If you follow the dentists of TikTok, you’ll be familiar with this week’s guest, Onkar Mudhar, whose relatable content has been setting the TikToksphere alight. 

Dr Onkar chats with Payman and Rhona about the impact of social media on dentistry, touching on mental health, and his experience of receiving an ADHD diagnosis.

Dr Onkar also talks about his experience at dental school and debates the acceptability of tattoos and piercings in the medical profession.



In This Episode

00:01:50 – Backstory

00:04:00 – Dental school and academia

00:05:30 – ADHD and neurodivergence 

00:08:30 – Social media and TikTok

00:48:50 – Private and NHS dentistry

00:58:50 – Dentistry and mental health

01:11:25 – Appearance and tattoos in healthcare

01:16:20 – Hopes for the future


About Dr Onkar

Dr Onkar is a general dentist practising in Salisbury, Surrey. He is a popular personality and voice on the TikTok social media platform.

Onkar: When I was in fifth year dental school, I kept seeing like junior doctor, F1 bloggers, junior [00:00:05] doctor, junior F1, F2 and YouTubers and I’m like, why is there no foundation dentist [00:00:10] doing this? Like, I knew of you, I knew of yourself, I knew of George the Dentist and people that you know. [00:00:15] But I was like, why is there no vet doing this? Right? So that was my niche. And I thought, let [00:00:20] me go on to that niche because no one’s doing it and I’ll do it. And that is just how it unfolded. It [00:00:25] was like days in the life, posting small clinical cases, then posting little videos, and [00:00:30] then it just took off.

[VOICE]: This [00:00:40] is mind movers. Moving the conversation [00:00:45] forward on mental health and optimisation for dental professionals. Your [00:00:50] hosts Rhona Eskander and Payman Langroudi.

Rhona Eskander: Welcome [00:00:55] to another episode of Mind Movies. Today we’ve got [00:01:00] the incredible doctor on car. Doctor on car is a trailblazer. A trailblazer within [00:01:05] the young Dental community. The one thing that I remember about anchor. Is that he was a very [00:01:10] keen young dentist, and even when he was studying, he actively went out there to the social media dentist [00:01:15] and said, can I do work experience? Can I learn from you? Anchor has taken the social [00:01:20] media world by storm. He has 50,000 followers on TikTok, [00:01:25] but importantly, a huge, huge amount of engagement. He is known and loved by a lot [00:01:30] of people in the public, mainly talking about his experiences working on the NHS and [00:01:35] what happens as a dental student. Anchor has been keen to also share [00:01:40] his experience of his own mental health and burnout within this. He works in hospital [00:01:45] in practice and also does facial aesthetics. So welcome anchor.

Onkar: I need that intro like [00:01:50] in my life. Every day, every day when I’m feel crap about myself.

Rhona Eskander: Amazing. I love that [00:01:55] I’ll record it and send it to you.

Onkar: Thanks for having me both of you. Really appreciate it. Thanks for coming. Thank you.

Rhona Eskander: Amazing. Okay, so [00:02:00] anchor you are. You graduated in 2019, right?

Onkar: Yeah. Five years ago now. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Wow. That makes [00:02:05] you like I graduated in 2000. I graduated in 2010. So that’s kind of like [00:02:10] mental for me to process. So let’s have a little bit of a [00:02:15] start from the beginning. Where did you grow up. How did you get into dentistry?

Onkar: Okay. So I [00:02:20] grew up in Essex like Essex Boy through and through. I don’t have the accent. I’m [00:02:25] quite well-spoken. I thank my parents for that. For primary school. That was good. Yeah. They told us not to drop our [00:02:30] teas and actually speak properly. So I did primary school there, secondary school there. And then [00:02:35] when I was in Essex, so Barkingside and like Gants Hill, all of that area and [00:02:40] then moved over to like Hornchurch, which is like deep, deep Essex, like Towie land. Yeah. [00:02:45] So I went from like very multicultural Essex to Towie and now like this is very different. Yeah. So [00:02:50] I was there throughout secondary school and then throughout secondary school. I think like all [00:02:55] of us, maybe I was a bit of a skiver like I was very good at [00:03:00] working under pressure so I would piss around in lessons. I was a bit of a class clown, like a bit of a joker, [00:03:05] and I would end up, you know, doing really badly throughout the whole school year. And then at the end of [00:03:10] term, smashing all my exams. So that trend kept happening for, you know, three years. And [00:03:15] then I got to my GCSE year and that did not happen and I bombed everything. Yeah. [00:03:20] So that’s kind of where my passion for dentistry began, because at that [00:03:25] point was when I was like, I want to do dentistry or medicine, I’d failed and bombed all [00:03:30] of these internal exams, and now all of the teachers at school and the careers advisers said, you can’t do it. We’re [00:03:35] going to put you into bottom set for everything. You know, back in those like 2010 for GCSEs, [00:03:40] if you were bottom set or you were like foundation set, you couldn’t apply for those kinds of degrees. I think things have changed [00:03:45] a bit now, but all those things were like a big barrier. And then, [00:03:50] yeah, that’s kind of that initial sort of inspiration was from wanting to prove teachers wrong, [00:03:55] if that makes sense.

Rhona Eskander: So then what happened? How did you then get into do the grades that [00:04:00] you needed to get?

Onkar: I honestly like what happened if it’s like only a bit Dental. I [00:04:05] didn’t revise for those exams because I hadn’t exposed, unbuttoned and something for occluded eats I had [00:04:10] to have extracted under GA. Yeah, so I was in hospital. I was back and forth between orthodontists. I just [00:04:15] didn’t revise. So I that’s why I bombed the exams. I told the teachers [00:04:20] and staff like, I’ll prove you all wrong. They kept me in bottom sets. They just they were like, you need to get these [00:04:25] grades. And if you don’t, we’re still going to keep you in those bottom sets. Got the grades? My parents came in, you know, ethnic [00:04:30] parents. They came in one day, fought my case for me. They were like, we need him to, you know, we really want him. [00:04:35] He wants to pursue this. Like, why are you holding him back? You know, so we had this, like, 40 [00:04:40] minute meeting, and I remember the physics teacher was like, to me, you’ll never get into dental school. Medical [00:04:45] school. Like it’s never going to happen to you, so stop. But I’m going to prove you wrong. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: I [00:04:50] think it’s dangerous. You know, Payman and I often talk about the educational system. It’s just [00:04:55] such an old system. I feel like. Why are they still teaching Pythagoras’s theorem? [00:05:00] You know, like in school, when we don’t learn about subjects that will do something [00:05:05] for our lives and our benefit. And I also feel that there is such a lack of understanding [00:05:10] for different types of brains. I think your children are very academic. Naturally, [00:05:15] I understand, but. I forgot to tell you. Last week [00:05:20] I went for an assessment and I officially have ADHD diagnosis. [00:05:25]

Onkar: So yeah, I’m not surprised.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Me too. By [00:05:30] the way.

Rhona Eskander: How could you get a proper assessment? Exactly. So I think a proper assessment with a psychiatrist. [00:05:35] And she was like, not even on the spectrum. Like I’m fully in. I’m fully in. Right. I’ve got it.

Payman Langroudi: And [00:05:40] does it make you feel better than you are now as a name?

Rhona Eskander: Somewhat. But my therapist [00:05:45] had always been said that she thought I had a very neurodivergent brain, and my partner was very much [00:05:50] like, I feel like too many people are being overdiagnosed incorrect labels. And you think I’ve said it. [00:05:55] And he also said he blames on social media and phones. Because if you take it away now, [00:06:00] and also I think there’s two schools of thought. The old school psychiatrist thinks it’s [00:06:05] very much a childhood disease and people can grow out of it. And obviously, when I used [00:06:10] to think of ADHD as a child, it was the child that was like climbing up the walls. You remember those ones that just [00:06:15] could not sit still was super naughty. I wasn’t that child, but I definitely think [00:06:20] I’ve got a neurodivergent brain in the sense that teachers said I wouldn’t get anywhere. I flopped [00:06:25] all of my exams, but the one thing that I had to do was was hyperfocus [00:06:30] and get loads of support. So because I went to a private school and was privileged to do so, I [00:06:35] sought support from the teachers. Yeah, I hyper focussed on the stuff that I was good at, [00:06:40] but self-directed learning or anything like that could not do, could not do. It was like [00:06:45] the way that my brain would memorise things. So I got 100% in my English literature paper. But [00:06:50] that’s because I’d written out the Desdemona from Othello. I’d [00:06:55] written out that same essay 25 million times. So when it came up in the A levels, I [00:07:00] just did that does that. It wasn’t necessarily regurgitated. It pretty much so obviously, [00:07:05] she said. I have the type of brain, which is the misconception that I know how to cope. [00:07:10] It’s not like it’s debilitating. Again, with my practice, people say, how can you do a podcast? How can you run [00:07:15] a practice? How can you do all these things? You must be so busy. I’m like, no, it’s because I have a huge [00:07:20] support network in front of me. Like Payman sorts out all the editing. So the podcast, I bring the guests and do the creative [00:07:25] stuff. My practice is pretty much run by people that I’ve employed.

Payman Langroudi: So [00:07:30] are you saying you also have?

Onkar: I feel like I’m self-diagnosed, but who isn’t? I’ve always felt [00:07:35] scatty and like I felt like I like the way my brain works, though I enjoy that. It’s crazy in there. And that’s why [00:07:40] I wanted to prove people wrong and prove teachers wrong. Because, you know, a lot of people know this. My dad’s a dentist, [00:07:45] and he’s always been a big inspiration to me, and he still works. He’s in his 60s. He’s kind of like your dad, right? Right. I have passion for [00:07:50] their job. And I think, unfortunately, there’s this stupid label now of, like, Nepo baby. Like your dad got you [00:07:55] into school. Nobody did. Did my dad do my A-levels for me? He did not. Did my dad do my dental school exams? [00:08:00] No. Yeah, yeah. In fact, when my dad went to dental school in the 70s, I think it was a bit harder. Yeah. [00:08:05] When your dad went to medical school, it was harder. There was more exams. I’m pretty sure it was more rigorous. Yeah, still [00:08:10] difficult now, but that label annoys me. And I had that throughout school as well as [00:08:15] uni. People were like, your dad’s a dentist. You must have it so lucky. In fact, someone was like, he’s [00:08:20] so lucky he has his dad because he can go home and talk about cases. I’m not chatting to my dad about [00:08:25] work when I go home, I don’t.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, when.

Onkar: I was in.

Rhona Eskander: Quite strongly about this [00:08:30] whole nepo baby thing.

Payman Langroudi: Well, no.

Rhona Eskander: No, in the sense that you think it’s really unfair that people think it’s unfair.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. But [00:08:35] you’ve got to acknowledge that there is some advantage in having a dad who’s a dentist.

Onkar: For [00:08:40] me, I was I’m blessed to have his expertise in my back pocket, but I [00:08:45] don’t like the insinuation of he got me into dental school. I think that irritated me because [00:08:50] I flopped my A-levels again a gap year. I had four rejections and then went to four offers [00:08:55] like I went through it in my gap year on my own, like 18. All my mates had gone to uni. [00:09:00] One other person took a gap year with me. Well did you on your gap year?

Rhona Eskander: So I had.

Onkar: To reset my A-levels. Right? So [00:09:05] you.

Rhona Eskander: Just studied the whole of the.

Onkar: Gap, that chemistry, I reset geography, I worked like three different jobs because I [00:09:10] knew it’s a five year degree. I want to save up some money and I did a little bit of travelling around Europe. [00:09:15] Nothing crazy. I didn’t find myself on like a mountain somewhere I wish I did.

Rhona Eskander: I honestly wish, yeah. Me too, [00:09:20] me too, I wish I.

Onkar: Did and I wish I didn’t have to reset those exams. You know, all my I remember [00:09:25] my mates and my mum telling me like my mum especially was like work hard, like smash [00:09:30] those exams, enjoy that whole year because we’ll never have that again. And I was like, nah mum, it’ll be [00:09:35] fine. Like I’ll be fine. But A-levels are hard. I think certain elements of A-levels are probably harder than dental [00:09:40] school for me, and when I saw those grades and I was like, it’s not even a flop, like two [00:09:45] A’s and two B’s is not a flop to the general public, but to people who are high achievers. I need [00:09:50] like three stars or whatever. You’re like a flopped. And then that’s when you kind of go [00:09:55] wish and you think I’ve messed this up now, you know. So I think that was a really [00:10:00] important I needed that because I didn’t have that because I bounced back. A-levels was my first taste [00:10:05] of failure. B’s aren’t a failure. But for me, I was like, oh my God, I know life. [00:10:10] And I remember like I bought that. Is it The Guardian or The Times that has the clearing list [00:10:15] in the newspaper? Yeah. And. You read the op ed and I was highlighting things. I’m a medicine [00:10:20] was in clearing and I was like, do I do it? Do I do it? Do I bring like Liverpool [00:10:25] Uni and go for medicine? I like, move or do I stick to my guns and actually pursue [00:10:30] that dental school dream? And I’m glad I did. What did your parents say?

Rhona Eskander: What did they encourage you to do?

Onkar: My [00:10:35] dad is honestly like he always said to me, like, do what you want to do. Yeah. The [00:10:40] reason why he drew me towards dentistry is because every day he came home was a good day. [00:10:45] I never I’ve never heard that man talk badly about dentistry yet. He loves people. He loves his job. [00:10:50] He comes home and he talks about it with passion. Yeah. And I was like, can’t be that bad. Like, it [00:10:55] can’t be that bad if he loves his job. Yeah. On the other side, you know, we’ve all got medical friends and family [00:11:00] and other complete other industries. And I never heard people talk about their [00:11:05] jobs that way. Yeah. I shadowed in, like, you know, hospitals, GP [00:11:10] practices, banks, like, everywhere that I could, you know, as far as going [00:11:15] to like, restaurants and looking into, like, being a chef. And I was like, I [00:11:20] don’t know, I actually don’t know. And sometimes I still don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. Like Shock bombshell, [00:11:25] I don’t still don’t know if dentistry is like something I’ll do forever.

Payman Langroudi: You’re very [00:11:30] early on, very five years.

Onkar: Like five years post-grad.

Payman Langroudi: It’s very early on. But I mean, [00:11:35] where did you study things and how did you take to university?

Onkar: I loved uni [00:11:40] like, I, I loved the social element of uni. [00:11:45] I’m a people like we’re all like I love like just people and like being around people. And for [00:11:50] uni, having that gap year and having like two friends and being a little bit low going into a year [00:11:55] of like 140 people your age, new social network, so much London. I love London, [00:12:00] I’m from London. I was stuck between London and Leeds. And though Leeds is is your alma mater, [00:12:05] right? They were my two top unis and I had two offers from them and other unis, and it was nice [00:12:10] because I had four rejections that year before. So I was like, I’ve got options now. Yeah, pending my A-levels. [00:12:15] But that year of my gap year, like it was special. Like I knew I’d get in, like my exams [00:12:20] all went well, all my revision material went well. Like all those entrance exams.

Payman Langroudi: Change you and you [00:12:25] become a more serious studier at that point or still.

Onkar: No, I knew there was more like stuff [00:12:30] that was basically more to on the table. Like if I didn’t get in a second time around as [00:12:35] a research offer holder, there was no chance I’d get in a third time. Yeah, but.

Payman Langroudi: Going forward in Kingston, um, were [00:12:40] you much more serious then.

Onkar: I think? Yes and no. I became more serious [00:12:45] at the start of my first year. I was definitely more serious, but I was implementing the wrong things. [00:12:50] So whether this is ADHD, brain or whatever, I was trying to work like an A-level student [00:12:55] in uni and that method didn’t work. Like writing pretty notes and trying to memorise things was [00:13:00] not working. So then I almost failed first year and then I was like, shit, something’s not right here. Like, [00:13:05] this is not the way I need to go moving forward. Like you’re passing exams by 1%. [00:13:10] Skin of your teeth. Yeah, pardon the pun. And then second year [00:13:15] as well. Like passed one exam. Well and the other exam was like again 51%. [00:13:20] And I was like what is happening. And then like literally uni when I failed that exam, [00:13:25] I failed an exam in first year uni, which didn’t count. It was like a middle of the year hurdle. And [00:13:30] they called me in for a meeting and they were like, you’re crazy. Like because your first exam was 51 and this exam [00:13:35] was 49. Like you’re basically averaging effect, like fail, like you’re studying. I was [00:13:40] like, of course I’m studying like, I this is how I work. They’re like, something’s not right. Like the way you’re working [00:13:45] is not right. But I think they just thought I was party animal, which was definitely not the case. I honestly was putting in [00:13:50] the hours, but it was not right then. It all changed in my third year of dental school when I realised how [00:13:55] I actually work, and I’ve used that method ever since. And now photographic memory.

Rhona Eskander: The [00:14:00] thing is, the educational system is so flawed because I knew how I worked really well, and going [00:14:05] from a kid that was told that they’d never make anything of their lives and just might be good at drama. Yeah, to [00:14:10] smashing my A levels, getting a scholarship, etc. and then getting into dental school. [00:14:15] I really hated the philosophy of first of all, you’re with the most intelligent people in the country. Just [00:14:20] aim to pass. That’s what they told you. And like I found that just so demeaning. You know, you [00:14:25] have gone to school to be like, I’m going to get four A’s to just pass. And they made everything [00:14:30] so difficult and so impossible. I just don’t think it’s actually a very encouraging way of thinking, [00:14:35] and I don’t think it’s very helpful to the students. And I think it has a massive impact on [00:14:40] their self-esteem and their self-confidence. So it’s a flawed system, in my opinion.

Payman Langroudi: I [00:14:45] mean, how would you change it?

Rhona Eskander: I think we need to account for the fact that people [00:14:50] work in different ways. I have no idea. But I think we have not [00:14:55] reviewed the systems in school and university for centuries. It’s madness. [00:15:00]

Payman Langroudi: You know what Elon Musk talks about? School should be streamed by subject. [00:15:05] Explain. So you could be a 12 year old in a class with a 17 year old in [00:15:10] physics.

Rhona Eskander: Because you’re amazing at.

Payman Langroudi: Physics, progress in physics, but you could be in a class with a four year [00:15:15] not for you, a seven year old in English, you know? So you don’t just go [00:15:20] up because of your age. You different subjects. Yeah. And I agree with that to some [00:15:25] extent. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Because that’s a bit like getting a university degree. Right. Because then you go to university and you refine what you’re good at. If you [00:15:30] really.

Payman Langroudi: Are good at something, you should progress, you know, and it shouldn’t just be age based, [00:15:35] you know, it’s a well, that’s one idea. I was asking someone, what would you do to to [00:15:40] the Dental course, because there’s a lot of the Dental course you never use and Krebs cycle. [00:15:45]

Onkar: Yeah, right.

Rhona Eskander: Cycles.

Payman Langroudi: But bearing in mind some dentists go on to, you know, develop [00:15:50] drugs and so they need to know, you know, so there is that there’s other bits of important [00:15:55] bits of dentistry that don’t get covered at all. Right. No, no ortho, no whitening for the sake [00:16:00] of the argument. And so what would you take out. And I said I would take out full dentures. Yeah. [00:16:05] But then I interviewed a guy. Well, I interviewed a guy [00:16:10] the day before yesterday actually came out today. Yeah. And he’s a super duper prosthodontist. [00:16:15] Youngest ever specialist in Ireland, head of the Irish Dental Association. [00:16:20] And I said to him, what was your aha moment when you think of occlusion? And he said [00:16:25] that full dentures are the key to everything and that’s how that’s where smile design [00:16:30] came from. That’s what all the occlusion stuff came so and so you suddenly realise that, you know that me saying take [00:16:35] full dentures out. This guy was saying it’s everything it made.

Rhona Eskander: Taking [00:16:40] the stuff out. Maybe it’s about adding it in, because why aren’t we learning about that?

Onkar: You can’t just say, why [00:16:45] don’t we learn about tax at school? Opening an ice star like saving money, getting a mortgage, getting [00:16:50] a mortgage. Like how cool that should be school. But like, even like, if the dumbest things are like [00:16:55] getting a credit card. Like, no one teaches you to build your credit rating in school. Like, why do we learn pi whether.

Rhona Eskander: To become a limited [00:17:00] company? All this stuff.

[TRANSITION]: I should be schooled.

Rhona Eskander: That should be school.

[TRANSITION]: I think schools should.

Onkar: Teach you more important [00:17:05] life lessons. I think it’d be very hard for a dental school to tailor their teaching towards every [00:17:10] different individual personality type. I’ve now gone back there and I teach there, right? [00:17:15] So back at my uni, what do you teach? So it’s like dental emergencies, acute dental care [00:17:20] or surgery and all of that.

Rhona Eskander: And like so when you graduated let’s let’s rewind a little bit. So [00:17:25] you graduated and then where’s your DVT.

Onkar: Foundation training again like deep [00:17:30] Essex Brentwood.

Rhona Eskander: You hate it.

Onkar: Love it. Um it was really good until obviously we had the pandemic, which feels like [00:17:35] a fever dream. And I think like, you know, it was an awful time, but it was it was at that time [00:17:40] where I was getting confident with stuff. And then it was. Almost like. And everything was like locked down again. And [00:17:45] there’s pros and cons to everything, but that’s when I was really enjoying practice. I [00:17:50] was feeling really confident and kind of sad. At home, you’re on the phones and there’s [00:17:55] worse things that happen in Covid and people lost their lives. So I’m not complaining about that. But it’s you know, it [00:18:00] was that was was really pinnacle moment for me because I was like, maybe I should try other options. [00:18:05] And that’s when I started looking at hospital jobs. So then I did two years of all surgery, [00:18:10] like Max.

Payman Langroudi: To feel the first time you got into your clinic. [00:18:15] Horrendous. I was I couldn’t believe it, man. I couldn’t believe that all of that [00:18:20] was for this.

Rhona Eskander: No, no, no. But mine was horrendous because I was humiliated. I was somebody’s. [00:18:25]

Payman Langroudi: Idea.

Rhona Eskander: I was humiliated because I basically [00:18:30] didn’t get in, so I put myself. So what happened was I made this decision for I [00:18:35] want to go back down south and I’m not happy up north. Leeds complete done. Five years at Leeds. I want [00:18:40] to go back home. I want to be home. But I’ve made the active decision that I don’t want to be London because I heard the practices [00:18:45] in London were really bad, so I thought Kent, Surrey, Sussex seems like the logical thing to do. And [00:18:50] then I realised, and I think it’s different from when you were doing it. It was so political because [00:18:55] you go for interviews and realise that people gave people jobs because they knew someone or knew someone’s [00:19:00] brother or sister or friend or whatever. And I had no contacts in the dental world. So I dragged myself [00:19:05] through these interviews rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection. So then I went a step further [00:19:10] and I applied to another deanery altogether. Everyone else had pretty much had an offer. I was the only [00:19:15] person in my year that had didn’t have an offer. I felt like such a failure. I literally applied [00:19:20] to everything and I was like, I do not want to work in Norfolk. I do not want to work in Norfolk. And what was the reason? [00:19:25]

[TRANSITION]: Do you think you are bad at interviews?

Rhona Eskander: I think no, the thing is, is this is the crazy thing. Like, I like [00:19:30] to think that, you know, interpersonal skills and speaking is my [00:19:35] strong suit. But it was weird, like, I remember having a job interview at Stevenage and they were like. And it was like a [00:19:40] really NHS practice. And I think they had a lot of like, community work type dentistry. And [00:19:45] they were like, you’re too good pretty much for this job. That’s what they said to me. [00:19:50] And then I go, okay, fine. And then I wanted to be at some practices in Essex. And you know, they were kind [00:19:55] of like two Asian lads that always like had like Asian. It was it was really hard. And I would [00:20:00] do everything. I would drag myself all over the country and it was demeaning. And then eventually. [00:20:05] One practice in Kent. I think they only had two applicants because [00:20:10] at this point you can apply for as many practices as you want. Did it have a rep.

Onkar: At this point? Did you know this practice [00:20:15] had a rep?

Rhona Eskander: No. I just literally was like, this is a practice in Kent. And they had two people. [00:20:20] They rejected one person and I, they accepted me. But it was I barely [00:20:25] got in pretty much. And then was it an awful practice? No, it was a little village in Kent. Um, [00:20:30] it was, you know, little town. What a quiet village, you know, [00:20:35] like the beauty and the beast, you know, that’s how it looked. And I ended up meeting in my [00:20:40] village, Luke Athwal, who works for me now in my practice. And [00:20:45] Luke basically was the one that inspired me because he was working with a boss [00:20:50] that took him to all these different courses. I was the one that was inspired. If I had stayed in [00:20:55] this practice, the little village practice, I would have just been drill till pay the bill kind of dentistry. It was like that. My [00:21:00] boss was nice. She let me do stuff and I won like the best case presentation because [00:21:05] I was always keen. But it was a very underwhelming experience. What about you? [00:21:10]

[TRANSITION]: Mine was.

Onkar: I want to know, I can’t lie, mine was opposite to Rona. I wanted that practice. I ran it quite well. [00:21:15] I got that practice and I was like, well, I’m one of three foundation trainees with massive, huge [00:21:20] surgeries that 14 chairs in one practice, big corporate vibes, you know, [00:21:25] literally day one nothing. Day two, like you’re seeing four patients. Day three, [00:21:30] they’re like, we want bonding. Like. So it was cosmetic demand in Essex and I was like, I’m a DFT. Like, [00:21:35] how am I going to be doing doctor owner veneers on my first day? I can’t do this. So that [00:21:40] made me realise like managing expectations was big. These my Essex patients that I had [00:21:45] there, they had high expectations. Yeah. So I learned that from that practice. It wasn’t [00:21:50] the most glamorous. It was a bit run down. It was primarily NHS, but it taught me a lot, [00:21:55] which was people skills, working with a team of like 50 staff in the practice every day, but then [00:22:00] also practice politics. I’ve never I’ve never had that before, you know, um, this person said this [00:22:05] and I was like, I don’t I don’t need that. Like, I literally want to come to work, do my thing, go home, [00:22:10] you know? And it was it was good. Did I love it? No. Did I actually want to be there every [00:22:15] day? No. But it did teach me what I didn’t want from a practice. Yes. So there was a positive to it.

Rhona Eskander: Before [00:22:20] you went there. You’d obviously been influenced by a lot of Instagram dentists. And was that overwhelming that you [00:22:25] couldn’t do the type of work as someone that was newly qualified or the work that you were seeing on Instagram?

Onkar: Yeah, [00:22:30] I think what it was for me was like, when you’re, you know, fresh out of uni, you’re [00:22:35] expected to do everything. So like, you know, we had like associates in there. It was like send [00:22:40] patient to vet. You know, it was like a mouthful of decay, like nine root canals. And you’re like, [00:22:45] it’s taken me a whole year to do this case. You know, I don’t I don’t I don’t want to do it. You actually want to focus on things [00:22:50] that I enjoy, like surgery and cosmetics. Yeah. But you again, it’s the same thing. It’s the system doesn’t [00:22:55] allow you to develop those skills that early on. And it’s fine. There’s a curriculum which you have to stick to, [00:23:00] but there’s no flexibility from that curriculum. Like, I had a mate who failed to DFT because they didn’t fit [00:23:05] a Maryland bridge. Yeah, it’s like why? But the person is showing competence and everything else. [00:23:10] They bought this boy back to fit a bridge in August. Like, do you know what I mean?

[TRANSITION]: I mean like [00:23:15] social media.

Payman Langroudi: At this point.


Onkar: Would say that’s how my social media started. Payman. I was like. [00:23:20]

Rhona Eskander: During lockdown.

[TRANSITION]: Right prior.

Onkar: To so like basically what happened was, was that when I was [00:23:25] in fifth year dental school, I kept seeing like junior doctor, F1 bloggers, junior doctor, [00:23:30] junior F1, F2 and YouTubers and I’m like, why is there no foundation dentist [00:23:35] doing this? Like, I knew of you, I knew of yourself, I knew of George the Dentist and people that you know. But [00:23:40] I was like, why is there no doing this? Right? So that was my niche. And I thought, let me go [00:23:45] on to that niche because no one’s doing it and I’ll do it. And that is just how it unfolded. It was like [00:23:50] days in the life, posting small clinical cases, then posting little videos, and then [00:23:55] it just took off from DFT.

Payman Langroudi: Okay, I’ve got a very important question around this subject. Yes, we [00:24:00] do a composite course. We ask always with the marketing sections and we say, put your hand up [00:24:05] if you’ve got a dental account and there’s 30 people who’ve paid £1,000 [00:24:10] for a composite course, a composite course, it’s not a surgery course. And [00:24:15] in the room of 30 generally there’ll be 6 or 7.

[TRANSITION]: No way. [00:24:20] Only. Only. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And the other.

Rhona Eskander: You ask them why they don’t have it.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, [00:24:25] yeah. Yeah. Exactly. And why the most common thing is they’re scared to show their work because [00:24:30] they’re worried about what other dentists will think of it.

Rhona Eskander: Other dentists.

[TRANSITION]: The worst.

Payman Langroudi: They haven’t got time [00:24:35] is obviously like the normal excuses or my account, you know, my family [00:24:40] account. I can’t handle two accounts, you know. But basically this is a question I’m going to ask you. How [00:24:45] come you didn’t have these hurdles?

[TRANSITION]: Imposter syndrome, did you?

Payman Langroudi: And how did you get over it?

[TRANSITION]: At [00:24:50] that point, I was like, I.

Onkar: Don’t really care. I’m going to put myself out there because realistically. [00:24:55]

[TRANSITION]: Were you not worried.

Payman Langroudi: What.

[TRANSITION]: Doctor is going.

Payman Langroudi: To think about.

[TRANSITION]: It? No, [00:25:00] I never thought that you.

Rhona Eskander: How old are the age group that they they’re scared of being judged by the dentist because I know the younger ones. [00:25:05] I feel like younger ones are more ready to put themselves out there. And my son.

Payman Langroudi: Is full of young [00:25:10] dentists trying to get.

[TRANSITION]: Private jobs, so they’re.

Rhona Eskander: Not the people that are in their 30s, 40s.

Payman Langroudi: Young dentist trying to get jobs. [00:25:15]

[TRANSITION]: I mean, I’ve.

Onkar: Always been a bit extrovert. I’ve always liked not being the centre of attention. Like, that’s not like I’m not an attention [00:25:20] whore, but like, I’ve always enjoyed, like, you know, in uni I was part of the comedy [00:25:25] show, the Dental Comedy Show. I, you know, used to do that. I’m not scared to put [00:25:30] myself out there. People are always going to talk, whether you do bad or good, like dentists and colleagues unfortunately [00:25:35] will talk whether it’s good or bad. So for me, I was like, I don’t want to post teeth on my personal [00:25:40] account. I’ve got family and friends on there that don’t care about teeth. In fact, my friends were unfollowing me. So like, [00:25:45] we don’t see grotty extractions on our personal page and we’re like, well, we follow you when you open your own doctor account. [00:25:50] So that’s actually also what I did, because my sister and stuff was like, we don’t want to see that we’re not dentists. [00:25:55] And I grant I was I’d be on my personal Instagram and it’d be all teeth. I’d lost [00:26:00] all my friends and family on my following list that every time I’d opened my phone, my suggested page was this. [00:26:05]

Onkar: And no, I don’t. I want to separate that. So that’s where the doctor account came from. It [00:26:10] just came from wanting to make the I think it’s I think like a good way for [00:26:15] me to put it is it’s very easy in dental school. And I see this now with the students [00:26:20] that we teach. Now that I’ve gone back to aspire to be great, it’s it’s [00:26:25] great to have that aspiration. But where’s that journey to get to that greatness? Yeah. Like no one [00:26:30] leaves uni and is great at everything. It takes time. Like you said to me, five years is still a recent grad. [00:26:35] I feel like five years I’ve been through the tracks like I’ve done a lot. But I agree it’s not that much [00:26:40] time right there is. I didn’t think there was anyone showcasing that [00:26:45] young journey all the way up to that. And I think you can aspire to be great [00:26:50] and compare, but comparison can be the thief of joy and you can be like, why am I not as good as dentist X? [00:26:55] Dentist X is 25 years post-grad?


Payman Langroudi: So I for me it comes down [00:27:00] to are you documenting your journey. Yeah. Yeah. And that that mindset because [00:27:05] I’ve seen several day one dental school posting.


Payman Langroudi: And that’s amazing. [00:27:10]


Rhona Eskander: But I think like look I got asked I got asked to speak at Joe Lovett’s event. Yes. [00:27:15]


Rhona Eskander: Who’s friends tell me.

[TRANSITION]: Friends who [00:27:20] were.

Payman Langroudi: There. People over there.

Rhona Eskander: You didn’t have any friends? Tell me who you know.

Onkar: It’s all good. I [00:27:25] saw very good reviews for you, actually. Really?

[TRANSITION]: Who sent me all over Instagram?

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. Tell me.

[TRANSITION]: Instagram. [00:27:30] It’s all good.

Onkar: There’s a lot of good reviews.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. I mean obviously like for me, I have massive imposter [00:27:35] syndrome. So I find it really amazing that a lot of young dentists understand me as what I mean. [00:27:40] Because the thing is, is that I always found that a lot [00:27:45] of dentists my age and older troll me or like, don’t get me. So I find it so [00:27:50] amazing meeting these young dentists and even Payman said, when we started Mind Movers, so [00:27:55] many of the young dentists came up to him and it was it was really amazing for us to hear that, because we know that we’re making [00:28:00] an impact, bringing these conversations to the forefront. And I think the thing is, like, there [00:28:05] are the incredibly talented like George the Dentist. I’m not that dentist, [00:28:10] and I never pretend to be that dentist because my dentistry [00:28:15] is good and my dentist, my patients are at the forefront of my page. And I [00:28:20] think that’s when you really recognise. I had dinner at the Invisalign Live on Friday. This is going to [00:28:25] make both of you laugh, okay? And I sat next to a dentist. I’m not going to say. And I’d say he does pretty good clinical [00:28:30] work. Like he’s he’s up there. But he told me he got a two page message he showed [00:28:35] me because I was beside myself from one of the rubber dam crowd, [00:28:40] basically completely ripping him apart for like, his molar [00:28:45] and like, did you use this? Did you do what was your cavity [00:28:50] prep like? Why wasn’t this like, what are you doing? You shouldn’t where’s the rubber dam [00:28:55] picture? You know, I mean, I was like, oh my gosh, you know, people have that much time on their hands [00:29:00] when you’re at university. You know, like if he wants to put a before and after of his molar, let him the boy [00:29:05] put it.

Onkar: I think I would say it’s not that deep. But to some people it is that deep. And that’s when it comes to thinking [00:29:10] like, do you know what? Actually there’s more to life than teeth. Yeah. And I think but [00:29:15] for some people it’s the epicentre of their universe. Is that. And I again, [00:29:20] I think like this is why I wanted to separate work Instagrams and clinical Instagrams [00:29:25] because I’m like you, I think the reason why like going back to the convo of like you have [00:29:30] a lot of young dentists look up to you is because you keep it real on social. I always felt like you kept it real and I followed you since [00:29:35] I’ve been in dental school. But I think you keep it real and I don’t feel like when you’re on Insta you’re playing a fake [00:29:40] character. It’s actually Rohner talking to the camera. And that’s what I want to do. [00:29:45] And it’s like, students meet me now at uni when I’m teaching and, you know, dentists my age [00:29:50] and like you’re at events, they’re like, you’re like you are on Instagram. I’m not pretending to be someone like, I’m [00:29:55] just being me.

Rhona Eskander: Even cooler in real life. I’m just telling you now I’m just telling. But but I want to.

[TRANSITION]: I want to know the [00:30:00] first.

Payman Langroudi: Time you guys have met.

[TRANSITION]: Real life. Yeah. Oh, no. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Tell me one thing, though. Why did. [00:30:05] And I’d be interested to know why did you choose TikTok as your platform to blow up?

Onkar: I [00:30:10] you know, I always liked Insta, but TikTok happened by itself. I literally, honestly, [00:30:15] I posted a video one lunchtime. I put my phone down.

[TRANSITION]: Was it turkey?

Onkar: It was about, uh, [00:30:20] jaw trainers. Yeah, like those rubber things that you chew on. Yeah. I literally remember [00:30:25] making a video in lunchtime. I put my phone down for 20 minutes, I opened my phone and I was in a hospital job at this [00:30:30] point that had a no social media policy. So they were like, you can’t post, you can’t have TikTok’s, you can’t [00:30:35] have Instagram. There was something that happened the year before me in this, in this hospital, and I [00:30:40] was like, oh, I hope no one ever finds this TikTok page. And I put my trust it to be [00:30:45] that video that I filmed in a clinical room. Yeah, in the hospital. But no one was there. It [00:30:50] was just me in the room with the white wall. Yeah, but, you know, I’m wearing my NHS lanyard at this point.

Rhona Eskander: Did you get in trouble? [00:30:55]

Onkar: Well, 20 minutes later, I had 30,000 views. But what happened.

Rhona Eskander: At the university? The hospital.

Onkar: All the [00:31:00] dental nurses that work in the hospital found the video. They forward it to each other in the dental nurse group chat. And that hospital. [00:31:05] Um, nobody pulled me up. I actually went to the consultant and I was like, look, I do social [00:31:10] media. This has happened. Like, this is my phone. This is me. You can’t there’s no data anywhere. It’s just me in [00:31:15] the clinic room. And they were like, it is what it is. As long as you don’t breach rules and you’re not, they’re [00:31:20] not. But I was so nervous that as that video got like 8 million views [00:31:25] or something. And then that just snowballed. And I was like, oh God, I could do something with this. [00:31:30] As you know, as long as I don’t take everything to heart and every bad comment to heart, I could do something with this.

[TRANSITION]: I think [00:31:35] what’s amazing.

Payman Langroudi: About TikTok that you probably hate the fact, right? Not [00:31:40] hate. But with TikTok you don’t need followers to get views, you know? Now you know. [00:31:45]

[TRANSITION]: Instagram’s.

Payman Langroudi: Turning that way too.

Rhona Eskander: So I think that Instagram TikTok is much better for [00:31:50] my mental health than Instagram is.


Payman Langroudi: But what I’m saying is you’ve put in this ten years.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, no.

Payman Langroudi: Work into Instagram. [00:31:55]

[TRANSITION]: And and I can’t.

Rhona Eskander: Grow and on TikTok and grow in a year.

[TRANSITION]: Right. Okay. Perfectly.

Rhona Eskander: That’s [00:32:00] that’s why I love it. I’m like TikTok. Instagram is you know, Instagram is really annoying because Instagram [00:32:05] will favour those people that, um, have grown back in the day. So I have a friend [00:32:10] of mine, millions of followers, she posts I’m not joking on rotation, the three [00:32:15] same stories, the three thousands of likes and beat [00:32:20] millions of likes posted the same stuff. I wouldn’t get that because she grew it in 2012 [00:32:25] whenever Instagram started. You see what I mean?

[TRANSITION]: You grow it.

Rhona Eskander: Oh, I started Instagram in 2016. [00:32:30] 15, 16. Yeah. So you know.

[TRANSITION]: But TikTok is.

Payman Langroudi: The heroine [00:32:35] of, uh, social media. I mean, it’s.


Onkar: But there’s that there’s that theory, right, [00:32:40] that the new generation have a ten second attention span because they will swipe, swipe, swipe. And I [00:32:45] feel like it’s true, like we are so addicted to swiping that we actually don’t want to [00:32:50] pay attention to anything long enough. And then that’s why everyone’s now been diagnosed with certain neuro divergences, [00:32:55] because we’re all so addicted to a quick burst of dopamine, right? Which is also what I read [00:33:00] in a book recently, which is dopamine.

[TRANSITION]: It’s amazing. Yeah, yeah, such [00:33:05] a good.

Rhona Eskander: Animation.

Onkar: Dopamine nation is an.

Rhona Eskander: Amazing book, and.

Onkar: It talks about all of our [00:33:10] attention spans and how we just want instant gratification.

[TRANSITION]: It’s like you always want to be on a high.

Rhona Eskander: Always, always.

Onkar: And [00:33:15] it was like an incredible book.

[TRANSITION]: I mean, I’m.

Payman Langroudi: I’m in it for the dopamine.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, 100%.

Payman Langroudi: I’m [00:33:20] in it maybe 30 times a day. At the same time, we sit for two hours and talk [00:33:25] like this.

Onkar: I prefer this though.


Rhona Eskander: Think, you know, it’s. So you won’t even believe this. [00:33:30] I went on this retreat called the Body Camp last week. Did you see.

[TRANSITION]: I saw that. How was.

Rhona Eskander: That? And it was absolutely incredible. [00:33:35] I recommend it to anyone and everyone. I was a bit dubious first because, like, what do we do? Just boot camp for like the whole day. [00:33:40] But what they did was it was so cleverly set up, you know, they had these like pillars of health [00:33:45] when we got there. You know, you get up at 6 a.m., okay, and they make you wear fancy dress [00:33:50] first thing in the morning, and you have to dance to an 80 song and you’re like, what the actual f is this? Yeah, exactly.

[TRANSITION]: Just [00:33:55] wait.

Rhona Eskander: I’ll tell you why in a second. And you had to do that every single day. And by day 4 [00:34:00] or 5, you’re actually having fun. You’re putting on your like mask and you’re like, woo! And then they [00:34:05] make you put your phones away until the afternoon if you want to take it. And you [00:34:10] get more points if you don’t touch your phone. So then you do four hours of exercise in the [00:34:15] morning. So you do like an hour and a half. Then you have breakfast, then you do another workout [00:34:20] and everything’s about like teams working together, all these kinds of things. And you meet really interesting [00:34:25] people. They also every single meal for every single day of that week. You [00:34:30] sit next to a new person every single day. So you’re always split up. So you know everybody [00:34:35] in the entire group. And then they did like mindfulness, gratitude, all that stuff. [00:34:40] They even made us write a letter to ourselves in the future. So it [00:34:45] would be me in six months being like I, it’s been six months since the body count and they give you like, structures, [00:34:50] and now they’re going to post them to us in six months. I can’t even remember what I wrote, right?


Rhona Eskander: Now you might say to me, like, what is [00:34:55] this up? But every single person who had stories trauma felt amazing [00:35:00] after that week and it was so basic, the principles, but we forget it. We [00:35:05] forget it. And you might say, what was that? The whole point of the dressing up? And you’re just like, oh fuck, is this [00:35:10] why they may take life so seriously? Man, I think it’s especially so when you’re there and like, they’re literally [00:35:15] making you wave around to like, ABBA or something. And this outfit 6:00 in the morning, like we wake up [00:35:20] so serious in the morning, you know, I mean, have a bit of fun first thing in the.

[TRANSITION]: Morning, I think.

Rhona Eskander: So it was really [00:35:25] interesting. But I spent guess what? My daily average was on my phone for that whole week.

Onkar: Probably like eight minutes, [00:35:30] 13 minutes. I love that, me, I love that 13 minutes.

Rhona Eskander: And you know what my best friend said [00:35:35] to me? That also is a therapist. That said, Rowan is definitely ADHD. And she said to me, she said to me, you’re actually [00:35:40] so present and so engaging when you ask people questions and their stories. Because guess what? [00:35:45] I had no distractions. I was genuinely interested in everything going on around me.

Payman Langroudi: What’s your screen time [00:35:50] now?

[TRANSITION]: Yeah. Is it.

Onkar: Back to a after.

[TRANSITION]: Their retreat? Yeah, I’m gonna look now.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah.

[TRANSITION]: Check. [00:35:55] Eight hours a day. What’s yours?

Onkar: I’m gonna check. Mine’s about.

Payman Langroudi: Five. Four. Let’s see. [00:36:00] I don’t know if you listen to a podcast, does it count that as screen?

Onkar: No, that’s not screen time. Unless you’re watching a podcast. Like a video podcast [00:36:05] like yesterday I was.

[TRANSITION]: That was so far today.

Onkar: Yeah. My average is my [00:36:10] average is about five and a half to four and a half depending on the day. If you’re filming content, [00:36:15] it’s like eight, ten hours a.

[TRANSITION]: Day, and then.

Rhona Eskander: You start engaging with the content because you have to do the likes [00:36:20] and the comments and, um, okay, I want you to tell me, though. So you rose to TikTok fame [00:36:25] quite quickly. Yes.

[TRANSITION]: And can we call it TikTok fame?

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, I really think it is. Yeah.

[TRANSITION]: I [00:36:30] like.

Rhona Eskander: That. Like what is it, 23 million views on one video or is it 5 million, something like that. Ten, [00:36:35] 10 million combined.

[TRANSITION]: What’s it about?

Onkar: The Jaw trainer. Every every viral video I’ve done [00:36:40] has been on like something that I reckon like was was a good message behind it, you know. [00:36:45]

[TRANSITION]: So like one.

Rhona Eskander: That interests me the most, the most viral video I saw recently, which I want you to shed a light on, was about [00:36:50] Glamorising Dental School.

Onkar: Oh yeah, that went well.

Rhona Eskander: So let’s talk about that.

[TRANSITION]: Let’s talk.

Onkar: About it. [00:36:55]

Rhona Eskander: So tell me what you meant by that. Why people are how are people glamorising [00:37:00] dental school and why do you think that’s detrimental?

[TRANSITION]: I just think.

Onkar: Like I said it, because I was tired after [00:37:05] a long day of work and I was like, I look like shit. Like I’ve got tooth juice all over me. Like my [00:37:10] hair is a mess and I’m on Tik Tok and the first thing I see is like, come with me to place [00:37:15] a composite veneer at dental school. And they show this lovely view from guy’s hospital [00:37:20] example. Disclaimer it’s just cause it’s got the best view in London. And you know, [00:37:25] you then are seeing these lovely scrubs and beautiful white trainers and these polished individuals [00:37:30] and they make it out to be like they went to uni to do one plastic composite veneer and [00:37:35] they went to the library, got a coffee, sat in the sunshine in the park and went home. And the comments are [00:37:40] literally all dental school is adult art class. Dental school is so slang.

[TRANSITION]: Medical [00:37:45] school.

Onkar: Medical school is where it’s at. Fake doctors like I wish I [00:37:50] did dentistry and I’m like, you need to show what is. Actually when we [00:37:55] would go to a clinic, we’d have to be sitting there for seven hours drilling plastic teeth. We’d get our preps critiqued [00:38:00] by someone who was like, you know, the top of their game you [00:38:05] made to feel like and yet.

[TRANSITION]: Emotionally unstable.

Onkar: And then you feel like crap because [00:38:10] you’ve left a tiny bit of margin somewhere, or you’ve chipped the tooth next door on plastic teeth [00:38:15] that you can take out of a model. Like it’s not that deep. Like I had trauma from the way some [00:38:20] of those tutors would be like, you’ve damaged the tooth next door in real life, you’d get sued for that.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, literally, [00:38:25] literally.

Onkar: 22 years old. Like, I’m I should be out having fun with [00:38:30] mates. I’m here drilling teeth at 4:00 on a Wednesday afternoon. You know, like, I [00:38:35] want to do this. Let’s be constructive. So for me, I, I just felt like it [00:38:40] was being glamorised. I think a lot of the as well, like I see a lot of American dental dental creators [00:38:45] and they dental school career is completely different. They do undergrad and they do dental school. Their [00:38:50] training is looks very rigorous. Yeah. But again like so glam they go [00:38:55] in and like lovely fig scrubs. They look good. Yeah. With me to the gym at five in the morning. Then I’ve got, I’ve [00:39:00] got dental.

[TRANSITION]: Lab juice.

Onkar: Green juice, I’ve got dental labs until nine in the morning and I’ve got three composite [00:39:05] veneer cases. I’m like, that isn’t my dental school.

[TRANSITION]: I literally did.

Onkar: Not have that. [00:39:10] You know, I don’t spend.

Payman Langroudi: Any time in America.

Onkar: No. I’ve been a couple of times obviously for holidays and stuff.

[TRANSITION]: But [00:39:15] dental school.

Payman Langroudi: Elective.

Onkar: Elective in Japan.

Rhona Eskander: Oh wow.

[TRANSITION]: How was that?

Onkar: I [00:39:20] loved it, I loved it, I.

[TRANSITION]: Loved Japan, I.

Onkar: Just wanted to do something again. Like, I’ve always been a bit of someone [00:39:25] who wants to go against the crowd and do something different. So all my mates did South America because I’m not [00:39:30] doing that. Let me do the most far away thing from South America I can do. So it was like to Japan and I loved it. Like [00:39:35] it was a complete culture shock. Like because it was so different to going to South America. I wanted [00:39:40] to go to New York initially because we had links with NYU and I was like, I could go to NYU any [00:39:45] time. Yeah, Japan. I’ll never get that link again after I leave uni. And it was incredible. Like [00:39:50] their culture, there is so little culture. Me like literally surgical [00:39:55] wisdom tooth at the end they bow in gratefulness to thank you after you’ve been butchered up. [00:40:00] They’re bowing in gratefulness.

[TRANSITION]: Because they’re.

Onkar: So polite.

[TRANSITION]: Like, but you know.

Rhona Eskander: Japan. So Japan. And [00:40:05] for me really fascinated me. I went there a couple of years ago with a girlfriend, and the culture [00:40:10] for me was so different. You feel that you’re in a different universe. But as Omkar said. The [00:40:15] respect they have for each other as human beings, whether it’s fake or not is unbelievable. [00:40:20] And you see, as a culture, for example, you ask people for directions, we’d ask [00:40:25] them on the tube. It’s very confusing. They’d get off the tube with you to direct you. And then I remember [00:40:30] this girl was walking to us and we were like, no, thank you, we need the toilet. She’s standing outside the toilet waiting for us because [00:40:35] the service that they want to give to one another is so ingrained in them. However, you cannot tip [00:40:40] because tipping is insulting for them. So if they accept a tip, it’s really insulting. And then I came [00:40:45] out of like Japan. And what was interesting is, is because they were so polite, you became [00:40:50] so polite. And then I literally was like, I’m an ass massive cunt. When I come [00:40:55] to London.

[TRANSITION]: I’m going to be polite.

Rhona Eskander: I’m going to walk people to the places. And then [00:41:00] as soon as I hit Heathrow Airport, the first Karen that I come across.

[TRANSITION]: Honestly, it’s.

Rhona Eskander: Like literally moving. [00:41:05] And I’m like baffling to me, like, no, do you know what I mean? And it’s really sad because it shows [00:41:10] you that when we’re kind to one another, it can be super contagious.

Onkar: I think I again, I [00:41:15] completely agree, like I did that that two weeks there, two and a half weeks I loved it. [00:41:20] I went, then went to Hong Kong on my way back home for like a four day stopover. Hong Kong was [00:41:25] like London like you literally. It’s like bish bash. Everyone’s moving around.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, me on my.

Onkar: Way out [00:41:30] of my way, you know? And I was like, I’ve come from this serenity and peacefulness in Japan. Like [00:41:35] their dental school was amazing. Like we went to the factories of like, you know, where they make GC, [00:41:40] like we saw everything.

Rhona Eskander: Do you think the work superior?

[TRANSITION]: Stunning.

Onkar: Like some of the best work I saw was in [00:41:45] Japan? Yeah, I was in awe. I was a fourth year dental student. Like, obviously I was in awe of everything, [00:41:50] you know, but for me, what struck the most was that I don’t understand Japanese, but [00:41:55] even the interactions between supervisors and students, supervisors [00:42:00] and postgrads was lovely. Like, maybe this is me. Maybe I don’t understand Japanese, I don’t [00:42:05] know, but I think, I think there’s a lot of toxicity in dental school. And I will say that to you. [00:42:10] I felt like that. I felt like it was just like a very competitive environment. Regardless [00:42:15] if people wanted to admit to the competitiveness, I sometimes felt like [00:42:20] I’ve never been the person to like, what’s the word like, get happy or like, [00:42:25] you know, enjoy other’s failures.

[TRANSITION]: Schadenfreude. Yeah. Schadenfreude. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Where [00:42:30] you get you get happiness out of. Yeah, yeah.

Onkar: I’m not into that. Like, why are you into that? Why are you revelling in someone’s sorrow? [00:42:35] Okay. Weird. Yeah. Why are people doing that? I don’t know, school. Like, did you hear, like, you know, [00:42:40] did you hear his root canal turned into like, a filling? Hahaha.


Onkar: Why is that? That, [00:42:45] like, why do you care? Did you know that person?

Rhona Eskander: Dentists love that stuff. Dentists love doing that stuff.

Onkar: Did [00:42:50] that? Like, I just, you know, this person’s behind on their quotas. They might not graduate. It’s like, [00:42:55] why are you saying that with like, a smirk? Why are we talking about things like that? Like, and I [00:43:00] always say this like to to Dental friends especially like when we meet up, naturally the conversation [00:43:05] does turn to work and teeth. But like, can we talk about like also just talk about each other? [00:43:10] How are we? How is our family and friends? How’s things otherwise? But I think dental school has [00:43:15] opened my eyes a lot to like just things. But yeah, Japan was the opposite to that. [00:43:20]

Rhona Eskander: But as you rose to like TikTok fame, were your, um, colleagues, your dental colleagues [00:43:25] being a bit weird with you or a bit jealous?


Payman Langroudi: A short agenda.


Onkar: Tiktok to just [00:43:30] be real. Like, just be completely real. And I think initially I wanted to be [00:43:35] like the dentist that debunked all the myths. But I think a lot of dentists do that quite well, I think. But what’s the.

Payman Langroudi: Agenda? I [00:43:40] mean, that’s the.


Onkar: Agenda, that agenda.

Payman Langroudi: What do you want to get out of it?

[TRANSITION]: Patient the real no, [00:43:45] no.

Onkar: I don’t care for getting patients through social media that the agenda for me is [00:43:50] to be completely genuine and share the highs and the lows and show that actually the career [00:43:55] that we do is not always roses. And it can be crap days, and you need to take everything [00:44:00] with a pinch of salt, because not everyone’s going to leave and become a fully fledged bougie, private, happy dentist. [00:44:05]

Rhona Eskander: I don’t know, like I might have got it wrong, but I think for me you are a dentist that represents [00:44:10] someone that young dentist can relate to, giving the real stuff. You know, the real stuff, [00:44:15] like taking away the glamour. And on top of that, I think that he provides educational information [00:44:20] to patients as well. You know, like so he’s got two agendas here.

[TRANSITION]: In [00:44:25] it for you, the I.

Onkar: For me, like I just want to share the good with the bad. I get, I get I enjoy [00:44:30] the comments from people that I like. This has been so honest. Like when I hear when I read comments [00:44:35] that are like, this is yeah, I do feel like when people comment like, this is the realest I’ve ever seen [00:44:40] a healthcare individual your age talk about things. The fact you’re sharing your bad days [00:44:45] with us, like it makes me feel better about starting foundation training. I’ve just had a like, I’ve had messages like [00:44:50] I’ve just had a complaint today. The fact you spoke about that, is.

Payman Langroudi: There an element of you wish there was someone like [00:44:55] that to tell you how things are, warts and all? I think you were at that. Yeah.

Onkar: When [00:45:00] I was at foundation training, I felt quite lost. I did feel like I was like, do I chopped into the deep end a little bit, aren’t you? [00:45:05] And I felt like I there was times when I was like, what would happen [00:45:10] if I get complaint or things like that? And your mental health does kind of. Weird [00:45:15] places. So for me there, honestly, there is no agenda. It is just to be real and enjoy making [00:45:20] real content because you can make a lot of Dental content about, you know, turkey [00:45:25] teeth and all of those things. But it’s been done and it’s done well. And I think we all share the same [00:45:30] sentiment with those messages. But I think when you find the authentic content that works well, which is me putting [00:45:35] my phone down and just talking like a podcast to the camera, that’s been doing a lot better. [00:45:40] I always get Karens that hate me on there and like they.

[TRANSITION]: Think, do you care anymore? No.

Onkar: I [00:45:45] told you earlier, like I’ve stopped replying to trolls now, right?

[TRANSITION]: Like he was.

Rhona Eskander: Like he started actually giving and he’s not even being [00:45:50] polite to the trolls because he just feels like, why should I? Why should I? Why should they.

[TRANSITION]: Ask like that.

Payman Langroudi: Publicly? [00:45:55]

[TRANSITION]: Um, just an example. So I don’t.

Onkar: Ever privately DM trolls back because I think [00:46:00] that’s strange. But like, I’ve had people say like, you know, you’re fake dentist. [00:46:05] Government dentist. I’ve been like, been called like.

[TRANSITION]: That’s like my.

Onkar: Dentist. [00:46:10] Like the NHS is broken because of people like you, like you’re playing the system. And I’m like, what? Like. And then you [00:46:15] have people being like, you work in central London, you’re a private dentist. And I’m like, I’m majority NHS. [00:46:20] Like I’m a mixed associate. Like, what is this like? Your facts are all wrong. I had someone the other day, I literally [00:46:25] did a video about something, and someone the other day commented something completely random, which was funny of you to talk about [00:46:30] this when your practice charges X for a hygiene clean and I’m like, well, how have you like done [00:46:35] that and that as a statement and inferred that on a video it’s completely opposite. [00:46:40]

Payman Langroudi: Well, how do you feel about private dentists talking about the NHS? Well.

[TRANSITION]: I [00:46:45] did it with you.

Rhona Eskander: I came with you because I wrote out a message that I was going to send to you. Okay. And [00:46:50] because a couple of people, including like some [00:46:55] of the lovely dentists that you’re friends with, were like, I’m really upset at this video. No, no, no, no, no, these cannot [00:47:00] be genuine. As in like genuine nice friends. They were like, I feel like these dentists are talking about you. So sometimes I [00:47:05] get certain stuff. So I was one of and it was amazing because I was sat next to Krüppel, [00:47:10] you know, Krüppel from, um, sensou and Hanel at the Invisalign. And they literally turned around to [00:47:15] me because they are older than me. So they’re like obviously the generation above me. And they were like, like, thank [00:47:20] you so much for what you did for the media, because I was one of the first people [00:47:25] that wanted to shed a positive light on dentistry. Like I was working on my NHS [00:47:30] practice in Kensington. I even contacted a Payman and I was like, how do I get into media? And he was like, bless [00:47:35] her heart. He was like, I will introduce you to your channel because you channel was one of the only people doing at the time. [00:47:40] And then I, I did it myself, as in I was working opposite the Daily Mail [00:47:45] because it was High Street, Kensington.

Rhona Eskander: I started saying to journalists, I want to talk about this. I pitched the ideas [00:47:50] and they turned around to me and they said, no one talks about this. Like the stories about dentistry [00:47:55] are sensationalist butcher headlines. Or you know what, it’s not. And I convince [00:48:00] them to write about it in a positive light. And I started all of that. And I have a massive reputation with [00:48:05] the journalists because I spent that time grafting. I stood outside ITV this [00:48:10] morning and I pitched my ideas. I took Amanda Turner’s story [00:48:15] and, you know, and I treated her where she might have died because of the things that happened. [00:48:20] So then when they ask me to speak, and don’t get me wrong, I went on Piers Morgan’s show, [00:48:25] got scrutinised by Jeremy Kyle, who turned around and basically said, we paid for education. [00:48:30] You’re a private dentist. That’s not an easy position to be in. So when I have dentists being like, you have no right to [00:48:35] talk about the NHS, I feel it’s akin to somebody saying you’re not depressed anymore, [00:48:40] so you can’t talk about depression. But I’ve had depression, so I have worked on the NHS. [00:48:45] I hear what you’re saying, that, you know, I hear what you’re saying.

Payman Langroudi: I don’t have a problem with it. Yeah, I. [00:48:50]

Rhona Eskander: Hear what you’re saying. But I saw your message and.

[TRANSITION]: I post stuff. Yeah, I did.

Rhona Eskander: And I was going to ask you. I was [00:48:55] like, the anchor. And I was going to show you my point of view, like, yeah, if you want to talk about it, go approach the media. [00:49:00] And the thing is, is because why you’re not working in law anymore is [00:49:05] as valid in my opinion, because I did 11 years, I only stopped working on the 2019 [00:49:10] I.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, one year of NHS.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: I’m still allowed to talk about it. Why can’t I talk about [00:49:15] my my post?

Onkar: My post didn’t say people weren’t allowed to talk about it if they didn’t ever work [00:49:20] for it. And I think I know your story well enough to know that you’ve done the graph. Yeah, I [00:49:25] was inferring that I think it’s easy from an outside point of view to [00:49:30] talk about things when the journey has always been you’ve got time, [00:49:35] you have not had a UDA deadline, you’ve not got a boss breathing down your neck, being [00:49:40] like you’re a thousand days behind. I’m gonna penalise you. Yeah. So my sentiment [00:49:45] from that post was not directed at people like yourself who have done the graft. Yeah, I [00:49:50] just felt when I kept seeing things in the news and I’m like, why can’t [00:49:55] they just get like, none of us nor even like anyone? That’s hair like a random young [00:50:00] country village, you know what I mean? Like someone maybe, who’s their whole life [00:50:05] done that sort of dentistry. He was seeing the struggle and also been through that burnout [00:50:10] period. Because we’re lucky. We have social media. We have reach to an extent. You’ve done the graft, [00:50:15] you’ve camped outside and put up Daily Mail, but if there was someone you know, they [00:50:20] could approach you maybe doesn’t have that, you know what I mean? That doesn’t have that reach and is [00:50:25] just done NHS their whole life. That was my sentiment to bring someone like that onto [00:50:30] TV, to show that other side of the argument, someone who’s just fed up and tired [00:50:35] but maybe doesn’t have that platform to get there, do you know what I mean? And I would have loved to see them get like [00:50:40] a 45 year old Doctor Smith or anyone random. Yeah, I think we’re quite fortunate that we [00:50:45] have this following, um, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: You know, uh, Tony Kilcoyne.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah. Oh, yeah. [00:50:50] Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Paul is the most private dentists in the country.

Rhona Eskander: I mean, he’s always a spokesperson.

Payman Langroudi: About the NHS all the time. [00:50:55] Yeah, okay. He’s very involved in BT and education this, that and the other. But [00:51:00] this question of Simon gets it as well. Simon gets on TV [00:51:05] and people say why are you talking about the NHS? You’re not an NHS dentist. It I just think I [00:51:10] can talk about vets. If I want to talk about I don’t have to be a vet to talk about.

[TRANSITION]: No, I think. [00:51:15]

Rhona Eskander: I think I think what you’re what you’re saying is, is that we need to basically have like a balanced view. [00:51:20] And I think that’s why panel discussions are so important. You know, because you could have somebody [00:51:25] like me or Simon or Anchor, but then like give a voice then to the other person that doesn’t [00:51:30] necessarily feel that they have a voice. That’s right.

[TRANSITION]: I do, and I think I wanted.

Rhona Eskander: And I think there is the, the [00:51:35] young dentist that make like meme accounts, like ripping apart like private dentists. That’s not me. And you [00:51:40] know, I get sent this being like, oh, well, they’re talking about you. And I’m like, I don’t even know who these people are. I am doing my job. I’m [00:51:45] helping the public.

Payman Langroudi: On the podcast, on my podcast, Dental Leaders who no one’s ever.

[TRANSITION]: Heard [00:51:50] of sometimes. Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: On purpose.

[TRANSITION]: Because give them a platform or.

Payman Langroudi: Because they tell [00:51:55] a story that isn’t a traditionally interesting story. They’ve [00:52:00] been running a practice for ten years. No one’s ever heard of him. Yeah, those stories need to be told. [00:52:05] Just as much as I agree, the TikTok story just as much.


Rhona Eskander: Said to me, surprised that Prav [00:52:10] is my business coach and he’s also Paimon’s business. Um, sorry. Podcast partner. Yeah. And [00:52:15] Prav said to me that one of the most fulfilling and Prav works with very high net worth dentists he’s worked [00:52:20] with. He said one of the most fulfilling stories that he has is of a guy that sold [00:52:25] like a one surgery practice, because he was able to spend time with his family [00:52:30] and like, I think he sold it for like 200 K or something like that, which isn’t the dream for a lot of people. [00:52:35] But he said it was the most fulfilling thing.

[TRANSITION]: It’s meant to him.

Rhona Eskander: It’s what success meant to him. And I think when I think [00:52:40] that that’s the really important thing, I get worried sometimes. The one thing that I think upsets me [00:52:45] and I try to do a video and it flopped on this as well, and I thought, you know what? I have to reflect on [00:52:50] this because maybe I’m being a dick. But I basically said that it was really unfair [00:52:55] for young dentists to get huge profiles and promote work [00:53:00] that they don’t know how to do, because I thought it was really irresponsible. So for example, like promote, [00:53:05] say, like for example, like promote like composite bonding or like veneers that [00:53:10] weren’t their work and they’re not necessarily taking the credit for it, but they’re they’re misleading [00:53:15] the patients and the patients. And then they build up a list of patients, and the patients walk through the [00:53:20] door, and they didn’t even know how to treat the patients.

[TRANSITION]: And they show.

Payman Langroudi: Other people’s cases. Yeah. And [00:53:25] unopposed.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, exactly. And they they like credits it. But what I’m trying to say is, is that.

[TRANSITION]: Inferred isn’t it.

Rhona Eskander: So [00:53:30] what I, what I found was there was a couple of dentists that got jobs, high [00:53:35] jobs and like Harley Street or whatever, these like dream jobs. And the bosses were telling me they were coming to me and be like, [00:53:40] they don’t even know how to do a veneer prep. And they have all these patients from social media that [00:53:45] need all this complex work, but they don’t even know how to do it. They don’t even know how to do the basics. [00:53:50] And I just think that sometimes your ego has let you get that and you do not do this, which is great [00:53:55] because as I said, know you’re really great at this, but I think it can be dangerous because [00:54:00] you’re putting yourself as a professional in a different in a difficult position.

[TRANSITION]: I just think.

Onkar: You [00:54:05] have to be real with yourself and be honest. Yeah. You know, like you all want to do great work [00:54:10] and like pretty work. Yeah. Don’t want to be doing smelly root canals. Let’s be real. [00:54:15] Yeah. And bashing silver fillings in you don’t. Yeah. You want white fillings. Nice teeth, lovely patients who respect [00:54:20] your opinion and your time. Yeah. That’s the goal with most of our jobs. And that is what we [00:54:25] find most dental colleagues enjoy. You know, I want my one hour check-up where I can actually talk to [00:54:30] you, not ten minutes, because it’s been booked in by my manager. Yeah. So on [00:54:35] the flip side of that argument, I completely agree because again, you see it time [00:54:40] to time where you’re on socials and this lovely bonding case has been done, but three weeks [00:54:45] later it’s chipped and someone like yourself is correcting it because the person that did it doesn’t understand how to manage someone’s bike. [00:54:50] You know, I think with me, like the whole social media thing, what I think is really [00:54:55] important is I remember when I had a first experience with like a really negative comment and I [00:55:00] messaged you, you probably don’t remember this, but I had someone on Instagram message me because [00:55:05] I was doing my one of my Max flex jobs. And I remember like at that time I’d started like doing a bit of Invisalign [00:55:10] and just experimenting with simple cosmetic dentistry. And I was really enjoying like simple Invisalign cases. [00:55:15] So I posted a little story. Someone messaged me from a like meme account. [00:55:20] Yeah, like a digital one.


Onkar: Username.

[TRANSITION]: 45222.

Onkar: Yeah, like a model from [00:55:25] Google Images as their thing. Yeah, I reverse image, I reverse image search it. And it was a model. It wasn’t then. [00:55:30] And um, it was like, you should remember this, this message word for word. [00:55:35] It was like, you should be ashamed of yourself promoting, um, Covid infection control [00:55:40] and surgical dentistry in your day job as a dental corps trainee, but doing [00:55:45] cosmetic dentistry and, uh, non-essential work in a pandemic [00:55:50] during the weekends, the GDC would not look favourably on this. I’m like, this is someone I know. This [00:55:55] is definitely.

[TRANSITION]: Someone I’ve.

Rhona Eskander: Had this in my.

Onkar: Life. This is someone in the circle, someone from somewhere. [00:56:00] So I was like, do I reply and be like, do I not reply, do I block? And then I got [00:56:05] another message which was like. And also they if they knew you were just the DCT [00:56:10] one, they would never come and see you on X. And then I was like, who is this? Why are you [00:56:15] saying? And I messaged Rhona and I remember this really clearly. I sent you a screenshot and you were like, [00:56:20] clearly you’re doing something right if you’ve got a hater. Yeah. And I was like, you know what, I’m going to channel that energy now because [00:56:25] I did nothing. I was really upset. I actually felt really worried. I was anxious at [00:56:30] work, going into work the next week in the practice, going to hospital jobs. It was [00:56:35] Covid like. Covid was a weird time for dentists, right? Like wearing an ffp3 to do bonding. [00:56:40] It seems crazy now, but back then, those helmet, those helmets we used to [00:56:45] wear because we don’t want to shave. And I’m like, jeez, like I had such awful. Comments. [00:56:50] They actually deactivate and stuff for a bit as well. And it was like always really, really bad because I struggled in [00:56:55] my second job with a lot of things in personal life and blah blah, where I just went off socials completely [00:57:00] for four months and like, screen time went down to like an hour.

[TRANSITION]: Did you feel better?

Onkar: Yeah, I [00:57:05] actually did, yeah. And I reactivated because I was on a night out with my mates and I think they wanted to tag me in [00:57:10] a story. And I was like, you can tag my doctor on, like, I don’t need to be back on my personal account. Yeah. [00:57:15] Um, but I reactivated and I was like, I don’t miss this. I didn’t I didn’t [00:57:20] like opening Instagram because, you know, when you get to like 27, 28, 29. Yeah. So [00:57:25] when you get to that late 20s stage ten years ago.

[TRANSITION]: You was like 25, [00:57:30] 15 for pay. Yeah.

Onkar: Are you scroll [00:57:35] and it’s like, if it’s not bloody teeth or a nice bonding case or someone’s got a nice job, it’s like engagement. [00:57:40] I bought a house, I’ve got a dog and I’m like, I don’t have that, that or yeah, yeah. And I was [00:57:45] like, this is making me feel worse about myself. I hate the job. I hate the job that I was in at that time. And I also hated [00:57:50] everyone on social media at that time. So I deactivated. It was the best thing I ever did.


Rhona Eskander: I [00:57:55] mean, and I guess, like in a way, you’ve channelled your own thing because you’ve brought realness and people [00:58:00] want to see realness. Um, Doctor Arum, who’s my root canal specialist, he absolutely hates [00:58:05] hates Instagram engagements, you know, when the photographer’s there and then [00:58:10] I’m so surprised the why is the photographer there?

[TRANSITION]: Like, yeah.

Rhona Eskander: So he sent [00:58:15] me this, like, meme that basically was like saying about this, like about how [00:58:20] fake all of this stuff was. And the thing is, is I think we’ve got to remember that. And like the small designs [00:58:25] and everything, like, I’m not going to show my Dental clinical failures because I don’t want to scare patients. Right. But [00:58:30] if we were real, you know, we get them all the time. Like, like you’ve said many times, which has stuck [00:58:35] with me. Dentistry is a job where the work we can guarantee one thing it will fail [00:58:40] eventually, eventually fails. Yeah. You know, and that’s that, that that’s quite a scary thought, [00:58:45] you know, to know that nothing that you do actually stays permanently.


Payman Langroudi: So [00:58:50] what do you think is the reason that dentists kill themselves?

Onkar: Number [00:58:55] one. I’ve actually thought about this before. Um, number one, probably a high pressured environment. [00:59:00] That’s definitely number one. And number two is expectations from, [00:59:05] I think, expectations, whether it’s you on yourself so personal or whether it’s second [00:59:10] party. So patients, your nurse, your manager, your principal, whatever [00:59:15] that may be okay. Whether you’re a practice owner expectations on yourself. Number three, [00:59:20] I also think I think the number three would be when [00:59:25] you there’s always going to be a point, I think where dentists medical [00:59:30] whatever industry, you’re a high achiever. You’re always been a high achiever. Right. There’s going to be a point where you flop [00:59:35] some point. There’s always going to be a point. No one’s trajectory is always going to be like that. I personally think, yeah. [00:59:40] So I think when you there’s a point when this happens.

[TRANSITION]: In some cases.

Payman Langroudi: Specifically. [00:59:45] I mean, why not? Why not brain surgeons. High pressure to [00:59:50] brain surgeons will have high pressure.

[TRANSITION]: They do.

Onkar: They definitely do. The nature of the beast [00:59:55] with dentistry may also be the fact that it’s a litigious. And like so many complaints that.

[TRANSITION]: Even [01:00:00] medicine, by the way.

Payman Langroudi: They’re not killing. The thing is I [01:00:05] think maybe. What do you.

[TRANSITION]: Think? Also, the patient.

Rhona Eskander: Is awake all the time.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

[TRANSITION]: That that yeah.

Payman Langroudi: That [01:00:10] issue.

[TRANSITION]: Brain surgeon. They’re asleep.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah it’s a big difference. It’s a big difference. [01:00:15] You know when you’re saying high pressure I think. Yeah that you know I can say brain surgeon. More [01:00:20] pressure.

[TRANSITION]: Probably. Yeah definitely.

Payman Langroudi: No, no. But in a way a live patient. Yeah. [01:00:25] You’re constantly on tenterhooks. Yeah I know we get used to it and you know, on [01:00:30] an examination. Yeah. But every time you give an injection, you know how many times a day you [01:00:35] do that? Yeah. Every time you do anything.

Rhona Eskander: And I hate this and.

[TRANSITION]: I hate dentist. [01:00:40] Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: A combination of that and the four walls. Yeah. You know, brain [01:00:45] surgeons in a hospital. Then it.

[TRANSITION]: Gets it gets.

Onkar: Monotonous, I think.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, yeah.

Rhona Eskander: When was your mental [01:00:50] health the worst 2022.


Onkar: So I was working a [01:00:55] job that, like I personally didn’t want to do, to [01:01:00] be completely honest. But I did it because I had no other offers in the bag. So it was still [01:01:05] like another hospital job and it was just like horrific. I didn’t want to be there. I don’t think [01:01:10] they wanted me there. Like, I felt like I was really close with [01:01:15] my grandma and she had passed away like three weeks prior to no three weeks. She literally passed away [01:01:20] the day I started that job. So like, I was very close with her. She died on my birthday. So [01:01:25] it was like, yes, it was like I started that job 2nd of September that evening. The [01:01:30] next day was my birthday. I started this new job. I didn’t want to do that job anyway. That will happen in the back. [01:01:35] There was no I didn’t feel like there was any work. [01:01:40] Support, if I can say that like, I was given like a day off and they were like, have a [01:01:45] day off and come back on Monday and you can help in the general anaesthetic wisdom tooth list. And [01:01:50] I’m like, what? Like I’ve had this thing happen to me. I’m quite traumatised here. Like, you [01:01:55] know, I lost grandparents but I was 6 or 7 like not 27. You know, you you process things a lot [01:02:00] more when you’re older and, you know, almost I was her carer at that times. [01:02:05] You know, I was always there and then that was awful.

[TRANSITION]: I didn’t mean to.

Payman Langroudi: You like, I mean, how did you feel? [01:02:10]

[TRANSITION]: I just, you know, I.

Onkar: Think like for me being when I was like, obviously [01:02:15] now 27 and I think you see like almost the senior of, of, of, [01:02:20] of the family or whatever it may be and they’re reduced to this little person in the hospital bed. I hadn’t [01:02:25] seen that before. I’d worked hospital jobs, I’d done maths facts. Also. I’d read all these things. But when it’s [01:02:30] it’s very easy to detach at work when you know you’re the person giving [01:02:35] the care. There is that element of detachment. When it’s family and you’re helpless, it’s very different, [01:02:40] you know? And when it’s end of life care, that’s also quite stressful to go and see. And I think, [01:02:45] you know, regardless of of what we may do at work, it is stressful. But then, you [01:02:50] know, you come and see this and your home situation is now just as stressful. There [01:02:55] was no sort of, uh, way for me to have a break anywhere. It was awful both times, [01:03:00] you know, everywhere. And I was it was just a lot going on, and I felt like I was in that job. I got [01:03:05] a lot of sort of, you know, energy like that was just not supportive [01:03:10] of, of me at that time. I told them, you know, when I started that job, like, [01:03:15] I want to maybe do medicine, go the whole hog, become a head and neck surgeon, [01:03:20] or just do all surgery and implants and become a specialist. I’m in that kind of unit, right? [01:03:25] No support. Like the first thing I got told was like, we don’t like London graduates.

[TRANSITION]: Like, really? [01:03:30]

Onkar: Yeah. They’re like, why have you come from London to this hospital? And I like, you know, I was like, what? [01:03:35] Like it’s a 20 minute drive from my house. Like, I ranked this job quite high. And [01:03:40] then there’s all these things of politics, politics.

Rhona Eskander: Hospitals, politics.

Payman Langroudi: Then what how did you did. [01:03:45]

[TRANSITION]: You, um, endeavour change? What were your.

Payman Langroudi: Symptoms?

Onkar: So definitely was a very, a very, very anxious [01:03:50] boy. Um, more so than normal baseline anxiety with me from [01:03:55] I always talked about this recently on TikTok, like it was my fifth year of dental school. I first felt anxious, [01:04:00] like I would always have anxiety for certain things. Like at uni when you’ve got a difficult procedure, [01:04:05] like you feel like butterflies, but never like the room is closing in on me. So it was in my fifth [01:04:10] year of dental school. I know, like we literally had a couple of exams for end of years [01:04:15] pending and it was all like DFT recruitment process and there was a lot going on on my plate. [01:04:20] And it was a random day, a random day in December, I was at home revising for exams, literally [01:04:25] went for a haircut and the barber’s chair. You can’t escape, right? You’re tied up. He’s cutting my hair and [01:04:30] the room just started closing and I was going black and I was like, I couldn’t breathe. And [01:04:35] I was like, tell my barber I was like, and let’s get up.

[TRANSITION]: Panic attack, panic attack.

Onkar: Like, I’d never had that before. So it was, [01:04:40] and I’ve read a lot of I love psychology. That was another thing I always was interested in was psychiatry. So that was going to be [01:04:45] my medicine route. That or like something you recognise.

Payman Langroudi: It for what it was at the time.

Rhona Eskander: So [01:04:50] that’s.

[TRANSITION]: Progressive. I thought it was.

Onkar: A hypo because I hadn’t eaten all day. So initially I was like, am I just having a hypo? Like [01:04:55] it was a panic attack, sweating, grey room closing.

[TRANSITION]: In when you.

Rhona Eskander: Left the barber. [01:05:00]

[TRANSITION]: What happened?

Onkar: I went outside to get fresh air and then I went back in the chair because he was like, you look [01:05:05] great. Well, yeah. He was like, go outside, get some fresh air. He gave me some chocolates and he was like, is he a sugar levels? I [01:05:10] don’t know, he’s like, you’re the dental student. I was like, I don’t know. And then I went out, went back in. [01:05:15] He started climbing again, happened again and started climbing again. Again. I was like, I need to just get through this [01:05:20] appointment. Yeah. So had two weeks off for Christmas, which was like, [01:05:25] good. Went back to uni. Rooms started closing in. I’m like, what is? [01:05:30] Why is this happening? I can’t identify why I’m anxious. I was detached, I felt [01:05:35] like I was observing myself from an outsider’s body, like I was floating and I was watching myself [01:05:40] do procedures and I would literally be like, I don’t understand this. I was [01:05:45] getting sweaty. I remember like, palpitations. I’m a very chill [01:05:50] person prior to this. Yeah, like resting heart rate, 48 beats per minute. Like I’m not an athlete, but I was. [01:05:55] I’m always super chill. Nothing makes me nervous. I was so on edge, [01:06:00] I was I couldn’t go to the I honestly, looking back on it now, I was bad, I [01:06:05] couldn’t go to the supermarket. I couldn’t go and walk in the aisles because they would start closing in. [01:06:10] And, um, I remember going in my fifth year to get coffee on [01:06:15] a Saturday at my flat. I lived in Catford in Lewisham because it was between both hospitals [01:06:20] for kings and guys, and my flatmate had gone and I was home alone at the flat and I went to get [01:06:25] lunch and a coffee.

Onkar: I was in subway buying a sandwich. I had to leave. I couldn’t do the order. I actually had to stop [01:06:30] him doing the order. I was like, I need to go. I left and I was like, I was like, I don’t know [01:06:35] what to do. Like, I tried everything, self-help books. I tried taking magnesium supplements, [01:06:40] I tried running more, and I was like, nothing is happening. Like nothing is [01:06:45] helping me. I went to the GP. Gp and the GP [01:06:50] was like, you don’t strike me as anxious. I’m like, why are you saying that as a GP? Like why [01:06:55] that’s not helpful. They basically were like, do you want talking therapy? What [01:07:00] do you think you actually want? I’m like, I just want answers, to be honest. Because, you know, I think there’s [01:07:05] people will deep dive into your childhood and be like, you know, Freudian theory, like, tell me where you [01:07:10] had a bad time. You know, I’m like, I can’t really acknowledge any of that from the [01:07:15] five years of like, the uni experience. I don’t know why that happened in my uni up [01:07:20] to then. It was fine. My A-levels didn’t shake me that much. Yeah, I managed to get [01:07:25] through it and I put it down to exam stress and life stress and uncertainty of not knowing where [01:07:30] I was going to end up having about 20 exams in the space of like three months with the finals of dental [01:07:35] school and just putting a lot of pressure on myself because uni [01:07:40] in that fifth year again, I had like I started, it was actually like I started YouTube. [01:07:45]

Onkar: I remember I tried to start YouTube because YouTube was really hot then, right? So I tried to start a vlogging channel [01:07:50] again. I did one video where I did one video. It was up for 12 hours. [01:07:55] Someone in my year messaged me and was like, just to let you know, there’s been [01:08:00] talk about your video. Um, one of the nurses has seen it, so you might want to put the video down. [01:08:05] Um, next day I get called in and like again, email being like the subject title is [01:08:10] your progression in dental school. And I’m like, I’ve got four months to graduate. Yeah. So January [01:08:15] is the email. We graduated and we finished dental school in May, graduate in June. So [01:08:20] that was another thing in January, in that same awful time, I’ve got this email from the dean of dental school. [01:08:25] Then they were like, you can’t do that. You’re not allowed to do. And that was another thing that made me do [01:08:30] this YouTube Glamorising Dental School on TikTok, because everyone is now a dental school [01:08:35] influencer and they post the unis they go to, you can see the scrubs they wear, you can see the sign of what uni they’re [01:08:40] at. Why was it such a big issue for me to say I go to Guy’s Hospital or back then? [01:08:45]

[TRANSITION]: Back then it was it was less.

Payman Langroudi: Less normal.

Onkar: 2019. It was, you know.

[TRANSITION]: But I don’t think.

Rhona Eskander: They are still [01:08:50] allowed and like again, like I think that’s, that’s that’s the conflict I’ve always had with dental school because. [01:08:55] I, as I said to you, I was good at English literature, philosophy and [01:09:00] drama. I was the main my outlet. I still go to the theatre every [01:09:05] single month because guess what? Acting for me, I want to start improv this year. I [01:09:10] miss acting, so social media was my outlet because it was my creative spark. [01:09:15] And then you go to dental school, you can’t do this part where I get it. We need to be professionals. [01:09:20] We need to be professionals, I get it, but for me, like, there is just like, can we not be human? [01:09:25] But why can we not be humans?

Onkar: Why can’t I wear white trainers though I’m wearing smart trousers. Why can’t I wear white trainers? [01:09:30] Like what? Why do I need to wear black black shoes with buckles on them? Like [01:09:35] I get it, I get it completely, but also it doesn’t affect my ability to be nice to my patients. [01:09:40] That is another scrap. I had a lot with dental school. I was like, why are you telling me that I can’t?

Rhona Eskander: I’m pretty [01:09:45] sure in uni they also told us we’re not allowed to have visible tattoos.

[TRANSITION]: We have allowed not allowed tattoos.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. Visible [01:09:50] tattoos.

Onkar: Not allowed tattoos. Not like piercings. The boys can’t have, like, you know, beards. Beards. [01:09:55] And I was like, this is weird. This is really weird. Like, I don’t get it, you know? And I’m quite an expressive [01:10:00] person.

Payman Langroudi: There is a line.

Rhona Eskander: I think, listen, what.

[TRANSITION]: Would be what would [01:10:05] be your red.

Rhona Eskander: Line? I think right at the end of the day, if you are being treated [01:10:10] by a professional person. Yeah. And a professional person is someone [01:10:15] that you trust, there is a degree of you somewhat judging the way that they [01:10:20] look and what they present. Okay. Would you agree?

Onkar: I think. I [01:10:25] don’t know, because for me it.

[TRANSITION]: Would be a red line.

Payman Langroudi: And if you went to visit a site.

[TRANSITION]: For example, I saw [01:10:30] a surgeon, or if.

Rhona Eskander: You see that Tik Tok video of that girl that had a devil’s tattoo [01:10:35] here, and the devil’s tattoo had like, blood. And I think there was like animals dying. [01:10:40] She was covered in tattoos and piercings and she was like, I went to TK Maxx. Tk Maxx rejected [01:10:45] me. And the reason why TK Maxx rejected was clearly because of my tattoos. And this is like a judgement. [01:10:50] Yeah, but like you look a bit scary. Like if you’re going to be like attending people [01:10:55] like customers are going to be affected.

Payman Langroudi: Okay, I’m going to tell you something that I did tell.


Payman Langroudi: Regarding tattoos. [01:11:00] Yeah. What did. But but so if someone would come for an interview and enlighten [01:11:05] with a tattoo that you couldn’t easily hide, you wouldn’t. I would question [01:11:10] their judgement.

Onkar: On that tattoo. Yeah, or just a general.

[TRANSITION]: General. Okay.

Payman Langroudi: Because [01:11:15] if you’re putting a tattoo somewhere where you can’t hide it, like here. Yeah. On your own.

[TRANSITION]: I’d love to [01:11:20] like, love it. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: But now they’re much more normalised. But, you know, maybe ten.

Rhona Eskander: Years ago. [01:11:25]

Payman Langroudi: Longer. 15 years ago. Yeah. If I could see tattoos that you couldn’t hide at all. Impossible [01:11:30] to hide.


Payman Langroudi: Side of your neck. Yeah. I would question that.

[TRANSITION]: Person if you were.

Rhona Eskander: If [01:11:35] you saw a psychiatrist and they were covered in tattoos from [01:11:40] like here. Yes. To like here, for example. And piercing. How would you feel. [01:11:45]

Onkar: Like I think the question to hit you back with is, do they make me feel good? Do they answer my clinical [01:11:50] questions? Do I feel.

[TRANSITION]: Safe? You can’t judge at all.

Onkar: No not really. I don’t really care.

Payman Langroudi: My position on that. I’m [01:11:55] like, you know that it’s everywhere. Yeah.

[TRANSITION]: Like if I look at my piercings.

Rhona Eskander: And tattoos.

[TRANSITION]: You know, [01:12:00] I mean, if I.

Onkar: Go to someone for like regardless of their job role, if someone’s doing a good job and they’re taking [01:12:05] care of their clients or patients or whatever, I’m not really. My opinion is minuscule. [01:12:10] You know, I okay.

Rhona Eskander: I agree completely, but also I, I totally agree with you on the thing of like appearance. [01:12:15] And if you come to my clinic, it was funny I.

[TRANSITION]: Central.

Rhona Eskander: I mean there’s Prav told you.

[TRANSITION]: I’ve [01:12:20] seen you.

Rhona Eskander: The thing is, is like I’ve been called in. People want to do television [01:12:25] programs about my clinic because they were like, oh my God, like, you are literally lgbq. [01:12:30]

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, like body.

Rhona Eskander: Sizes, because I have always judged every [01:12:35] single one of my staff based on their merit and based on like how [01:12:40] they treat patients. And it works really well because my team is so, so diverse. [01:12:45] Now, the one thing that I would say is, is that I think there’s an important [01:12:50] question to be posed for presentation. Right. And what I mean by that is somebody that’s at least [01:12:55] clean, because I think that that’s a form of self-love and self-care. Like, you know, that you [01:13:00] showered and you brushed your hair, for example. I think those things do matter because it also shows how [01:13:05] the person is feeling about themselves and their own kind of sign of like self-respect, [01:13:10] their mental state of mind. Can they look after other people? You see what I mean? That’s what I think, that I draw the [01:13:15] line if I.

[TRANSITION]: Don’t know, personal hygiene. Yeah.

Onkar: Yeah, I think that’s pretty important.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [01:13:20]

Onkar: I think so.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, it even comes up in marketing, right, when we’re doing these pictures. Yeah. The [01:13:25] last evolution we said let’s not have pretty people. Yeah. Let’s have [01:13:30] people who are just let’s have normal people. People real not even have pretty smiles. Just have the estimates. Right. [01:13:35] And let’s let’s have the.

Onkar: Man I love it. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Let’s have tattoos. [01:13:40] Yeah. When we went into it. Yeah, we, we we [01:13:45] lost our bottle and we thought what’s our distributor in Kuwait going to say.

Onkar: Yeah you have to [01:13:50] take cultural. No I completely agree.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah I think Gen Z are really challenging the norms, [01:13:55] which is great. But how did you get out of this mental state of the panic attacks?

Onkar: I think for me, like, [01:14:00] I’ll be honest, when I started, when I finished dental school and I was away from that high again, that [01:14:05] pressure situation of constant exams, they fizzled away themselves. So you.

Rhona Eskander: Didn’t go on medication.

Onkar: Didn’t [01:14:10] go on meds. I looked up what I was doing, which was behavioural, a lot [01:14:15] of caffeine. Like I drink like 4 or 5, six coffees a day. I’m pretty bad for it. Yeah. And I was still doing that in uni. [01:14:20] Fizzy drinks containing caffeine, all of these things that were like stimulant to try and, uh, think what is making [01:14:25] me feel worse. So cut out caffeine, cut out all of that. Try to be try to be a lot better with things. Took [01:14:30] up a lot more exercise, which doesn’t work for everyone. Yeah, I read a lot of anxiety [01:14:35] psychology books as well. Like a lot of subtle mind mind books to feel better. And I started ashwagandha. [01:14:40] Ashwagandha.

[TRANSITION]: I’ve heard that really helps.

Onkar: Which is I’ve been on and off that for about [01:14:45] four years now. What is.

[TRANSITION]: It? Actually?

Onkar: It’s the natural supplement, which.

[TRANSITION]: Basically massive.

Rhona Eskander: In our [01:14:50] Vedic.

[TRANSITION]: Practice.

Onkar: It reduces if I’m mistaking me, if I’m incorrect, [01:14:55] it reduces your stress response to little stressors. So like your baseline and your it’s like [01:15:00] essentially keeping you at a good baseline where you don’t have all those cortisol spikes. You’re [01:15:05] not meant to be. It’s a no a no tropic, a no tropic, whatever you call it, you don’t you don’t want to be on it forever. [01:15:10] You need to take breaks. So like I’m this is not clinical advice, but like, you know, a month off, month [01:15:15] on blah, blah, blah, you know, and that really helped me along with magnesium good sleep. But then they bloody [01:15:20] started again in 2022 when I started that awful job. And then that was a. Again, [01:15:25] like, oh my God. Like what? Where do we go from here? You know, like driving and having panic attacks [01:15:30] and I’ve never been medicated. I think I’d like I maybe [01:15:35] would I like a formal diagnosis of something I think it’d be. Does it help you have this discussion earlier? Do you feel [01:15:40] more diagnoses help people? Sometimes I think they do.

Rhona Eskander: The ADHD thing did help me because I think the like [01:15:45] erratic nurse and everything that I’ve been experiencing. But the problem is I’ve not worked [01:15:50] out. I found it empowering to know that, but I’ve not worked out and I’m not in a position where I want to take medication. [01:15:55] So I think that I am finding it really hard to manage. [01:16:00] But I spend thousands on my mental health, like literally thousands. And obviously [01:16:05] doing this podcast in a way has also helped because even by connecting with people and understanding [01:16:10] or connected is super helpful. Anchor I could talk for hours. You have [01:16:15] been amazing at this podcast, like thank you. And what does the future hold? [01:16:20] So where would you like to be in five years?

Onkar: I think five years is probably maybe finding [01:16:25] the agenda, finding the why is really important. I think I still feel like I probably [01:16:30] don’t know my why completely right. And I think that’s natural. I think we need to take that [01:16:35] idea of everyone knows their why straight away, away. That’s not true. Okay, maybe not for me. [01:16:40] I like to continue just being happy in work, whether that involves teeth or not. Who knows? Yeah, [01:16:45] but I want to just develop to a point where. Where I may be really rose [01:16:50] tinted. I go into work every day and I’m looking forward to it. Do you know what I mean? And you’re not at the [01:16:55] minute. There’s times when I’m not know if I’m being real. There’s times I’m not. I know 35 patients a day where I’m like ten [01:17:00] minutes up. So I’m not looking forward to that. I’ve got stuck at work at 8:00 until doing notes. Yeah, [01:17:05] I want to just be happy. And I want to make sure that regardless [01:17:10] of whatever’s going on in personal life, that career is always, and I think sounds again, really idealistic. [01:17:15] Some people are lucky enough to have, you know, their job, be their break time, go to work. You can [01:17:20] kind of zone out. You love that. I’d like to get there in five years. I’m hoping they’re hoping that that kind of [01:17:25] comes to fruition. So yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Amazing. Thank you so much for coming on.

[TRANSITION]: My thanks so much for seeing me. [01:17:30] Thank you.

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