, very clearly it comes back to the ruling or the guidelines of the General Dental Council. The General Dental Council said, “If a whitening is for treatment of disease, then it can be undertaken.” So in our recent paper, which we published last July 2018, we looked at the 10 categories when it’s appropriate to undertake tooth whitening for children. I wrote an index of treatment need, which I’ve published for children having whitening and when it’s totally appropriate to whiten.
Linda Greenwal: The main thing is the impact on the child. If it’s impacting the child and it’s in the child’s best interest and they’re being bullied at school, then absolutely it’s the right thing to do. Not just a random thing cause a child wants the same teeth as on Love Island. It’s actually a genuine thing. Now, the problem that we have is that there’s a lot of new diseases in the last 20 years.
Linda Greenwal: There is new diseases and the environment that we live in causing toxicity on the kids’ teeth, the toxicity and the environment, which reflects as white spots on these kids’ teeth. So there’s a global increase in disease of 14% with white spots on their teeth, but there’s a 25 to 40% increase of children’s teeth that are erupting with white spots on their teeth.
Linda Greenwal: That means all of us have to deal with this in our practise. And a lot of these children who had the white spots actually have MIH, which is a disease and that causes a lot of sensitivity, extreme sensitivity. So, all of us have to treat these kids. It’s not a matter of, Oh, I’m not sure I’ll send it to the dental hospital because the paediatric dentist will do it. Many of the dental schools don’t even have whitening gel in the paediatric department because they’re too scared of not following the law.
Linda Greenwal: So it needs to be in the patient’s best interest and absolutely it’s the right thing to do. Specifically when a child at this time of the year, the children have finished school, primary school, about to go to private secondary school and that is when they want to change their appearance and want to. So at the moment we are treating a lot of those children who have severe discoloration, brown, orange, yellow, orange marks, white discoloration at this time so that when they go into high school in September, this is not going to be an issue for them.
Linda Greenwal: And the thing with whitening and the thing with these minimal invasive treatments, it’s so simple to treat.
Payman L: Mm-hmm.
Linda Greenwal: The remaining aspect is the mental health issue, which is a much more difficult. We are not allowed to, we don’t treat that, but we can treat from in terms of the view of the minimal invasive aesthetics for these children who makes a huge difference in their lives.
Payman L: What’d you say to dentists who say, “Whitening isn’t rocket science and it’s not a subject that anyone should choose to focus on because it’s not real dentistry.”? I mean I know what my response is to this is, what’s yours?
Linda Greenwal: So, the first thing that, the biggest issue I have when I teach dentists is they’ve never bothered to learn about the science of whitening, the evidence of research or whatever. They do not know whitening. They make it up as they go along, they make random facts, a new associate will join the practise. The principal hasn’t learned whitening. They give them fake news. They say, well this is what’s done and nobody is the wiser and there whitening programmes are not successful because they just making it up with random nonsense. But there is a lot of, as we know there’s scientific evidence and this certain protocols that need to be followed.
Linda Greenwal: So if the dentists take the time to learn it properly themselves, they can be better teachers for the associates and the hygienists and everything else. And the biggest problem is they’re just making it up as they go along.
Prav Solanki: So it’s more than just taking an impression and whacking some gel in there and telling the patient to go home. Because, I speak to a lot of dentists about different whitening products just mainly from a marketing perspective, right? And it’s the same attitude that Paymans just said there, is that they don’t differentiate between products apart from price and they say, “Oh well this does the same as that does the same as that.” All you’re doing is sticking bleach in there, sending them home and it’ll do the job and their results tend to be variable. So they get some cases that were really, well, some cases in my personal experience from whitening using Payman’s stuff.
Linda Greenwal: It’s very good.
Payman L: It’s free.
Prav Solanki: Because it’s free. Yeah, there is that, but I only need to wear my tray for a couple of nights and they glow. Yeah. And that’s as far as I need to go even though the instructions say 14 nights or whatever.
Payman L: The funny thing in our industry, the weird thing about it is everything’s named by percentage.
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Payman L: And a lot of people like to think they know what’s going on. And so they think, well 16 centimetres like Nurofen 200 milligrammes is the same as Ibuprofen 200 milligrammes
Prav Solanki: Mm-hmm.
Payman L: But you know, the, the whitening situation is so flexible because you’ve got a physical situation with a tray. And then you’ve got a chemical situation with a chemical.
Linda Greenwal: And you got a patient with anatomy.
Payman L: And you got a patient with anatomy.
Linda Greenwal: Anatomy of teeth or trauma-
Payman L: And bruxism and the difference in the physical things that can happen there and the volatile liquid, the whole point about it is it breaks down and so it’s very, very different to you. Even, though the composite restoration is much more understandable than whitening. But for me when someone says it’s not rocket science and all of that stuff, generally that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Linda Greenwal: Exactly.
Payman L: But secondly, we know humans know, not just us. The humans know the colour of teeth is the number one concern of our patients.
Linda Greenwal: Absolutely.
Payman L: By far it’s way bigger than orthodontics, caries. That’s what they care about the most.
Linda Greenwal: Absolutely.
Payman L: And often you see these full examinations that the practises sell and market, Oh our examinations, an hour and a half, two pages on the internet about what’s covered. Or we look at the TMJ, we look at the lymph nodes or manifestation, all of this is good stuff. And yet shade’s not mentioned-
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Payman L: In any of that.
Linda Greenwal: So-
Payman L: Is it a primary concern of our patients? Isn’t culturally in our examination and it needs to be.
Linda Greenwal: Absolutely.
Payman L: And so whitening is to be talked about more or less. Obviously I haven’t got a horse in the game, right? I’m biassed. But this idea that it’s not real dentistry. Well, you’re not treating real patients though if you don’t think its real dentistry.
Linda Greenwal: It’s good to listen to all the objectors and the objections because from a hearing, all that stuff, you can have a strategy to change, to move forward. So here’s the thing, we say number one, take a shade on every single patient. It’s a science actually. And that’s part of your exam. That’s the first thing. Why do you do that? And we teach the dentist to just start with basic shade, which is called A3 just have loads and loads of A3 shades and measure every single patient. The patient wants to know, “Oh, is that a good thing or a bad thing?” So it starts the opening discussion. Some dentist say, “Oh, I’m not really, I’m not good at selling, so I can’t sell whitening.” This is not a sales thing. This is a scientific measure.
Payman L: It’s a service thing.
Linda Greenwal: It’s a service thing, it’s a scientific measure, measure the A3 are they lighter or darker than the A3 you recorded? The patient goes, “Can I see the shade guide? What’s lighter than A3? So my teeth are A3,” and the dentist goes, “Well 90% of patients may have that shade.” And they go, “What’s lighter?” And they go, “A1 well that’s quite a nice shade. Can I have that? Would that be appropriate for me?” And I teach the dentists to do an audit. Everybody hates doing radiology audits, which is fine, they can do that. But do an A3 audit say, in the next hundred patients had come in and we’re going to measure the shade with see who uptakes on whitening.
Linda Greenwal: For it’s a basic thing, six months later the patient comes back, they go, “Could you just check my shade because I think my teeth might’ve got darker. I’m interested now in doing whitening.” So it opens the discussion. It’s a scientific measure. There’s a really nice device now called the VITA Easyshade, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, really excellent. And I think actually many dentists should have that in their practise because it’s a scientific measure. It’s got Bluetooth, it’s got an app and you can measure their bleaching percentage and all those things. As dentists love technology and they love all their stuff. So this is quite a nice handy piece of kit. But every patient should have their shade measured and that should know what’s your shade? It’s not a personal, it’s not an invasive question. So not an invasive question.It’s a scientific measure.
Linda Greenwal: So you start from that. When they say it’s not rocket science, there is tonnes of science behind it. But you start with a basic in terms of, again, coming back to communication, what it is that you want? Did you ever consider, if you’re about to start restorative dentistry, about to do a crown, go to the patient. Mrs Jones, “In the next five years, were you ever going to consider whitening your teeth because we were about to do a crown on your front tooth and we need to keep it at the same shade as your teeth are now. But if you were considering whitening, would you? Now is the time to rather do whitening first before so we can choose a lighter shade of your grant.” So there’s some basic questions that we need to talk about to patients. It’s not a sales technique.
Linda Greenwal: And then the story about the 16%. For some reason, I don’t know why Payman, that they think 16% is the only one and there must have 16% and that’s it. So if you do a survey of an audience, just as I’m about to speak to dentists, they all go they only think that you’d start with 16%. They don’t know when they say, “I only use 16%,” then I know they haven’t had any training on whitening at all. So I know where we starting, which is fine, but we want to educate dentists to able to learn the science to be able to provide the service on top of which the whitening oral health benefits is major, so-
Payman L: Root caries and all of that.
Linda Greenwal: The root caries, but also the gingiva swelling and improvement in oral health. So you turn it all the way around on an elderly patient.
Payman L: Do you tell your patients whitening is good for them?
Linda Greenwal: Yeah. I don’t say it’s good for them, I say it has oral health benefits I say improves the gums, it reduces the swelling, it makes the mouth feel cleaner, the plaque doesn’t stick as much to the teeth. So we talk about those benefits. So we also talk about sometimes we need to integrate it into the whole process of dentistry where we will do cleaning, we’ll start the whitening review and constantly improve their oral health first and then we continue with whatever’s needed.
Payman L: Then the reason you were in the birthday honours with the Queen, was that what it was?
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Payman L: How did that feel being honoured?
Linda Greenwal: It was a very interesting process. It was, actually last year I went to Buckingham Palace to the Queen’s garden party. That was awesome. But the medal ceremony was in November before that. So November. It started in June 2017, where I was listed in the Queen’s birthday honours and I was very humbled to be recognised for the service to dentistry.
Payman L: Is there a process if Prav wanted to become Lord Solanki of… Is there a process?
Linda Greenwal: I think there is a process and the department of health put out the process to dentists at the time they were looking for a regular people working on the health service and they do, they do want to support people working on the NHS and providing service for care. So the day that I was there at Buckingham palace, we met a lot of the police. We met a lot of people working in the health service, people working in the services. A lot of people give off their time unconditionally, begin to create a better world to do good. And what happened with the seminar, it was announced in June and then I went to the ceremony my mum was invited. She was too delighted and my husband and one child was allowed.
Linda Greenwal: And when it was held at the Tower of London and the Queens Emissary, which is the Lord Lieutenant of London, gives out the medals. And he started by saying that at the event, he said, “This morning I was reading the paper and having my coffee while you’re all driving here or getting here and reading the news is very depressing.” He said, “But today you’re going to hear very inspirational stories of people that have really made London a better place.” And so what happens with the medal ceremony as you go up onto the stage and they read ati citation citation about you and about what you’ve done in your life. And for about 10 minutes and then you receive your medal and have a nice photo. But the stories of the other recipients was very inspirational and it’s a regular person who has done good and taken it upon themselves to do good. And I am interested in that kind of story.
Payman L: Mm-hmm.
Linda Greenwal: I’m interested in somebody who wants to make their life better. They come from nothing with no graduation, no nothing, but they have a determination to want to do good. Like we watched Goodwill Hunting this movie. It’s one of the greatest movies. To see that process of a person. You start, create something out of nothing to do good for society. I think that’s really a key thing.
Payman L: Talking movies, have you seen that Sugar Man movie?
Linda Greenwal: Yes, I did. So when we grew up,
Payman L: Did you know that music?
Linda Greenwal: Yeah, absolutely. It was banned
Payman L: Yeah, really.
Linda Greenwal: and so-
Payman L: Because it was kind of anti-apartheid.
Linda Greenwal: Yes. And all kinds of things anti… And when I went to summer camp we would all, I used to play the guitar,
Payman L: Oh really?
Linda Greenwal: And I used to play all that music with all my friends and yeah, it was quite, quite a big thing.
Payman L: Going forward Linda, I’m sure you’ve got things that you want to achieve like Prav was saying, but do you think that looking back on your life, there were the things that maybe your family missed out on because of your achievements, your ambition? Did Dr. Cohen take care of dinner? Did Henry do bits that you should have been doing? Or you’d, no regrets and you feel like you did everything right? What would you do differently?
Linda Greenwal: And there’s a lot of questions in that one question.
Payman L: Yeah, sorry I was trying to obtain a thought.
Linda Greenwal: So basically, first of all, I think that the one shouldn’t have regrets. I think that every opportunity is an opportunity for the positive as well as the negative. And you’re always seek the joy, you have to learn to seek the joy and seek the positivity. So if a situation arises, which could be construed as a negative situation, the experience that you’ve going through, how can you to turn it into a positive? So what have we learned here? What do we do differently? How did this happen? Now that we’ve learned this in terms of, now the buzzword is reflection, on reflection I would have done this, this, and this differently. So we now know the challenges that arise are there to make you grow as a person.
Payman L: So what would you have done differently on reflection?
Linda Greenwal: Of course, we had lots of stress in lots of things like coming here from South Africa and working as a new graduate and working for a boss who was extremely tough on me and men I was thinking about, for example I felt, I’m sure it’s not legal to sign a form when you haven’t done the filling, but the boss says, just sign the form anyway.
Linda Greenwal: So then I started looking and taking advice, isn’t right you have to sign these forms and it says you’ve done 10 fillings but you didn’t do any. And so those kind of things and realise, you have to stand up for injustice. If in your heart of hearts you know it’s wrong, it’s wrong. And so speaking up, that’s when you asked me about what is left to be done? And what did you learn? I’ve learned as you get older anyway, you speak up more. When you’re in your 20s you always want to do the right thing, “What would this one say about me? And what this one say about me?” In your 20s. When you get to my age now, you can actually, it’s very liberating because you have to speak up, you have to speak up so-
Payman L: I think one of your biggest strengths is you don’t really care what people think about you.
Linda Greenwal: Now, but I’ve learned that you have to speak up you have to say when you’re bringing up four boys, who are rowdy and difficult and the neighbours car window has been broken five times in one week. Then you have to speak up and talk to the boys and say, “Maybe we shouldn’t be playing football or cricket next to the neighbour’s window again.” And so you have to speak up and you have to speak up a lot. And you have to say what you have to say. And bring up boys, you can’t skirt around the issue. You have to deal with it head on and it is what it is.
Linda Greenwal: But the speaking up and the not tolerating the bullying and not tolerating whatever is happening. This is not right. What needs to be rectified rather than get stuck in the misery of the wrong decision and you have spiral negatively downwards.
Linda Greenwal: You think, what can I do to rectify to get out of this situation? In terms of a patient, if something has happened and it happens, stuff happens all the time, immediately apologise. I really, I really strongly believe, high hold up your hands and say, “I’m so sorry this has happened. I didn’t expect it to happen. We weren’t expecting this. This has happened. I’m terribly sorry. I want to rectify this situation or whatever it is.” Appease with the patient if it needs to give them money back, there and then for the simplest thing now rather don’t let it fester and fester till it’s a major volcano. Just sort it out as quick as possible now. When you leave it to fester, it’s very stressful for your own personal circumstance, but it’s stressful for the patient. It’s stressful for the entire practise. If these things are going on and the complaints going on.
Linda Greenwal: So I think that speaking up quickly, rectifying as soon as you can, as quick as possible and move on, learn from it, don’t dwell on it, learn from it. This is what I learned. But move on, move forward, proceed forwards without dwelling on the negative. If you spend too much time thinking about the negative, it holds you back and you spiral. So rather think about, I learned from this, this happened, stuff happened. I’m so sorry. Move forward. How can we rectify.
Prav Solanki: Linda, talking about mistakes? What would you say the biggest clinical mistake that you’ve ever made?
Linda Greenwal: That is a very deep question and it’s been like a long time since I’ve practised. I think some of the biggest clinical mistakes for me personally were, working on the NHS when we were limited to time and so we couldn’t do the best that we could do because you were time restricted and funds restricted and admin restricted.
Linda Greenwal: So you compromise a lot and you have to think about is this the best that I can do for this patient? This is what I can do now under these circumstances. And I worked on the NHS for 10 years looking at these situations. And one day we had to do a, in those days a private white filling probation, and I think the fee was 20 pounds and the patient’s sitting with her Prada handbag 1400 pounds and she said, “20 pounds for the filling. Oh my gosh, what a rip off.” And I thought, “Really?” Let’s put this into perspective here.
Linda Greenwal: And so again, sometimes you work in a situation where you know that it could be different, but you compromised because of decisions and because of these situations. So you always doing the best that you can. And so stuff happens because it compromises this, this, this and this. You can do X, but really a that, that holds you back. But the thing is with dentistry is we have a lot of choices. We make decisions all the time. We even have a lot of freedom to make decisions and as to how we practise as well.
Prav Solanki: Sure.
Linda Greenwal: We’re decision making on a daily basis. Sometimes we may make the wrong decision at that time and you can’t rectify it, but we have choices. And so for me that was very hard working in a system like that. When maybe you couldn’t wait for the gums to heal to take the crown because you were only getting a small amount for the crown fee, so you had to just fit the crown and the gums were swollen or whatever. You do the best that you can.
Payman L: Do you remember were you planning from the beginning to go out of the NHS? Would do you remember the time when you realised, I’ve had enough of that and I remember you were with Mike Wise group for a longtime.
Linda Greenwal: Yes. I trained with Mike Wise for 30 years and that was really an awesome guy. I think that also for us, we always, all dentists need mentors. They need mentors, they need advice. They need people to genuinely help and guide you as you go along. We need good teachers. It’s hard to find a good teacher and it’s hard to find somebody that you can relate to and can follow advice. That’s why we need a deeper kind of philosophical things as well, because our lives need to be in balance. But Mike taught me a lot about clinical excellence, about not compromising, about constant reading, the evidence and the research and the journals. What does the research say about this? Which is the best way to make a post? Should be this post should be that post. What does the research say? And going back to the literature and the signs. And he was a very inspirational guide with that.
Payman L: He’s in touch?
Linda Greenwal: He’s just retired. So we are still in touch. I do see him and we do communicate yeah. But then I also had many other teachers and the study groups and learning from certain people. Not all dentists share knowledge,
Payman L: That’s true.
Prav Solanki: Mm-hmm.
Linda Greenwal: They don’t want to, they keep, they’re worried that we’ll know more than them. And so they hold their cards close to their chest and that is a pity. And I think another issue Payman, is professional jealousy.
Payman L: Yeah.
Prav Solanki: Yeah.
Linda Greenwal: This is a really big issue and I’m astounded at what I see on Facebook on the chat lines, on the chat groups because somebody is genuinely asking a genuine, sincere question. And many people often respond in a flippant way, “Have another whiskey or whatever,” when the person has actually asked a genuine question and then it turns into a personal discussion, a personal aberration of something.
Linda Greenwal: And it goes completely off the tangent, when actually what we should do be doing is respond kindly and actually genuinely wanting to help our fellow colleagues. But that doesn’t happen. But the other issue is we work all day really hard and what do we do? We go and relax and switch on Facebook and see intolerance by other dentists just being mean to each other. I mean it may be entertaining for some, but we actually need to switch off. We need to balance with exercise and with all the other things.
Payman L: What’s your view on the Instagram dentistry?
Linda Greenwal: So-
Payman L: I see your posting a lot more.
Linda Greenwal: I’m working on, greenwalldental is my Instagram, and just today I reached 4,000 which I was super excited about it. It’s actually quite crazy, what we see on Instagram dentistry. The way people learn these days is Instagram University, Facebook University and all those other sites. But there’s a lot of genuine dentists and dental students who actually are really learning stuff.
Payman L: Yeah, yeah.
Prav Solanki: Yeah.
Linda Greenwal: And what I’m concerned about is certain dentists with a following, where they do work out and they show their naked chests on their work out session on the Instagram and then the next case is a 20 veneer case and then you’re watching him work out and all that stuff. But when we see things like, patient was too sensitive, we didn’t do whitening, we just did 2 rejuveneers. We think, wait a minute, let’s start with treating the sensitivity. We haven’t got time to treat the sensitivity. We’re going to just do 20 veneers. And those kind of remarks were, in the end of the day, our philosophy should be minimal invasion.
Prav Solanki: Mm-hmm.
Linda Greenwal: The best dentistry is no dentistry. Actually, no cutting. So how can we improve the patient’s oral health first? Of course there’s the beauty aspect and all that or what you see on Instagram is also not real life.
Linda Greenwal: So maybe that dentist has a beautiful photo of the before and after because he did one patient the whole morning and he took all the photos and he made a movie out of it. But that’s a one patient and that’s not real life. And may look gorgeous then, how will it look next year? And in 10 years? And what will be the stability of that? So, I have concerns so, some of it is very interesting, I see so much unnecessary cutting I’m really shocked at how-
Payman L: Because we are exposed to the whole world-
Linda Greenwal: We’re exposed to the world.
Payman L: And the whole world’s as minimally invasive as we’ve become.
Linda Greenwal: That’s right, as the philosophy.
Payman L: But it’s lovely. And you’ve been really at the tip of the spear of that minimally invasive. Maybe you, Tiff, Jason maybe now Tipesh is doing his best. It’s lovely to see the UK excelling at that because with that NHS sort of baggage that’s been holding us back, let’s face it dentally not medically, but dentally. We never really excelled like the Italians or the Brazilians. But now we really are. And in the area of minimally invasive, we really right up there.
Linda Greenwal: We really are.
Payman L: And its nice to see.
Linda Greenwal: Its fabulous to see and there are really some excellent dentist. So often if I’m lecturing in the US for example, the US have a big thing about British dentistry and English teeth. There seriously obsessed they, from the Simpsons TV show where Lisa opens the big book of British smiles and everyone’s got yellow ugly teeth. That is the stereotype of UK dentistry.
Linda Greenwal: So, whenever I give a lecture in the US I have to start with that because, they all giggle away and they’re like, “Seriously you’re a British dentist, what are we going to learn from you?” And then I say to them that, “Actually, I’m going to show you some minimal invasive treatments, some beautiful dentistry where we’ve created a beautiful smile in a minimal invasive way.”
Linda Greenwal: I recently taught at Tampa University and I gave my presentation with minimal invasion, the three step technique for treating tooth wear by building up the bite with composite restorations and palatal veneers, et cetera, and micro abrasion and whitening and all those things. And at the end of the lecture there was a five minute silence because the Dean goes, “Wow, you did all that and you didn’t pick up a handpiece.” I said, “Yes, so I need to just smoothen on overhang or whatever.”
Linda Greenwal: And that is how dentistry should be going. That is a major paradigm shift. So, to get your head into gear with this noninvasive approach to being able to do this, takes a major rethink in after loss fees. And some dentists, as you know, hate change. They know what they like, amalgam works beautifully in my hands. I’m going to do it for the next 40 years. And then there forced to change, they don’t like to be out of their comfort zone.
Linda Greenwal: So when you have to make these changes, who’re really essential, to be ready to be out of your comfort zone to go, “Okay, this is a new technique. What are I need to know? Who’s going to teach me? Who’s the best in this field? And what I need to learn from them. And how am I going to go from this level to that level and what I need to get there. Which is why I wrote the textbook with Cathy Jameson.
Linda Greenwal: I wrote a book called, Success Strategies in Aesthetic Practise. Because I want to know those secrets of those successful dentists. How do they do it? What does it take to do it? And how do I get there? And how do I maintain? And can I learn from their wisdom? That’s what I want to know. So my current training that I’m doing and learning and I’m undertaking is training with Francesca Villete.
Payman L: Oh really?
Linda Greenwal: Three step technique.
Payman L: Amazing.
Linda Greenwal: And I’ve done eight trainings with her.
Payman L: Have you?
Linda Greenwal: Absolutely.
Payman L: Amazing.
Linda Greenwal: Yeah, and I’ve been to Geneva and Barcelona and wherever she is, I train with her because it’s such an ama-
Payman L: People forget you’re a restorative specialist as well.
Linda Greenwal: They just think just “just whitening”. At the end of the day. We’ve got to go back to the basics and first of all it starts with, if you’re going to do whitening, you need to exclude pathology. That’s the secret word, excluding pathology. What does that mean? Means you’ve got to assist the patient thoroughly and properly. Do when if you need to take a radiograph of a discoloured tooth, you need to do that. But in that assessment, that I need to do, it’s a full restorative assessment because you’ve got to look at all these things, not just whitening the teeth. There’s other issues, which need to be taking place and that’s what Mike Wise taught me about the comprehensiveness of doing a comprehensive treatment plan.
Linda Greenwal: How do you do a comprehensive treatment plan? You sit away from the patient in your specifically dedicated time minus Thursdays between 12 and one and goes through 12 to two and just look at photos and have quiet time where nobody is disturbing you that you can actually think out and plan out carefully the treatment plan. You can’t do this, you make it up on the spot. When you’re seeing the patient for three minutes, you need that planning time.
Linda Greenwal: And so coming back to, that when Mike Wise introduced me to Francesca Villete, and many of the BACD people had told us about Francesca’s techniques, I was like, okay, I need to learn this. What I need to learn, How do I need to do this? How can I do a hands on? How can I do training?
Payman L: And there’s going to be more and more of that kind of disease.
Linda Greenwal: There’ll be more and more because now with digital dentistry, so I’ve just invested in my digital, my scanner,
Payman L: Which one did you get?
Linda Greenwal: The Sirona, the-
Prav Solanki: Primescan?
Linda Greenwal: Primescan yeah.
Linda Greenwal: Primescan and the milling machine. This is the beginning of the journey because with the minimal invasive, with what she teaches, instead of doing direct composites, you will be able to mill that hole out, and stick it in and save a lot of time and open the bite two millimetres and do the whole thing in one hour.
Payman L: Yeah.
Prav Solanki: Mm-hmm.
Linda Greenwal: And that’s kind of my thinking where it’s going and because tooth way is such a major issue now that more patients keep their teeth. Everybody has some type of tooth wear and in general, 70% have severe tooth wear of our patient group. We just go, “Okay I’ll just watch and monitor and just check again.” But actually what Francesca says is that, “Don’t wait. Don’t leave it till it’s so difficult to repair. Get started, be proactive and keep the health minimal.” And with the new techniques there’s no prep, no prep. You open up the bite and no prep, etch, bond and put on the on lay or you do the composite.
Linda Greenwal: That’s again a huge paradigm shift. When the age is, I said, “one millimetre here, 1.5 millimetre you had a formula you had to create.” You don’t have to do that anymore. So that takes the thinking away because you’ve got to go new directions and you’ve got to be ready for it.
Linda Greenwal: But what worries me about the new dentists, they’d go on Instagram, they got Instagram dentistry, they check it out. Okay, I’m going to do 10 but actually they haven’t learned. So you have to learn it face to face. There’s many ways of learning.
Payman L: I mean you’re clearly very passionate about all of this and whether you like it or not, you’re, “the influencer,” key opinion leader. So, does that weigh on you? The fact that what you say moves lots of people. And so, I mean it would weigh on me, in many ways in bleaching your the sort of the final tertiary referral, that you know the final person’s going to get the final answer on all of them.
Linda Greenwal: Yeah.
Payman L: On any particular issue.
Linda Greenwal: Yeah.
Payman L: Does it weigh on you?
Linda Greenwal: It weighs on me. But in that, there is so much more knowledge and stuff that we need to learn. And when I find out new stuff for example, cause I have-
Payman L: The charcoal thing.
Linda Greenwal: Why is that a thing? Why are they 3000 posts on Instagram? It must be good. And then we go, “But is it whitening? Is it this? Is it this?” That’s like, why is no one talking about it from a scientific point of view. So there’s more work to be done and we need to look at it. We need to research and we need to do it. If there’s a genuine thing that it does make a difference and it’s scientific evidence, then we all need to participate in that genuine thing and give a better aspect for our patients.
Payman L: What did you find going to tell us quickly, if-
Linda Greenwal: So, what did we find out about Charcoal toothpaste?
Payman L: Yeah, if a patient asks a dentist, charcoal toothpaste? What’s the answer?
Linda Greenwal: The answer is that we also need to look at their dentition and see if they’ve got any tooth away. But also charcoal toothpaste don’t whiten. They say they whiten because it gives the appearance that the teeth are cleaner, therefore whiter cause the yellow plaque is removed but they don’t actually whiten teeth. Some of them are very abrasive. Some of them have got carcinogenic ingredients in, some of them have no fluoride and there’s no legislation as to where does the charcoal come from? Is it burnt leaves? Is it random stuff? There’s no guidelines. And there’s no, and so everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon.
Payman L: Even Colgate brought one out recently.
Linda Greenwal: Yes.
Payman L: But when you look at the numbers, its gone berserk that, that is selling like hot cakes. The strange thing is why.
Linda Greenwal: It’s strange and so we need to, as scientists and as dentists and as professionals, we need to look, is this good for our patients? If it’s good for our patients then we can recommend it. So, once again when I come back to talking to dentists, “Hey guys, do you realise that this causes damage or this is a problem?” Or, “Hey guys, do you realise this is actually a genuine thing?” And then more people should know about it?
Prav Solanki: Just going back to your Instagram dentistry. So what’s wrong with taking selfies with your chest out and working out and then-
Linda Greenwal: Do you do that? Am sorry if you do that.
Prav Solanki: I don’t, I don’t, no, no, no, no, no. I’m not one of those guys. But I just want-
Linda Greenwal: I think there needs to be a level of professionalism at all times. If Instagram’s going to build me a huge polling, because I’ve got a hot bod in my bikini on my yacht. That is one aspect. But I think that, again dentists need to come back to professionalism. Never compromise your professionalism.
Payman L: Professionalism, I mean if you do something wrong, you should put your hands up and act professional.
Linda Greenwal: Yes, yes. But now we haven’t, I think we should-
Payman L: But are you saying a dentist has to hold themselves in a particular way in the society.
Linda Greenwal: They do yes, unfortunately they do because of the General Dental Council and patient’s expectations of what a dentist, of what a professional should be and should be like.
Payman L: Is that not changing then?
Linda Greenwal: It is changing, it is changing a little bit, but there’s a certain line, there’s a certain line that you shouldn’t cross. For example, some of the medical legal work that I do when I see something’s going wrong, it’s because often the dentist compromise their professionalism where they felt in the heart of hearts it was really wrong. Don’t compromise your professionalism. There’s a code of conduct. There’s a behaviour that is expected of us, of course we need to behave and that is why it’s very, very strict. The behaviour of, the way we do things. So there needs to be a behavioural expectation as well as being a professional person. And that needs to be, that needs to be redefined.
Linda Greenwal: But there are lots of interesting things about it, about the Instagram, and we can all learn a lot and we see some beautiful dentistry in many different countries. But I think that, what your patients see or what the general public sees, I think there’s certain things that don’t, people overshare, they overshare stuff.
Linda Greenwal: And I don’t have a lot of time to go through Instagram. I look at a few things. Not everybody’s got their time. You want to get to the point to say what needs to be done. You know, our lives are too overexposed to too much social media and unfortunately you still got to have a real life. You’ve become so obsessed, they make us be obsessed with our phones. We need digital detox, We need time to be away from it and actually communicate with our loved ones and, no phones, no this, no TV. Let’s just talk it out. Let’s start, “So how are you today?” Rather than everyone being distracted and you take a family meal. Everyone’s on their phone the whole way through the meal who said hello? Who will pass me this? Pass me this? And at the end of the meal, everyone goes back on their phones. You didn’t engage with those people.
Prav Solanki: So true.
Linda Greenwal: That you really need to.
Prav Solanki: So true. Linda, I’ve been sat here for the last hour, absolutely gobsmacked with what you’ve achieved. I didn’t even know half of it and I say if anything, can I work bloody hard and I don’t think I’ve even started to scratch the surface of what you’ve done. I just want to get an idea of how you fit all that in. Because obviously when you do that, you’re surrounded by a team and you’re surrounded by people that give you that freedom to go and realise your vision. What is it about your leadership that makes people want to do things for you? The way you… That allows you to live your dreams in your vision.
Prav Solanki: Because not everyone will be able to, we’ve all got dreams and visions, right? But sometimes, you know, we are our own biggest victim because we have these ideas, but as Payman says, we don’t always execute them. You’re executing, and despite having been in it for 40 years?
Linda Greenwal: I started, my first year in dental school was 1979, yeah.
Prav Solanki: Your passion hasn’t declined whatsoever, That’s so clear. So what, what is your secret to successful leadership?
Linda Greenwal: The first thing is, as a leader, that’s a responsibility and you need to know that, am I doing the right thing in this situation? I think engaging the team is really important. You can’t lead without a team, but your team needs to be fully engaged with you. And there’s the discussion that, are you on the bus? Are you off the bus? Are you in the right seat on the bus? And there’s new bus discussions about the bus. And when you come back to decision making, is this person in the right seat on the bus? If not, and I consult with the teams. And my team is very, very important to me. My key lady has been with me 25 years, my hygienist 20 years because-
Payman L: Whose your key lady?
Linda Greenwal: Nicola Bannerman.
Prav Solanki: Shout out.
Linda Greenwal: She’s been, she’s awesome, she’s absolutely awesome. And she’s been with me right from the beginning of the journey and we had our babies with the nannies together and she’s been absolutely amazing and she will quickly come to me and say, “Linda, this is wrong. This is wrong. What can we do to rectify it?” I like to problem solve and brainstorm all the time along the way.
Linda Greenwal: So in terms of leadership, your team need a clear vision. Where are you going? Where have you come from? Where are you going? Or what is your… Where are you heading? That’s the first thing. And all teams need to know your vision and empower it for their vision and listen to the team, engage with them. And there are so many good things that teams have to share that you can take on board, let them run with it and delegate what they want to do. It’s a very creative process. So this morning we had a team meeting and we brainstormed a lot of what needs to be done? Where are we? What’s happening? What’s our schedule? What’s the plan? Every morning we meet every single morning we really.
Payman L: When you have take us through your day to day? Like what time did you wake up?
Linda Greenwal: So, I try to wake up at seven but most of the time it’s six 30, I wake up at seven have breakfast. You’re going to be really amazed at this, but actually my husband wakes up early and he brings the breakfast and we have tea in the morning together
Prav Solanki: Wow.
Linda Greenwal: And just kind of chat in the morning. Then I will start at about 10 past seven on my phone. Not always a good thing, but actually I have to be out of the house at seven 25 to catch the school bus for my son and we cannot be late. We don’t want to chase the school bus, which we have done. So seven 25 out of the house, take the son to the bus stop and then ten to eight to be at the practise. Eight o’clock start up team meeting, it’s supposed to be from eight to a quarter past eight. First patient at eight 30 going through till one o’clock lunch between one and two and finish at six.
Payman L: Yeah though but today you came here-
Linda Greenwal: So, today-
Payman L: Are you going back to the practise.
Linda Greenwal: Of course.
Payman L: Are you?
Linda Greenwal: Of course, I’m going back to the practise. At our team meeting this morning, we allocated which roles, what do we need to do now? For example, at this time of the summertime when it might be slightly quiet and other people are on holiday, we review the year. We say, how many new patients did we have? Where is the dentistry? What follow ups do we need to do? What is next? Who has dentistry that’s been diagnosed without having treatment?
Linda Greenwal: And we look at all those things. We look at the hygiene retention. For example, what is our hygiene retention rates? It should be at 80 to 90%. Where are we this month? Where were we last month? Where were we? Where are we going? How can we do this better? Who needs to come in? Who’s going to phone that person who needs to come in? How are we going to schedule them? So this morning we allocated, each team member had a role and is going to be working on that like while am away. Besides, receptionist clocking in the patients, et cetera. So we have our plans and our things to do to work on that.
Linda Greenwal: You have to pay and you have to-
Payman L: Pardon, we haven’t even scratched the surface in all of the things.
Payman L: Honestly, we haven’t.
Linda Greenwal: We have to also talk about how do you chill?
Payman L: How do you chill?
Linda Greenwal: So, how do you-
Payman L: Do you chill? Not how do you chill?
Linda Greenwal: So my children-
Payman L: Actually you go away a lot, do you? I do see you travelling.
Linda Greenwal: It’s mostly for teaching.
Payman L: Is it?
Linda Greenwal: Okay, the chill thing is number one, Saturdays are to family time
Prav Solanki: Uh-huh.
Linda Greenwal: And we really digital detox and day of rest and I read a book and check in with those children and just do nothing and eat and rest and go for walks, et cetera. So that’s one thing, joy in… How’d you get the joy? You always have to seek the joy. And for dentists because it’s such a high stress level, you have to have some aspect that brings you joy besides your work, which should bring you joy. So in your work thing, you work out very early in your career, what brings you joy in dentistry to do more of that and do less of what doesn’t bring you joy.
Linda Greenwal: And we do have this choice, but coming back to the joy, what are your joy things that bring you that little extra. Because, of when you are in your joy litter. I like to do my dancing. I do nia, zumba and yoga and walking, but when you your mind is at rest. That is when your biggest insight comes.
Payman L: Yeah.
Prav Solanki: Absolutely agree.
Linda Greenwal: And so you need that rest time. Most people have the Eureka moment in the shower.
Payman L: There is a reason for that, yeah.
Linda Greenwal: Because their mind is actually, there’s- Actually your vision is like, you just chilling and you’re just that, and your mind is clear. We don’t want to bombard ourselves on the phone with all the stuff. So when your mind is clear, you’ve gained clarity and insight. And that kind of, it comes to you because you’re not thinking, thinking and overthinking you actually just resting. That gives you your great- the clarity, helps you to plan your week and to run with the good thoughts, not the bad thoughts to keep with that and so, that’s what I try and do on the weekend.
Payman L: So Linda, we’re definitely getting you back for part two and maybe three and four. Imagine it’s your last day on the planet and your kids are around you and you are going to give them three pieces of advice. You’re going to leave your children in the world with three and only three pieces of wisdom what would they be?
Linda Greenwal: The first thing, if it’s your last day, is you have to share with your children how much you love them. And children have to know that they are loved unconditionally. And that’s really key. If it’s the very last day, that’s making me cry now, It’s very, very important because, children are worried that the parent doesn’t love them or whatever.
Linda Greenwal: So the first basic thing, and we try and tell our children that every day how much we do love them and we accept them unconditionally. And we want to know from our child that, their best person that they can be. If their name is Johnny, that they did, they were the best Johnny that they could be because they were self-actualized and those talents that Johnny was given by God has been able to achieve and accept those talents because, that God gives them that.
Linda Greenwal: So that’s the one thing, is loving unconditionally, be true to yourself and be human. Be kind and caring and make the world a better place.
Prav Solanki: As your children have got older, do you still tell them that you love them, even though they’re young adults?
Linda Greenwal: Even more so actually, actually, actually even more so.
Prav Solanki: Even more so, right?
Linda Greenwal: Even more so because as they become young adults, they’ve got even more decisions to make-
Prav Solanki: Yeah.
Linda Greenwal: About their futures and about their direction and all that, and they need to know that you, as long as they not doing dangerous and all those going off the wrong path, keep them on the path that you love them unconditionally. Because children have challenges as a teenager, they have all these issues that are all very exciting things as a parent, you have to go through.
Linda Greenwal: I’ll tell you about that on another issue, another time. But they have to know that they loved unconditionally.
Prav Solanki: So I tell my kids I love them too many times a day I’m told. Okay. And I cherish those moments where my little girl drags me around the house holding onto my hand thinking one day she won’t want to, okay. Because, they’ll be too cool. It’s not cool to hold daddy’s hand anymore. And then I think that comes around full circle when they get older, right? Did you experience any of that in terms of, there was a little bit of a gap at some point where it was too, “Hey love you mom, love you dad,” all that sort of thing. And then it, and then it’s come back full circle again. Have you experienced any of that?
Linda Greenwal: I think that, so I’ve always tried to be a cool mom in terms of I love to have my kids, I like to keep an open home. So, I want my children to bring their friends over, I want to see who there friendly with, who they mixing with and see what’s going down? What’s the thinking on those children? And to understand that.
Linda Greenwal: So, because again, it comes to communication. To find out and if they say, “Look mom, don’t be embarrassing, whatever.” Of course, I’ll retract back. But if one of their friends is coming to the house, the food comes out the, what would you like to drink? That’s not alcohol, that’s not going to cause an issue at that age, whatever. But welcome to our home, we’re here for you. How can we help? And recognising, to be kind to guests.
Linda Greenwal: And then those kind of values are really key that children grew up with the values. Because you think, what lessons did I give my children? At the end of the day, you’ve given them the family values that you are true to you, that you live your life, but also where you come from. You bring everything where you come from and it’s always important. It’s called one of the sayings that we use is called ethics of the fathers. Always know where you come in order to know where you’re going.
Prav Solanki: Beautiful, beautiful.
Payman L: And a great note to end on. Thank you so much.
Prav Solanki: Thank you, Linda.
Outro Voice: 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.
Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening guys. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Make sure you tune in for future episodes. Hit subscribe in iTunes or Google play or whatever platform it is. And we’d really, really appreciate it, If you would-
Payman L: Give us a six star rating.
Prav Solanki: Six star rating. That’s what I always leave my Uber driver.
Payman L: Thanks a lot guys.
Prav Solanki: Bye.