Over a 50-year career, self-proclaimed benevolent battle axe Jenny Pinder was instrumental in shaping the face of UK dentistry as we know it today. 


We chat with Jenny about her family’s generational background in dentistry, which helped shape her reputation as an early champion of women in the profession.


Jenny also spills the beans on her time at the GDC and shares some insight on the unique approach to treating nervous patients for which she is renowned.




“Being non-judgemental is very, very important. A lot of dentists think that people who don’t go to the dentist don’t care, but actually that’s not true for a great many people.” – Jenny Pinder


In this Week’s Episode


00:30 – On early years and gender

14.44 – Tales from the GDC

21.58 – Oh Canada!

23.58 – NHS dentistry

29.54 – Dental phobia

42.51 – Being in charge

49.41 – Retiring

55.18 – Mental Dental

01.01.46 – Jenny’s worst mistake

01.05.13 – Advice to dentists


About Jenny Pinder

Jenny qualified in dentistry in 1971 and went on to practice in the City of London. She gained additional qualifications in psychology and developed an interest in treating anxious patients.


She was a founding member of Women in Dentistry and has spent time working with numerous professional dentistry bodies.


Jenny recently retired and now spends much of her time on professional ancestry research.. 


Connect with Prav and Payman:


Prav on Instagram

Payman on Instagram

Jennifer Pinder: There’s nothing that annoys me more than coming to meetings-

Prav Solanki: Unprepared.

Jennifer Pinder: … and somebody hasn’t read the papers.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, that’s me.

Speaker 3: 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: Hello, and welcome to the Dental Leaders podcast. Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Jenny Pinder, who I’ve known for probably about eight or nine years now.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, yes.

Prav Solanki: Nearly a decade. Just chatting now before this interview, we learned so much about the different things that you’ve achieved in dentistry and the different things you’ve represented in terms of the women’s groups and being on the GDC and the FGDP, which we’ll expand on and learn a lot more about. But Jenny, I just want to start off by asking about your upbringing, where you grew up and what your childhood was like.

Jennifer Pinder: I grew up in Doncaster in South Yorkshire. My father was a dentist and had a… Well, for those days he had a very beautiful practise. The town is a mining town, or was. But my father was a dentist. My mother was a dentist. Both my grandparents were dentists, and they were dentists under the old 1921 Act where they hadn’t got any… Because the other people call them proper qualifications. And then I’ve got two uncles, two cousins, and two of my brothers are dentist technicians, and still to this day.

Payman Langroud…: My goodness, wow. So your mother must’ve been a real pioneer, one of the very, very early lady dentists.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, she was. And it’s only fairly recently I found out that she got a Carnegie scholarship. Her parents weren’t very well off. If you were a dentist pre-1948, it was a bit of sometimes could be scratching a living really. So without that scholarship she wouldn’t have been able to go to Glasgow University. And yes, there were only two women dental students at the time. But ultimately, the war came along and she was called up. And my father was also called up. And they met during their service in the RAF, and the rest is history from that point of view. My mother didn’t work again as a dentist after she was married, partly because there was no retraining schemes. The tax system was such that if she worked my father would be in the upper tax bracket and so she really wouldn’t earn anything. And he, also, I don’t think was very keen on her to do it. So her career went into a bait and switch it, which is a pity, but that’s how it was.

Payman Langroud…: Your childhood, what are your memories of being the kid of two dentists?

Jennifer Pinder: We were in a town where a lot of the dentists and doctors had a fairly closed social group. A lot of them had come out of the forces after the war. And then the NHS began in 1948, and that was really when my father’s practise took off in a big way, in particular making dentures. And they had a lab on the premises for three technicians. And every Friday was denture day. And I remember going up to the lab. They had a measuring thing on the wall to be measured as we grew in height.

Payman Langroud…: I studied in Cardiff. It was a common thing, my patients used to tell me, for their wedding present their parents used to give them a full set of dentures so the pictures would be nice.

Prav Solanki: Serious?

Payman Langroud…: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: I think that’s a bit of a myth rather like-

Payman Langroud…: I heard it from the horse’s mouth. Yeah, really. All these different patients would tell me this.

Prav Solanki: Wales might be different.

Jennifer Pinder: Well, I think Scotland was different as well, wasn’t it really?

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, sure.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s a bit like the myth of, “Oh, the dentist put his knee on my chest when he was talking my tooth out.” That goes round and round and round.

Prav Solanki: It’s normally the foot, isn’t it?

Jennifer Pinder: The foot. [inaudible 00:04:31].

Payman Langroud…: So when did you decide to be a dentist? Were you always going to be a dentist or was there a moment when you realised…

Jennifer Pinder: Well, I always wanted to be a doctor actually, all those years ago. I went to boarding school for seven years, from when I was 10. And the teaching on physics was absolutely terrible. We were girls and it wasn’t really that… Somebody came to the local grammar schools. So I failed A-level physics the first time. And in fact the second time I only scraped through with an E when I went to the local tech to retake my A levels. So I didn’t get in to do medicine. There were quotas then. They only took 15% of women, at the maximum 25%. There were just as many women wanted to get in. Anyway, so ultimately going to Sheffield University to do physiology, I was bored stiff with it. So I asked if I could change to dentistry. And my dad agreed to fund it, and so that’s what happened.

Prav Solanki: And was changing over at that time, was it quite simple and straightforward to do, going from physiology to dentistry?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, it was actually. The course was long. Well, the course in dentistry then was only four years.

Prav Solanki: Oh, okay.

Jennifer Pinder: So yes, it was easy. It just meant an extra year at university that my father had to fund. Because we only got the minimum grant really.

Prav Solanki: Why were there quotas back in the day? I mean you referred back to your boarding school and it wasn’t predominantly female, say, or mixed 50-50, was it?

Jennifer Pinder: It was all female.

Prav Solanki: Oh, so it was an all-female school.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, it was an all-female school.

Payman Langroud…: They probably didn’t mix boarding schools back then.

Jennifer Pinder: Oh no.

Payman Langroud…: [crosstalk 00:06:16].

Jennifer Pinder: Oh no. I mean we had, just up the road past the crossroads where we used to go for walks, there was an Army apprentice school.

Prav Solanki: Right.

Jennifer Pinder: And we were not allowed to go. We could either go left or right at the crossroads but not-

Prav Solanki: Not across.

Jennifer Pinder: Not across, no.

Prav Solanki: Oh dear.

Jennifer Pinder: Oh dear.

Payman Langroud…: How many women were there on your course, your dental course?

Jennifer Pinder: Four out of 40.

Payman Langroud…: So I bet you were popular then?

Jennifer Pinder: Well, it has its advantages sometimes. It had its advantages when I couldn’t bend… We had to make our own Adams cribs and things in those days. And I was utterly hopeless at bending wires. It seemed to me that the men were better at that. So somebody always used to step in and help.

Prav Solanki: Happy days.

Jennifer Pinder: Oh, happy days, yes.

Prav Solanki: So going back to applying for medicine, which is what you wanted to do. I guess rebel against the dentists in your family. The reason that you didn’t get in is probably because they had quotas back in the day. Is that the first time you kind of felt like you were discriminated against as a woman?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, I think it was. They had quotas because they could. It was not until the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act was passed that it all changed. Of course now, we’ve swung over probably to be slightly more women applicants for either medicine or dentistry as well. Then again, the second thing I found I was being discriminated against was when I went to work, I applied for permanent health insurance to cover me if I was off sick. And I did it through Dentists’ Provident. And I discovered that to take on an extra thing was through Friends Provident Life. And for that, I had to pay a premium of 75% more than men for being female.

Prav Solanki: And was that standard practise back then that women would pay more?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: What was the reason for that?

Jennifer Pinder: They said women were sicker more often. It didn’t cover pregnancy, didn’t cover anything like that. And I thought, “Well, this isn’t right.” And for me, if I think something is not right, I will stick at it and pursue it. So ultimately, I went to the Equal Opportunities Commission, as it was then, and said, “What about this?” So they agreed to fund the case. So we took the case to court and actually we lost. We lost then but a little bit later on things did change.

Prav Solanki: I mean I’m sure there were many women in your position who probably thought, “Oh, okay. It’s a higher premium. It is what it is.” And there you come along and say, “I’m taking this to court, sunshine.” What is it about you that made you just think that actually, “I’m going to make a difference and I’m going to stand up for women.”?

Jennifer Pinder: Well, there’s something within me that stands up for anybody or anything that I think isn’t just…

Payman Langroud…: Where do you think that comes from, Jenny?

Jennifer Pinder: My grandma.

Payman Langroud…: Really?

Jennifer Pinder: My grandma who had 11 children of whom of the six brothers she was determined that my grandfather was going to get on and she was determined. Her father was an iron ore miner from Cambria. And she was determined her sons were going to be something. And I think there is an element of-

Payman Langroud…: Were you very close to her?

Jennifer Pinder: No.

Payman Langroud…: All right.

Jennifer Pinder: Not at all.

Payman Langroud…: To the stories.

Jennifer Pinder: But yes.

Payman Langroud…: How interesting.

Jennifer Pinder: One of the things I’ve done since I retired, and I was training for it in the last years of retirement, was I’ve become a professional family history researcher. So I’ve gone into quite a lot of depth of my own family. It puts your life in perspective when you do that.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, I bet it does. I bet it does.

Jennifer Pinder: You understand why people have done what they did really. So that was that. Yeah, so I got the sex discrimination case. There was a lot of publicity. Before that, a lady called Fiona Simpson, who was also on the general dental council with me and who I got to know. No, actually before that, I was chairman of the GDPA when it existed. You may not remember that. It was-

Payman Langroud…: Like the BDA but different.

Jennifer Pinder: Yeah.

Payman Langroud…: Something higher level, was that what it was?

Jennifer Pinder: Lower level I think.

Payman Langroud…: Lower level.

Jennifer Pinder: It was lower level. I think it was looked down on.

Payman Langroud…: Oh really?

Jennifer Pinder: And I became the chairman of that. Anyway, I met Fiona Simpson and she found out I was doing this case because there was some publicity. It took about four years to come to court. And she put a petition in the Belfast Dental School where she was working, which she sent to me with all the signatures in support. And so with her, and because of the publicity, we started Women in Dentistry.

Payman Langroud…: Which year was that?

Jennifer Pinder: 1985.

Payman Langroud…: And we were discussing before, I was saying there seems to be a lot of new women in dentistry. We had [inaudible] on, who has a group-

Jennifer Pinder: Linda Greenwall.

Payman Langroud…: Linda does something. And we were asking all of them, is it harder to be a woman in life than to be a man? Forget dentistry for a moment.

Jennifer Pinder: No, it’s different.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, I’d agree with that.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s different.

Payman Langroud…: I was talking to my team about it last week, right? And there are obvious physical situations where… My marketing manager Laura was saying often she’s walking down the street and having to worry whether someone’s going to jump on her. And she was saying that’s not something that a man has to worry about. And I get it. I do get that sort of thing.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, yes.

Payman Langroud…: But outside of those obvious physical strength situations, is it harder to be a woman in life or not? You’re saying no.

Prav Solanki: Different.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s different. And I think it’s different at different times of life. I think there is certainly harder things in careers when it comes to the years when having children becomes important.

Payman Langroud…: Although dentistry is one of the careers where you’re sort of least affected by that in my view. Because a lot of careers, if you take five years out and come back, you’re no where near where you would’ve been. Whereas with dentistry, the primary relationships are one with the patient. And if you’ve got a good patient relationship, you can come back and hit the ground running. So what about obviously back then you saw this situation where men and women weren’t getting the same treatment as far as insurance. But with job prospects, with the way patients talk to you, the way bosses talk to you, I mean you’re someone who’s gotten on in politics and teaching and so forth, would you say it was harder as a dentist to be a woman back then and now? What would you say about that?

Jennifer Pinder: No, I don’t think it was hardest actually to be a dentist as such. Back in those days what came out of Women in Dentistry was there was no maternity scheme for women dentists in the NHS, which was a big-

Prav Solanki: It’s huge, yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: It was a huge gap. And actually we found that really the BDA were not interested. And the BDA, at that time, overwhelmingly male and none of them were interested in this except one person called Diana [Scaret] who took it and ran with it. And ultimately, there is a maternity scheme, which we were directly responsible for getting. So if there are things that need addressing, the BDA weren’t interested because it wasn’t of any interest to men in general. They’ve got other things to be more interested in politics. So if you haven’t got any women around there to be interested in it, it doesn’t get done. So that’s where we were able to fulfil a need really to do that.

Prav Solanki: When you were working on the GDC, you mentioned that you’d sat on various panels and hearings and things like that. And prior to that, you were talking about how you’ll stand up for anything if it’s unjust. Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you thought, “Do you know what? This just is not fair.”? A dentist was up and perhaps it wasn’t his or her fault or whatever.

Payman Langroud…: To be fair, it was less common back in the day. Nowadays, I think it’s every case [inaudible 00:15:14]. But go ahead.

Jennifer Pinder: It maybe isn’t less common but it was dealt with in a different way. They had a preliminary proceedings committee, which of course there were I think 14 elected dentists. There were heads of dental schools. And although that it was criticised of them and us, there was a lot of very sound, sensible, capable people there. And you felt that it was a privilege to be there because you’d been elected by your peers. Was there ever an unjust one? Yes. And one sticks out in my mind. And it may seem like I’m… We had a preliminary proceedings committee, which were mostly dentists with one lay person. There was just a few people. We used to have a huge bundle of papers to look through, most of which came to nothing. There was serious professional misconduct and it really I think was the serious ones that got through, that went through. It has its faults.

Jennifer Pinder: But this particular case was a youngish chap from Brighton had a practise. And he used to do sedation. So this lady had come in and she had a sedation. And she then turned around and accused him of stealing some money from her handbag. Well, it turned out actually that if he’d stolen the money he would have to give her change for the amount of money that was in her… Which was completely impossible. And the poor chap had had to cancel his holiday that he’d planned for his wife and three small children. It was awful. So it got thrown out. I mean there were enough of us…

Jennifer Pinder: The other case I do remember was a very serious one actually because it was in a practise where they did sedation. And their anaesthetist, his idea was that when people had had their sedation finished that he would give them a suppository of pain killer. So not to go into too much detail, one of the patients went home and thought she’d been assaulted. Then another young patient came up. And what we believed was that the anaesthetist was getting some gratification out of that. Anyway, when the barristers were questioning people… And again, I actually said to the dentist there, I said, “Would you let that happen to your wife?” Because it’s not normal for people to be given that in a dental practise. Their defence was, “Well, in the hospitals, that’s what they give.” But it’s by a nurse. Anyway, I think there were two of us… And in the end, he got a homily. They used to get what’s called a homily in those days.

Prav Solanki: Which is what?

Jennifer Pinder: A little telling off.

Prav Solanki: A slap on the wrist.

Jennifer Pinder: A slap on the wrist. Yeah, so he got a slap on the wrist. But if we hadn’t stuck up and said so, I don’t think he’d have got anything.

Payman Langroud…: Wow.

Jennifer Pinder: But all different then. All difficult.

Payman Langroud…: What other I mean juicy ones? I don’t mean like that. What was something that was clearly the dentist was doing something wrong and it was the right thing to do to stop him from practising ?

Jennifer Pinder: Okay.

Payman Langroud…: So was it about skill level? I’m sure you had all of these, right? Stealing money from the system, NHS or whatever?

Jennifer Pinder: I think the one that, again, sticks out a bit was there was a man, he practised in North London. And I think in those days, and this must’ve in the late ’80s… He was grossing £300,000 a year on the NHS. And what it turned out was we saw a patient who came as a witness that he’d done root fillings on every tooth, every posterior tooth.

Prav Solanki: Oh god.

Jennifer Pinder: And he said that he could do… His notes said that he’d done two quadrants of these in an hour. So I remember saying, “Mr. [Daugherty 00:19:17], you were”… Oh, I shouldn’t say his name I suppose. But it was public.

Prav Solanki: [inaudible 00:19:22].

Jennifer Pinder: “You were able to work very fast.” And he just said, “Well, I’m very efficient.” And I laughed. Not laughed but I thought, “Okay.” Well, he was a menace.

Prav Solanki: Right.

Jennifer Pinder: He was damaging patients. The patient was happy. He said, “I’ve got no pain.” And I think he was using something called SPAD. You might remember SPAD.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: Which was not the greatest of materials, was it?

Payman Langroud…: When was the first time you’re a practising dentist and you thought, “I’m going to go for GDC election.”?

Jennifer Pinder: It was when I was chairman of the GDPA. And I just thought it was something I would like to do. And I worked hard at it. At the time, there was only one woman on the GDC, elected member. That was Margaret Seward.

Prav Solanki: Oh.

Jennifer Pinder: And there was a lay lady as well. So I thought, “Okay, well I’ll have a go.” So one of the things I did was I got the register and I sent out envelops canvasing to every woman on the register and every couple, so that I might get two votes. And also through the GDPA, through their magazine. So I got elected quite easily.

Payman Langroud…: What about the GDP. Prav and I both want to get stuff done in our businesses, let’s say. But personally, I don’t like meetings and panels and all of that. So I’ve never put myself forward for anything like that. But clearly you must be quite good at that to become the chairman of the GDPA and then to go for the GDC and so on. Are you one of those get stuff done in meetings type of people?

Jennifer Pinder: There’s a lot of stuff you can get done-

Payman Langroud…: Sure.

Jennifer Pinder: … not in meetings.

Payman Langroud…: Oh, okay.

Jennifer Pinder: Behind the scenes, or if you know people. I read very easily. I speed read books.

Payman Langroud…: Oh really?

Jennifer Pinder: I can read two books a week. And I’ve always been careful that when I did meetings that I knew my brief, that I’d read my papers. There’s nothing that annoys me more than coming to meetings-

Prav Solanki: Unprepared.

Jennifer Pinder: … and somebody hasn’t read the papers.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, that’s me.

Jennifer Pinder: Oh dear. Oh dear. Well also because, if somebody hasn’t read the papers, you have to go through the whole thing all over again. So that’s that. No, I don’t like meetings particularly but there have to be in some respects.

Payman Langroud…: Of course.

Jennifer Pinder: And I think the other pivotal thing was when I met my husband, he was a journalist with The Toronto Globe and Mail. And he was then called back to Canada, and I agreed to go with him. At the time, he wasn’t divorced and I couldn’t practise as a dentist at that time. So as patients, I had the head of The Salvation Army worldwide who was Canadian. And they got me a job in The Salvation Army hostel so that I could get landed immigrant status-

Payman Langroud…: In Toronto?

Jennifer Pinder: In Toronto, on the basis of that.

Payman Langroud…: Which years were you there or which year were you there?

Jennifer Pinder: 1975 to ’77.

Prav Solanki: How different was dentistry there compared to here?

Jennifer Pinder: Oh, it was like a different world.

Prav Solanki: Higher level?

Jennifer Pinder: Much higher level. Much higher level. And in fact, during it, it made me realise how low our standards were. And the Canadians really, really look down on British dentists. Funny enough, the only dental school that they felt was any good was Newcastle. Newcastle graduates used to pass their terrible… The exam that had a 10% pass rate because they didn’t want foreign dentists. So I went through all that and I worked in a hospital for a year. They taught me how to make dentures properly and a lot of other things. So when I came back, I was determined. And I failed that exam the first time so I was determined not to be seen as a failure. So I was one of the first people that took the MGDS. Which, because of my time in Canada, I passed.

Payman Langroud…: Right.

Jennifer Pinder: And there was not a very high pass rate at that stage.

Payman Langroud…: That was a tough exam too.

Jennifer Pinder: [inaudible] exam.

Prav Solanki: That short time in Canada, do you think that accelerated your growth as a dentist in terms of skillsets, knowledge?

Payman Langroud…: Sounds like it.

Jennifer Pinder: Absolutely.

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: Career defining really.

Payman Langroud…: Jenny, what would you put the level… Sorry, the quality of the dentistry in the UK being lower, what would you put that down to? I mean we’ve got some of the best schools. Would you say the NHS is the thing?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: And with your experience of the dental world from when you started and your parents, how would you summarise NHS dentistry. Would you say overall it’s a good thing, a bad thing? Where are we now? Was it good before and it’s no longer? Because from when I qualified, I did VT. And I said to everyone I knew, “I’m not going to do anything in dentistry anyway.” After VT, I went and applied for a job in private… And back then you couldn’t go from VT to private.

Jennifer Pinder: No.

Payman Langroud…: And I said to the guy, “Look, I’ll take 40%.” And he suddenly changed his…

Jennifer Pinder: Right, yes.

Payman Langroud…: Because back then it was 50% split.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: And I said, “I’ll take 40%.” I did not want to work in that system. And we’re talking about this summer of 1997.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah. And today it’s worse for dentists and for patients.

Jennifer Pinder: How can’t it be? I think it is one of the tragedies of my career that… When I came back, I was on a mission to say, “Look, there’s a better way. This is not right. We worked far too fast.” And it was item of service then.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: So the faster you worked, the more you got. And that’s okay, some people could work very fast. And in fact, I was always quite a fast worker. I was quite fast.

Prav Solanki: Efficient.

Jennifer Pinder: Quite efficient. That’s a better word.

Payman Langroud…: What was the guys name at the GDC?

Jennifer Pinder: And then over the years of course we got to 1988 and they changed the contract to the capitation element. And I just started my practise. Yeah, I’d just started my brand new practise, which was from scratch, just north of the Barbican. And they reduced the fees by 10%. I had massive loans because this was 1988. At the time, interest rates were 10%.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: And in fact, I remember Black Wednesday, or whatever it was called-

Payman Langroud…: I remember that too.

Jennifer Pinder: When they went up to 15% overnight. I remember sitting on the sofa at home and say, “I’m finished.”

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, I remember that day. Like Nigel Lawson, isn’t it?

Jennifer Pinder: Yeah. I thought, “I’m finished. There’s just no way I can pay back these huge loans.” So I was disadvantaged. And I was disadvantaged and I wanted to do a good service, et cetera. And then, ultimately, I realised I couldn’t. I was giving private dentistry basically to NHS patients. So it wasn’t going to work financially.

Prav Solanki: Just going back then, how hard or how easy was it to get your hands on money compared to… Now, it’s really hard. If you apply for a bank loan or that sort of stuff. Even going back to 2005, if you were setting up your own dental practise or a new business, you’re a dentist, they’ll give you 110% loan.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: No PGs. What was it like back then?

Jennifer Pinder: It was generally easy, except for women.

Payman Langroud…: Oh, really?

Jennifer Pinder: Women used find they had to have a guarantor.

Payman Langroud…: How crazy is that?

Jennifer Pinder: Well, it’s crazy but actually, ultimately, I was on the Women Dentistry Stand in Glasgow, [inaudible] conference. And the NatWest I was at had a new woman bank manager. Her name was Rita Hanratty. And she spoke to me and she looked at my things and she said, “I’ll fund you.” So that’s how it came about. She was marvellous actually. But I remember once having something and I wanted a bit of an overdraft extension or something and I said, “Oh, this has happened, that has happened.” She said to me, “There’ll always be something, whatever it is.” And that sticks in my head because it’s true, isn’t it?

Prav Solanki: So true.

Jennifer Pinder: Something happens and you get right, and something else happens that you haven’t expected and you have to be able to deal with the unexpected and uncertainty really.

Prav Solanki: Yeah. If it’s not finance, it’s team members or illness or health or whatever, right? Something’s going to get in the way.

Jennifer Pinder: Or something happens in politics and they take the funding away. You’ve seen all the changes in life and the changes that have happened in dentistry. But to me, the saddest and the worst thing is that they got something called the UDA system.

Prav Solanki: UDA, yeah. Madness.

Jennifer Pinder: When they were discussing it, I thought, “That can’t be because it’s ludicrous. It’s completely ludicrous. The rest of the world doesn’t have this nonsense.” And it’s been there for so long.

Payman Langroud…: But Jenny, you worked in the corridors of power, let’s say. How do these things happen? I mean most dentists are out there pulling teeth, and then the system changes. Surely there’s a dental representative doing that deal with the government.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. I think the den-

Payman Langroud…: How does it work?

Jennifer Pinder: Well, I just think they’ve let us down completely.

Prav Solanki: Our leaders?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. Completely. The BDA does do good things. And I was a member for a long, long time. I was president of the metropolitan branch. The social aspect was great. I actually enjoyed the politics, et cetera, et cetera. But when you look at NHS dentistry, which is actually for many, many dentists still their bread and butter, what’s happened since I qualified in 1971 to today when we’ve got this dreadful system? It’s evolved from something.

Payman Langroud…: And not to mention you said the NHS started and that made your dad’s practise.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: Take it back a bit further and it was a wonderful thing, wasn’t it? It was a beautiful thing.

Jennifer Pinder: What, the NHS?

Payman Langroud…: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: It was. It was a good thing because most of the people had no access to dentistry at all. Anyway, that’s where we’re at today. Of course my other interest is in, because I got a psychology degree from Birkbeck, another life changer, and that was in 1986. But I knew I was good with anxious patients and I thought, “I’d like to teach.” There was no VT or VT had just come in, I can’t remember which, and I thought, “Well great, I’d like to teach.” But I thought, “I can’t just go and say I’m good at this because that’s nothing.” So at the time, there were no health psychology degrees so I went and did this degree at Birkbeck instead.

Payman Langroud…: Evening classes or something?

Jennifer Pinder: Evening classes.

Prav Solanki: Really?

Jennifer Pinder: I don’t know how I did it actually.

Prav Solanki: So you came from Canada.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: Back to the UK, wanting to practise private dentistry on NHS patients.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: Do you psychology degree.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: And then what comes from all of this is that actually what you want to do is provide a higher level of care for those patients who are absolutely terrified or walking in the door.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: And that’s how we met.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, it is.

Prav Solanki: Many years ago. I remember I’d set up a website focusing on dental phobia. And then I did a lot of research and your name kept popping up. Dentist for phobics, Jenny Pinder.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. That’s right, yes.

Prav Solanki: And you had lots of advice on not just for the general public but I think dentists got a lot from your advice that you’d published online just about how to do the basics like talk to patients, assess their anxiety levels and their scores and things like that. And there was nobody else. And this only going back eight to 10 years ago. There was nobody else doing what you did. There were people trying it. There was that group from abroad that we spoke about, the guy who would take them off, anaesthetise them.

Jennifer Pinder: Oh yes, yes.

Prav Solanki: Do you remember?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: And we spoke about that. And how did that whole thing evolve? Did you develop your own system, your own process? Or did you just find that you were naturally good at helping patients by giving them more time? What were your little tricks and hacks in terms of being able to successfully treat nervous patients to the point where they were travelling miles and miles and miles just to be having basic treatment with you?

Jennifer Pinder: One of the things, interesting, when I was a kid I used to hate having dental treatment. And my dad used to say I was terrified of it.

Prav Solanki: Your dad was your dentist, I assume.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. Well, he tried. Poor man. [inaudible] lunch on Sunday. Dad would say, “Well, we’re going to the practise this afternoon.” “No, we’re not.” “Yes, we are.” “No, we’re not.” And he would take me in and I would only agree to have anything done if I could mix the amalgam in the mortar. It’s not very safe. But I really hated it. And it was not till I was 17 when I allowed him to give me an injection that I would actually be more comfortable with dentists. To this day, I don’t like it.

Prav Solanki: What did you hate back then? What instilled the fear or the dislike back then? Was it the smell, the noise, something?

Payman Langroud…: I mean the needles, right?

Prav Solanki: No, no, no. But you talk about-

Jennifer Pinder: But in those days, I think they thought that kids’ teeth didn’t hurt.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: So you drilled them without any local. And of course it does hurt. And that sets up the problem really. How did it evolve? So yes, so then I began giving some lectures to… My very first lecture was to community VTs on their first day on the training. And I was given the opportunity by Stanley Gelbier, who actually was a sort of mentor for me. And I remember that first day. I was very, very nervous. It was the time after lunch and in those days they had a huge lunch on the first day with some wine. And I remember somebody giving a feedback which said, “Went to sleep.” And that was all I could focus on, this went to sleep. So that’s how it started. And then when I was working as an associate, I knew I was good and I wanted to promote that when I moved into my own practise.

Prav Solanki: So your lecture, that first lecture that you gave, was it on the topic of treating nervous patients?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, it was.

Prav Solanki: What did you map out? Did you map out a patient journey, a conversation structure? What were the key elements to treating nervous patients back then? Today, a lot of people focus on, say, sedation or giving patients more time or adapt to the environment so you’re using these things like the wand or putting on music or TV, distraction techniques. What was it back in the day in that lecture that was key? And this probably holds true today as the key elements to treating a nervous patient.

Jennifer Pinder: I think the key elements I used to think were taking enough time and doing a proper assessment. In the end, mine evolved in almost like a therapeutic interview where you would actually get people who come in crying. And by the time you’d talk things through, they were smiling. Because a lot of people have never been able to talk to anybody about this before. Being non-judgemental is very, very important. A lot of dentists think that people don’t go to the dentist don’t care, but actually that’s not true for a great many people. And people feel that. Once they see you as a person who’s empathetic and actually is prepared to understand them, that’s a real key element.

Prav Solanki: Do you think your psychology degree had a lot to do with just understanding people and their emotions and how to deal with them?

Jennifer Pinder: Yeah. I think it did. But also, studying in a different way. Dentistry’s very hands-on or you learn about pathology or bacteriology or whatever it is in undergraduate. But a psychology degree, you’ve got to think. It’s a whole different way of thinking, which is quite a lot to get your around really.

Payman Langroud…: Sorry, sorry. I don’t think enough dentists realise, from the marketing perspective, what a massive thing it is to be a gentle dentist. I think it’s much more out there these days. But my wife’s very gentle. That’s probably the biggest thing that people think about her as a dentist. She doesn’t Invisalign. Clinically, she’s a regular dentist. But people travel far and wide to see her. And I only realised it myself when she gave me an ID block about three years ago. And I didn’t feel it go in and I suddenly realised all those ID blocks where I’d pushed that plunger in and how much, outside of the amount of pain I’d caused by doing that, but how much loss of business I’d caused by doing that.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: And that connection’s not often made. I mean we talk about anxious patients all the time but we don’t teach dentists that actually it’s very good for business to be gentle.

Prav Solanki: I think what a lot of dentists look at is time and product. I know it’s probably not right. So if we look at a nervous patient consultation with Jenny and a standard consultation with another dentist-

Payman Langroud…: How long does it take, Jenny?

Prav Solanki: How much time would you give a patient?

Jennifer Pinder: My consultations used to be 45 minutes. One of the things I used, and it was interestingly on one of the forums, somebody was slagging off doing questionnaires beforehand. But actually there’s two of them, one of which you’ll find out the level of somebody’s anxiety. And it may be nothing at all. But the other thing, it might be way up. And then there’s a questionnaire that actually focuses down on what they’re anxious about. You say to a patient, “What are you anxious about?” “Oh, everything.” Well, I’ve never come across anybody who’s anxious about everything, so you pin down. It’s either fear of needles, fear of gagging, whatever. And they’ve got that information before they come in. And the other way I used to find out a lot of information was I used to do a lot of email chatting before a patient came in.

Prav Solanki: Would you email the patient directly?

Jennifer Pinder: Usually they emailed me.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, yeah. But I mean you would correspond with the… Today, it’s rare, apart from we talk about Instagram and Facebook, DMing patients.

Payman Langroud…: Do you mean before their first visit?

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: Because that’s massive.

Prav Solanki: No, it’s huge.

Payman Langroud…: Remember we were talking about that oral surgeon from the [inaudible] example. But you were doing that back then.

Jennifer Pinder: Years ago.

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Payman Langroud…: That’s huge. It’s huge.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s huge because instead of a dialogue the patient knows a bit about you. You know a bit about them. And people will open up on an email in a way that they might not talk to you as well.

Prav Solanki: You build that confidence, and even just educating them and providing information that maybe they didn’t know can be part and parcel of their therapy. What’s the longest furthest distance a patient has travelled to have care with you?

Jennifer Pinder: Well, I had a few regular patients that used to travel from abroad but the one that sticks, the one that-

Prav Solanki: You say that as though it’s no big deal. Well, I had a few that came from abroad.

Jennifer Pinder: Well, don’t forget, I practised in the city of London so it was…

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: I think the one that sticks out for travelling was a guy contacted me, again through email. He hadn’t been to the dentist for 50 years.

Prav Solanki: Wow.

Payman Langroud…: Wow.

Jennifer Pinder: And he was in an awful state. It was to do with something which happened when he was child of five, or whatever it is. Anyway, we had to chit chat, chit chat, chit chat. And so I said, “Well, if you want me to treat you, you’re going to have to come and see me.” I said, “And maybe you could go to the dental hospital or whatever, or find a community dentist. No, he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to come see me. So he came to see me from Leicester. This man was severely needle-phobic, among other things. He’d been diagnosed as diabetic and he wouldn’t have any-

Prav Solanki: Insulin.

Jennifer Pinder: He wouldn’t have any blood taken to check his blood. So it had to be done all with urine tests. So his teeth were… I mean you’ve never seen anything like it. He looked awful. He said he was losing work because he looked so awful. And what I used to do as well was, we were fortunate, we had digital X-rays and so I could do a digital… I think everybody who came, if they needed it, had a digital OPG, which was brilliant because you could then have it back on the screen and they could look from a distance and you could show them what was going on. This chap needed full clearance.

Prav Solanki: Right.

Jennifer Pinder: Well, sedation was going to be the only way. And we got him finally, after a lot of whatever, to agree that he would have the injection in the arm. We had a one very experienced anaesthetist from a firm called Andre Du Plessis. He was terrific with nervous patients. I mean they were safely sedated but they were well sedated. So he obviously had to bring somebody with him all the way from Leicester, and obviously had to go back again. I tried to get him in to one of the hospitals in Leicester. Nobody was interested. Couldn’t find anywhere to take him. So we were left with that. And under sedation, he agreed to have a finger blood tip for his diabetes.

Prav Solanki: Diabetes, wow.

Jennifer Pinder: Even under sedation, he was what I call a chase me around the chair patient. Even under sedation, he was throwing himself backwards and forwards, et cetera. Because we had to get lots of injections in. Because in reality he would’ve been better off with a GA. But as there was no other way for this poor man, we did it. So we did take all his teeth out. And I went to talk to his wife and she burst into tears. She said, “You cannot know how many holidays have been ruined by trying to find antibiotics and constantly on antibiotics,” et cetera. I then recommended he went to a clinical dental technician.

Payman Langroud…: For dentures.

Jennifer Pinder: For dentures. Whether he did it, I don’t know. But he was probably one of the worst cases.

Prav Solanki: Did you work alongside many clinical dental technicians during your career?

Jennifer Pinder: I chaired the Dental Auxiliaries Review Group.

Payman Langroud…: Of course you did.

Jennifer Pinder: And one of the-

Payman Langroud…: You like to chair stuff, right?

Jennifer Pinder: I like to chair stuff. I like to be in charge.

Prav Solanki: Just saying.

Jennifer Pinder: So one of the groups I had to deal with was the dental technicians about getting them registered and also registering clinical dental technicians so they could legally-

Payman Langroud…: See patients.

Jennifer Pinder: … do dentures to the public. Well, dealing with the technicians was actually, in a way it was wonderful. I think because of my background, that my grandparents had been what were dental mechanics or whatever then, and my dad having a lab and my brothers are technicians, that I had some credibility to talk to them. Because it was like dealing with the trade unions. But I did it. And I got them on board. And so that it is where it is today. I’m sure there’s some illegal denture making.

Prav Solanki: Oh, there’s tonnes of it.

Jennifer Pinder: I’m sure there is.

Prav Solanki: Tonnes of it. So you were pivotal in getting clinical dental technicians authorised to practise dentistry direct to public.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: Wow.

Jennifer Pinder: And dental nurses registered.

Prav Solanki: Wow.

Payman Langroud…: Were you not going to mention that in our little chat outside?

Jennifer Pinder: No. Well, I seem to have done quite a lot.

Payman Langroud…: You’ve done a lot. You’ve done a lot.

Jennifer Pinder: I’ve done quite a lot.

Prav Solanki: Yeah. Well, my business partner, Marc Northover, is a clinical dental technician [crosstalk 00:44:37].

Jennifer Pinder: Oh, right.

Prav Solanki: I would say that his patient manner is phenomenal. And the way he utilises the relationship between a dentist and a CDT to give a patient a complete treatment plan where they talk them through the steps of how they make the dentures, get them involved in the choosing of the teeth. The whole process, I think it’s an incredibly unique relationship and a really special one if you can get a dentist and a CDT to work together in the interest of the best patient. I’m sure Marc’s got a lot of things to thank you about, being able to practise [crosstalk 00:45:13].

Jennifer Pinder: I was the person on the GD… Funny enough, Margaret Seward was the president at the time. And she was a mentor for me. So she gave me things to do.

Payman Langroud…: Nice.

Jennifer Pinder: Which was good. And they were really, really interesting. It was terrific, that feeling. The other thing I did when I was on the GDC, I chaired the Behaviour Sciences in Dentistry group which I set up. And we got behaviour sciences into the undergraduate curriculum.

Prav Solanki: Oh, wow.

Jennifer Pinder: Yeah.

Prav Solanki: Amazing.

Jennifer Pinder: I mean it seems to me that although we’ve got behavioural sciences into the curriculum, has it changed much in terms of communication skills?

Payman Langroud…: Well, I think they’re pretty good at communicating. What people worry about, the new, young graduates, is they’re not that great at drilling anymore because they’re doing less of that, for sure.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. Yes, I think that’s probably true.

Payman Langroud…: What do you think about the fact that back when I qualified the grades you needed to become a dentist were kind of average and now you need to be a top student-

Jennifer Pinder: [crosstalk]

Payman Langroud…: … to get into dentistry, academic to get into… Do you think that makes for a different type of dentist?

Jennifer Pinder: Well, it could do. I think it’s a shame because sometimes with lesser degrees… It depends what they’re looking for. Is it because there’s more competition to get in-

Payman Langroud…: [crosstalk]

Jennifer Pinder: … and thus they have to set the bar higher? But then that has a knock-on effect on having people who are more academic or less… I don’t know how they test their clinical skills, whether they’re any good with their hands or whatever.

Prav Solanki: What makes a better dentist, I guess, is… I don’t know how well you did academically, but it’s very clear from the reports we’ve seen on our website, of patients you’ve treated and interacted with and the life change and impact you’ve had, is the majority of your skillset, other than the drilling, comes from making patients feel comfortable, spending that time with them, assessing them, liaising over email. You can’t assess that in the A level.

Jennifer Pinder: No. Nor can you assess it in a 15-minute-

Prav Solanki: Interview.

Jennifer Pinder: … NHS new patient interview, can you really?

Prav Solanki: No, no.

Jennifer Pinder: I think that’s too bad. What I always say when I’m lecturing on nervous patients is because people might say, “Well, this job isn’t as good because the patient was nervous.” Well, actually I’m not quite sure how you can do that today, whether that would go down as an excuse or whatever. Because you’ve actually got to somehow be able to do a clinically competent job. It’s very nice. But the skill is getting the patient to have the clinically competent job in the first place rather than have this first thing and then go away and never have any treatment done. So you’ve got these stages. You’ve got to get the patient to get in in the first place. You’ve got to get the patient sorted so that you give them the treatment plan and they accept whatever part of it they want. Then you’ve got to get them to the treatment. And then you’ve got to treat them in a way that’s pain-free, without using the wand. Doing all your skills so it’s pain-free so that their experience is good so they’ll go onto other things.

Jennifer Pinder: When you talk about it from the business point of view, I’ve had patients who have been absolutely petrified. And of course they’ve got to get the basics. Because some of them come in and say, “I’d like whitening, please.” And you think, “No, not yet.” So they’ve got to go through certain stages. They go through certain stages. Some of them then go on to having Invisalign, to go on to have ortho. They go on to have cosmetic dentistry, and then they can have tooth whitening. And one of the patients I used to treat at my old practise is a young woman who’s got lots of problems, but she always used to cry every time she got over the… She would say she could smell the dental practise in the street. And then when she got to the door, she burst in tears. And she was so sweet. She works for a hedge fund company. She’s got a bit of a gagging problem and she wanted to have whitening. And it was never okay. I headhunted somebody to take over my patients, who is good with nervous patients. And so-

Prav Solanki: When you were retiring?

Jennifer Pinder: When I was retiring.

Payman Langroud…: What was that like?

Jennifer Pinder: What, retiring?

Prav Solanki: Having to.

Payman Langroud…: Well, first of all finding this guy, finding this guy who’s good with nervous patients.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s a girl.

Payman Langroud…: This girl.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s a girl. Actually, she’s not that young actually either. It’s a female. Anyway…

Payman Langroud…: Where did you find her?

Jennifer Pinder: Also now, Victoria, this patient is going to have her bleaching done because they’ve done the impressions with a scanner.

Prav Solanki: Of course.

Jennifer Pinder: They’ve got a scanner in the practise.

Prav Solanki: How many years later is that?

Jennifer Pinder: What, from…

Prav Solanki: From the initial conversation with yourself.

Jennifer Pinder: About 10 years.

Prav Solanki: Wow.

Jennifer Pinder: About 10 years. But isn’t great that she’s going to have it now because of innovative technology.

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Payman Langroud…: Yes. So tell us about retiring. How was that? How did it feel? When did you realise that the time’s come to stop?

Jennifer Pinder: I decided I-

Payman Langroud…: Had you planned it ahead?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. I retired when I was 70. And by then, I knew that physically it was becoming more difficult.

Payman Langroud…: It’s physically a hard job, dentistry.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s physically a hard job. I mean I have got back trouble now. And I had one case where I was trying… I won’t go into the long story but I had an upper six to take out, which had been like it had a golf ball of calculus around it. Young woman as well.

Prav Solanki: Really?

Jennifer Pinder: And when we took the calculus off, this tooth was there but it was hollow. So when I put the forceps on it went-

Prav Solanki: Crush.

Jennifer Pinder: It crumbled. It was obviously fused to the… I could not get it out. However, battled on and on. The patient had had 10 milligrammes of Valium. She was actually very valiant considering where she’d come from. And I had to get somebody else in to do it for me. And then I thought, “Hmm.”

Payman Langroud…: Had enough.

Jennifer Pinder: This is-

Payman Langroud…: I had a moment like that.

Prav Solanki: It’s a sign.

Jennifer Pinder: Did you?

Payman Langroud…: But I was 32 at the time.

Jennifer Pinder: Okay. Oh well. I went on a bit longer than you then. But I knew I was right. My last three months was amazing. All the patients who hadn’t been in for a bit, all wanted to be seen now before I left, just one more time. And every day I used to go out with laden down with bags of goodies I’d been given. And yeah, it was very emotional.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, I bet.

Jennifer Pinder: Very, very emotional. Patients who’ve been seeing you for 40 years and cry.

Payman Langroud…: Wow.

Jennifer Pinder: And you don’t know what to say to them because you… But things move on.

Payman Langroud…: Sure.

Jennifer Pinder: Your doctors change. You have to do that.

Prav Solanki: Sure. You go home the day after you’ve done your last day, what’s that like? I mean I always say to myself I’ll never retire, because I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

Payman Langroud…: [inaudible] retired already [inaudible 00:52:38]?

Prav Solanki: No.

Payman Langroud…: Carry on.

Prav Solanki: I think I’d be lost. Just talk me through just from your perspective.

Jennifer Pinder: I think you have to prepare not to be lost.

Prav Solanki: Okay.

Jennifer Pinder: The first week, I used to feel really odd on Sunday night at not going to work the following day. I’ve never not had anything to do. The last few years, I studied to get an advanced diploma in genealogy and I’ve set up a little family history business. So I have that.

Prav Solanki: Tell me about that.

Jennifer Pinder: Tell me about that.

Prav Solanki: So a client comes to you and what’s a typical scenario? What information do they want and what do you provide as a service?

Jennifer Pinder: I have a contract with Forces War Records, which is a database. And I do research on people’s World War I ancestors as part of it, which is fascinating and sad as well often, but great when you find out for people what their background is. Other ones you get, I can do research back into the 18th century because of the training I’ve had done. I’ve got one at the moment who wants to find her father’s illegitimate… He was illegitimate and his mother was illegitimate. And he wants to find out who his grandfather’s father, something things-

Payman Langroud…: What’s the process, Jenny? How do you go about that?

Jennifer Pinder: Well, there’s an awful lot online now. But it’s not all online. And sometimes you have to go and visit the National Archives or visit, in London, the London Metropolitan Archives. And you have to order stuff. And then you can look at the original documents.

Payman Langroud…: Literally pay books, papers like that?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. Books.

Payman Langroud…: What was that thing microfiche or something?

Jennifer Pinder: Microfiche.

Payman Langroud…: What was that? Do you remember that? No, it’s before your time, Prav.

Prav Solanki: I’ve heard of it.

Jennifer Pinder: Oh, they’re a pain in the [inaudible 00:54:41], aren’t they?

Payman Langroud…: In libraries, people used to have to those things.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, yeah, yeah, on the screen.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: Or they have things that they roll around and you look at that. Well, it’s not so much like that now. But you can look at original documents. And some of them are really very, very-

Payman Langroud…: It must be fascinating.

Jennifer Pinder: It’s fascinating. I knew nothing about history. I like the social aspect of it, finding out people’s background.

Prav Solanki: Was that in preparation for retirement?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, it was.

Prav Solanki: That you thought, “This is what I want to do,” my new trade so to speak?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, yes. Yeah, I was afraid of having vast areas of time and nothing to fill it.

Prav Solanki: So you planned that out.

Payman Langroud…: You’re also doing this Confidental thing.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: Which did it come from the Mental Dental group from Facebook?

Jennifer Pinder: It did. I have to say-

Payman Langroud…: Tell us about that.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, there’s Mental Dental. And Lauren, who set that up, is now the admin. It was an amazing thing. Because suddenly all these things came up.

Payman Langroud…: So much of it.

Jennifer Pinder: People opened up in a way that they’d never opened up before.

Prav Solanki: Before.

Jennifer Pinder: And you saw the level of such a problem and that actually had been buried. So it was Jeremy Cooper’s, partly his idea first. He got people together. And so there was Lauren from Mental Dental and Keith Hayes who runs RightPath4, who actually has provided the seed funding for it. And I really, really want him to get the credit for that. And he does a lot of the administration. He’s a very kind man. And so, anyway, eventually it ended up as just four of us. Because I approached Jeremy and said, “I’d like to be involved with this.” Because many years ago, I had a bit of a meltdown. And I had support. I knew where to go. But there was a couple of times where something had happened or I’d got a letter from something or something. And if I’d had somebody to ring up and talk to at 10:00 at night when I was in a state, it would have been wonderful. So that’s why I thought Confidental-

Prav Solanki: Confidental.

Jennifer Pinder: … was something which was going to be a service that was needed.

Payman Langroud…: So is it 24 hour?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: And there’s someone on the line you can call?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Payman Langroud…: Wow.

Jennifer Pinder: Although, we’re finding that there’s certain times of day. Lunchtime, people can stop practising or maybe they’ve got the letter or one of the letters from the dreaded-

Payman Langroud…: Is that a very common call then? “I’ve just had a letter from the GDC.”?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. Or, “A patient sued me,” or, “I’ve done something on a patient [crosstalk 00:57:28].”

Payman Langroud…: And what’s your general advice if someone makes that call? What’s the first thing you say?

Jennifer Pinder: We’re not there to give advice. We’re there to listen, let them get off their chest. There was a call the other night where it was obvious the person was depressed or whatever. She didn’t know about the Dental Health Support Trust. And she didn’t know about the Practitioner Health Programme. The caller was able to signpost, give her that information. Obviously what they do with it is up to them. But it’s-

Prav Solanki: But you could point them in the right direction, couldn’t you?

Jennifer Pinder: Point them in the right direction.

Prav Solanki: And I guess there’s some organisation set up. If you’re not a member or you’re not paying your subscriptions and things like that, you don’t even get that, right?

Jennifer Pinder: Yeah, because the BDA has obviously just got this new scheme for its members. But not everybody’s a BDA member, so they haven’t got anywhere to go.

Prav Solanki: How many calls are you getting? Do you know, roughly, a week or a month?

Jennifer Pinder: We started about last May. And I think we’ve had about 120 calls. But it seems to be taking off now because it’s becoming more widely known. So we’ve got some lovely volunteers, very, very, very good.

Payman Langroud…: And training them and all that?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, they’re trained. Well, they have a two-day course.

Payman Langroud…: Are they dentists?

Jennifer Pinder: They’re all dentists. All retired dentists or some of them have been trained in psychotherapists as well, some sort of counselling or mentoring background.

Payman Langroud…: The calls that you get, if you had to break them down, you’ve got the, “I’ve had the letter.”

Prav Solanki: I get that call all the time.

Payman Langroud…: From your clients?

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Payman Langroud…: Really?

Jennifer Pinder: Do you? Yes.

Prav Solanki: A lot. And you’re right, they want advice of reason. Their career isn’t over at that moment in time even though they start planning for it to be over or, “What if this, and my house and my mortgage and my this and my that and my kids and my private school education?” Everything comes out in that conversation. And it’s just a letter saying we’re looking into this. Obviously I’m not qualified to give them advice, but you’re there to listen and just give them a little bit of advice of reason. But it’s amazing how that one letter can just set off a whole trajectory of sleepless nights, depression. And also, the time between when that letter comes and anything actually happens-

Payman Langroud…: It’s interesting.

Prav Solanki: It’s like cortisol levels must go through the roof.

Payman Langroud…: It’s interesting that they call their marketing guy. You’re more than that, aren’t you?

Prav Solanki: I’m more than that.

Payman Langroud…: You’re closer to the clients than that?

Prav Solanki: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroud…: What other types of calls do you get? Is it the whole gamut, everything?

Jennifer Pinder: It’s a whole gamut. Usually if it’s not the GDC, it’s, “Oh, I’ve done something with a patient,” or whatever. Or disputes between-

Payman Langroud…: Principals and associates.

Jennifer Pinder: And associates. More often than not it’s associates. We’re getting quite a lot of muddle about maternity pay. We had somebody who was employed by a therapist and was owed multi-thousand pounds and there was disputes here [inaudible 01:00:43]. And then this person was threatening to take the person they owed all the money to to the GDC. So people can hold referring people to the GDC over people’s heads to get them to go away in disputes as well.

Payman Langroud…: I’m sure that’s very common actually.

Jennifer Pinder: And women going away on maternity leave or they’re on maternity leave and they’ve been off for three months, and they’re terrified of going back. And now there isn’t anywhere for retraining. There’s nothing to support them going back to work.

Payman Langroud…: It’s interesting that the women’s issues still exist around maternity.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes. Yeah, why? I mean I don’t really know.

Payman Langroud…: Jenny, we were asking everyone, you can answer it whichever way you like. But from the notion of black box thinking is the idea of what’s the biggest clinical mistake you’ve ever made? It could help others. In medicine dentistry, we don’t tend to talk about this. But if you’re happy to talk about that.

Jennifer Pinder: Well, the biggest clinical mistake I think I ever made, and it was a very long time ago, was a women, she’d had an accident. She had a blow to a tooth. Anyway, it was root filled. It was an upper lateral. Because I can see it today.

Payman Langroud…: That’s the nature of it.

Jennifer Pinder: You do, isn’t it? And anyway, so we were going to make a post crown for this because it was discoloured. And that’s what you did in those days. You chopped the top off and put a post up and did this, that and the other. So it came to the stage where we were going to take the temporary off and put the post in. So I took the temporary off and didn’t give her a local or anything. And she went, “Ooh.” So I’d taken the tooth out as well as the temporary crown.

Payman Langroud…: Had you grabbed it with forceps?

Jennifer Pinder: No. I think it must’ve been-

Payman Langroud…: A loose tooth, right?

Jennifer Pinder: But I hadn’t taken a X-ray. And if I’d taken-

Payman Langroud…: That sinking feeling as soon as you make a mistake.

Jennifer Pinder: It was that sinking feeling. So I didn’t say anything.

Payman Langroud…: Didn’t you?

Jennifer Pinder: At the time. I just went off to the telephone and rang Dental Protection or whatever [inaudible 01:03:02].

Prav Solanki: Straight away.

Jennifer Pinder: Straight away. I felt sick. I did not know what to do. And in the end, we had to be honest.

Payman Langroud…: Of course.

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: And in those days, we sort of said, “Oh, that would probably have happened anyway. It would’ve failed at some stage.”

Payman Langroud…: In those days, you could say what you like and patients would-

Jennifer Pinder: Well, yes. I said, “Well, maybe that’s for the best it’s happened now.”

Payman Langroud…: Yeah.

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Jennifer Pinder: Not thinking that at all. And so I think we got her a temporary denture made overnight more or less.

Payman Langroud…: We’ve got to be kinder to ourselves. I mean because you’ve got a 50-year career, right? You’re going to make several mistakes in that 50-year career.

Jennifer Pinder: Yes, yes.

Payman Langroud…: And it’s important to talk about them, because I bet you never did that again, but to learn from each other, to learn from each other.

Jennifer Pinder: I think the other learning thing, when you’ve been in a career for a long time or you’ve had patients with you for a long time, you can see your good work and you can see work that you think, “Oh, did I do that? Ooh. It must’ve been a bad day.” And you have to not flannel but it happens. And again, it depends on the patient and then circumstances.

Payman Langroud…: Yeah. We’ve had Tif Qureshi and he says being in the same practise for long time is way better education than doing any course you want to do or any sets of courses you want to do, because you can see what’s happened to the work.

Jennifer Pinder: And you can see if you got a crown that’s failed within one year or something like that, why did it fail?

Prav Solanki: Right.

Jennifer Pinder: What could you have done differently? And so you don’t do it again because you want your work to last. And of course, people are more litigious.

Prav Solanki: For sure.

Jennifer Pinder: In this day and age. What happened, then, I’m sure something else would’ve happened probably.

Prav Solanki: We’re in the Instagram age now. Do you have an Instagram account?

Jennifer Pinder: Yes.

Prav Solanki: You’ve been on the dental Instagram, sort of Instadentist.

Jennifer Pinder: Not really.

Prav Solanki: There’s a lot of it about. There’s a lot of before and afters. And interestingly now, TikTok’s come along. It’s even more ridiculous. It’s like singing along to the-

Jennifer Pinder: Isn’t TikTok the Chinese one?

Prav Solanki: Yeah, yeah. Some dentists have got accounts on there. My question to you, you’ve seen it from Doncaster to the Instagram age, what would be your advice overall to dentists? Leave a bit of advice for a young dentist, a dentist in the middle of their career, whatever, whatever you like. What’s your key advice?

Jennifer Pinder: People get stuck in jobs that they’re not happy about. They use the word can’t, “I can’t do this. I can’t do that.” But actually, you can. Sometimes making changes, when you look at them in retrospect, is the best thing that could ever happen. You see a lot of people stuck in jobs that they’re not happy about, and they just stay stuck. And improve yourself. Go on courses. Stay connected with other dentists, whether it be… Now it’s more on social media, but to do that so that you engage with dentistry, keep up with things. When you talk about Instagram, women dentists that were sort of a little London group, we had Manrina Rhode came and gave us a great talk on how to do your Instagram accounts. And then next day, all of these, it included some students, there was all their Instagram accounts being updated. So I’ve got one but I don’t [inaudible 01:06:36]. I do like Facebook.

Prav Solanki: Talking about change and don’t get stuck in the job that you’re not happy with or doing anything you’re not happy with, if you could do it all over again, what would you do different?

Jennifer Pinder: I might’ve gone into doing a specialty in special needs I think, if I was going back into that way. Because actually that’s really what I became a sort of subset of really.

Prav Solanki: Would you have chaired all the things you chaired?

Jennifer Pinder: Oh yes. Oh yes, I would.

Prav Solanki: And some more?

Jennifer Pinder: Oh no. No.

Prav Solanki: I don’t think it’s possible to chair anything more.

Jennifer Pinder: I became vice dean of the faculty.

Prav Solanki: Here we go.

Jennifer Pinder: So I had a lot to do with that. No, I had my time. And there comes a time to move on. And I think people who stick on the same committees for years and years and years is a bad thing. There should be some movement in people. I mean I would like to see the BDA PEC committee, or whatever it was, have more women on it. But the way the things are stuck at the moment, it’s not going to happen. But for me, no, I think would I change anything? Yeah, as a said, the only thing I would change, I’d probably go into special needs on a higher level. When I say on a higher level, I’m the one who can treat people in general practise and can pretty much treat anybody.

Prav Solanki: So true. And I think Tif talks about GDP as being, and I’m not quoting his words here because he might pull me up on it, the best specialists. Because as a GDP, first of all you see the patient right from the beginning to the end multiple times. You see the impact on their health, their confidence, their life, obviously their oral health and their teeth. Whereas as specialists, sometimes you just go in and do your one hit, your bit of perio, your bit of implant, your ortho, and then send them back to their general dentist. So maybe not, hey?

Jennifer Pinder: [inaudible 01:08:52].

Prav Solanki: What would you like your legacy to be? What would you like people to remember you as?

Jennifer Pinder: This is going to sound funny. A benevolent battle-axe.

Payman Langroud…: I like that.

Jennifer Pinder: Do you like that?

Prav Solanki: I like that.

Payman Langroud…: Love it. Love it. I do like that.

Prav Solanki: Yeah.

Payman Langroud…: It’s been a lovely conversation. Thank you so much.

Prav Solanki: It’s been great.

Payman Langroud…: Thank you, Jenny.

Prav Solanki: Thank you so much. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 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: Hey guys, and thank you for listening to today’s episode of the Dental Leaders podcast, a vision that myself and Payman had over two years ago now. And if you have got some value out of today, just hit the subscribe button in iTunes or Google Play or whatever you’re listening to. Let us know in your comments what you actually got out of the episode. Because we love sitting back and reading those reviews. It really does make our day.

Payman Langroud…: It’s a real pleasure to do this. it’s fun to do but I’m really humbled that you’re actually listening all the way thorough to the end. And join us again. If you got some value of it, please share it. Thanks a lot.

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