Despite being a relative newcomer to dentistry, Shaadi Manouchehri is fast gaining a name as one of the industry’s prolific young talents.
Fellow podcaster Shaadi shares the secrets behind her meteoric rise on social media; talks candidly about her rocky start in dentistry with a VT role from hell and lets us in on how her guide to getting into dental school became a surprise hit.
“I’ve learned a lot about other people and their experience doing the podcast. I genuinely enjoy them. So, similar to what you were saying, it’s like you’re having a conversation and you just happen to press record.” – Shaadi Manouchehri
In This Episode
01.18 – Backstory
03.12 – I’m going to be a dentist
05.55 – How to Get into Dental School
08.15 – Life at Queen Mary
11.01 – Into VT
13.49 – The job from hell
19.02 – Greener grass
21.07 – Teeth and Tales
29.47 – Social media
38.45 – Productivity
42.45 – Black box thinking
43.52 – The dark side of social
47.47 – The plan
52.12 – Women in dentistry
56.54 – Last day and legacy
About Shaadi Manouchehri
Shaadi Manouchehri graduated with BDS honours from Barts and the London School of Dentistry before completing training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
She also has completed dental foundation training in North East London, followed by training in paediatric and restorative dentistry at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Shaadi is a prolific author whose writing appears in the British Dental Journal. She is CEO and co-founder of the Dentappy online dental platform and committee member of the Iranian Medical Society charity.
Shaadi is also the host of Teeth and Tales podcast.
Shaadi: I think the biggest mistake I made was to chase down that job. So, I think it’s taught me when to stop chasing stuff. You have to be persistent if you want to get things done. But at the same time, if stuff isn’t happening organically, then there’s a reason. So, leave it well alone. I think that’s the greatest lesson that I’ve learned. The mistake from taking a job that I shouldn’t have.
Speaker 2: 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: It gives me great pleasure to welcome Shaadi Manouchehri onto the podcast. Young dentist, qualified five years now, and I’d say one of the new breed of inverted content creators that we’re seeing come through. Most of them are younger than you, Shaadi. It’s good to have you. Thanks for coming. Shaadi, you’ve done a lot in your short career, and you just ooze confidence the way I see it, in front of the camera and all of that.
Payman: Where does it come from? Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up? Were you one of these drama types? Or, what happened?
Shaadi: First of all, I’m so privileged and honoured to be on your podcast, and I’m so glad to be on this side, for a change. Because, I can relax and I don’t have to think of the questions. But yeah, thank you for that. That’s a great introduction. I actually, I’ve always been fairly outspoken, and friendly and out there. But, I’ve never been into drama or anything like that. I actually grew up in Iran. I was born in London, but I moved back when I was around one month old. And then I came back when I was 11.
Shaadi: It was a difficult time, because I didn’t speak English and I went straight to school. So, it was a strange experience, going from someone who was used to being with a lot of people, being very outspoken, coming to a place where I couldn’t speak to anyone. So I kind of stood there. I remember I would sit in the front row, and for a whole month, I couldn’t say anything, because I didn’t understand anything, because I was just absorbing the information. Then, I think when you’re young, you pick up the language really quickly. So, I learned really quickly, and I started talking and I haven’t stopped since.
Shaadi: But, in terms of content creations and things, that’s something that’s fairly new to me as well. I think my social media platforms are under a year old, so they’re still very, very new. But I was lucky that I was able to dedicate a lot of time and attention to them, and really make them what I wanted them to become. So, I think I’ve been sort of lucky. But also, there’s a lot of time, and effort and planning that goes into it. I think with practise, it just gets a little bit better. So, just because I’ve spent a lot of time doing it, so a year might not be a very long time.
Shaadi: But, in that year, I’ve spent a lot of time just going over stuff, learning from my mistakes, I’ve made those mistakes. But just learning from those and then just trying to improve and get better.
Payman: Tell me about the first time you thought, “I’m going to be a dentist.” How did that happen?
Shaadi: It’s been a long time ago.
Payman: It was not that long ago. You were, what? 11 when you got here.
Payman: And then-
Shaadi: So I always liked going to the dentist, since I was little. Again, I’m lucky that my mom in particular, she placed a lot of emphasis on looking after yourself, brushing your teeth. I remember having to brush our teeth every night, every morning, going to the dentist regularly, that kind of thing. So it was always a big thing. It was always a very important thing. And I always had really, really positive experiences at the dentist. I had a nice dentist, and I didn’t need any major treatment. So, I always had good memories.
Shaadi: Then, when I moved here, I was a big fan of science. I think science and maths were ingrained into my Persian brain. And when the time came for me to apply, my brother was studying medicine so I was kind of like, “Okay, do I want to study that?” And pretty much straight away I was like, “No.” And, that’s a decision that I’ve never ever regretted. But I was like, “Okay, what else is close to that that I like and I think it’s going to be practical?” Because, I was quite artsy as well. I liked making things, creating things.
Shaadi: So, dentistry was ideal, sounded ideal. So I did work experience, and then the more I looked into it, the more interesting it became, and I applied. I think when I did my max fac job probably I regretted my decision. But since then, I don’t think I’ve regretted my decision. [crosstalk 00:04:37]-
Payman: It’s a big theme that keeps coming up on your content that I see. The medicine or dentistry.
Payman: Is that because these days it’s the same rates for both? Because, back in my day, it wasn’t really both. Either you could get into medicine or you couldn’t. You know? It was one of those.
Payman: Why is it such a big theme in your content?
Shaadi: Because, to be honest, I think when I applied it wasn’t a big thing. Because, I purely considered it because my brothers were all studying it, and it was the closest thing I had to anyone close to me studying a sciency kind of subject. So, for me it wasn’t a big deal. But, a lot of the feedback I’ve been getting, because since I started creating the content, a lot of prospective dental applicants have reached out to me, asked questions. And the recurring theme is medicine or dentistry. And to be honest, I don’t think they’re similar at all. You know?
Shaadi: A career in medicine is completely different to a career in dentistry. But, the feedback that I’ve been getting from these prospective applicants is that they’re considering both. So that’s mainly why I spend a lot of attention to it. And I think because I have a lot of, obviously friends and family who are medics, I ask them and I try and understand what’s different about medicine and dentistry and draw the pros and cons to share with other people or help them to decide. Raise points that’s going to help them decide.
Payman: And you actually wrote a book on how to get into dentistry.
Shaadi: I did. Yeah. That was my lockdown. One project. Yeah. I’m not one to stay idle for long.
Payman: Tell me about it.
Shaadi: I’m not one to stay idle for long. To be honest, I’ve always loved writing. I’ve loved writing. And, since I qualified, I spent a lot of time and effort trying to get published in different journals, and like on video blog and that kind of thing. So I had a lot of articles go out, and the more I wrote, the more I liked writing. And then, when I started this whole TikTok thing in lockdown, there was a lot of people asking me about, “What do I do to get into dentistry?” And there’s a lot of things to consider.
Shaadi: I certainly didn’t know it. Like I said, when I moved here, I didn’t know anyone who was applying to dentistry. My brother didn’t know anyone who was applying to medicine. So we kind of had to learn things by ourselves, which was really, really difficult. Things that are obvious to me now, like you have to have extracurricular stuff. You have to do this, that. I didn’t know any of that before. So, I was like, “Okay, I’m going to do something.” And a lot of people were reaching out saying, “What do I do? How do I show manual dexterity?” That kind of stuff.
Shaadi: And I would reply to every single one of them, because it was lockdown and I wasn’t doing anything. So I would write these lengthy messages back to them saying exactly what they needed to do. And then I kind of realised that actually all these people that are sitting at home, and they should be studying, they should be at school, but they have all this free time. Instead of me just copy and pasting the same thing, why don’t I actually make a thing of it? So the idea was to write an eBook first, and then it evolved from there and it became an actual physical book.
Payman: Even that happened in lockdown as well.
Payman: So this lockdown’s been a big thing for content creators.
Shaadi: Yeah. I think we finally had the time. People finally had the time to do stuff. Because I think you get so bogged down with clinical dentistry. And, when you’re not at the clinic, you’re having to catch up with admin, that kind of stuff. So I think when we had those, was it, what?
Shaadi: Three months, from March until June, I think a lot of us got to spend time on the stuff that we’d always wanted to do. I’m a big believer that something starts from somewhere and it ends up something completely different. So, I’m really proud of that, actually, I’m happy that it got published and it’s available on Amazon. I had a lot of good feedback from it.
Payman: What’s it called? How to Get Into Dental School?
Shaadi: How to Get Into Dental School? Yeah.
Shaadi: What it says on the thing.
Payman: Where did you study dentistry, yourself?
Shaadi: Queen Mary. So, Barts and the London. And, I remember I wanted to-
Payman: How was your experience?
Shaadi: It was good. My experience was very, very good. I knew I wanted to stay in London, because I wanted to be close to my family. So it was either King’s or Queen Mary. And, I applied to both. Queen Mary has a much smaller group, so I think there was 60 of us in one year. Whereas at King’s it’s like 200 or something. So it was nice. It was a very strange area. Whitechapel and Mile End just definitely takes some getting used to. But, I was lucky I had a good year group.
Shaadi: I had a group of close friends in the year. So, it was a good experience. We travelled a lot. I struggle in my first year a bit. Because, I found it difficult to adapt. And I often talk about this. Because, you go from, you know, at school we’re used to doing really, really well. So, I was used to being … I was involved in the student body. I was involved in all sorts of different things. I would always get top grades. So I was used to being kind of …
Payman: Top dog.
Shaadi: Kind of. I don’t want to say top dog, but it was like you’re teachers’ favourites because you do your work. That kind of thing. And then you go from that environment to somewhere where everyone else is exactly like you, so you’re not special anymore. Everyone has three As and A star. Everyone plays the guitar or the piano. So, I found that slightly difficult to adapt to my first year. But, after I got the hang of it, from second year on it was a much nicer experience.
Payman: Yeah. I caught one of your podcasts. It was a post. You were saying, “Don’t study too hard like I did.”
Shaadi: Yeah. Definitely. Definitely. Because, I think what … There’s a lot of emphasis on mental health, I think now, but even back … So, I started studying in 2010, and back then nobody was talking about mental health. Nobody was talking about stress, or OCD, or anything, or anxiety. All this kind of stuff that’s almost become trendy now and everyone talks about it. Back in 2010, no one spoke about it, and I was spending all my time and energy studying.
Shaadi: So I would come home, I would revise. I wasn’t eating very much. I wasn’t socialising a lot. I was really, really stressed, really, really stressed. So, I did really badly in my exams. I had to retake most of my exams, even though I was studying a lot. Something didn’t make sense to me. And then, my brother is the person I go to when I’m stressed. And he explains things really nicely to me. He was like, “Look, you’re like a car without fuel, and you can’t run. So, you have to take care of yourself. You have to put yourself first. And then once you’re well, then you can start studying.”
Shaadi: So I did that. So from second year onwards, I made sure I was eating well. I was kind of socialising. And, I was well, and I was studying much less actually, and I did so much better in my exams. I did much, much better in my exams from second year onwards.
Payman: And then, when you became a dentist, what were you thinking? What kind of dentist were you thinking you want to be back then? So you said you had a max fac job.
Shaadi: Yeah, so when I qualified, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I kind of was going with the flow. So, when I did my VT, I did my VT in East London. And then, the time came for to applying for DCT, dental core training, and I applied and I was like, yeah I got a very, very good posting. I got dental core training in paediatrics and restorative dentistry at Guy’s. In peds, there weren’t very, very many peds posts, so everybody who wanted to do orthodontics was looking for a peds post.
Shaadi: So when I did peds, I was like, “Okay, maybe I want to do ortho.” So then, I was like, “Okay, let’s just apply to DCT two, see what happens.” And I applied, and I was very lucky that I got max fac at the Royal Free Trust. Royal Free is a hospital that’s very local to me and I was like, I would only do max fac if it’s at the Royal Free. So I got max fac at the Royal Free. But, little did I know that actually max fac is based at two other hospitals. So, they’re far away from me.
Shaadi: Chase Farm and Barnet. They were further away. Still drivable, but far away. So, once I did peds and max fac, I was like, “Okay, maybe I want to do ortho.” I’m the kind of person that goes with the flow. So if everybody else is applying, I’ll apply as well, just to test myself. I applied to ortho, and the year that I applied, I think there was like a ridiculous number posts. There was like 18 posts for like so many applicants. So I didn’t get in. A lot of my friends didn’t get in.
Shaadi: I took a few months off to recover, and I was like, “Okay, I’ll go into practise and then I’ll reapply next year.” But actually, I went into practise and I loved it so much that the time for applications came next year, and I just didn’t apply. I was like, “I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” and it just kind of went from there.
Payman: Sort of mixed factors.
Shaadi: Yeah. Mixed factors. But I think I got really, really lucky with the practise that I’m in. We’re like a family, and the principal dentist, he reminds me a lot of my dad. He’s like a mentor. So I remember the first day that I started, and he called me into his room and he was like, “How was it? What went well? What didn’t go well?” Because, obviously I had come from two years of being in a hospital.
Shaadi: I didn’t know anything about practise. And even though at the interview, I was like, “I’m great at doing extractions, this that,” I obviously didn’t know how to do general day-to-day dentistry stuff. He was a big part of me learning, and my development. I’ve been there now for two years, and I’ve evolved so much. Put it down to the team I have.
Payman: And you’ve only ever been in that practise, apart from certain others as well-
Shaadi: Yeah. That’s been my main practise. I’ve done locum shifts here and there, and I started a job that was horrible, and I was there for three months. But, yeah, that’s been the main place that I’ve been now for the past two years.
Payman: Tell me about the horrible job.
Shaadi: Where do I start? So, this was a job. The practise that I’m in now, I’m there two or three days a week. So, part-time. When I, sort of a year and a half ago, my mentality was that I need to be working 24-7, six days a week. I’m still very new out of dentistry. I still am young and I don’t have too many commitments, in terms of family and that kind of thing. So I want to be working as much as I can to learn as much as I can, earn as much as I can and then slow down whenever I need to. So, I applied to this job that was at a very, very nice fully private practise that looked really nice. MacBooks everywhere.
Shaadi: It was actually very, very local to me. Nice affluent area of London. So it seemed ideal. And I applied, I think it was in March. And I got called in for an interview, and I went in. Then they called me in for a second interview, and I was actually away at the time, so I kind of messaged in saying, “Sorry, I can’t make this. Can I come at a different time?” And they just never got back to me.
Shaadi: I kept chasing, I kept calling, emailing and that kind of thing. They just didn’t get back to me. Then three months later, that same job came up again, and I applied to it again. And, I got the job, eventually. When I started, it became apparent very quickly that it was a very bad practise. Without going into too much details, because I think a lot of people will know where it is. It was just a very, very bad, toxic environment with people who had no insight.
Shaadi: The practise manager was telling me what to do clinically. He was nowhere near a clinical. And, I think it was after 10 days that I handed him my notice.
Shaadi: But unfortunately, because of the contract, I had to stay there for three months. So imagine somewhere that I couldn’t even last 10 days, I had to stay for three months. So, it was a horrible time, horrible, horrible time. And I was very unwell, because I was working six days a week, 12 hours a day. So, the way I was working was that I would do kind of eight to two, or two to eight. And then, I made a very, very wise decision to ask my principal to not fill my job at that practise until I’d sort of tested the waters at the other practise.
Shaadi: He was kind enough to say, “Okay, I’ll give you four weeks or a month to see what you want to do.” But obviously, it wasn’t ideal for them, because I was there maybe a few hours a day, if that. So, all my patients were suffering and that kind of thing. So, that’s why I’m so grateful to my team and my principal at my current practise, because they’ve been through a lot with me.
Payman: Yeah, but look, you didn’t get along with the practise manager, yeah?
Shaadi: It was just everything. The principal.
Payman: I get that. Do you think in hindsight, there were signs that you could have seen? Did you sort of paper over something because you thought it was a private practise or whatever?
Shaadi: Yeah. Definitely.
Payman: So what were those things?
Shaadi: Definitely. So the person that was working there before me was someone that I knew from VT. I didn’t know him very well, but he kind of gave me some hints. He was like, “Look, there are some things that aren’t right here, but your experience might be different.” I was very naïve in thinking, okay well different people are different. I respect this person. I respect his opinion, but everyone might be different in different practises. But, luckily, the warning that he gave me made me not completely leave my old job. But yeah, definitely, everyone that was working there was working their three month notice. Nurses, the dentists.
Shaadi: And, they had two surgeries, and one of those surgeries was filled part-time. So, they were maybe 30, 40 percent of their capacity, and that should have been a warning sign. But, that job keeps coming up again and again. Literally, every three months it will come up. So …
Payman: A lot of times, you know, with your first few jobs, there is that sort of side of you learn what not to do. You learn what’s wrong with things as well as what’s right with things.
Payman: But, if you had to put it down to what was the actual cause of the problem in this practise, would you say it comes from the top? The principal?
Shaadi: There was a lot. I think there was lack of insights, in terms of management. There was lack of insights, in terms of they didn’t understand. I don’t think they had the right perspective in seeing things the right way. I think they trained their patients to be ridiculous, in terms of their expectations.
Shaadi: Like, patients would have hygiene appointments, and they would come out and the practise manager would say, “How was your hygiene? Was it painful?” Why would you say that to a patient? Like the way, just everything. The way they treated their staff. They treated their nurses very, very badly, and their team. I’ve learnt from then what I’m willing to compromise. Because, no job is perfect. I’ve learnt this time and time again. But I think there are certain things that you shouldn’t compromise. For me, it’s the environment that I’m working in.
Shaadi: If it’s a very negative, controlling environment, toxic environment, then I’m not going to be there. Because, dentistry is stressful enough as it is. You’re going to make clinical mistakes. But, if you’re in an environment that doesn’t support you or focuses on the negatives, then you’re not going to grow and it’s only going to be downhill. It’s taught me what things to compromise on and what things are absolutely not compromisable, if that’s a word.
Payman: So your other job sounds like the exact opposite, right?
Payman: Because, I see you on TikTok laughing together.
Payman: In the garden, is it a garden there?
Shaadi: Yeah. It’s a house that was converted to a practise, so we have a garden and we have very nice surgeries. But, see, because I’m very sensitive to my atmosphere and my environment. So if I’m happy, I do well. If I’m unhappy, I don’t do well. I know that’s not a positive to have. It’s not a good character trait to have. But, it’s me. I spoke to my dad about this and I was like, “Look, what do I do?” And he was like, “Look, it’s unusual to like your job, so you’re very lucky to like the environment that you’re in, like your team, have very minimal stress in the environment that you’re in. So, you’re lucky, but it doesn’t mean that that’s the norm. Usually, it can be quite different.”
Shaadi: So, I’ve learnt from that experience to trust my gut instincts. But, yeah, at this practise, we’re like a family. When I make TikTok videos. Like when we went back from lockdown, everybody wanted to know about my TikTok. They wanted to film TikToks. If something goes wrong, it’s not a blame culture. It’s a question of, “Okay, how can we fix this?” And it’s always about growth, and what can we do together to make things better?
Shaadi: And I’ve grown and evolved a lot since then. I was actually reflecting on how far I’ve come from when I started. I was scared of doing Invisalign. I was scared of doing any kind of treatment really. And now, I know that my principal is next door, so I just have … Even last week, he came in and helped me with a crown prep. Because, we’re very lucky we have an in-house lab, and a lab technician comes in and helps. So it’s like a team, and I think I’m growing a lot more there than I would anywhere else.
Payman: Let’s shout out. What’s his name, your principal?
Shaadi: Professor Basharat. Dr. Basharat.
Payman: Of course. Right.
Shaadi: He reminds me a lot of my dad.
Payman: Fellow countryman.
Shaadi: Yeah. But, do you know what? I don’t think that has anything to do with it. A lot of people say is it because that everyone’s Iranian in the practise and I’m like, “No. It’s got nothing to do with it.”
Payman: Is everyone Iranian?
Shaadi: Most people are. Not everyone, though. We’re a very mixed team. But, the principal is, the principal is.
Payman: I was going to say, that’s going to make for a very interesting situation if everyone’s Iranian. Tell me, look, I’m amazed at your progress when it comes to the content side.
Shaadi: Thank you.
Payman: To say that it all started in lockdown just makes me just … It blows me away. Because, you’ve got your podcast. We should talk about that Teeth and Tales.
Shaadi: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Payman: I’m doing a podcast. Yours is very clearly, directly more aimed at consumers, at patients.
Shaadi: Yeah. Mine is fairly airy-fairy compared to yours. Yours is very deep and ethical.
Payman: No, no, no. Yours is probably more valuable, because patients need the information. But, I’ve noticed you’re half … Kind of at the beginning, you talk about the person and their career, and then you switch to patients.
Payman: And it’s cool. It’s a cool thing. I recommend everyone to check it out. Teeth and Tales.
Shaadi: Thank you.
Payman: I was a guest on there myself.
Shaadi: Yeah. It’s one of my favourite episodes.
Payman: Mine too. [inaudible] But, my point is this, yeah. That I think it’s super valuable, as long as it comes up in a search. So, let’s say you do an issue on teeth whitening, and when it’s searched on Google or whatever, it comes up, and that’s a really key important point to work out that that happens. You know?
Shaadi: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Payman: I’m sure you’re on it. But, that’s definitely a thing to do.
Shaadi: I need to do that. Yeah.
Payman: Yeah. Because, otherwise, pointing it to the public’s all well and good. But, if it doesn’t do that, you’ve lost half the trick there.
Payman: But, what I find with podcasts, I find it just super interesting, and just a valuable thing to do. Like, if me and you were sitting in a café, we could be having this conversation and it could be a … Let’s say we’re sitting together for one hour having the coffee. That’s a valuable hour. It happens that we’re recording it now, and God willing a few people will listen to this. But, that doesn’t matter, right? Because, as you know, when you were doing the first one, you had no idea if anyone was going to listen to it.
Shaadi: Yeah. It’s really scary.
Payman: I don’t know about you. I find I keep telling people to start a podcast. Loads and loads of people should do podcasts. What are your thoughts on it?
Shaadi: I am a big fan of podcasts. I’m a big fan of consuming podcasts, because I think it makes me feel really intellectual, and it makes me feel like I’m learning stuff. No, but seriously, if you’re listening to a podcast on your commute to work. I listen to a lot of mental health podcasts, a lot of positive psychology podcasts, and whenever I, say if I’ve listened to that on my morning commute to work, I generally have a better day.
Shaadi: I try and focus on the stuff that I’ve been reminded of. And, I don’t know. I find some people’s voices soothing. Like I want to listen to them. It calms me down, regardless of what they’re saying. And, when I started my podcast I was like, “Who’s going to listen to it?” But actually, I listen to a lot of mental health podcasts, and there is a coach and hypnotherapist that I listen to. She’s British, and she has a very calming British accent. I listen to her a lot.
Shaadi: And then I was like, “Okay, let me check out all these other podcasts on mental health.” I listened to, I think there was this American lady who was very loud. Just, I just didn’t enjoy it, and I switched it off straight away. So, I think there’s a voice, and a person, and a style for everyone. So, depending on what your preference is, I think there’s space for everyone to be out there.
Payman: Yeah, I think each podcast finds its sort of audience, doesn’t it?
Shaadi: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Payman: So, I see you get lots of comments and things that you post on Instagram. Are you finding most of the people who listen to yours are patients, or are you finding quite a lot of dentists?
Shaadi: It’s a combination. It’s a combination. I think it’s ideal for patients and prospective dental applicants. And also, dentists in general, young dentists. I think people around my stage that enjoy listening to other people’s experience. So, you kindly mentioned that the podcast is divided into two parts. So usually we have a topic that we talk about. For example, we spoke about teeth whitening.
Shaadi: And then the first part of the podcast is about the guest, and their journey, and the mistakes they made, the lessons that they learned. Because, I think it’s so valuable to talk about that. Because, we see all these people who are very polished and famous on Instagram. But actually, we don’t know about the struggles that they’ve had up until that point. So I think it’s really valuable.
Shaadi: And I’ve learned a lot about other people and their experience doing the podcast. I genuinely enjoy them. So, similar to what you were saying, it’s like you’re having a conversation and you just happen to press record. So, I really enjoy it. I really, really enjoy it.
Payman: So were you inspired by those mental health ones to start your own. I mean, it’s quite a big step. When me and Prav did it … Prav can’t join us this time. But, when me and Prav did it, we’d been talking about it for a couple of years. We were talking about doing separate ones. At the end of the day, me and Prav have got businesses where a content marketing approach, it makes sense. Right?
Payman: It makes sense for us to be out there. But, to do one for patients, I like sort of the way of thinking. Were you worried about it before you started?
Shaadi: Yeah. Of course I was worried. I didn’t know what I was going to talk about. I didn’t know if I was going to be awkward. I didn’t know how it would sound. I didn’t want to sound whiny. But, the way it started was that I was making TikTok videos, and the majority of TikTok videos that I make are pointing to staff or my main lip syncing, and that kind of thing. And then I made this one video about caries and what decay is, and I spoke about it.
Shaadi: A lot of people were commenting and saying, “You have a soothing voice. Please make a podcast. If you had a podcast, I’d listen to it.” That kind of planted the seed in my brain. And it just kind of went from there. Because, I was like, there’s all these people that think dentists are scary things. But actually, if they do find me calming, if they do find my voice calming, or they feel they can trust someone, it’s a good thing to talk about this. And one of the early episodes was anxiety, dental anxiety and what we can do about it.
Shaadi: And, I’ve got a lot of messages from people saying, “Thank you. Your podcast helped me go to the dentist or overcome my anxiety.” I think it’s important for them to listen to stuff. Because, a lot of stuff that’s obvious to us, patients don’t actually know. Like what decay is, what fillings are. That kind of thing. I think it’s important to talk about it in layman’s terms and not be lecturing them and saying, “Sugar is bad.” And I’ve made a point to say, “I love sugar. I have Haribos all day every day.”
Payman: Yeah. Then it’s just, yeah. [crosstalk]
Shaadi: You know? I think they need to understand that we’re people as well. We’re not going to judge them. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback. I tell the majority of my own patients to listen to them as well. So, if it’s about some treatments, I tell them to listen to the podcast, and I find that a bit awkward, to be honest. But, it has gotten easier.
Payman: Have you had patients come and find you after listening to your podcast to say, “I want you to be my dentist”?
Shaadi: Not specifically after podcast. I think as a combination of the social media presence, yes. I don’t know if it’s down to podcast purely. I think it’s a combination.
Payman: Do you get DMs TikTok saying, “I want you to be my dentist”?
Shaadi: Yes. A lot of people comment saying that, and a lot of people message asking questions, like very detailed, specific questions. I used to spend time replying to every single one. But, now I’m just like at the sheer volume, I can’t get back to all of them. So I’m like, “Look, it’s clinically inappropriate for me to give you clinical advice. If you want, book a virtual consultation.” We’ve come up with a platform to do a virtual consultation, and they just have a virtual consultation, and they just have a virtual consultation, we talk about stuff. And then, they usually come in for an assessment.
Shaadi: It’s worked really well, because I remember before I started any kind of social media presence, I wasn’t sure why other people were on there. I was like, “If all these people are on here and spending so much time, it must be giving them some sort of return.” So I’m actually surprised that I’ve had a lot of patients come from TikTok, actually, when the veneers crows video went super viral. I had a lot of patients off the back of that.
Shaadi: I had one patient come in. He was like, “Look, you sound like you know what you’re talking about. When I have crowns and veneers, can I come and see you?” And, he’s having Invisalign with me now. He’s a very good patient of mine. So, it does work, if you spend enough time on it.
Payman: Yeah, yeah. Look, let’s go through. You basically started your podcast, your Instagram and your TikTok on the same day kind of thing, right?
Shaadi: Pretty much. Yeah. Within a month or two.
Payman: So, I know how long it takes for a podcast to grow. Yours is consumer facing. But, I’d say from lockdown until now, it’s not really long enough to make it big enough for patients.
Payman: How many followers have you got on Instagram?
Shaadi: I think it’s nine something, 9.3K or something around that.
Payman: Yeah. And on TikTok, how man-
Shaadi: 112. It’s 112,000, I think. Thereabouts.
Shaadi: You’re writing these down?
Payman: No, what’s amazing is last time I looked at your TikTok, it was 101,000 or something. That was like a week ago.
Shaadi: It grows a lot.
Shaadi: Yeah. It grows a lot.
Payman: That just goes to show-
Shaadi: It grows quickly.
Payman: The difference in the reach of the platform. Doesn’t it?
Shaadi: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.
Payman: Do you feel more comfortable on TikTok than on Instagram?
Shaadi: I think they’re very different platforms. It depends on what I’m doing, to be honest. Because, Instagram is very planned, very polished, very, you know?
Shaadi: Just planned, generally. But, TikTok is more spontaneous. It’s a question if I have five minutes between patients, I’ll film a TikTok video. I used to, when I was in lockdown, I had days dedicated to TikTok filming. I think, to be honest, I think that kept me going. Because, it was an excuse to dress up, shower, wash my hair, put makeup on, that kind of thing.
Shaadi: Whereas now, because obviously I have less time to dedicate to it, it’s just whenever there is time. But I really enjoy it. I really enjoy making videos.
Payman: To you it may seem spontaneous. But, for me, TikTok seems like you’ve got a plan. You’ve got to plan ahead, right?. You’ve got to plan where you’re pointing, and you’ve got to plan all sorts of-
Payman: TikTok seems more of a headache to post on than Instagram. Maybe my Instagram posts aren’t-
Shaadi: It depends.
Payman: As produced as they should be.
Shaadi: I think it depends.
Payman: I find it quite a hard platform. I find it hard to produce something on, even as a [crosstalk 00:31:31]-
Shaadi: It’s difficult. Yeah. It’s really difficult. I think you have to spend enough time consuming the platform to learn what works, what doesn’t work, the trends. I think it’s important to jump on the trends, and that kind of thing. But, do you know what? I found that I was spending two or three hours a day on that anyway. So I was like, “I might as well be creating.” Because, if you see enough TikTok videos, you’ll want to create one. If you see the same trends, you’ll think about your take on the trend. So yeah, I’m definitely [crosstalk 00:31:58]-
Payman: I know this is a million dollar question, but what would you say makes a video go viral? Yeah, I’m asking you for the answer. But, what would you say from what you’re learning? Some sort of juicy-
Shaadi: I will say-
Payman: Juicy title seems to work well, right?
Shaadi: Juicy title works very well. Do you know what? I think even, I don’t think anyone fully understands how the platform works. So, one video could go super viral, but another similar video could not. So, I think a lot of it is down to luck, and it’s about producing enough content consistently for one of them to inevitably go viral. But, with me, to be honest, the first video that I thought had gone viral was 80,000 views. And then the ultimate was the eight million views with the crowns and veneers one. But, I think you need to be divulging some sort of juicy information.
Shaadi: You need to grab people’s attention. And, it’s about … With TikTok, it’s about retention of the viewer. So, it’s about how long they spent viewing that video. How many times did they watch it? Whether they sent it to other people. How many people like it, comment it, that kind of stuff plays a big part in how viral that video goes. So, for example, that veneers and crown video, it was viewed for, and TikTok will give you analytics.
Shaadi: It will tell you how long they’ve spent, people have spent watching that video. A lot of people shared it with each other. They’d sent it. That’s how it went super viral. It was on every kind of LADbible, all these kind of external places as well.
Payman: You were on the news, weren’t you?
Shaadi: Yeah. I was on Russia TV as well. I don’t know how. I was actually really scared.
Payman: For people who don’t know, just go through what happened with that, because that was like a Katie Price Turkey video thing, wasn’t it?
Shaadi: Yeah, so on TikTok, there is one of the trends, so on TikTok, for people who aren’t familiar with the platform, a lot of content is for entertainment, and a lot of content is for hacks and DIY kind of stuff. So, cutting hair, recipes, that kind of thing. A trend, with regards to teeth and health was that people were going to Turkey, shaving their teeth down and saying, “These are veneers,” and then showing their before and afters and their shark teeth.
Shaadi: And, this wasn’t anything new. It was on Instagram for a while before it went on TikTok. And, I had seen a lot of people comment on this, a lot of dentists were rightly speaking up about it saying, “Look, these are not veneers. These are crowns.” But, I was kind of very apprehensive about talking about it, because I didn’t want it to sound like I was saying dentists in certain countries were bad. I didn’t want to sound like I was promoting align, bleach and bond kind of protocols.
Shaadi: So I was quite apprehensive about it. Then, I came across this video. And on TikTok, a lot of my followers would tag me in videos that are about teeth to get my opinion on it. And, if a video goes viral and everyone sees it, then more people are tagging you in that video. I came across this video of a girl who was very young, and she actually had beautiful perfect teeth. They were aligned. They were very, very white and they didn’t have any major issues. She had gotten one of them shaved down, I think at least five to five, and had crowns on all of them saying, “Look at my veneers.”
Shaadi: And a lot of people were commenting saying, “Oh, they look great. Where did you get this done?” And it was really, really scary to see young people looking up to these “influencers” and wanting to do the same things. So I made a video saying, “Look, these are not veneers. These are crowns. And these are the risks. You can get nerve damage. You’re going to need root canal treatment. You’re going to need to replace these.” And I think what you were saying about juicy content.
Shaadi: I said, “You might end up needing dentures by the age of 40,” and I think that’s what it took to make people realise that actually-”
Payman: Freak people out.
Shaadi: Yeah. That actually this isn’t like just getting false things. It’s actually a big deal. And I got loads of messages of people, like loads and loads, like hundreds of messages from people on Instagram saying, “I had no idea. I’ve been thinking of doing this. Thank you for sharing this. I was literally minutes away from booking my flight to go to Turkey to get this done.” And there was one message from, I think it was over Christmas, there was one message from this girl who was actually in Turkey and she said, “Look, I’ve come here with my boyfriend to get our teeth done, and they’ve just told him he needs four root canals before he gets his crowns done. I’m really panicking. I’m really scared. What should I do? Our treatment is tomorrow.”
Shaadi: I was like, “Look, there’s literally nothing I can do for you now. You’re in Turkey. You’re already there. This is the kind of stuff you should be thinking about before you go over there to get your teeth done. And the maintenance. Who’s going to pay for the maintenance? Do you realise these may need to be replaced?” And so it went viral. It was shared on every platform that I can think of. It was one of the trending news articles on Apple News. My dad actually was going through Apple News and he was like, “Look, this is where you are.”
Shaadi: My brother came home and he was like, “Look, you’re on LADbible.” So it was my five minutes of fame, but I’m glad it got the attention that it needed, because it made people realise that these aren’t just stuff you get done and just forget about it.
Payman: Look, that was a trending thing that you jumped on and made your own video about, right?
Shaadi: I don’t think it was a trending thing. It was just a video. It was a trend of people showing their teeth, and my video was just saying, “Look, don’t do this.” It was an anti-trend, if anything.
Payman: Got it.
Shaadi: So yeah, that’s I was surprised when it went viral, because it wasn’t anything like everybody else was doing. And then once I made my video, then everyone else, all the other dentists started talking about it as well. So, that was good to kind of echo the message and get it out there.
Payman: I’m still trying to get to the bottom of why is it you’re so confident talking into a camera. And we had you filming it in lighting.
Shaadi: Yeah, that was so much fun.
Payman: You were like a total natural. Most people sweat a bit.
Shaadi: I do a bit. If I listen back [crosstalk] to it now, I stutter at some points.
Payman: No, no, no. Believe me, you were one of the better ones. Where does that confidence come from?
Shaadi: Do you know what? I think I’ve put myself out there a lot. I’m not naturally super confident. I have my own reservations. But, I think once you start doing stuff, and you get used to it, and you realise that it’s actually working, that gives you confidence. So, with the social media platforms, the way it all started was, you know when I was at my toxic dead end job, I think I was doing a hygiene and I was like, “Look, this clearly isn’t the answer.
Shaadi: Working six days a week, 12 hours a day. So I’m going to take some time off. I’m going to spend some time working on some sort of creating some sort of a brand. Get my name out there. Then I’ll go from there.” I’m really proud of myself for that. Because, I chose to not work six days a week. I think that takes guts to say, “Actually, I don’t want to do this. I’m going to go do something else instead.” And then the results [crosstalk 00:38:43]-
Payman: Yeah, because first time we met, you were working two days a week or something.
Shaadi: Yeah. Yeah.
Payman: This was post the six days nightmare.
Shaadi: Yeah. Do you know what? And I hear, actually, when I was at that job, I heard Manrina Rhode talk about how she’s more productive working three days a week than if she was working full-time. I was like, “I couldn’t agree with you more.” Because, those two days that I go in, I’m 110% in. I’m excited. I work as much as I can. I do exciting stuff. I want to try new things clinically. Whereas, when I was working six days a week, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to just do a check-up, get it over and done with and just go have a coffee.
Shaadi: I think with those two days, I’m far more productive than I was at six days a week, and I have enough time to spend on everything else, like the podcast. And I enjoy it. I think it’s important to enjoy what you do. If I do clinical dentistry six days a week, I’ll be miserable, and I can’t do anything else.
Payman: Do you do all the work for the podcast yourself? All the editing, everything?
Shaadi: Yes. Yeah. Everything. That was scary. I had no idea. I had no idea how to do stuff, but I learned that-
Payman: It’s a wonderful time, isn’t it? You can Google, “How do I start a podcast?”
Payman: I often, when I think about we’re trying different things that enlighten, right? Sometimes I’m thinking, “How the hell are we going to do that?” And then every time I think that, I think this is the time where you’ve got more information at your fingertips.
Payman: Than ever before in history.
Payman: And, it’s amazing how much you can get it done by Googling.
Shaadi: It’s true. Do you know that with the whole social media platform.
Payman: Go ahead. Yeah.
Shaadi: Sorry to interrupt you. But, with the whole social media platform, I actually looked into getting a company to do all the social media platform for me. Because, I was like, “I want it to be done properly. I don’t want to just be an amateur to do it.” But actually, I’m a bit of a control freak. So I was like, “I don’t think anyone can do what I want to do as well as me,” so I’m the only one that can put my vision 100% out there. So, with all the research and Googling, that kind of stuff, I was able to do all of that. But I think it’s important, because I don’t think I would have been happy with anyone else doing it. I think I need to be doing it.
Payman: Well, then my advice is, though, on things like a podcast, you can outsource a lot of this stuff.
Payman: Okay, maybe you want to edit your own podcast.
Payman: We started out with a proper full on editor, and now it Prav’s team handles the whole thing. But what I’m saying is, you’re going to get busier and busier.
Shaadi: Yeah. Of course. I’m dedicated.
Payman: You’re not working two days now, are you? How many days are you working now?
Shaadi: I’m working four days now, but I’m going back to two days, because I can’t do more than two days.
Payman: Are you? Okay. Fair enough. But, the TikTok must take time.
Payman: I was going through it last night. What do you do? One a day?
Shaadi: I used to do one to three a day. I think that’s the optimum-
Payman: Three a day!
Shaadi: that they say. One to three a day. Yeah. But you have to be relevant. You have to be out there. That’s the thing with social media. I think you have to be consistent.
Payman: Got it. You.
Shaadi: You’re going to have off days, but you still have to have content pre-planned. But, all of this is pre-planned. So, I film and do all of that. So, if I have a filming day, then I will film as many videos as I can that day, and plan it. But it takes a lot of time, especially if you want to do well.
Shaadi: If you just want to create videos for the sake of it, then that’s another thing. But if you actually want to spend time editing them, planning them, filming them, the nit does take time.
Payman: How many can you produce in a day if you like put a whole day towards.
Shaadi: Yeah. So, if I have a day where I’m not at the clinic. I’m at home. Then, yeah, I would have planned them from before. Whenever I get an idea, I jot it down. And then, for that day I know how many films. So, for example, for that video that went viral, I think I created like 25 or something videos in that day, and that just happened to be one of the videos.
Payman: [crosstalk 00:42:27]. Really?
Payman: I like that.
Shaadi: But you get good at stuff. And a lot of it isn’t just me pointing to stuff. It’s reacting to stuff. Thankfully on TikTok, there’s a lot of videos that you can react to, and just talk about what’s happening. And people seem to like those as well.
Payman: We ask everyone this question. What do you think’s been your biggest mistakes in dentistry?
Shaadi: I think we were speaking about this before. I think, and of course I’ve made clinical mistakes, but I don’t think I’ve made any major ones yet to learn that much from. I think the biggest mistake I made was to chase down that job.
Shaadi: So I think it’s taught me when to stop chasing stuff. You have to be persistent if you want to get things done. But at the same time, if stuff isn’t happening organically, then there’s a reason. So, leave it well alone. I think that’s the greatest lesson that I’ve learned. A mistake from taking a job that I shouldn’t have.
Payman: That job got you pretty bad.
Shaadi: It did. It did. But, it’s at the forefront. It’s just there all the time. Every decision I make, every commitment I commit to, it’s just there. So it’s taught me a lot. And at the time, if you speak to my friends and family, it wasn’t a nice time to be around me. I was crying and shouting the whole time.
Shaadi: It just wasn’t a nice time to be around me. Yeah. I wasn’t this bubbly, happy social media person then. I was just this person crying in a corner.
Payman: What about the dark side of social. Have you had any trolls?
Payman: We had Rhona on this show.
Payman: And she was talking about that.
Payman: Although I think she’s quite polarising compared to you. But, tell me about the dark-
Shaadi: Well, she’s obviously much bigger, and she’s had a long time to develop her platform and her followers as well as the trolls. But, I think, yeah, quite early on, especially with TikTok, because it’s not like any other platform. One video can have massive reach. So pretty early on, you can get loads of people viewing you and your content.
Shaadi: So, there’s going to be accounts. No one checks these accounts. There’s no social media police. Anyone can come and say anything. And, I would say, touch wood, I haven’t had anything majorly negative. But there’s been a lot of negativity and neutral stuff. Like posting educational videos and then someone coming and saying, “Who cares?” Or commenting just unnecessary stuff.
Shaadi: This used to really, really bother me at the beginning. Because, like a lot of other people, I care about what other people think of me. But I think since I started my social media platform, I realise pretty early on that actually if I’m going to be a sensitive person, I should just not be on social media. Because, everyone’s going to have a an opinion. Not everyone’s going to like you.
Shaadi: I had even a dentist send something, a reply to a story I posted, thinking they were sending it to someone else, saying something negative. That really bothered me initially. But then I was like, “Who cares? Like if this person doesn’t like you, who cares?” It’s not real life. It’s just social media. Not everyone’s going to like you. I don’t really care about being liked anymore. I have a very clear vision, and I know exactly what I want to do.
Shaadi: Not everyone has to understand that. It’s okay. And as long as, especially with the video that went viral, obviously a lot of people … Or not a lot of people, actually. Like a few people, like two or three people messaged me saying, “You shouldn’t have used that girl’s video to show,” and saying that a lot of people have gone on to her bully her and things like that.
Shaadi: I made an announcement to say, “Look, this isn’t to throw shade at anyone, especially not this person. People can do whatever they want to their teeth. This is purely and educational video to say the risks. You can do whatever you want with your teeth, and please don’t misunderstand it.”
Shaadi: But then I very soon realised that actually when eight million people have watched your video, if three people say something negative, that’s okay. Ratio wise, that’s really okay. So, I very soon, very early on I learnt to get over it. That’s how I approach it now. Whatever negativity comes my way, I just delete. Delete and unfollow. That’s the kind of stuff I do.
Payman: Yeah. That’s totally the right way to look at it if you’re going to put yourself out there. But I think talking to Rhona, she had more sort of problematic ones than that. You know? Like people-
Payman: Directly attacking her.
Payman: And it can happen. It can happen. I can understand how it can happen. But you’re right. There’s no way you could have done what you’ve done if you really cared what people thought about you. I find that’s probably one of the biggest barriers to people even starting a podcast or anything like this is, “What’s my aunty going to think?”
Shaadi: Yeah. Because you know what? Who cares? The important thing is that you like what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing. When I started the podcast, for example, my mom didn’t quite get it. She was like, “What’s the point? Why are you making a podcast? Why aren’t you doing more clinical days?”
Shaadi: I was like, “Look. There’s a plan. There’s a vision.” She’s like, “Okay,” cheering me. I think a lot of people just don’t get it, and that’s okay. They don’t have to get it. You have to get it. And, I’ve been able to do some wonderful things because of the social media platform, like being here today. I think as long as the stuff that you’re getting out of it is outweighing all the negativity, then it’s paying off.
Payman: If there is a plan then, go on, give us the plan. What’s the plan? Is it a secret plan?
Shaadi: Life plan?
Payman: Well, you’re saying this is a planned thing. Doing your podcast, doing your social media. What’s the plan?
Shaadi: The plan is to create a brand, so that people know you for what you are and what your vision is. And then, it’s …
Payman: [crosstalk] your brand?
Shaadi: Yeah. And then just to go on and … I really want to have my own clinic, and I have a vision for it. I want it to look a certain way and be a certain kind of vibe.
Shaadi: Yeah. Of course. I’ve planned all of it. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to it. I just don’t know when that’s going to happen. But, that’s my plan. To create a brand, and then just to have my own clinic and be able to do the stuff I want to do and still be able to dedicate some time to this content creation, because I really, really enjoy it.
Payman: Okay, well do you want to expand on more of this clinic, or is that a secret?
Shaadi: I don’t know enough about it yet. I just have a board plan. I don’t want to plan too much, because then I get too excited, and I get disappointed if it gets delayed or anything like that. But there’s no solid plans as of yet. It’s just a work in progress.
Payman: I think, look, with you, I thought, the first time I met you I thought super confident, super ambitious, super ambitious, yeah? What’s that about? Where did that come from?
Shaadi: That came from my mom. 100% my mom.
Shaadi: Yeah. She’s a super woman. And, she’s just given us this idea of anything is possible, and just work hard. My mom works super, super hard. And she was the kind of person that she would go to work, she’ll come home, it will be like midnight and she’ll sit with me and my brother and write our personal statements. Like, to that extent.
Shaadi: So, I’ve just got that vision from my mom.
Payman: What does she do?
Shaadi: My mom is a technical manager for a Swiss auditing company. She’s completely non-dental/medical. But she’s very sciencey. She did engineering at Imperial, so she’s very sciencey. Every time I had problems, I would go to her. A lot of people asked me if I had tuition and that kind of thing, and I’d just, I would run to my mom and my brother if I had problems, so I was very lucky. But, the vision and the ambition is 100% my mom. She’s a very tough love kind of person. So, if she tells me I’m doing well, then I know I’m doing well. So, that keeps me going.
Payman: Yeah. You need someone like that. You know?
Payman: Because, it’s all well and good to be all cotton wool. But, you can’t measure cotton wool very well.
Shaadi: Yeah. Yeah.
Payman: What about your dad? What’s your dad like?
Shaadi: My dad is very, is the complete opposite of my mom. He’s very calm. He’s very cool. He’s very content and very zen. But I think you need that balance. Because, depending on what mood I’m in … So if I want to do something super ambitious, I’ll go to my mom, and she’ll tell me it’s possible. But if I don’t want to do something, I’ll go to my dad and he’ll say, “It’s okay. Just relax. Be happy with what you have.”
Payman: So you know how to get the right response.
Shaadi: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.
Payman: What do you reckon is going to happen in the next couple of years for you, as far as TikTok, and your podcast? What about your immediate term plans?
Shaadi: I hope it continues to get bigger and better and lead on to more things. But, even if it doesn’t, I think it’s already done what I’ve wanted it to do, so I try not to get too bogged down in it and not be too hard on myself, because I think it’s really easy to say, “Well, if I’ve done 100,000 photos in the last year, by this time next year, I need to be on a million follows.”
Shaadi: So I think it’s important to not be too hard on yourself and not get too bogged down in numbers, and vanity metrics and that kind of thing. But I want it to get bigger, have more reach, lead to more things. And then hopefully, eventually it can help me achieve the plan and the goal of building that clinic.
Shaadi: I don’t know if it’s in the next five years, 10 years? I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but that’s the vision for the near future.
Payman: On that note, do you know when I said to you, “Do you get any trolls?” I noticed when you do that thing, “Ask me anything” type questions, you get the “Will you marry me?” All the time.
Payman: Do you get that kind of pervy troll?
Shaadi: I do.
Payman: Does that happen?
Shaadi: Yeah, I do. But, so far it’s all been entertaining.
Payman: Has it?
Shaadi: A lot of people ask me if my patients have asked me those questions, and I’ve had a few patients kind of ask me those kind of questions. But, I think I’ve learnt how to navigate them now. I kind of laugh at them and move on.
Payman: You know this question of women in dentistry, and the positives and the negatives of being a woman. And, all right, if you want to really get to you’re young, you’re a woman, you’re a minority, if you want to call it that. Do you feel those things, or do you feel like you’re disadvantaged?
Shaadi: If anything, I think it’s an advantage more than a disadvantage. Because, I think I’m able to use that, me being a woman, being young to kind of say actually I’m this kind of “soft” kind of person, but actually I can do some pretty hardcore stuff when it comes to dentistry.
Shaadi: But I think I haven’t had any problems with patients trusting me or anything like that. So if anything, I think it’s a positive thing. I just had one patient, when I was doing my VT, my VT trainer was this Asian guy. He was quite big. And, I needed to do an extraction. I called him in for an opinion.
Shaadi: He said, “Yeah, the tooth needs to be extracted,” and he left. Then, I told the patient. I was like, “Great. We’re going to extract your tooth now.” And he said, “You’re going to do it?” And I said, “Yeah, what’s wrong with that?” And he said, “I want him to do it. I don’t want a skinny little girl to do it.” I was like, “Don’t worry. It’s just technique.” Luckily, I was able to remove that tooth. If not, I would have never lived it down.
Payman: Were you like …
Shaadi: Yeah. But I was like, if anything, I’m going to take that as a compliment that you can be this kind of person and then still be able to do stuff like clinical stuff, clinical dentistry, that kind of thing. So I don’t see it as a negative.
Payman: But do you recognise what people sometimes say about not enough role models and not enough women on the podium. Not enough women in powerful positions in dentistry. Does that bother you at all?
Shaadi: Not really, to be honest. I don’t think about it. The only thing that I’ve noticed is that this one time I had a male nurse, and every single patient that walked in would turn to him and speak to him and think I’m a nurse. That’s happened again and again. That’s the only thing that kind of bothers me and kind of annoys me a little bit.
Shaadi: Or, if you see movies, and the dentist is always the male and the nurses are female. Those are the things that bother me. But, no, I think we’re doing okay. I think there’s a lot of female dentists out there, and I think a lot of us are vocal and put ourselves out there. I don’t think that’s a problem.
Payman: It’s interesting. Because, you do hear this thing that I’m saying. People say it.
Shaadi: Yeah. I can hear it coming from …
Payman: Yeah. Like people tell me I should have more women on the stage lecturing, for instance.
Payman: And that sort of thing.
Shaadi: Yeah, in that world of dentistry. Yes. In that world of dentistry, yeah, there can be more of us.
Payman: But this idea that as a woman you can’t get inspired because there aren’t enough women out there. That doesn’t seem to have bothered you.
Shaadi: I’ve got my own inspiration. I’m fine. But I can see what people mean.
Payman: But the thing is, it depends on where you want inspiration from. You know?
Payman: Because, if your inspiration is a lecture, then I guess they’re right for now. I’m sure that’ll change very quickly. But, let’s talk about if your inspiration was social media. There’s so many women dominating in social media, right? And the U.S. as well, right?
Shaadi: Yeah, and I think that’s where a lot of people are now getting their inspiration from. Whether that’s aspiring dentists, young dentists, I think a lot of people, that’s where they get most of their inspiration from now anyway. But I understand where that’s coming from. I agree in the academic world of dentistry there can be more females.
Payman: What about clinically? Do you think you’ve got to carry on with this sort of ortho, align, bleach, bond or do you want to take it in another direction? It’s very early on in your career to stick to one thing.
Shaadi: I think about whether I should have actually done ortho regularly. I think I’d say I think about it every week. But, I’m happy with what I’m doing now. I’m happy with what I’m doing now, and I think I enjoy that ortho aspect of it. But, I actually went for my vaccination in through Northwick Park Hospital last week, and it was that really sad dog-
Payman: Horrible hospital.
Shaadi: Yeah. It’s horrible. I’ve never been there.
Payman: A horrible hospital.
Shaadi: Yes. It just reminded me of everything that I hate about hospitals, and even dental hospitals. I really don’t like them. I don’t like that hierarchy. I’m sorry to say it, but I think dental hospitals have that hierarchy. It doesn’t matter who you are. Even if you’re a consultant, they’ll say you’re a junior consultant. I really didn’t enjoy that aspect of it.
Shaadi: So, I think in practise I’m really happy that I make the decisions at the clinic like in my own room, and caring for my own patients, and not having to go through that hierarchy. So, although I think about also whether I should have done it, I’m so glad that I’m not in hospital right now doing that kind of training. I don’t miss it at all.
Payman: Well, look. Prav’s not here to ask his final question. But, I’m going to try it for him. And, he never likes this question being asked when it’s a young guest. But, just don’t worry about-
Shaadi: Is this the one about dying?
Payman: Yeah, don’t worry about the deathbed element of it. Although, for me, you could get run over by a bus tomorrow, right? It’s not like death is-
Shaadi: Great thing to look forward to. Thanks, Payman.
Payman: You could. You could. That’s just the way it is.
Shaadi: You could. That’s true. It’s true. Especially now with all this negativity going around.
Payman: Exactly. So, you’re on your deathbed. You’ve got your family around you, your loved ones around you. What are three pieces of advice you’d leave them with?
Shaadi: I would say the first one, this is going to sound pretty cheesy and cliché, but there’s a reason behind it. I’d say, “Don’t worry.” Because, regardless of whether you worry or not, bad things will happy. And the fact that you worry just means that you’ve wasted all that time worrying. Because, what I learnt with that job was that it didn’t matter that I worried beforehand.
Shaadi: I was in a bad situation, and I just had to have dealt with it. Worrying didn’t help me at all. I would say don’t worry about things. And secondly, I’ll say if something doesn’t happen, don’t stress too much about it, and move on. I’ll say again, if something doesn’t happen organically, just leave it. Because, there is a reason that’s not happening. Even if it does happen, it’s going to end up being something that you didn’t think, and it’s going to be something negative usually, and it could be because something better is waiting for you.
Payman: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Do you mean that in a sort of, there’s a reason it’s not happening, as in like a life, everything happens for a reason idea?
Shaadi: Yeah. Because, I think usually I think I believe in fate. I believe in hard work, but if something isn’t happening, despite you trying again and again, there’s a reason why it’s not happening. Just trust it and don’t force it too much. The third thing is not to put conditions on your happiness. I think a lot of us are guilty of saying, “I’ll be happy when I graduate, when I get this job, when I make this much money, when I have this relationship.”
Shaadi: I think it’s important to have goals, but at the same time you should be happy with what you have. Because, if you put conditions on your happiness, you’re never going to be happy. Because, you’re just going to end up changing that goal post. You’re going to change the conditions of your happiness. And so, you’re going to waste all that time not being happy.
Payman: A goody, that one. That’s a goody. That sort of enjoy the journey kind of angle.
Shaadi: Yeah. Yeah.
Payman: I like that.
Shaadi: And you can still have goals. You don’t have to not have goals. But, just enjoy the process a bit as well. It sounds airy-fairy, but it’s really true.
Payman: I think some people make the mistake. It’s almost like I have to be unhappy with what I have in order to progress forward and get something that I don’t have. I think what you said there is actually, it says no you don’t. You can have skills-
Shaadi: Yeah. Exactly.
Payman: And you can be happy at the same time. You know?
Shaadi: Yeah. And I used to be like that. I used to be like that. I used to put conditions, but then you kind of learn that actually if you’re just going to keep changing that condition, that’s irrelevant.
Payman: And perhaps final, final question, generally, I show would you like to be remembered as a legacy?
Shaadi: That’s a big question. I think I’d like to be remembered as a person who cared and made people feel good and happy at a time where they needed to be looked after. I think with the TikTok and stuff, it’s all fun and games, but actually a lot of people were saying, “Do you know what? This has actually cheered me up. Because, there’s a lot of negativity, and this has actually cheered me up.”
Shaadi: So, to be remembered for being kind and making people feel good at a time where they needed to feel good.
Payman: Prav has introduced one final, final, final question.
Shaadi: He did?
Payman: It’s another dying one. Yeah? He’s introduced it in 2021. It’s like you’ve got a month to live. What would you do with the month?
Shaadi: I’m going to take all of my family and my loved ones and just go travelling around the world.
Payman: And where-
Shaadi: Go to every single place.
Payman: Any particular destination that-
Shaadi: Somewhere hot, somewhere sunny, somewhere by a beach. I’d go and travel the whole of Greece. I’ll go to Bora Bora. I’ll go to the Maldives. I’ll go to Hawaii. I’ll go literally everywhere. Just hire a private jet and go everywhere.
Payman: Of the places you’ve been, what’s been your favourite?
Shaadi: I loved Southeast Asia. I went to-
Shaadi: Thailand. Thailand, Bali and Malaysia. Absolutely love Thailand. I went there for my elective, and it was the best time of my life. We went travelling for a month, and just all of those.
Shaadi: I couldn’t pick one. All of them.
Payman: I love that area too. I love it. I love the people. I love the food. I love everything about that area.
Payman: Absolutely right. All right, well it’s been lovely having you. What was it like being on the other side of the-
Shaadi: Thank you.
Payman: Of the microphone? Much more difficult, right?
Shaadi: It was very nerveracking. It’s really nerveracking. Because, I’m a big of a control freak. I like knowing what’s coming up. I like asking the questions. I don’t know. I don’t know. But, thank you. What’s it been like for you? Because, now you’re on the control end.
Payman: When I was on your end, when I was on your show, I found it very uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.
Shaadi: You did very well. You did very well. You sound very comfortable.
Payman: Yeah, but it didn’t feel good. It’s much easier on this side. Much, much easier on this side.
Shaadi: Yeah, I agree. I agree. Well, I’ve done it, now. And your show is an hour. Mine is like 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Your is a whole hour.
Payman: It’s all that editing you do, there. If you just leave it alone, you’ll be an hour. Anyway, thank you so much for doing it, Shaadi.
Shaadi: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
Payman: I really look forward to your future content that’s going to come I’m sure in every direction. I’m sure we’re going to see a channel on this, what’s this new one called? Clubhouse. On this Clubhouse now. Let’s see how you do-
Shaadi: I didn’t know. Is that a thing?
Payman: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Clubhouse.
Shaadi: Gosh. I need to go get on it now.
Payman: We will need to get on that. That’s the problem when you get really good at one thing, the next thing comes along.
Shaadi: Everyone expects you to keep going, isn’t it?
Payman: Me, I’m really good at two-page adverts in magazines. I’m really, really strong on those. Yeah. Life moves on. Thanks a lot for doing this, Shaadi.
Shaadi: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
Payman: Take care. See you soon.
Speaker 2: 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: Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. Just a huge thank you, both from me and Pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say. Because, I’m assuming you got some value out of it.
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