Since landing in London via Madrid and New York, Sandra Garcia Martin has made a name as one of cosmetic dentistry’s leading lights.

Sandra chats with Prav about the challenges of learning a new language to study dentistry, training with some of dentistry’s greatest in New York and why engaging with good causes should be on the curriculum for every clinician.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

02.05 – Technics and artistry

11.50 – Cosmetics, composites and kudos

18.48 – Deciding on dentistry

26.34 – New York

32.51 – London

42.37 – Promotion and pricing

49.40 – Charity work

01.05.12 – Happiness and holidays

01.13.34 – Launching a course

01.22.55 – Women in dentistry

01.28.34 – Connecting with Sandra

01.30.34 – Blackbox thinking

01.36.12 – Fantasy dinner party

01.39.35 – Last days and legacy

 

About Sandra Garcia Martin

Sandra Garcia Martin graduated from Barcelona University in 2007. She completed master’s degrees in periodontology and dental implants and later in aesthetic dentistry at New York University. She has also trained with Larry Rosenthal and Mike Apa.

Sandra now practices in London, where she recently launched the Veneer School cosmetic dentistry course and online community.   

[00:00:00] SIf I could ask for a wish or a Dental wish, I would say every single university obliged. You know, if you think about how many dental schools we have in the world, and if every single one did, like, you know, one of the they would be called a charity. But everyone is obliged to every single year and divide it into the months that we have to do charity. It would be a different experience because we would be educating people. We wouldn’t just be treating. It’s all about prevention.

[00:00:36] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:54] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Sandra Garcia martin onto the podcast. Sandra is an old friend of mine, one of London’s most prominent cosmetic dentists. Maybe known better to some as Sandra Big Smile, which she goes by on her social media where you can pick up and see her beautiful natural smile makeovers that she delivers. Sandra’s embraced fully. Dsd become a teacher on that, I think, and trained in Barcelona and did post-grad studies in New York, both formally in an MSC sort of setting and also with the famous Dr. APA and Rosenthal as well as that. What’s really lovely to see with Sandra is a natural way that she she sort of glides across the social scene of London into charity work. You know, a lovely to see both sides of that coin and one of for me, one of the most successful humans I know. Lovely to have you, Sandra.

[00:01:56] How much how much do I pay for that intro? The pleasure’s all mine. The pleasure’s all mine.

[00:02:05] Very nice to have you. Sandra, we know. Sandra, we tend to start these things with with where you’re born and all of that. But I want to sort of just start it with because I know you’re strong on the cosmetic dentistry, and I want to just go straight into something that I’m interested in as far as cosmetic dentistry is concerned, is the relevance of how important is the clinician, how important is the technician and you know, which bits of that can be taught?

[00:02:34] That’s a great question. I think that’s the dentist can be taught. Can better. Absolutely. And so can the technician. But the technician is an artist and I think is very difficult to develop. You either have it or you don’t. It’s like a music singer, right? You have the voice. You can improve your voice. But these incredible voices, you either have them or you don’t. Whereas I think as dentists, we have so many different ways of improving and the hand is a muscle at the end of the day, you know. But I think that’s the main difference when it comes to technician is all art from my point of view.

[00:03:15] But you know, you see some of the work of, I don’t know, Dr. Duval or someone.

[00:03:20] Yes. And it’s.

[00:03:21] So stunning. It’s so stunning. Now, I know it’s a silly question because it’s a combination of all things. It’s like someone saying to me, what’s more important in whitening the gel or the tray? Well, both of them are very important. So it’s not it’s not it’s a silly question in that sense. But but, you know, to what extent can I get the basic skills and then find out who Dr. Duval’s technician is and get results like him? You know what I mean?

[00:03:48] It’s I think it’s as a technician or as him as a clinician.

[00:03:51] He is a dentist, let’s say. I want to I want to produce work like him.

[00:03:55] I think you need if I.

[00:03:56] Had access to his technical team, would that be it or has he is he an artist who has an eye and he can’t be.

[00:04:02] Taught? Obviously, he has an eye as well. And it’s all you know, it’s teamwork, right? It’s all. I’ve spoken with many successful dentists and I say how and something that they can create that in their technicians. But I think it’s a teamwork and them understanding what you want because sometimes you can have it in your brain, but it’s so difficult to to try and create it. Right. But I think it’s possible 100%. You need the basic skills, you need the basic skills. And not everyone has soft hands and not everyone. I think that the big problem in the cosmetic world is that over prepping, I’m totally convinced this is this is a big issue.

[00:04:42] It makes life a lot easier, doesn’t it, when you have a prep to make beautiful teeth.

[00:04:48] Also can make things much more complicated with root can.

[00:04:51] Later on.

[00:04:53] Later on, as we know, every time you remove one of the restorations, you you touch again the teeth underneath. So if you have to and the less tooth structure there is, the worse, right? So so yeah, there’s no I think this you can’t overprepare nowadays. You have every single tool to plan things ahead. So if you do, it’s because clearly you don’t really care.

[00:05:19] I was I was. Well, if you if you’ve got the skills that is I was talking to Neil Gerard a couple of weeks ago and he was a technician and now he’s a dentist. And I was saying to him that, you know, as a dentist, you always want to cut less, particularly with with with porcelain. Let’s say you want to stay in enamel because you know the bone strength of enamel so much more. But as a technician, you always want your dentist to cut more, to make space for all the beautiful things you’re going to do, to make clearer margins and all that. And, you know, is there a sweet spot when you when you are a technician and you’re a dentist?

[00:05:54] Is this is.

[00:05:55] It you know, what? It where is that? And he said it’s very hard to explain it very hard.

[00:06:01] But let me tell you, like probably some of the best dentists I’ve met were technicians.

[00:06:07] Yeah. Christian, right?

[00:06:09] Yeah. Yeah. And then back home where I’m from, from Tenerife, my, my, my dentist, he was a family dentist is very successful and he’s incredibly talented. And he was he started as a technician, but he had the vision. It was for him, it was so much easier because, you know, sometimes we have doubts and we’re like, oh, they’ll figure it out. And he’s like, No, he’s like, The work will come back and it will not look like you wanted to look, you know? So maybe we should go back.

[00:06:36] And I wonder if there’s any dentists who who became dentists first and then became technician second. It’d be a very interesting person, that.

[00:06:43] Person I want to get to one maybe one day when we’re done with with interactive beings in the practice. I just want to talk to you.

[00:06:55] One other question, which I was talking to, actually, same to Neal about, is, you know, DSD. You’ve embraced DSD completely.

[00:07:01] Yes.

[00:07:02] How do you see DSD as a diagnostic thing or as a marketing thing?

[00:07:08] A bit of both. A bit of both. I think when it comes to incorporating implants in a small makeover, it’s definitely diagnostic. Definitely. When is to plan veneers? It’s more marketing, right? Because you’re doing your mock ups, you’re doing everything, but you don’t really need to go and plan it that way. You know, like the technician can do wax up and you can and you can you don’t have to do it the DSC way. It’s a method. It’s like a.

[00:07:36] Spell out the implant thing to be because you want to know where the bone is and all that.

[00:07:40] Exactly. Exactly. And the gums that you want to know how, how much grafting you’re going to have to do where because they were DSD, you work around a CT scan so you know exactly what you’re working with. Right.

[00:07:54] So you can you can layer the CT scan into the facial.

[00:07:57] Exactly.

[00:07:58] Is that right? I didn’t even know that.

[00:07:59] Laser implants. Amazing. Like like that. They will end up being with a smile that you’ve designed from the beginning. It’s amazing. That is amazing. Again, I don’t do implants, but the cases that I’ve seen, they take forever. That’s also true. But the results are outstanding. Yeah.

[00:08:17] And then this new thing that’s come a long way, they put the jig, the prep jig on the tooth. What’s that called? Sure, sure. Smile. No.

[00:08:25] What they jig on the tooth. Yes. And then what’s that called. The company will come to me. Will come to me. The thing is that I find that. That that’s for people that. Don’t they’re not comfortable with prepping, you know, because it is a guide so that you don’t over prep. So for people that are not comfortable, definitely. Yes. You know, but it’s the same as using a guide. The preparation guide is the same. It’s just silicone prep. It will not allow you to go any further. Right. So it’s yeah, it’s a way of prepping and so.

[00:09:01] Have you tried it? No.

[00:09:03] Yes, I’ve tried it, but that’s why it was really uncomfortable for me. It was like, you know, I’m faster prepping my way with with the guides and then with with the reduction handpiece that to control the margins and to control the final.

[00:09:19] It’s a funny thing.

[00:09:19] Is it’s a.

[00:09:20] Funny thing where you’re at the cutting edge of something and you know, you’ve been doing something really super successfully one way. And then a new way comes along. And maybe the new way hasn’t quite. It’s not quite there like scanning, for instance. And you think, well, I’ve been doing something perfectly up to now and that leap and and when to leap you know, because you were quite early on the DSD thing for instance. Right.

[00:09:49] Very early. I met Christian. I mean, he was working for the Salama Brothers. So, so. And it was all an idea. And I remember his presentation at the OECD in which was in was it Boston? Can’t remember. I think it was Boston. And I was like fascinated with this guy. And he was a technician and he started with his video camera recording things and talking a little bit about the whole concept. This was like when no one was really paying attention and then to see everything that he’s developed. You know, when we used to go to the courses and used to paint the things and with the teeth and and to see what he’s created now, it’s like, wow, you know, made.

[00:10:33] Me so happy. If you could tell me that he wasn’t as polished as a speaker back then.

[00:10:38] It probably his English wasn’t because.

[00:10:41] He’s so polished.

[00:10:42] Now, but it was very good he would engage with people straight away. I remember that that that main room was packed and and it was Morris presenting and then he came after. And of course it was packed because of the Salomon Brothers, but everyone stayed and. Yeah, and we were all fascinated, you know, so, so yeah. That what you were saying about, about trying new things. Yeah, I used to. I haven’t played for a long time. Every now and then I play golf, but I used to play with my, with my dad when I was little. And I remember once the teacher telling me, because I would say, no, I want to do it this way. And he said, you know, Tiger Woods when he was number one in the world. Right. That he was ready, number one. And his coach made him change the grip completely because he was getting I can’t remember what it was. It was some extra something. Yeah, something. And he had to start from zero and I was like, but why would he do that when he’s number one? And he said, Because he wants to continue being number one. And he went back to, you know, like losing everything. And because the grip had changed and I thought, wow, yeah, it’s one of those things.

[00:11:50] Tell me, tell me about when a patient comes to you, are they how often is it that they’ve looked into the work and thereafter the kind of smile that you make? Because we we hear it a lot nowadays with people wanting big teeth. I think it’s more in the in the north than than in the south. But, you know, the the trends for big teeth without embraces and I don’t see you putting any of those out. Now, have you ever had a patient that’s asked for that and, you know, you’ve talked them out of it? Is that how you do it?

[00:12:20] Well, I don’t talk them out of that. I just send them somewhere else. I don’t talk of the day. I think that people, you know, a patient wants something they might give in. And if I give something else, they’re still not going to be happy. So I think it’s important to to have that conversation where you go, okay, listen, this is not my style, like the really white teeth. I remember years ago I had this thing with the production company of All the Way Essex or one of these programmes with Chelsea. I don’t I don’t watch TV. Everyone that knows me knows I don’t watch TV, so I never watch these programmes. But it was one of these programmes and this girl came and she, she’s like, No, but I want this colour. And I said, it’s going to look terrible. I mean, you know, you’re going to walk out and you’ll smile and everyone will stare you not because you’re beautiful that you are, but because of the smile. And I was having this conversation and then it was like talking to a wall. I said, You know what? I said, experience gives you that in years, right? Because part of me was like, okay, let me do it. But then I said, No, it’s against what I believe is right. And when she goes somewhere else and they say, Who did this for you? They say, my name. I’ll be horrified. So I said, I’m so sorry. I’m going to refer you to another colleague. I will not do this. So so I think. Yeah.

[00:13:35] So who did you refer to? I don’t mean give me the name of the dentist, but like what? How did you decide who to refer to for that?

[00:13:42] Well, she had a list of people.

[00:13:44] Referred to someone up north.

[00:13:48] You would be surprised. You would be surprised. But they did it. They did it because that’s where where.

[00:13:53] Sandra, you know, you couldn’t survive up north with that attitude, though. You could you couldn’t. Listen, I’ve got I’ve got I’ve got direct experience of Liverpool and Manchester because, you know, enlightened cells up there.

[00:14:05] Yeah, of course.

[00:14:05] More than it sells down here and.

[00:14:08] They know normal.

[00:14:09] Well our biggest users were always from the north west. Never, never from London. And also we do the composites now and the super bright composite that one sells up up there. And when you go up there and you meet the people, that that question of people will be looking at your teeth. They want that. That’s what they want. They want people to know they’ve done something.

[00:14:30] Wow.

[00:14:31] It’s part of the. That’s what I’m saying. It’s part of the culture. Of course, we have we have the same types of people down here as well. And by the way, the US, I’ve noticed it’s kind of like a kudos thing. I’ve had my teeth done and in a way want people to know that they’ve had their teeth done. But that’s definitely not the work you’re showing at all. It’s it’s beautifully subtle.

[00:14:56] In aesthetic respect, comfortable with that. Right. So I think that’s yeah, that’s and I always get asked Do you have an ear? See you. And I said, no, I have, you know, I have some bond in the tooth that I that I broke but I don’t have I think yeah. Natural is, is the best way forward. This is what I believe. By the way, how good was that course that you guys do the mini or do you still do it?

[00:15:21] Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re busy.

[00:15:22] With it. I love it. I love it. I love that.

[00:15:25] It’s a problem. It’s a problem, though, that composite composite is becoming an issue now because you see it everywhere, pasted on everyone’s teeth. And that same question. Right, the same question as we’re saying right now with composites, even a bigger issue, because, you know, you haven’t got the technicians artistic time to make things look more natural. But at the same time, this is what I’m saying to you about about certain certain cultures when I think, you know, the North and the south or wherever certain people want super, super white. And then and then we come to this question of how much of it is is the dentists sort of reputation on the line? And how much of it is it that we do what we’re told as dentists, we give the patient what they want? You know, I think it’s an important debate.

[00:16:11] Yeah. I think if you if you want to become rich, being a dentist, probably you have to you have to say yes to every single case. But for me, it’s about sleeping at night. You know, with my conscious.

[00:16:27] You’re talking about an aesthetic conscience. It’s a weird thing. It’s a weird thing because, you know, the prep could be the exact same prep.

[00:16:33] Yeah, totally. Totally. And the thing with composites, I think there’s a lack of information as well. People think that they’re going to last forever. And like you were, you were saying at your course. I remember you said, you know, you have to put the fees up because that person will break it, it will stain. And then they expect, you know, to be seen for free. So where do you draw the line?

[00:16:57] If we spend a lot of the course talking talking about how you talk people out of out of composites as well, you know, that’s a there is compound. With composite more than they do with porcelain. You know, when you’ve put a small, you know better than me, right? If you put a small little step in a composite, that’s definitely going to stay. There’s no doubt about it. Right.

[00:17:21] That’s the thing. That’s, again, down to technique, right? Yeah. And yeah, like you need to and you need to know who can do it better than you. And if it’s like a case where they want to do the whole smile and, you know, and then you’re not comfortable, just don’t do it because it will look great. Three months and then it will start. Like you say, if you leave those little edges, it will start staining.

[00:17:43] And and what about you? Are you ideological about pressed or telepathic?

[00:17:50] It depends on the case. Totally depends on the case of the occlusion. Yeah, 100%. Then then obviously talking with the technician, you know what they say? Because for example, sometimes it will be a case that I say, okay, let’s just sue everything else, and the technician will come along and say, Well, why don’t we do this one and here and this one? So it really depends. It really depends on the case. So I use a lot of zirconia as well.

[00:18:16] For composite?

[00:18:17] No, not for veneers.

[00:18:18] For veneers, sorry.

[00:18:19] But not for veneers, but for crowns.

[00:18:23] Let’s get back to some of your back story. So you grew up in the Canary Islands?

[00:18:27] Yes. Vanity Fair, Tenerife? Yeah. I have to say correctly.

[00:18:35] If I remember you, your mum’s a doctor?

[00:18:37] Yes, a gynaecologist. Well, she’s retired now, but yes. So she comes from a family of doctors and her side was only dentists.

[00:18:48] Do you remember when dentistry was on your on your sort of radar? At what age was that and why?

[00:18:56] To be honest, it was never on my radar. I was just always fascinated with the first thing I look at. People are the smiles always. Since I’m little, I would be fascinated with it with smiles. And it wasn’t until I was coming close to having to decide what to study. And then I said to my mum, Look, I’m not sure if I want to be a doctor, a vet, a dentist or a movie producer, a music producer like Och. So she said, Okay, how about you do a month and everything, you know, into shape and everything that you that you like. So of course, you know, being in a hospital and seeing people die, it was like a horrifying story. So so I said, I can’t do this. You know, this is too much responsibility. No, I can’t do this. And then I started doing all these things. I still love music. I love movies and production. I love production. But I went to I would dentists and I’ll never forget there was this lady in the waiting room and she came in and she was like, hardly, you know, she had learned how to not smile. And then, like not long after, she came out smiling and I was so fascinated. And then I started working with him, which is watching, doing over the shoulder and and the cases that he would do. He’s an immunologist as well. But I was just fascinated and I thought, wow, I want to be able to do this, you know? So I was just attracted because I said this has arts, this has teeth that I love and the power of being able to to give a smile. So this is everything together. So yeah, I hated it at first, the first probably year. I really.

[00:20:35] Dental.

[00:20:36] School. Yeah. I said I’m giving up. This is not for me.

[00:20:39] Is there? Is there a dental school in the Canary Islands?

[00:20:42] No, no, no, there isn’t.

[00:20:43] So you knew you were leaving home and.

[00:20:45] Yeah, yeah. Which I was very happy about and.

[00:20:50] Why Barcelona was was it was Barcelona for the fun of it or was it the.

[00:20:55] School I was the fun is in Madrid. I wanted to go to Madrid, but my brother, he’s an architect. He was studying already in Barcelona. So it’s just two of us. And my parents said no, both together and I was. And then I got there and I had to learn Catalan, which I didn’t even know I had to learn another language. Right. So it was like science, you know, you get always the first two years of anything you get, the worse you get the chemistry, the maths, things that you don’t really you’re like, I don’t need this become basics, the basics. And in a different language. I was like, What is this? But yeah.

[00:21:33] So it’s actually taught in Catalan.

[00:21:35] Yes, yes. They were not meant to legally. They’re not meant to write. But what happens that many people don’t know? Once you’re there, it’s their rules and that’s it. So it depended on the faculty. So the first day when they started, it was the biology teacher. Biology teacher and I literally could not understand a word. So then I put my hand up and I said, Sorry, you know, I’m from Canary Islands, I have no idea of Catalan. And he said, What’s your name? And everyone kept like, Ooh, you know, he’s going to fail this one. So I said my name, I gave him my name and he said, Och, where September, I’m going to give you till January. Whenever, after Christmas we would go back these months for you to learn Catalan. He’s like, After in January I will start again teaching Catalan. And I was like, Och, you challenging me? So I had no other way. But because it wasn’t just him, there were many other teachers and they would start talking Spanish and that they would. It’s the nature and they would.

[00:22:36] Switch in.

[00:22:37] Switching. So at the end I ended up like getting notes in Catalan because it was easier than translating, right?

[00:22:43] What did you do to learn? I guess when you’re immersed in it, you learn quickly anyway.

[00:22:48] Not so quickly because I don’t know French. I can’t speak. I can speak Italian, but not French. And it’s a mixture between French, Italian and Spanish. So. So I just had to start reading press, watching TV and Catalan going to classes of course. And it was not easy. It was not easy, but I said, I can do it. But the funny thing is that I lived with my brother and the building knew we were from Canary Islands. And no one would speak in Spanish to us. No one said. But you got to understand. So, yeah, this is this is how it is. But it’s an amazing city. And my best friends are there.

[00:23:28] Did you consider did you consider dropping out at that point?

[00:23:31] I did. But then I called my mom, I think not not there, but probably two months in because it was a lot. It was a lot. All the classes and having to translate everything and getting, you know, the Spanish person that new Catalan. So it was a lot. So and then studying on top, right. But I called my mom and she said, och, she said, But you need to have a plan B, C and Z before you quit. And I didn’t. So I said, okay. She said, What did you say.

[00:24:01] International superstar?

[00:24:05] Well, my brother was doing a lot of that behind my back. He was partying every day.

[00:24:11] And he had the same problem. He had to learn Catalan, too.

[00:24:14] Yeah, he did. He did? Yeah. That’s why it took him so long. Yeah, but we had a great time. And it’s. I mean, it’s a beautiful city apart from from that little language issue.

[00:24:28] So, you know, I’m kind of a believer in the idea that you are the same person as the kid that you were, you know? What kind of a kid were you? One of these.

[00:24:39] Never give up.

[00:24:41] Responsible?

[00:24:42] Yeah.

[00:24:42] I was the oldest.

[00:24:44] No, I’m the youngest. But I’ve always had this role of being mothering. So I was very conscious of my parents were spending. We’re working really hard to spend the money that was spending for us to study abroad. So I was not one of these that would go crazy and like spend all the money and party and not I don’t say me wrong, I would have fun, but I was very much into doing the right thing all the time. But as a kid, the same I was always, you know, and it was a later that I had to let go of that. But yeah, because I would always if something bad was done, I would feel like awful about it, you know? And I’m the youngest of both sides of the family and of course the ones above are all male, and they would always be up to no good. Well, you can’t say anything. This is really.

[00:25:36] The funny thing is stress has a way of finding its way to you, isn’t it? Because let’s say you’re you’re you, that person who needs everything in its place and discipline as soon as something goes out of place now stresses in your life. Whereas if you’re me who just let stuff slide, eventually something slides too far and stress comes in. At that point, it’s kind of like a timing issue, but stress will come in life, whoever, whoever you are.

[00:26:04] I think that’s how I started meditating, to bring the to take the stress away so nothing would bother me.

[00:26:09] How long have you been meditating? A long time or recently?

[00:26:12] No, no, long time. It’s been probably seven or eight years. Yeah. Really? Yeah, but that’s what it brought. It brought peace. I would stress a lot at work. And that’s like, it’s okay, you know, unless they do something like really, you know, there’s a big mess up or Yeah, then definitely.

[00:26:34] So then you qualify. What stopped you? Just going back to Tenerife and setting up a family practice. What made you then start looking at New York and all of that?

[00:26:44] I’m just not that person.

[00:26:46] You’re not that cat?

[00:26:47] No, I definitely I definitely wanted to go to New York. It was a city that the first time I went, I was ten, I think ten or 11. And I was fascinated. And I said at one point in my life, I’m going to live here. And then, funny enough, two of my very good friends from a different island from Canary Islands, they’re both very successful dancers now. And they they’re older than me. They’re my brother’s age. But they went to NYU and they told me, you know, they have amazing programs. You should come. So, yeah, I was I was this is what I wanted to do. So I did go back to work for like six months, more or less while I was doing my paperwork. But I also knew I had two options. I said I wait and make the money to then pay for it. But everyone kept saying, once you get into that dynamic, it’s very difficult to come out and take two years, three years off, right? Or I work for a little bit, do all my paperwork and just go and ask for a loan. So that’s the path. And then it was interesting because those six months I met my now sister in law, she was a dentist at the clinic I was working. So she always says, you came back just to introduce me to your brother.

[00:28:01] Is she an American?

[00:28:03] No, no, no, no. She’s she’s from from Tenerife. I went back.

[00:28:07] Oh, sorry, sorry. Yeah. Yeah. And the programme that you joined in NYU, what was that?

[00:28:14] So I did. I did period. And plus with Tana and then I did aesthetics after that. So it was a very expensive I ended up I don’t know how long it took me to pay for all that. A lot people were buying flats and I was paying for for my my programmes but I don’t which.

[00:28:34] You was this.

[00:28:36] This was 2006 2007.

[00:28:41] Yeah so but interesting time right for for young Sandra in New York. I guess that that was the time when actually it was after 9/11. So New York was in a bit of a down.

[00:28:55] Down trend. Yeah, yeah.

[00:28:57] Yeah, yeah. But what was your feeling? What was your feeling in New York? I mean, apart from the obvious excitement of seeing these big, big, big buildings and all that, did it live up to expectations or no?

[00:29:08] Yeah. Yeah, it was every day was was full of energy and you didn’t know where you would end up. I mean, the programme was very intense, so you would start like 730, you would start and you would probably leave at 8 p.m., you know, it was like full on, but then everything was possible. I mean it’s a city where everything is possible. The people that you meet, I had something very like I said, I don’t want to hang around. I mean, I went to hang out with Spanish, but not so much. I want to really experience what New York is. And every day, every day, I mean, many of my colleagues were there would party and then show up at the clinic without sleeping and this kind of stuff. Physically, I’m not that kind of person that can do that and then have my brain functioning. But yeah, you would all the stories and then you would get invited to this incredible place. And then with people that were your best friends and then you’ll never see them again. You know, they had a lot of that. A lot of that. Yeah. On the go. Always on the go.

[00:30:10] The Hamptons. Did you go there?

[00:30:12] Yes, yes, yes, yes. Now, every every faculty at NYU had a house in the Hamptons, so. Yeah. And they were really they’re really nice international people. So they would always invite you for weekends and everyone’s really open. Like, really. Yeah. And they all invite you to their clinics to, to, to, to watch. Everything was very, very open. They, they not as that’s what I love. American Idol. The other day with Christian, I was saying the same thing. It’s the teamwork. It’s not about you be an individual and you not sharing. It was all about sharing. It was a total opposite and and having fun while you while you work. So yeah, I loved it. I would have stayed. I would have stayed. To work. Why don’t you? My mum got ill at the time, so I had to make the decision of coming back to Europe. Otherwise I would have said. I’m pretty sure I would have. Yeah.

[00:31:05] Oh. So. So was this before, during or after the whole Larry?

[00:31:12] No, this was before. Then I. Then I came back and then I started going back to do. To do. Volunteer after the idea that that was that was interesting because at the time when I met Mike, he was no, he had finished, but he was like, you know, it was the beginning. So he was just a faculty that would just be watching around and like helping out. So another thing to see what he’s created now, it’s outstanding.

[00:31:44] It’s nice to see. It’s nice to see. I was I was talking to Larry about that. And he was saying how proud he is that he’s taken something that Larry started and then made it even more. And I remember when when when Mike was going to do that, was going to buy in, I remember thinking, you know, that’s quite a quite a big thing that he’s bought into and must have paid whatever amount that big thing was worth and whatever they did a deal. But, you know, that’s that’s quite a big thing to try and grow and look look what he’s doing.

[00:32:18] He had a vision. He had a vision. And his vision is wait, wait till you see what the next step is. It’s going to get even bigger. But yeah, he has a vision and probably everyone thought he was crazy for what he was doing. And I think he was the pioneer in all the social media, having a camera crew, like following him and all this kind of stuff. He started all that. So all the credit, you might like it a little. You might like it or not, but you have to give the credit for what what he’s achieved. Definitely.

[00:32:51] For sure. For sure. So then tell me about your move to London. Why London?

[00:32:59] Good question. So it was basically the faculties at NYU. Spain was in the big crisis when I was coming back and they said, Why don’t you try London? Cosmetic dentistry started to be. I said, London, really bad weather cloud. This is all white cold. But then I came without a plan. And look, it’s been I don’t know how many years. Many.

[00:33:22] When was it was it post-financial crisis? When Spain was in a state.

[00:33:26] Yeah.

[00:33:27] Yeah. 28.

[00:33:28] Nine around then. Yeah. No, later. No, I came later. I came 2000. It’s 2009. At the end of 2009, 2010.

[00:33:39] We come to London. Did you know anyone?

[00:33:42] Did I know anyone? I knew the ex of a very good friend in New York. Iranian guy. That he was lovely. He is lovely, gentle, wise. I knew one lady that she. I can. I can say her name and Monica Bijlani. Maybe you know her.

[00:33:59] I know Monica. I know.

[00:34:00] Yes. So Monica had found me through I don’t know who and contacted me and said, I know you’re doing you know, I know you’re studying. And I would love to come and see how it works. So I invited her to to join us the whole day in the clinic. She was exhausted. I was doing I think I was doing a graft. I think it was my first tunnel technique or something. And it took hours. I mean, what we would do with the patients for poor people. And she was like, she came to just hang out. So she was horrified after, I don’t know, 5 hours. She said, I’m going to leave now. So. So, yeah, I knew her. I knew her. And she was already I think she had her practice in Harley Street already by that time.

[00:34:48] And so but still, that’s not many people. And Monica is a very connected person herself. But that’s not that’s not a lot of people. Did you have a feeling of, you know, for me, it takes five years to settle into a new country? Did you did you have that five year bit or did you feel at home quicker?

[00:35:06] Let me tell you what I struggled. I struggled a little bit with getting used to London, getting used to the people, the things, because it’s a complete different. So that’s what I struggled with. No, I was never scared of making friends or I never do. You know, my problem many times is I don’t think I’ll just go. Let’s go. And then sometimes it’s great, but sometimes it’s like, why didn’t you step back, count to ten before you did that? Right.

[00:35:33] So because you trust your instinct maybe, huh? This is quite instinctual.

[00:35:38] Probably. I just said, yeah, fine, we’ll go. And it was a bit of a especially the energy I remember getting in the tube and no energy, no energy, nobody talks cos too loud and everyone stares at you and it’s like, whoa, this place. Not sure if I’m going to connect with anyone here. And that, that rhythm and I always had like a foot in, a foot out, know I wasn’t to. I wasn’t too sure to commit it to the city. Until until that changed? I think it was three years, probably.

[00:36:09] It’s just London’s a slow burn. Man, it is. Because especially compared to somewhere like New York, for sure. Although what you said is very true about in America, you do get sometimes someone who you think is your best friend. And then it was just a conversation they had.

[00:36:26] Here you can build community and you can build.

[00:36:29] But it’s funny because you’ve got a very, very unique perspective. You’ve got kind of the Latin perspective, if you want to call it that. The American and now the London. I’m not going to call London European at all because London is very different to other European.

[00:36:42] Yes, of course. But that Latin thing is what you see. You have that in New York and here you now there’s so many Spanish people and Latinos here. But but when I first came, it wasn’t like that. So I think that was one of the biggest struggles that I was like, I need my people. Where are they? You know? So how would you assess.

[00:37:00] How do you assess the three different societies? And I don’t mean you need to rank them or anything, but because you’ve got this kind of, you know, brilliant, you’ve lived and worked in three totally different societies. What are the what are the pros and cons? I mean, let me give you an example. I just got back from Spain myself, and I’ve been going to my parents have a place in Marbella, so I’ve been going a few years in a row. The lady who works in the cafe down the road from our house, when I was leaving, she, you know, she hugged me and kissed me and and said, boy, and, you know, see you next year and all this. And I turn around to my dad and I said, I’ve been living in London for 42 years or something. No cafe person ever hugged me.

[00:37:43] That’s my that’s my biggest struggle always, because I am a very warm person because of my background. So my biggest struggle is always that. And sometimes I’m so used to the dynamic here that when I go back home and I’ll be walking in the street and imagine there’s no one in the street and you cross someone, they’ll be like, Hi, how are you? Have a nice day. And I even get shot from it. I don’t know, you should imagine that. But that’s that’s how I grew up. So I think going back to New York, that community of Latino, they struggle so much as well because every Latino in Manhattan, for example, they either have a really awful job or the ones that made it, they kind of want to forget where they come from many times because they want to be accepted. And what do I take? I mean, they’re amazing people, but probably not the most hardworking, I must say, because of the culture. Everything’s relaxed, very relaxed. Whereas Americans are on the go, you know, you think you wake up early and it is always like thousands of people that woke up before you. They do have the teamwork that I love. And I think, as you know, to get further, you always need people, you know.

[00:38:55] The can do the can do that, the never.

[00:38:58] Ending. They’re reinventing that. Everything is possible. It was, you know, when I went there, I said, wow, I can also do like my music stuff and I can do photography or anything I want to do. Because in Spain, for example, you study law, you die being a lawyer, you study medicine, you die being a doctor, and it’s like there everyone reinvents himself all the time. Oh, no, I’m done with this. I’m going to be a painter. Great. And everything’s possible. So they really they inject that. But then.

[00:39:28] Look, basically based on what we’re saying, then on paper, you’re making America sound to be the kind of the place to be. But I’d rather live in London than.

[00:39:36] In.

[00:39:37] America.

[00:39:38] That’s right. So what are the things?

[00:39:40] Yeah, what are the things that.

[00:39:41] The downside is? It can be very fake. It can be very fake.

[00:39:47] A little bit aggressive. A little bit aggressive, too.

[00:39:50] Yes. Especially in New York. So so then, you know, it’s difficult for you to to to connect to true level with people because you never know whoever like you think is your friend. And then you turn around and they stab you in the back. So that’s that’s the they’re very friendly, very open, very this, very that. But then there’s another side. Again, this is being generalising, right? There’s another side that you’re like, whoa, I did not see that coming, you know? So obviously I don’t like that. I rather you’re cold and honest from day one that you’re really nice and then, you know, dishonest. 100%. 100%. Yeah. And then London’s mixture, I mean, of course it’s not it doesn’t reflect the UK, but in the UK there also, it depends where you go. You know, there are also people that I think the people get warmer towards towards south, maybe north like north.

[00:40:44] Oh, south London, you mean.

[00:40:46] No, no, no. I mean it. South of the country. It depends.

[00:40:49] In the north are definitely warmer, the north are definitely warmer. And in Wales I studied in Cardiff.

[00:40:55] Yes.

[00:40:55] In Wales I’m sure in Scotland there’s more of that sort of family warmth than you get in London. London is a funny town, man. I mean, it’s probably closer. Such a New York than it is to Wales national people.

[00:41:09] You know.

[00:41:10] It’s a funny town. But what I love about it is that sort of it doesn’t matter. I go out in the street, it doesn’t matter if I’m dressed up or shaved or.

[00:41:19] Yes.

[00:41:19] No one gives a damn how I look.

[00:41:22] Slim. Totally.

[00:41:23] That no one cares. And I got that feeling in Berlin, you know, it was like no one gives a damn what you look like. No one’s paying attention to you. Whereas I notice in in Spain, for instance, you know, when the families, families are gathering around in the squares and all that, which is beautiful, it’s a lovely thing, right? You see the grandparents and and the little babies and all that in the evenings. And it’s a wonderful thing, but people are kind of dressed up and people are talking a lot. I’m sure a lot of the talking is about each other, right?

[00:41:57] This is, of course, the gossip. The gossip. And if people love gossip, you know, I go back home and I and I laugh because my my friends from my childhood, friends from school and it doesn’t matter. It’s like watching one of these series that it doesn’t matter if you start an episode three or 300. Not a lot has happened. So the same thing they’ll be talking about the same neighbour, they’ll be talking about, you know what, who did this to that? And it’s like, Oh my God. That’s when you realise you say Clearly I’ve changed because you know, people just living the same way they did. It’s me that’s changed, right?

[00:42:37] So tell me about look, becoming a successful cosmetic dentist takes a lot of things, right? It takes it takes the clinical skills. It takes a bunch of psychological. So IQ things where you understand people and you have to it’s a big thing with cosmetics particularly, but then it takes some promotional skills. And I noticed, you know, I remember I don’t necessarily say, oh, that’s the year you arrived, but but I remember pre Sandra in in London and it feels like you’ve come and you’ve ingrained in society and you know, a bunch of people and you do a bunch of fun things and, and all that. And then on the social side, you’ve got a reputation for, for really beautiful work and all that. So let’s talk a little bit about the promotional let’s call it the promotional side of becoming a successful cosmetic dentist. I mean, would you say someone introverted could become a successful cosmetic dentist or or not?

[00:43:37] I’d say it’s difficult. Well, the.

[00:43:39] App is introverted.

[00:43:42] Yes and no. Yes and no. But I think you have to be extrovert to meet people. It depends what? It depends why people come to you if it’s because you’ve paid for the marketing or if it’s word of mouth. In my case, it’s always been word of mouth, which I’m grateful for. Right. So then it’s yeah, it’s it’s just it develops. And then, of course, I was lucky to have one famous person that was happy and then brought another famous actress singer or whatever it was. So then you start with that, you know, and then you meet the production company and then you meet the. The football agent. And. But but you have to. You have to interact with people. If you sit and you do nothing and expect for them to come, it’s very difficult. That didn’t work for me. You know, I had to get out there. The first thing I did when I when I moved here was get in touch with the Spanish Embassy, because I said it must be a lot of Spanish people. So, you know, Spanish people, not everyone speaks English very well, so they’ll be more comfortable speaking Spanish. That was a good way to to get in, because then they have a lot of big companies with a lot of workers and then you just you just create a contact there.

[00:44:58] Did that work? So that worked out well? Did it?

[00:45:00] That worked well. The problem is that Spanish people, when it comes to they’re quite stingy, even though they’re getting salaries from, you know, getting salaries from the UK, they’re still they still think in their back prices. Spanish prices. Yeah. So and of course when you’re not the owner of the clinic, there’s only so much you can do to help. Then the companies that were based here, even though there was Spanish, that would help them pay or have like a health insurance or something like that, then it was much easier. It was definitely much easier.

[00:45:30] And let’s talk about price objection. Then if you present a case to a to a patient.

[00:45:37] Yeah.

[00:45:38] And you can feel that they trust you. And they suddenly say, Yeah, but it’s too expensive. Do you ever do? Shift on price? You do them a deal.

[00:45:48] I should my nurses all the time. They tell me off. They like Sandra. When it comes to that, I always want to. I have this thing. I’ve always wanted to help people. I’m like, I want you to get this done. You need this. So, so I’m terrible. With the years, I’m learning to be more inflexible when it comes to price. It all depends. I think you always have to to work backwards. You have to say, okay, how much is the laptop going to be? How many visits is this person going to take? How much can I do this for? You know, and but yeah, if it’s someone complicated because as you know, there are many complicated human beings around that it’s going to take is going to be emailing you back and forward is going to take a lot of your effort then these kind of people like I’m less flexible with because I already know it’s going to be a stress, you know, but if it’s someone that yeah. That and I also depend on what it is. If it’s someone that says, oh, they need three implants and I know they’re not going to make it and they’re from another country, I say, I’m happy to refer you to your country if you go on holiday and then I’ll do, for example, an implant and I’ll do the crowns. You know, you try to help you try to help in that way. But as you know, a practice in in London and it’s expensive materials are expensive, especially now after Brexit is even more expensive. So there’s only so much you can you can do.

[00:47:12] I think working in you work in homemade and payments.

[00:47:16] Sarbanes practice it’s, it’s, it’s almost practice. Yeah.

[00:47:19] Oh it’s practice. Yeah. And I remember talking to Payman and he was saying they don’t even have a website and you know, they’re all about sort of making people happy and getting word of mouth referrals and all that said that that setting must be sort of the right setting. They let you let you do surprise and delight. Fun things for patients, I guess, right?

[00:47:41] Yeah. And he’s a wonderful he’s been like the best present I could have received being in London from from a mentor point of view. He’s just learning, watching him interacting with people. Yeah, he’s strong. He’s a great human being. He really is. And then his work is fantastic and you learn a lot from him. And he’s a person that always wants to learn from others as well, you know, and always sharing. And, and he’s yeah. Really humble. I absolutely adore him. He’s like family. I mean, it’s like family to me. So, so yeah. And I think we’re I’m very privileged because I’ve worked in other dental practices and and now I know what’s good and what’s not when it comes to to people and how they treat you and what they do to you. So having someone that just says, listen, whatever you do, I want every single patient that walks out of this clinic to have a Ferrari in the mouth. That is that says it. All right. That says it all.

[00:48:42] That’s the dream. And and the practice itself is super nice.

[00:48:45] It’s beautiful. Yes. We change location. We were at 100 for an hour, 107. And it’s beautifully done. It’s really, really nice here. And I forget. And then I’ll get patients in and they’re like, Oh, wow, what? And I keep forgetting that I’m so lucky to work in a place like this, you know? Yeah.

[00:49:04] Even the previous one was one of my favourite practices that were the movie posters and all that. It was stunning, stunning.

[00:49:10] Place had the movie places, the thing is right, which is something that, as you know, in New York, it shocks you the most famous dentists, and they’ll have like really small rooms where, yeah, they can hardly fit with a system there. And I think the experience changes a lot, especially we have a profession that the majority of people that come, they have fear of dentists. So creating a place with space and an atmosphere that is non dental, helps a lot. Helps a lot, definitely does. Yeah.

[00:49:40] Tell me about the charity work because I love seeing you with Lenny Kravitz, helping children. You know, how did that come about? What did you get out of it?

[00:49:52] Wow. What I get out of it is to. To love my profession again, that’s for sure. Because doing the majority.

[00:50:01] Difference, isn’t it? Cosmetic dentists in London.

[00:50:04] You know, helping kids, it it grounds you. I think that especially the last mission that we did hopefully this year will do one. It was I was coming to a point where I wasn’t happy anymore doing what I was doing because, you know, you treat a lot of vanity and it was like, is this really what I want to do? I love doing it. But then, you know, I’m really making a difference. And then you go to a place where, you know, you people live with pain. People you walk around people with swollen faces because they have an infected tooth that’s been there for years, you know, and the perspective just changes. And they’re so grateful for every single thing you can do to relieve that pain that you’re like, Wow, you know, with my hands, I can actually make a difference. And then I then I say, okay, this, this is what I’m meant to be doing. I want to do more charity 100%. I want to do more throughout the year because it’s my I’ve realised it’s my really happy place. And the thing with Lenny that you were saying, my mentor from New York is Dr. Jonathan Levin. And Lenny has been a patient of his for many years and they’ve developed a friendship. And he was the one that said, you know, I have a house in this little island and it’s really poor and people don’t have access to dental care.

[00:51:22] And, you know, if someone says the Bahamas and you’re like, yeah, right. Because you don’t know that there are many islands in the Bahamas and the majority and fortunately, really poor, really poor. There might be one that you can see from here and it’s like full of billionaires. And then this one is really poor. So. Yes, so he he was the one that said, you know, why don’t you bring your team? And at the beginning, it was like just a small team. And then the team has got bigger. And every year you invite like a guest. I took last time a dentist from here. He’s Spanish, but he works here in London. And my nurse, Nasim, she worked my God, she works so much. I did tell her, I said, You’re ready for this. She was like, Yeah, but she was. It makes such a difference when you work with someone in the heat. No. Ac, you’re sweating. You start really early. They were queuing up from like six in the morning and to have someone vibing in a positive way and say, yes, come on. And when your back is killing you, because obviously, you know, imagine the chair. It’s like two positions sitting and, you know, completely flat. And she made it. She made the trip. She made it worthwhile, honestly. I mean.

[00:52:37] Jonathan Levine, one of my one of my heroes with actually not not for this reason, because of the ghost smile stuff that he did with his wife. But it’s nice to hear that he’s got this side of it as well. So how does Lenny Kravitz fit into that?

[00:52:51] Well, because he’s from not from there. He has a house there and. Oh, I see. So at the beginning, it was all very under the radar. He didn’t want any publicity of him. But now they have they have a toothpaste brand, which is obviously from Jonathan, but it’s his kids with him. And now they’re trying to because every time you buy one of the it’s called twice. So every time you buy a tooth, nice percentage goes to to the charity. So now he’s much more and he just comes and hangs out. I mean, he he loves it. So that’s why it’s always very difficult because he’s either on tour or recording or and we also need a physical space because all this was done in the church. So the church was everything was removed and the dental chairs come in and and that’s why it’s quite limited, I think. I’m not sure if I told you the story that the last the last mission that we did, the last patient, everyone was wrapping up already and Lenny was hosting us at his house and I was the only one working. And then all of a sudden, the music is really loud because obviously the louder the music, the more you’re awake right after so many hours and in the heat and all of a sudden there’s this. This lady walks in and she needed five root canals mowed. And every single anterior tooth, she she couldn’t smile. She had a smile for years. She was in pain, mean one of these massive cases. And I looked at my nurses and she said, We can do this. Come on, Sandra, we can do this. I said, okay, anyway. And every time I was remove and decay, it was everything was a mess. And all of a sudden power cuts. And I thought it was a joke. I thought the lights went off. I said, okay, the.

[00:54:28] Third welcome to the third world.

[00:54:30] I said, Come on. Right, put the lights back on the light. No, there’s no power in the whole island. Once and I had just removed all the decay and the root canal, so I was ready to restore. I said, No, no, no, no, no, no, this is not happening and it’s pitch black. So everyone gathered with their loops. Everyone was giving me light, I. Really like. It was hard. It was really hard. The position I have a lot of back problems. I was, I was. And then all of a sudden when I finish, I’m like finishing polishing with a disc. All of a sudden the light comes back on. No. Seriously, we were all. I said. This is like a movie. And then. Yeah, then of course, the patient started crying. We were all crying. And it was it was one of the most beautiful moments. And she came the following. This lady had come three days in a row and she didn’t get the chance to be seen. And when she was told, Oh, sorry we missed you, we didn’t write your name down, she came from three different boats and I am really far away. And the following day she came to say goodbye to the airport. And when I saw her, oh, I started crying because I knew how long it took her to get there. The journey. She was so grateful. Yeah, just beautiful.

[00:55:52] It’s. It’s beautiful stuff. Right. But I want to just ask you about this idea that, you know, the pleasure you get from doing this work. Yeah, pleasure is a funny word, but. But the feeling you get from from doing this work, the high, you’ve got the obvious appreciation of that patient who’s, you know, it’s a different level of appreciation than a regular UK patient, obviously. Is it easy to get high on that high and then to go there for that high? And if we’re talking, you know, the benefit that you could be doing in that country, you could train ten dentists to do ten times the amount of work, but actually get there for the high. You know what I mean?

[00:56:42] This idea I 100% I agree with you.

[00:56:46] Not that I’m telling you to go train ten, ten days because you’re a dentist. Know, you go and do what you do there. Right? It’s like you need to organise a charity or something. But. But do you hear it? You hear me?

[00:56:56] Yes. Yes, I do it for my for definitely. It’s part of my mental health routine and it’s good for me. Of course I could. I don’t have to go, you know, but. But I need it. I feel like I need it. And it brings me down it. It grounds me again to to why we do this. So but yes, I 100% agree. You get the high from the high and you see it the best indigenous in New York, best dentists. We flew last time there was a technician from Brazil. He was doing denture to denture denture like I wouldn’t put his head up for hours and everyone is there just for the love of doing it. And there are people that they charge thousands and thousands. They don’t need to be there, you know.

[00:57:38] But you hear my point. My point. My point is, you know, the five of you go there and get your little high from from helping these people. But if you really wanted to help these people, you could do something other than this. You could. You could. You could pay give money. You know what I mean? I’m not I’m not saying do that, by the way. I’m not saying to do that. But but the fact that the fact that you can one can get higher from the power if, for instance, if I’m driving a truck to deliver food to a village where there is no food, I can get a high from the power of doing that. That isn’t necessarily come from the best place in my head, you know. Has that ever crossed your mind?

[00:58:19] No.

[00:58:21] Okay, then don’t let it. Don’t let it. Don’t let me pollute your beautiful mind with my disgusting thoughts.

[00:58:27] Yeah, it has. It goes on mine. Actually, I never saw it that way. But for me, what I would love is that we don’t have to. That we educate. That’s what I would love. That there’s not like, oh, I come here, extract a bunch of seeds, get rid of the pain for the majority. No. Because to extract first molars on a six year old, you know, knowing they have the whole life ahead is something that sticks in your mind. So what? The whole it’s happening. It’s already been happening for some years now. There’s there dentist from Boston University flying there and going through schools to Ed to give education. So I see it as a I don’t believe in chances it just go to the work and leave. And then the next year the same thing there has to be there has to be education because a place where a Coca Cola is cheaper than water, you’re fighting with with culture and you fight it, you know, it’s yeah. And obviously it’s cheaper to get like a burger than it is to get fish when they’re surrounded by fish. So so it’s all education. It’s all education. So I think that’s where I mean, it would be amazing that every month we could get a bunch of students in my in my ideal three. That’s how I.

[00:59:43] Should look at you should you should publicise at least the idea so that even if you haven’t got time, someone else who has got time puts it together. But but for instance, my, my, my thought is, as a young dentist, I always thought, hey, be good to do a bit of charity work. Yeah, but didn’t know where to go, what to, who to call, what to do. Okay. It was 25 years ago when it wasn’t so, so easy. Whatever. But I bet you that if we brought 100 young dentists into the room and said, Would you give a week? I bet you more than half would say yes. And so if there was a website, an organisation where and I say Young, then this doesn’t have to be young, but it’s that sort of ideal idealism of youth. If there was a place where people could go and say, okay, I want to give a week, the week of February, the second to the ninth. And the organisation could then put people in it would, it would help so many different ways it would.

[01:00:39] I tell you, if I could ask for for a wish or a Dental wish, I would say every single university obliged. You know, if you think about how many dental schools we have in the world, and if every single one did, like, you know, one of the they would be called a charity. But everyone is obliged to every single year and divide it into the months that we have to do charity. It wouldn’t be it would be a different experience because we would be educating people. We wouldn’t just be treating. It’s all about prevention. And a country like Africa did a lot in Africa as well, where a family of six shared the toothbrush. Well.

[01:01:21] Where was the.

[01:01:22] That was in Malawi. Well, yeah, and Senegal wasn’t better. But then. Then the problem with these countries is also then dealing with the politicians of the country. Right. In Senegal, we were we were stopped and they came. And because the government had changed that week, we have obviously we have no idea. But they change president the president is killed or whatever happens to the president is crazy things that happen in these countries. And then, you know, there’s a new government and they were not aware that we were there. So imagine we’re helping their people for free and they almost put us in jail, in prison.

[01:01:58] You know, unfortunately.

[01:02:00] Unfortunately, coming. Derek went to prison for one day.

[01:02:03] So coming from a third world country, myself, unfortunately, a lot of times in a in a place like that, they see a bunch of foreigners. They they just the first thing they’re thinking is, is there any money to be made out of this situation? You know, so they immediately put some put some barriers in place. And in the Third World, particularly, they’re very good at stopping stuff, you know, and very bad at starting stuff up again. You know, you should see in Iran, it’s people there’s 100 ways they can stop you. They can stop you from leaving the country. They can stop you from doing a deal. They can stop you from doing it. And then undoing that is so difficult. So it ends up, unfortunately, that the corruption of of of power I think, by the way, there is corruption of power here too. Let’s not.

[01:02:49] Of course it’s.

[01:02:50] Much more organised. Yeah, it’s much more. The numbers are even bigger.

[01:02:56] Sometimes you see resign. You see in a country everyone steals money. No one gives money back. If you’re really stupid, you go to jail, but you don’t have to give the money. And then you do it again and it’s insane. And no one resigns, you know.

[01:03:13] Even here. Even here. Test and trace. Right. You know, it’s not being talked about. Right. But billions, billions went billions went somewhere that we don’t know where it was.

[01:03:22] You like talking about that? The charity. We got our anaesthetics stolen at the airport, so we arrive. And the thing is that because many things are you either buy it because of the donations or you get you get donations from like Henry Schein or wherever the donation comes from. So we have the batch numbers and we arrive and then a setting is gone and we’re there for an hour and a half and nowhere to be seen. So then we get to the place where we’re staying and all of a sudden this guy comes up to me is his doctor, because I said, Well, tomorrow we can start working with. And the first day we worked we extracted teeth with no anaesthetic. Can you imagine? And people were putting up with that pain that was like so. So then he said, you know, we can find anaesthetic for you. And I said, Oh really? It’s like, yeah, it’s in the black market, but and then we all looked at each other and I said, You know what? Bring one of them, just bring one. And he brought it and I turn it, we check the box. So of course, because we were a bit protected, we knew some of the of the people there. I was like, tell the guy where this is from that if it’s not here by the end of the day tomorrow, you guys are going to be a big trouble. And he was shocked. I said, Because this is ours, you stole this. It was like, Oh my God, I can’t believe they’re doing this for you. It’s, you know, they need the money, so they’ll try everything. Yeah, we made them, right.

[01:04:53] Yeah. You like I say, you know, there is there is something about a developed democracy, right? Where that sort of level doesn’t happen. But it happens. It’s unfortunate. You know, Sandra, you’re such a good person, right? I feel like you’re one of the sort of people trying to be a really good person in the world. I don’t know.

[01:05:10] Why.

[01:05:12] You are. You really are. What’s. What’s what’s the key? You seem. You seem happy. Are you happy.

[01:05:17] For number one? I am. I am. What’s the key for you? Living the present. I think living the present is a big one. I think I used to not. I think I know I used to always plan and. Yeah, and then but Friday I’ll do this and then next month I’ll do that. And forgetting the most essential thing which is live the present and and be grateful for what you have, especially talking about these countries that don’t even have a piece of bread. So. So, yeah, living the present. That’s.

[01:05:50] It’s easy to say, but. But. Did you read a book like. Did you go.

[01:05:56] If you go into my house, I mean, you can have 100 different books. So, you know, gratitude. The present. The power of now. Yeah, yeah. Big books. I think meditation does a lot.

[01:06:09] It does that.

[01:06:10] It does a lot. Yes. And I always tell everyone some meditation. I mean, I’m not the best meditator. I don’t meditate every day. There’ll be days that I ran out of time, but I’ll feel it. The days that I didn’t meditate today doesn’t go the same. I can tell you that it doesn’t go the same. But yes. And and unfortunately, I’ve lived quite a few horrible personal situations, family situations. So it makes you even more like want to enjoy every moment, enjoy every moment. Yeah. So because tomorrow is not granted as you know. So, but.

[01:06:46] But if I want to live more in the present now, right now, what is it about not thinking about stopping yourself, thinking about tomorrow.

[01:06:55] Yes. And it’s about because the power of the thoughts, what you think you create. Right. So you just have to be you just have to be. And if you’re in my mum, one of the things that she does and she’s right at the beginning, we would get a bit upset with her whenever we’re, we’re home and we’re about to have breakfast, lunch, dinner or whatever it is we gather she gets a basket and everyone has to put their phone down and I and I’ll be, you know. Yeah. And everyone’s like, We’re missing something, but I’ll be at a dinner and all of a sudden I’ll be checking my phone and that’s rude. And we forgot about what manners are. And maybe many times one of them, you know, and if you’re talking with a person, you have to interact with that person. And but it’s you have to practice every day. It doesn’t you know, it’s not a formula of, oh, yeah, I’m happy. No, you have to practice as well. You have to practice. But I’m very positive that I would say I always see and if I work with, with a with a nurse, for example, I was fighting with them. They are like, oh, this hurts, that hurts. I’m not feeling well. I’m always like, Change that, change the way you’re thinking right now. I can’t have you like this. I said all the problems outside of the door here. We’re here to give that 100% that I learned a lot from Jonathan. From Jonathan Levine. I mean, he’s you know, he’s like a tiny positive. Yeah, he is. So do you do you do that a lot as well? Sports keeps your mind like this. Yeah, yeah.

[01:08:26] Like you said, like, I don’t know, when you’re skiing down a mountain, there isn’t much time to think about the past or the future is going to stay alive right now. Right?

[01:08:36] It’s the only sport I am. Resist. I had this resistance to skiing. Yes. What is the problem? Skiing in the mountain. I have fear of the incline.

[01:08:47] Yeah, but by the way, it’s not my favourite holiday being cold. Just. It isn’t.

[01:08:52] Exactly. I’ve always, always. I’m like, if you give me two days, it will not be to go to the mountain.

[01:08:59] What is your favourite holiday?

[01:09:02] Well, definitely the beach. A good book, good food, good wine and people definitely surrounded by fun times. Bye bye.

[01:09:13] Good. Do you go to the same places or do you go to different places?

[01:09:16] I go to many different places. Oh, of course. You know, back home is always a must have been going to Ibiza since I’m 17 formentera I love love a beautiful place for me is Gabby’s that here I just got back from.

[01:09:34] I just got back from Cadiz.

[01:09:36] But I love how to say Cadiz. Gabby’s just like Ibiza. So so Cadiz is, is.

[01:09:46] A fish.

[01:09:47] Market here. Yeah. You went to the town, right? So I go to this. It’s called Sora. It’s in the beach, but the beach are like kilometres and kilometres and kilometres and it’s all wild. Like I’ve never seen horses in the beach on their own, you know, it’s yeah. It’s that really grounds you that kind of holiday and it’s raw, it’s zero sophisticated. You know you go to the bar that. And it’s not like there’s zero sophistication there, but I love it. I love it. Yeah.

[01:10:17] I went to a little town outside. It is like something. De la Frontera.

[01:10:24] De la Frontera.

[01:10:26] Oh, my goodness.

[01:10:28] 15 minutes.

[01:10:29] Spain’s got so many of these little towns that, you know, you might not have heard of. Yeah, my my my marketing manager. Spanish. And she sent me that round, this little trip of the North Santander and around there. Places you would never end up in, you know. And suddenly I end up this 1000 year old village in the mountains by the. By the sea somewhere. Just. Just beautiful places.

[01:10:52] San Sebastian. I discovered San Sebastian this year. I had never been. My parents go every year and it was my first time and I was like, Wow.

[01:10:59] It’s not. I’d prefer Bilbao when I went.

[01:11:02] Yeah.

[01:11:02] Did you like Bilbao? Have you been to Bilbao?

[01:11:04] Yes, I liked it, but I just found San Sebastian like that beach is so beautiful. The food. The food. And I’m a.

[01:11:12] City guy, I think, like big city.

[01:11:16] We’re very lucky. I mean, we have a great country, but so is Italy. So is Portugal. You know, I mean, Greece, although those. Those countries are. Yeah. That I love because I love food. Again, going back to the Mediterranean thing, we just you know, I was having this conversation with a friend of mine over the weekend and he was thinking of buying property in Santo Domingo. And I said and then he was looking at the Caribbean and I said, This is the Caribbean. Only Mexico has good food. The rest is awful. Even Santo Domingo, I said it’s it’s crazy to think of a place that they have good fruit, good vegetables, but then what they serve because American, you know, it’s all full of Americans everywhere. And the cuisine is awful, like full of sauces. And I’m like, just leave the fish, leave the meats, don’t add anything to it, you know? So, yeah, I’m a foodie.

[01:12:09] Me too. Me too. So, for instance, I want to badly want to go to Philippines looking at the Instagram, but I hear the food’s not all that. Whereas Thailand.

[01:12:20] I wow, I.

[01:12:21] Love time, but I love the food in Thailand you cannot beat the food in Thailand. So when I go that way, even though I know Philippines has got these beautiful places or even Cuba. Have you been to Cuba? I heard the food in Cuba isn’t all that so.

[01:12:35] I don’t have that. They don’t have. You have to go to black market. Right. But Cuba’s very similar to Canary Islands. Very similar, but just poor really. It is like, you know.

[01:12:47] Which being culturally similar.

[01:12:49] Oh, the culture is the same, it’s the same. But I’ve never I’ve never been to a place with so much talent, dancing, singing, painting, everything, writing the just pure talent. But they invited us to this choreographer and he he’s actually he lives here. And it was quite interesting because all of a sudden in his house, the lobsters arrive. And I said, Where are these from? Oh, they’re illegal. I’m like, What? Oh, yeah, yeah. We have to close everything the house is. Because if the police sees a dinner party, they suspect they can come into your house and you get fined. What? You can’t fish? No, you’re not allowed to fish. It’s ridiculous.

[01:13:31] Contraband, huh?

[01:13:32] Think of it. Yeah.

[01:13:34] So you’ve. You’ve recently put out a course, which I’m really happy that you’ve done, because I always thought you should. You should teach. It’s an online course, right?

[01:13:45] It’s an online course here. Agnus actually that she was at your one of the teachers at your course. She sent me a really sweet message about that.

[01:13:53] And she’d been in agony.

[01:13:56] She saw the videos and yeah, so she was very happy that I did it. So it’s an online course. It’s how to do veneers from the beginning, from it’s a live patient. Everything was recorded. So from the moment of the consultation, what questions to ask red flags were to say no and then goes through photography, videography, the DSC, all the process of lab communication and the bits that I felt were missing because obviously recording everything in like in two weekends there was from like the preparation and then the fit. There were many things that I felt that were missing. So then there were bonus. There are bonus videos, everything I felt was missing, but obviously I’ll keep updating stuff as well. So of cases and it’s to build a community. This is this is mainly what it is. You know, everyone that signs up will get bonuses of what it feels to be part of a community. Because for me, I’ve done many courses and what I always found it was challenging was implementing and the and the support more than the more than implementing the support. Then you come back and you’re pretty much on your own. So then you develop all these fears and you stop doing things because. Lack of knowledge, basically. Right. So I think that’s where I want people to. Don’t be scared. Every person. That’s because we have several tiers. The tier one is just a course for the Tier two. You get access to me, to my to my WhatsApp and they don’t even I send them a message and I’m like, Hey, Sandra, if you need anything, please. And you’d be surprised, everyone. So people that are scared of asking and I said, What is it of the course that you don’t understand? Because it would be many things that you don’t ask and they’ll be scared of asking, which is fascinating.

[01:15:45] Did you I mean, this is the first time you’ve done it like a course with your name on it. Did you suffer with sort of that perfection paralysis that a lot of people suffer with?

[01:15:55] A hundred. That’s why it took so many months to launch. Yes, it was. If I go back and I’m and I’m 100% honest, I think it was the judgement, the judgement that others would have. But I’m the one judging myself more than anyone else. So I thought, Oh my God, what if people don’t like it? And this is like, Oh, this is rubbish, this and that. And commenting the comments. I remember the day we launched my, my business partner in the project. He said, Are you ready for the negativity? And I said, Really? I said, I don’t think so. He said, Well, you have to build thick skin because it will be people that know that. And I remember I yeah, I hadn’t thought about that. But yeah, it is what it is. Once you can I tell you, I haven’t watched any of the videos because he’s doing all the, the marketing aspect of it. I haven’t been able to watch any of the videos of promotional videos because I’m so embarrassed. You don’t.

[01:16:55] But I know the feeling. No, I know the feeling. I know the feeling. But I tell you, I would I would watch them, though. Yeah. Because someone that’s analytical as you as well, you’ll gain a lot by watching.

[01:17:06] Them as well. I watched it all when it was recorded. Right. And that’s why the way he’s framed them and stuff, I haven’t I said I did my part, which was a Dental part. You do your part, which is a marketing. So that’s why I didn’t want to interfere, you know, also in the ideas.

[01:17:25] But I mean, look, the the buzz, you know, the buzz you get from charity work. There’s a buzz in teaching as well that I guess you’re going to have a live element to it as well. Are you part two or three or whatever?

[01:17:39] Yes. Yes. There’s a buzz. There is. There is a buzz. There is a buzz. I think it all started I was I was with Maxime from Belgrade Academy, and I went there to hang out and see one of the courses that he did. He’s he’s a talent man. And and I was sitting down in one of the microscopes and then the person on my right, on my left. They had no idea prepping. They had no idea of nothing. And I spent the whole weekend basically teach them both. And then I thought, wow, I really liked doing this, you know? And there was super grateful because of course, when you’re in a hands on, you have to wait your turn until you know the faculty is there, helps you out. So I said, oh, I, I really liked him in this. I really like helping out and give him the mistakes, which is something that in the course I did and I was not too sure about doing, which was sharing what went wrong, it took me a second, but then I said, No, you know what? I want to show everyone how I really am. I need to show the mistakes so that they don’t they don’t do the same things I did. Right.

[01:18:48] I think that’s the most important part of a course, isn’t that the the mistakes. And, you know, and you take a lot of photographs where Dipesh does this a lot, where he’s got the final result. There’s something about the final result that isn’t perfect. And then you go backwards in the photos and and get back to the point where that error was made. And, and then that’s the learning that he had. But then but then sharing that so important. Right, because.

[01:19:18] He’s a great.

[01:19:19] People remember. People remember, don’t they. From from a story they’d remember from something like that. It’s so important. Did you go to Ukraine for the course?

[01:19:28] Yes, I did. Kiev. I did. I went before last November. Yeah. And then he invited me to to to help him in May this year. That obviously never happened. So yeah. He’s moved to Czech Republic now.

[01:19:45] Yeah. Yeah, I saw I thought.

[01:19:47] To think about how did.

[01:19:48] You feel that day when you saw the invasion of Ukraine? You must have felt that.

[01:19:52] His clinic got bombed. I just could not believe it. It is like now the parts part of it. Yeah. The building. Like he sent a picture to, to, to on WhatsApp, but I just could not believe it. But also the amount of because what we said we asked him, you know, there’s a big problem with nurses going on in well with staff in general in the UK. So I said I sent him a message and I said if any of the girls that worked for you, the work for you, if they’re willing to come to the UK, please, we’re willing to help them out because we had a problem with staff at time. And anyway, what he did, he just spread my mobile phone to everyone that asked him. So I started getting bombarded by it by dentists, some that I’ve actually met. They came to the practice and it’s shocking stories. You know, how they just walked away of everything they had, they owned and just got in a car and came here and it’s like, wow, I don’t think we I don’t think we we understand what this means and what we’re going through at the moment, you know, but that’s I think that’s humans for you. No one remembers Afghanistan now. It was this big shock and now no one remembers. Right.

[01:21:09] You also Afghanistan. I mean, obviously coming coming from the country next door. I’ve felt it a bit more than than, I guess the guy sitting in the town in Britain. But the idea that you could be an educated person with a life and and everything going for you yesterday and then today, not have a house, not have a a life and have to run away overnight. I think it resonated with with the public in a way that I’ve not seen before. And I’m not sure whether I mean, some people say, oh, it’s because the Europeans and their whites and people can I don’t know whether whether it was some sort of a social media campaign. You know, there was something behind it in terms of they wanted people to feel that way so that they could put whatever sanctions or whether it was a completely organic thing. Either way, it was the first time I’ve seen it where the public really felt it. And then now you’ve got recession and the price of oil and suddenly people remember their own lives more. And and all of those thoughts were quickly disappear as well. Yeah.

[01:22:17] Exactly. Exactly. But even your country, I mean, Iran, we are the most powerful country in the world. And how is it possible that. It is where it is now. It’s so backwards.

[01:22:26] I just. I heard last I heard malnutrition in Iran. Malnutrition, it is you know, it’s unbelievable. You know, there’s never there was always in Iran. It was way too much of everything. The idea that some people can’t eat.

[01:22:43] It’s taking it. Someone’s taking it for sure. That’s the thing. And then towards women more the fact that now you have to be completely covered. It’s like in this day and age that this thing.

[01:22:55] Let’s talk about women. Let’s talk about women in dentistry. Have you felt it if you felt outside of the obvious? I’m sure you’ve had some patient fall in love with you and say, Oh, will you marry me? Or whatever outside of that? Sort of outside of that sort of thing. Have you felt subtly that it’s more difficult being a woman than a man as a dentist?

[01:23:15] I’ve been asked this several times and I always say the same thing. Either I was very like in my own little world. I just don’t think that way. So whenever but now looking back, I, you know, situations I’ve gone through, I said, Oh, that was probably because I was a woman. But at the time I never thought about it that way. I never I’ve never seen the limitation. I just again, because of this way, I just went for it. Right. So I remember once I was asked if I had got the job because I had I had had something with the practice owner and I thought, what? And then, you know, and then the next thing that person said, well, you know, as a woman. And I thought, that’s a strange comment to make. And now looking back, I said, wow, a lot of people thought that way, but because you’re a woman, clearly you have less power and you’re not as capable as doing as doing things. In Spain, for example, male doctors are more popular than female doctors because it is a very sexist country when it comes to that. So not now. Things have changed. But, you know, the older generation, they’d rather be seen by a man, by a woman. So. So I guess, yeah, it’s everywhere. It’s just that I’ve never thought about it that way.

[01:24:35] Rather be seen by an old man in Iran. In Iran, the older your doctor is, the better he is, you know? So, like, there are some guys walking around 85 year old doctors, right? People think they’re the best doctors they must be. There’s it’s that way of thinking. But so you’re saying you’ve never felt the limitation, but looking back on it, there were some comments made or or whatever. But do you see that more as a societal thing or as in dentistry, we have a problem because there is you know, people say the industry we have a problem with not enough female role models.

[01:25:10] Which might be I think it’s I think probably as a society thing a little bit not so much in this country that it’s it’s very equal. But definitely when I go to conferences, there are not enough women. And I don’t know if it because we’re scared of lecturing or because it’s just don’t call us, you know? But it is true. Like you go to big conferences and there’ll be one female speaker and that’s it’s shocking, you know, because I can tell you several now that are amazing and they’re doing fantastic work and, you know, they’re hardly ever invited. So so yeah, I don’t know what it is. I honestly don’t know what it is. Well, but we make.

[01:25:47] This this fuel to pick from.

[01:25:51] But do you think it’s because we’re scared of just putting ourselves out there? Because, for example, for me, it’s been throughout the years that I mean, many times I’ve been asked, Why don’t you lecture? Why don’t you do this? I was always like, Oh, I’m not good enough for that. So it was coming from a place of fear.

[01:26:09] By the way, there’s many men also scared of putting themselves out there, too. But but I think you’re right. I think I think there is part of. There are some women who are eminently capable. And, you know, I noticed it. I went to a practice of one of our one of our customers. And in the practice, she was she was very strong, you know, like she said, she was saying exactly what she she she thought. I thought, you know, she was she was the boss and she was saying it. And then and then I spoke to her on on the podcast, and I found a much more reserved, much more reserved. And I wondered whether, number one, is it you know, it’s a strange situation being on a podcast, right? Or number two, is there that thing in society or as a as a woman you feel in society that you can’t be loud and and out of what’s the word, you know, like not not out of control, but, you know, like stand out outside your box, you know? But I’ve always noticed you’ve never really had that issue. But I’m I’m interested that you’re saying you do feel that and you haven’t lectured because of it. It’s interesting.

[01:27:15] Yeah. When it comes to lecturing. Yeah. When it comes to work. I’ve never had fear of being a woman at all. But when it comes to being in a public where where people can can judge. Yes, yes. Not because I’m a woman, but clearly because it’s because it’s me that is scared of doing that. Because I always feel like, oh, my God, they’re going to say this, they’re going to say that, which is a silly thing because, you know, no one’s perfect in this world.

[01:27:40] So when I think about myself or my wife in a social setting, she’s 100 times more capable than I am. You know.

[01:27:50] I’m really.

[01:27:52] Socially. Yeah. Like and like if we go to a dinner party or something, I’m a little bit awkward. I’m very shy. Very, very, very shy. And she’s not she’s she’s she’s very strong, you know. And what she’ll do is she’ll find the one person in the room who isn’t talking to anyone and go and talk to that person and, you know, be very nice and understand everyone. And but then if you ask her to stand on a stage and talk, you might as well ask her to do something. You know, to her, that’s the most difficult thing in the world. And I wonder if I tell her if that’s a man woman thing or what. You know, by the way, I don’t like standing on stage. I like this format because I don’t have to be seen. You know.

[01:28:32] You can hide.

[01:28:34] I can hide. So tell me this, Sandra. If someone wants to download your course. How does that work? To get it, let’s say I want it. What do I do?

[01:28:44] We’re has to. Yes. Veneer. Veneer, school. That’s where all the modules are. Is there a taster.

[01:28:54] Of it somewhere? Like if you want to taste it before you buy it?

[01:28:57] On my Instagram, which is. Sandra Briggs Well, there are loads of videos of like little I think there was one today about preparation. So yeah, a lot of a lot of videos where you can see the formats. It’s an interesting format because it’s a bit like a movie, you know. So it’s, it’s nice to show it. They did a great job. They really did. And the patient was was amazing because, you know, it’s not easy to be there hours and hours of recording and the mouth open and then the rubber dam. I mean, you know, because we did everything under the rubber dam as well. And then we did like a bonus of mini rubber dam course with the course. So she was the one that I picked to do everything. So and I have a funny thing halfway through the fit, isolated every single tooth. And she’s a makeup artist and she says, You know what? I have a client that really needs a makeup. Can I can I go? I said, you must be joking. Right. And this is 9:00 pm on a Sunday. No, but what do you mean you could go? She’s like, Oh, but it’s I can’t say no to the job. So I dumped her, removed everything that you know, how much it takes to rub a dam? Everything. She went to Knightsbridge, to the Mandalorian, to. To do her stuff. Then I said, okay to me, do some some food for for the the camera crew and stuff. And she came back and we finished. So it was like, wow, seriously after we put there. Yeah.

[01:30:34] I’m going, I’m going to wrap it up soon. Sandra But we always have a dark part of this podcast and it goes around the question of biggest mistakes.

[01:30:45] In dentistry, the biggest mistakes that I’ve done, like.

[01:30:50] It can be clinical, it can be tactical, it can be management or ideally something I’m going to give people something people can learn.

[01:30:57] From. Yes. Clinical. Not checking on a full composite case like veneered composite veneers. Not checking what my nurse was given to me. The shade. So I did a bit of a mismatch.

[01:31:15] Different colours on different teeth.

[01:31:17] Colours and different teeth.

[01:31:20] That was only realised after he’d finished everything, right?

[01:31:24] Yes. I said, wait a minute. Strange. That was like, whoa! Once and no, never again.

[01:31:32] What did you do? Repeat the work.

[01:31:35] I couldn’t because it was already so many hours in. So I called I called the patient to come back.

[01:31:40] And removed it all, removed the bits you had to remove, I guess.

[01:31:43] Because it was it was this bad. It was like b one against a two, you know, two or three. It was like really, you know.

[01:31:52] It was obvious when you told the patient when you when you told the patient what had happened.

[01:31:58] You know, the patient might not even realise that’s a funny thing. Yeah, probably the following day. But there she was like, Oh yeah, I can see, I can see. But it was so late as well that she was like, It’s okay, they look beautiful. And I’m like, Yeah, the wrong colour situation when you might not be. Thank God the essentials are the same. You didn’t get that wrong. It was a lateral premotor and then canine premotor as well. Yeah.

[01:32:32] And the patient was understanding.

[01:32:34] Yes. Yes. And I said, listen, I didn’t check. I must we must have run out of this. And I’m so sorry. Something else thing. You know.

[01:32:44] I’m interested if you’ve got a story where the patient wasn’t understanding, even if the mistake was a smaller mistake. Did you have any time like that?

[01:32:51] I’ve had. And now I’ve learned from this, whenever you do, of an ear case, given the expectation that it was, it was always going to be perfect in the fit. Not saying, listen, this can go wrong several times. It’s like a central right. This can go wrong several times. Many times is the most difficult truth of the matter. You have to put it on the really negative side. And if we’re so, so lucky than a second next appointment, everything’s perfect. Then we’ll fit. But it’s unlikely that that happens. That’s my talk now. My talk back then was like, Oh yeah, two weeks of fit and it was sedation case. None of the patient remove everything. Nothing fits it. Nothing fits it. Because when I took the impression, silicone impression, the patient opened a little bit and then I, you know, and then I positioned it again. So obviously it wasn’t my fault. They work on a model that had a different like the reference was completely different, not one fit that was like that patient. So my patient today what he was yeah imagine sedation and the whole trauma of having every single tooth removed temporary removed and yeah that was yeah.

[01:34:07] Was he not understanding why he was sedated so you couldn’t really argue.

[01:34:11] No. But when he when he obviously has sedation and contemporaries and he’s like, what is this? I had documented everything. What happened? He was like, What? You know, he was at the time he was was a CEO of one of these big supermarket chains. He was not having it. So he had very limited time.

[01:34:32] And so what happened?

[01:34:33] He well, I took everything, all the screams and all the nastiness. And then I said, and we have to we have to redo it. I’m really sorry. But, you know, did you like the colour?

[01:34:51] Colour was right. So. But but he didn’t take any further or anything. He didn’t?

[01:35:00] No, no, no, no. Well, he could. And he was in temporary. There was nothing I did wrong, right? Yeah, right, right, right. But but, yeah. Funny stories. Funny stories. But thanks for sharing them. Yeah, thanks. The older you get, the more cautious you are. That’s right.

[01:35:17] And thanks and thanks for sharing about. I can tell you’re uncomfortable talking about about the cause. Like, you know, you’re that kind of person who’s not a self-promoter. I can I can see that. I can see you’re uncomfortable in the self-promotion. And for listeners of this, I’m such a massive fan of Sandra’s right that I contacted her and said, Please be on the podcast. When I saw that she had a course because she she’s not the type of person to push at all. I know your your business partner looks like he knows what he’s doing. As far as pushing the opposite, the total opposite. It’s good, man. You need someone like that. You need to. You need both sides. But I could see you were uncomfortable talking about your course, and so I’m happy you shared about that. Yeah.

[01:36:01] It’s you know, I’m the kind of person that that struggles more receiving a present than make it presence. I love it so.

[01:36:08] I can see.

[01:36:09] You know, it is.

[01:36:12] So we finished this podcast with the same two questions I start with with mine fantasy dinner party. Three guests. Dead or alive. Are you going to have?

[01:36:27] They have to be famous.

[01:36:29] No. Be your grandmother’s grandmother?

[01:36:32] Yeah. Funding Whitey. I would probably sit down. My grandmother with my grandmother from my mom’s side. She was she died with 102. Say no more. How much history?

[01:36:52] Were you close?

[01:36:55] Very close. Very close. She was she was she was crazy. But she was a lot of fun. She was not for what I understand. She was not that great of a mother, but she was a great grandmother. So she was, you know.

[01:37:09] Maybe that’s why maybe that was the reason.

[01:37:11] When she was not very present with them. Because she was. Yeah. But as a grandmother, she was hilarious. I mean, she wasn’t the one that would come and my parents would go out and she would stay with us. You know, it wasn’t that kind of person. It was a person that you would just have fun. And the story she had were unbelievable. And we would learn from her every day. But she wasn’t the kind of grandmother that would cook for you and, you know, and babysit. No, that was that was the other one I had. I was lucky enough to have one of each but her 100%. I feel her very presence. She died many years ago, but I still feel her all the time. Oprah. Oprah Winfrey, I think she’s a total fan of her. And Nelson Mandela, which is another of my big idols. Big item. That would be an excellent. With a lot of amazing red wine.

[01:37:59] Yes, sure. So why Oprah?

[01:38:03] Because I. I know her story like and she’s a she’s a perfect example of everything in life is possible. When I did the Tony Robbins course, he started off by talking about this, this little girl. And he didn’t say, was Oprah. Right? And he said, you know, she was from I don’t know if you know, but she was very poor background and then her uncle raped her and then someone else in the family and she went mental. So she was sent to a mental hospital and then she got pregnant with the same age her mom had got pregnant with her, which was not wrong. I think it was 15. Well, he had an abortion. Obviously, her mom didn’t. That’s why, lucky enough, where we have, you know, so so Tony Robbins was putting you in context of how horrible this human being’s life had been. And he said and today she’s the richest woman in the world and her name is Oprah. And everyone just went, whoa, you know? And I thought, imagine. I mean, she’s she’s she’s done everything. Everything is possible. And she’s done it. And she I think I don’t know her personally, but from the outside, it looks like she’s she’s grandiose. She’s very mindful, super smart. And she keeps going. She keeps going. Has all these schools in Africa for for girls. Yeah. I really admire her. And Nelson Mandela. I mean, what person goes to jail for 20 something years and comes out and wants to make peace with white people?

[01:39:35] Sure. No, I understand. I understand. Now I understand. You want to. You want to get to know her, right? And Prav isn’t here. But his final question is.

[01:39:47] I know. I see his little thing.

[01:39:49] Yeah. The little cartoon of his final question is your last day on the planet.

[01:39:57] You go, you’re in the beach.

[01:39:59] No, but you’ve got your nearest and dearest on the beach with you.

[01:40:03] Yes.

[01:40:04] What? Three bits of advice would you give?

[01:40:07] Would I give to them?

[01:40:08] To them in the world? Yeah.

[01:40:12] 100% live the present. Yes, it would be in the beach. It would be amazing. Food, wine. Again, it sound like there’s a pattern here. I don’t do any service right away. Yes. And definitely by the sea and with my family, my loved ones. And yeah, live. The present will be one. Never hold back, always try to achieve everything because again, everything is possible. It might take time. It might take many, many skills to get wherever it is that you want to go. But I’m I’m a dreamer. I always believe everything’s possible and try not to do to the others where you don’t want to have done to you. Try to be a good human being. Yes.

[01:41:02] Very nice. Are you religious, Sandra?

[01:41:06] Well, I was raised as a Catholic. Do I go to church Sundays? No. Do I practice? I talk to God. Call him Jesus, Allah, Mohammed. Whatever you want to call him, you know. I think it’s the same. It’s the same. I think we’re all God, everything’s God. But I do believe there’s a force above us and that I talked to.

[01:41:30] What you say when you talk to do what you do, you ask for stuff.

[01:41:34] Well, me, I ask for stuff and I give thanks. I always start the morning giving thanks to just being alive. That my family’s healthy. That everyone’s healthy. Is that part.

[01:41:44] Of is that part of Catholic upbringing that most most people do that every day?

[01:41:48] Yeah. You it’s at night that you pray and in the morning you give thanks. Yet at night you pray. I sit with my grandmothers and always pray. But again, you know, it’s like Catholics, the same thing. I don’t believe in limitation. I don’t believe in dividing. So something I learned being in New York and going to I had a patient that was a priest and he was a Baptist and Baptist church. They celebrate life. They celebrate death. Yeah. Yeah. For example, you go to a Catholic, it’s very serious funeral and it’s all bad energy. Like, everyone’s sad, everyone’s crying, everyone’s in black. If you’re a widow, you have to be in black for like a year, at least. And and it’s like, this is not how it’s meant to be. Right.

[01:42:37] So how old were you? How old were you when you when you sort of saw through the I’m you know, I’m not saying you had to see through it, but know the Catholic teaching and ways of the guilt and the that sort of thing. How old were you when you when you figured, you know, I don’t know about all this, you know, organised religion as opposed.

[01:42:56] To probably when I when I moved. Yeah. When I moved out of my house probably. Yes. 17, 18.

[01:43:03] So at that point you were fully in it like when you were 16, you were like you really believed in.

[01:43:08] I did. I did. Yeah, I definitely did. And but then then it was like an eye opener of, no, this is not religion that divides, say, because you’re gay, you don’t exist because you’re you know, this race is inferior to this one. No, just just like people that kill in the name of God. I mean, what is this? You know, again, limitations. So, so and then I love studying other religions. And I asked people and I said, why do you believe this and why do you believe that? When I moved to New York the first week, there was a muslim in my class and I was never exposed to Muslims. That’s the truth, because coming from a Catholic country and all my friends were pretty much raised the same way I was, and it was Ramadan. And I remember we sat in a table and he’s like a brother to me now. But at the time I started having breakfast and then he said, How dare you have breakfast? So. So what did he say? I can’t remember what he said exactly. But but he said, this is very rude towards me because, you know, I’m fasting. And I said, Why are you fasting? And then he started explaining and I was like, Well, that’s your choice, but it’s not my life.

[01:44:22] Why do I have to, you know, but and I clashed so much with him in the beginning. And because it was all he would say, what you couldn’t do and what you could do. And I was like, Wow. But then you come to a respect, an understanding, and he’s one of my dearest friends. And then you say, okay, maybe what I believe or what I think. I believe the story I’ve been told that I believe is not a right story. And there’s so many other people in the world. And why do I am I judging everything? I’m seeing everything with my glasses. That was the first wake up call with the Muslim world. And then because it’s true, it’s in Spain, it was very racist towards other religions, you know, and you would see a guy like especially after what happened in Madrid, the bombs, you would see a guy that he was clearly Arabic with a backpack and everyone would walk away. That’s crazy, you know. So the world terrorists, you know. Yeah. And that’s that’s why I believed until I was exposed to other things and I said, okay, how come I was such so narrow minded?

[01:45:30] It’s a powerful thing. You know, what you what you get told and the way the way things are, it’s just a powerful thing. Every every country has it as well. You know, the Arabs have it, too. They have their own problems in that same respect. You know, people tell you the story I’m quite interested in, you know, the the national myths. Like, I’ll tell you, in Iran, we have a national myth that something around great civilisation from thousands of years ago and then every Iranian knows. The story. Right. And it’s I’m very proud of the story at this one, this taxi driver taking me from the airport to thing he was telling. He literally was totally believing it, saying, look, we’ve got America, you’ve got China and you have Iran. He was he really meant it. He really believed it. And, you know, the national myths of different countries. And I remember I was in Portugal and they were talking about, oh, we discovered the whole world, you know, Christopher Columbus and all of that. Which which which they did. Right. You know, if you want to look at it that way.

[01:46:34] Every virtually every country has its own.

[01:46:38] Every country has its own story. It tells itself right, its own lie. It tells itself. It’s interesting, though, to find out each country’s lie that they’re telling each other, telling themselves, you know. Anyway, it’s been such a pleasure having you, Sandra.

[01:46:52] Thank you.

[01:46:53] I do hope the course goes well for you. And like I say, you’re not the type of person to push yourself at all.

[01:47:01] And I really appreciate that message. And I really loved it. I thought, oh, man.

[01:47:07] I really hope the charity thing works out. And I really I think between us and whoever else is listening to this who thinks it’s a good idea, we should try.

[01:47:15] And reach out to.

[01:47:17] That thing, organise that thing where people say, Hey, we should get someone like someone who knows about computers. Prav, you know, to make a little website that says, Hey, I’m available this week to This Week and connect. It’s such a, it’s so it’s so it’s so what you said it’s so beneficial to the dentist, let alone to to the to the person being treated. Real pleasure to have you. Sandra, thank you so, so, so much.

[01:47:41] Oh, darling, thank you so much. Have a great evening.

[01:47:45] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:48:01] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

This week sees the return of dentist, educator and breakdancer extraordinaire Shiraz Khan. 

Shiraz reveals how he almost chose a career in medicine before setting on dentistry. He describes starting on the first rung of the ladder as a receptionist and the joy of discovering he’d been accepted at dental school.

He also chats about family life, overcoming career challenges, and the inspiration behind his trademark sartorial elegance.

Enjoy! 

 

In This Episode

01.11 – Backstory

09.32 – Discovering dentistry

13.48 – Break dancing

19.28 – Dental school

22.38 – First job and taking off

36.13 – Family life and work-life balance

58.35 – Fashion

01.04.41 – Teaching

01.08.10 – Blackbox thinking

01.11.00 – Last days and legacy

 

About Shiraz Khan

Shiraz graduated from Birmingham Dental School in 2013 and went on study restorative dentistry at Croydon University Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas.

He has won various awards, including Best Young Dentist 2017, Rising European Star in Dentistry 2018 and best restorative case at the Aesthetic Dentistry Awards 2019. Shiraz has also won the Fast Track 4 award, recognising the profession’s future leaders. 

He is director of the Young Dentist Academy and a prolific trainer and lecturer with IAS Academy, whose appearances include EXCIDA’s 75th national congress in Tehran, Iran. 

[00:00:00] I went into this practice, did some experience, and I was like, Listen, I’d love to work. Like, I’d love to work here in any capacity. So I started as a dental receptionist. How interesting. I started as a dental receptionist. So in 2008, they introduced GDC registration for nurses. So up until I’d finished, I worked as a nurse. What was it? So now I’m being exposed to all of the clinical stuff. And you know what? I was thinking about this the other day, that that’s exactly what I’m like. Like, if I want to do something, I throw myself so that I’m totally immersed within that subject so that I can become the best at it that is in my ability. So then I was working in a dental practice five days a week as a nurse, as a nurse receptionist for nine months before I went to dental school.

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

[00:01:11] Just tell us about your upbringing. Yeah. Where you grew up, what growing up or what life as a kid was like for you. Just give us a potted history. So for those that know me quite well, I have no medical background in my family. So very, very simply, my parents very much worked working class for their whole lives. Education wasn’t a prospect for them, and they worked incredibly hard to be able to provide for three kids myself, my sister and my brother. But education was quite an important thing for them, so that, as we’ve said before, they didn’t live we didn’t live the life that they had to go through to provide for us. And it was difficult, you know. There wasn’t you know, there wasn’t, you know, new clothes or trainers or phones or whatever it was literally means to getting day by day. I was in an area that wasn’t hugely populated with my ethnicity, so that had its challenges, too. He had grown over the over the last couple of decades, but I was one of a few Asian, Asian, Arabic, whatever you want to call it. Kids in my school, which had its challenges. What do you mean by challenges? Very openly. And he’s your darker skin than everyone. And all of a sudden, as children, which can be very, very mean, a difference is an opportunity to get one over on someone. So whilst a lot of my friends were really lovely, there was definitely a crowd that that weren’t fans, if you can call it that, without any reason for it.

[00:02:44] If we just dig a bit deeper into that Shiraz and just take the lid off it. All right. They weren’t fans, but what was the was day to day? I mean, there was was bullying. There was not getting picked for a football side. All of this stuff like that means so much to you as a kid. You know, like when you when you’re on the line and you’re choosing teams for football, you just want to get picked and then everyone’s like, alright, well we’ll have, we’ll have Shiraz as the goalie. Yeah, yeah. Not even the goal. I was like defending behind the goalie like, you know, I mean like it wasn’t even actually getting to play and there was a couple of years of that and it was and it was. It’s hard. The funny thing is, is I think that can put you in two directions, can it? And I think that’s applicable to adults. You can either spiral away or you can say to yourself, Now I’ll prove my worth. I’m as good as everyone here. And that’s what it does for me. If I get challenged, even this happens in modern day, I get challenged. I think, right. What can I do to better myself, to not be challenged for that same situation again or be able to come out on top and any name call it? Loads, loads.

[00:03:52] Four letter word that begins with P. You’ve probably heard of it. Yeah. All of that. And hearing that as a kid and then going back home, I guess you and your brother and sister get in a bit of that. I know as an adult you can sit there and say, Oh, well, you know, if that happens to me, I rise to the challenge and all the rest of it. Is how you felt as a kid? It’s quite it’s really demeaning. The thing is, is that sometimes you have to put ourselves back to being children because now we’ve got children and you don’t want them to feel these things. But at the time, you just sit there, think, what’s wrong with me? You know, you really delve inside, but what have I even done? And I think the real fruit of that is going through that journey to realise that nothing’s wrong and you can be a great human being. But of course you go home at days, you know, and that’s another day. And obviously because I wasn’t from a necessarily wealthy background, I wasn’t in with the cool kids because I had like cool stuff. It wasn’t even that either. It was just, Oh yeah. So it’s charades. Yeah. So then, then moving on from there, growing up, being exposed to all of that, what type of a student were you? What sort of grades were you getting and what was the overlying message from from your parents in terms of academic and what you should be doing? Was was was there a posture of strive to do to do better academically? And and that was for a better life? Was it anchored to that? What was the message then? I mean, I think there’s a lot of parts to that question.

[00:05:26] So to start with, I was never a bright individual. I wasn’t someone who would naturally perform well in exams. It did go through fluctuations. So I was a very average performer. I always wanted to play and it wasn’t play sport, it was always sport. And God bless my grandfather who died in 97. He used to say to my mum when I was like ten years old, Listen, he needs to stop playing all the time. He needs to do some work. All he wants to do is be outside and play all the time. And it was cricket, football, basketball, any sport I was up for. But invariably going to the next part of the. Question. There was a push from my parents to achieve. And the reason for that was very, very clear. They just wanted better for me. Now, the funny thing is, at the time you think people are on your case, don’t you? As a kid, you don’t think, oh, the flower that is going to blossom in the next ten years time or 20 years time, you’re like, Could you just let me go and play cricket, please? And I think not that I can give parenting advice to anyone, but I think one of the key messages is actually how frustrating it may be.

[00:06:34] Having saying the same message again and again is that message that gets repeated and repeated and repeated that will lead to great things for them in the future. And sometimes as children, maybe we think we know, but there’s a reason we have grey hairs and that experience will pay dividends for the future. And so moving forward, GCSEs, A-levels and all of that, were you hitting top grades started to ramp up then? Because frankly, I was quite tired of being told off. Like, you know, since year four, I was being told off that don’t say stop right now. I need to put my mind to it. I did. I got A’s and B’s in GCSE, so I picked myself up. I think I had the ability to know how to work hard. I just wasn’t necessarily intelligent or whatever the definition of that is. So then I put a draft in, did my thesis, A-levels, got the grades I needed to as a B and two C’s. So I did five, so I did extra. So I got all the grades that I needed to get into university. But my parents want me to do medicine, and I kind of didn’t feel like I want to do medicine, frankly.

[00:07:43] But you’re a 16 year old kid in your parents or 15 year olds personally. That’s what you’re going to do. You don’t really have the the backbone to say no at that time, do you, really? So I went ahead, applied for medicine, didn’t get in, had the grades, have anything on paper. I played sport at a level that was required. I’d done lots of things but didn’t get in, and it was really, really confusing. Did you did you get interviewed for medicine? Who went through that whole process? I got to the interviews and it’s really funny because, you know, my whole life people have told me that I interview well as an example. But it’s just like, you know, I understand when I don’t interview well and it’s when I’m completely passionless about the subject because you can’t show passion when it doesn’t exist. It’s like you can see through it. It’s like a glass glass block, isn’t it? So I’d gone to these interviews and you tell us why you wouldn’t do medicine, so seems like a good thing to do. Mum and Dad said it was a good idea. Yeah, I may as well have said that, frankly speaking. Yeah. Because it was just so unmotivated. And then what happens is you then question your own ability because getting it, getting a rejection actually is quite deflating. And when you get it multiple times, you’re like, Oh man, I’ve got everything they need.

[00:08:55] Why I’m not getting it. It’s because the choice was not truly my choice. So what I then did was I did medical science is a happy medium medium for my family, so I did it. B.s. in medical sciences. Court. You did that for three years. It was like you could apply for medicine afterwards. Finished it. And I was like, right. I’ve seen a bit of the world. No. And when she’s my own life. So and I think I’ve mentioned this to you before, I did all the different experiences that were medical health care, because that’s what I kind of wanted to do. Optometry, physio, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry. And it was dentistry that really, really took me by storm. Tell me about that dentistry work experience, because that must have been influential, right? Yeah. I mean, it was it was everything. It was the fact that you established relationships over a long time. So one thing I couldn’t get over in medicine like I didn’t want to be a GP because all I mean this is are very important people and I’m not questioning that at all. But my experience shadowing was print go, print, go. And I thought, that’s not I want to be more involved clinic like I won’t use the hands. I love that stuff. The problem with hospital side is that you don’t necessarily look after people for a long period of time.

[00:10:10] You’ll do the OP, see them for a review, then they’re done. Dentistry, you’re seeing patients. You’ve see their kids. You’ve seen their kids. Kids. You build up these relationships over a long period of time. You’re doing very manually creative work and it’s like the dream. I was like, Oh my God. Like, why have I not even thought about this before? And so tell me about the working spirit. Who was it with the work experience? Fairfield’s dental surgery in Staines. Incidentally, not all that far from from a good friend of ours practice, Rothley Lodge, which isn’t that far away. Okay. And I’d finished my medical science degree and I said to myself, Right, I’m going to I want to get a job, but I’m not going to get a job with GSK, which I had on the cards, because I don’t know how to say this without sounding inappropriate, but I don’t want to earn real money and get a taste for that and then have to leave that and then go back to eating beans on toast again. I’d rather just graft in the field that I’m going to try and achieve and just stay on beans on toast until you’re ready. Yeah. And the whole year was beans on toast. But actually I was quite lucky. I stayed with my mum and dad. Yeah, I had some cheese and eggs, mate. You know, when you’ve got eggs, cheese, beans all mate, that is gourmet cheese on toast.

[00:11:30] But I went into this practice, did some experience, and I was like, Listen, I’d love to work. Like, I’d love to work here in any capacity. So I started as a dental receptionist. How interested? I started as a dental receptionist, and this was prior. So it was 2007. So in 2008 they introduced GDC registration for nurses. So up until I’d finished. I worked as a nurse. What is it? So now I’m being exposed to all of the clinical stuff. And you know what, Prav? I was thinking about this the other day. That that’s exactly what I’m like. Like, if I want to do something, I throw myself so that I’m totally immersed within that subject so that I can become the best at it. That is in my ability. So then I was working in a dental practice five days a week as a nurse, as a nurse receptionist for nine months before I went to dental school. Had you already got your place at dental school when you were working in there? So. After three months, I had my first interview while I was working there and I got an offer letter within four days. And why was that unconditional? When I say unconditional, I already had all of what they needed. So you were in. But I was you know, I had asked the question that the interview was like, oh, you know, and he was like, you know, usually it takes about two months to find out whatever allowed.

[00:12:50] You got four days. And I remember the day, you know, that comes in, it’s like you got a letter. And obviously in those days you don’t get letters, do you? Really? It’s only if you work, you apply for university and that opens it. And I open it and I’m like, that opens it? No, no. I was like, Give me now. I’d let him open it, to be fair. And I remember opening it and I said, Dad. And he said, Oh, no. So I got in and like the elation, he jumped. He hugged me and I was like almost in tears. I was thinking about it brings it back, you know, because having gone through medical interviews and not being successful, you believe that you’re not good enough. But later on in life, it teaches you that not achieving something will make you push you to become stronger and be better, to be able to qualify and get those things or make that achievement whatever it was. And that’s an episode that’s repeated itself in your life a couple of times, doesn’t it? I’d like to think so. But I mean, you know me, I don’t like looking back at what I’ve done, but yeah, I suppose it has. Just before we go further into your dental career, when did the dancing start and was that something that was a part of your youth and then you brought it back into what you’re doing today? It’s really about that.

[00:14:01] And that was something you and your brother do. Yeah, me. Me and my brother did both of us. But no, it was nothing like Parvati left me really openly. I had, you know, I was that guy that if there was ever a dinner and dance type thing over that. No one’s looking. No one’s looking. No one’s looking. 27. I went to university for dentistry. I saw some guys dancing in a local town. I was like. That’s amazing. How did you do that? Like what? Where’d you learn to do that? Right. So I found out through some local people as class going on and I just typical Shiraz now that I’m saying it it makes sense. Beg pardon? Typical me is that I’m just going to go I’m just going to a class like well, I’m going to pretend to learn it on some YouTube tutorial and we’ll go to a class. And I do this all the time, like you said, repeats itself again. I throw myself in as deep as I can go and I want this class and you know, you’ve got a dental student and you’ve got all these quite hip hop, quite sort of people that look quite intimidating. And they’re like, Who’s this guy that’s come over here? So. And it’s simply based on. You go and get that on the footage. Look at this guy.

[00:15:23] He’s trying to look young. Come here. Let’s go. Look at this. Look at this guy. I’m having a positive response. Look at this. This guy up here. I knew he was standing there. I was like, I’ve got to cut this one short because he’s going to do some funky Newsome’s. Yeah, so we will. So. So the dancing took me by storm. That’s what I was asked. Yeah. And did you go with your brother at that time? I went to a class. And typically, as you do. Do you have brothers? Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, when you’ve done something new, the first thing you do is you go home and you’re like, Look what I can do. Like, my dad was mortified and I thought, This is like, what is that rubbish you’re doing? Where did you learn this? I told you we shouldn’t send them to Birmingham. So the first thing that came my brother and he was like, Oh my God. And then obviously. Is your brother younger? Yeah. Right. So the younger brother always comes out like a 2.0, don’t they? Like you were the test dummy. And then you get this really slick looking younger, much more handsome, much more, much more. But all of that lighter skin, like wherever he picks up everything, like in 5 seconds. So it’s taken me three months to do this one move. He’s literally like 10 seconds in front of you, and a part of you is like, why did you get that so quick? Like, you know, and, and then, but then we were doing it together and I went went to Korea, taught English as a foreign language, went out there basically, so I could learn off the the pioneers of breaking in that country and stuff like that is amazing.

[00:16:58] Amazing. And has that been something that stayed with you over the years or something that you’ve dropped and come back to? It stayed with me throughout up until I would say about COVID, really. Covid obviously was a hope for everyone’s lives in every industry, but a big part of what I do, there’s two sort of ways you can do this, this dance side of things. It can be performing, arts based, theatrical, and we’ve done that. We’ve done theatre shows at Sadler’s Wells and stuff like that, or it can be competitive based and it was always competitive, so that really got me. And so how do you compete in the type of dancing that you do is I assume this judges score you on certain moves or the routine. Are you competing as part of a team, as an individual? How does that all work? Almost all of the above, actually. And what’s really funny, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but in 2024, breaking is going to be in the Olympics, right? Paris, 2024. Wow. There are going to be Olympians that will win medals.

[00:17:56] Right. So what’s really interesting is part of this process and I’m on various committees for breaking and advisory boards and stuff and we’ve been talking about how to make a clear system to be able to judge this stuff because you’re instantly accountable at this level. Now, you know, when it’s like a couple of mates and like, Yeah, I think you won. That’s all it was. Now it’s becoming much clearer and much more recognisable and recordable. In answer to the question about teams, I’ve got a team that we in fact were world champions. We won just four weeks ago. We won the world championships for breaking. I mean, I’d be very open about this. My role within the team was relatively nominal, right? But I was still there. We still did some stuff, we did routines and all of that. And some of the people that are in my team, I mean, they’re sponsored athletes by like NAC and stuff like that, like proper, you know, they’re amazing. In fact, they’re the best in the country. So I do team stuff. They do two and two with my brother as a partner, two and two with my crewmates. I do solos, so all genres actually. But I think if we make a parallel within dentistry, I think the best way to become a team player is to work on yourself to start with, right? And if you can understand what it is that rocks your world or makes you better or makes you perform better, if you explore that, you understand how you can work in a team environment better.

[00:19:19] So I think there’s a lot of parallels actually. Dentistry and I mean infinite amounts. Yeah, we could do a whole podcast on that, to be fair. And so just taking us back to your dentistry, so you done this work experience, is it fair fields to do special dental fairfield’s dental centre and then dental school in Birmingham? Tell us about dental school. What was it like? What sort of student were you? Well, student life like back then. So it was important to me to not go to university in London because I still want to have the experience of living out and becoming your own person and all those sorts of things. Again, it’s history repeating itself because I wasn’t a sparkling student in any way academically. I’d do very, very average. I’ve always passed, I’d always pass. But student life was really cool for me because I then started to get immersed into the Birmingham. Like town breaking seen, not just university, like being in university clubs. So I’d be going to competitions all around the country. And in fact, I’ll tell you one really interesting story, and I’ve got so much time for this lady. Her name is Deborah White. She was the head of school at the time. And my team, the team I was in at the time, had got selected to represent the UK in Slovakia in an international breaking competition.

[00:20:41] I had an oral surgery exam right on the day that was supposed to be travelling back and I just went to a really openly and I was like. Professor White. I don’t really know how to talk about this because it probably sounds so far fetched. My team is selected to represent the UK and is at the same time as sort of surgery exam. I want to say exam. It was like a test. Like a progress test. It wasn’t a final final. And she’s like, Well, you have to make sure you go then tell me right what I’m going to do. I’m going to go upstairs, call up all surgery elite. You can speak to him and we’ll get you a private sitting for the exam afterwards. So, like, like, just think about that for a minute. You’ll give him a pardon to reset an exam at a later date, which is an inconvenience for a lot of people. So I can go and pretend to spin on my head. I mean, that as a principle sounds pretty weird, right? Yeah, but just a sentiment to the institution that they were really about people flourishing as people as opposed to becoming robots to assist them. And the irony of that was that all surgery exam that everyone end up sitting, they got given the incorrect paper is the paper they had already done.

[00:21:56] So they cancelled that mark altogether. So didn’t even have to sit it in the end. Would you believe it? You believe it. What are the odds? But a real big shout out to the University of Birmingham, because I think that was in fourth year. And by that time they had realised, I’m a serious student, I’m not I’m not failing things. I work hard, but big shout out to them because a lot of people would say absolutely not. Yeah, yeah. And then so moving on, you qualify as a dentist. What was your first job? First job was in Gravesend Kent with a lovely gentleman call akin to Corrie. He was my first supervisor and it was a wake up call. You know, you there’s a subtle pride when you get that badge. It says Dr. Shiraz Khan or Dr. whatever. And you think, yeah, I get it now. And then you go out into the world and you get absolutely nothing. I mean, you got how to read a book, in essence, and maybe do a few procedures, but people very, very quickly work out that you’re very inexperienced and that they can probably make you do what they want they want you to do. It was in a relatively high needs area, so it’s just quite comprehensive that you should start with, which is good. But acting himself, I mean, he was he was he was a champion to me because he also had realised that I’ve got this underlying passion and drive and he just, he just you just pushed it.

[00:23:20] You just, you just kept pushing me. I’d never done a surgical extraction. Like, he was like, right, let’s do it. This one’s coming in, right? You’re going to come in? I’m going to hold your hand. We can do this. This is job done. You have done this, right? We’re going to do this. And I think the way you become in terms of the dentistry that you want to do that first year is quite critical, isn’t it? Because you can inspire the way that you work going forwards. And he was an oral surgeon by trade. Nothing to do with what I ever wanted to do, but actually just a very nice human being. And when you get that vibe of nice human beings, you just become a better person yourself. So yeah, shout out to Akin to Corrie. Dr. Akin to Corrie from eight to Corrie and Associates legend. And then so what tell me how your career moved on from from Athens practice to what what happened next? I know you worked with Nick and Martin. Yeah, yeah, quite some time. So you guys have got a lot of respect for. Yeah. In the industry and what they do. But just talk me through your journey and I’m going to come to them in a moment because I owe them a lot, actually.

[00:24:27] Nick and Martin. So after I finished that year, I did a job, so a DCT, it’s called our Dental Corps trainee, which was an oral surgery restorative, max FACS, ortho special care dentistry. So it’s a broad base of subjects went really really well I then you have to sit interviews for the next stage and on the day of the interview I was walking down the road, my trousers just ripped out of the blue, so I ran back, changed my whole suit. Everything that you’re planning to say went totally out the window, started raining on the way. They get there totally dishevelled, like not looking presentable in the slightest. And luckily I still came within the top 30 to get a job for the second year, but it was probably not the job I was hoping for. And in 2015 I decided to get married. So I thought living in dorms with my wife wasn’t a good shot. And we I decided to get a practice job. I worked in the area of Clapham. Now the interesting story about Nick Martin is that Martin, one of absolute gentleman, we were at private dentistry awards and he was looking rather dapper and everyone does as you’ve been to them a couple of times. And he comes up to me, he’s like, You’re sure? As you’re sure has called on you. Yeah. He’s like, Can I just say I love the way that you dress, that everyone’s wearing black tie, which means he’s like, no know.

[00:25:50] Senior about. I just want to say that. Have you ever read that book? What book is that? And apparently it’s a book where some really famous actors and very wealthy people had lots of Gucci and this and whatever. And what they did was they sent that all to Africa. There’s AIDS. So you’ve got these people that have got straw houses that have got the most amazing clothing, right? Like 4000 Gucci suits or whatever they called. There’s a specific name. I can’t I’m trying to remember the name because there is a name. Yeah. It’ll come back to us at some point, but there definitely is a name for and they, they the level of pride. Yeah. That they have in the way they dress and present themselves and they’re walking through. The slum streets literally head to toe looking immaculate. Right. And and their clothes are worth more than their house and their families put together, like it’s unreal. And we established a discussion about it, and that was great. And I was like, oh, he’s like, Oh, but you you work in Birmingham, don’t you? I was like, No, no, no, I live in London. You live in London? Where do you work? I was like, clap, clap, clap. We need to have a chat, son. All right, then. That led to an interview where I met Nic as well, and they offered me a job.

[00:27:06] The rest is history. And the thing about them is that I really owe them a lot because they converted me to be a dentist from just running a system or running in a system to planning cases, aesthetic, restorative, all these different aspects. So I owe them a lot. They really converted me to a what if you can call it private practitioner. And so your career there, how long were you there? Quite long. Quite a long time mentor you during that process? Clinically, yes. Soft skills, all that sort of stuff. Just talk us through that. What was it like working at ten Dental for Nic and Martin? Ten Dental is a fantastic organisation, a brand that they’ve done exceptionally well to establish himself in an area where there’s actually quite a high amount of competition. They spent a lot of time mentoring me, whether it’s understanding orthodontic aspects of treatment, there’s restorative aspects. They’re the people who ask me to start restoring implants. So they mentored me through that whole process, but they’re all around just really good people and they just want to see people succeed. And the reason I really love that practice and I always would hold it highly in my heart, in my regards, is that they really invest in everyone that goes through that surgery, everyone. And they understand that, you know, if you’re attracting an aspirational individual, maybe they’re going to want to go on and do their own thing in the future.

[00:28:30] And they certainly don’t hold people against that. You know, you know how there’s leaders that want you to stay in your lane. They’re not like that in the slightest. They want you to blossom. And, you know, when I see Nick and Martin at conferences and Congress, we were barred this year. We are we were having jokes like I was there at this clinic still. It was amazing, fantastic human beings. So moving on from there, what happened next? So I finished at ten Dental and I was working at other clinics in between whilst because that was only a couple of days a week, I had gone for an interview to work with Koori and at some stage because I felt that I had got the understanding of that level that I that I wanted to achieve. And in essence I entered a master’s program, so I entered a master’s in restorative dentistry and I wanted to be in a place where that might be more applicable day to day. And maybe it was at ten, maybe it was, maybe I didn’t see it. And I phoned the same time, roughly put up a job advert, website advert where. Yeah, well actually it was like every dissemination you can ever imagine, but I saw it on Facebook. So you put a job advert on Facebook. 5000 word job summary. What was he looking for? Everything that I wasn’t.

[00:29:47] Incidentally, he wanted more than five years experience. He wanted at least one teaching master’s degree. He wanted copious implant experience. He wanted I mean, the list of of key skills required was far beyond whatever I could do. Very specific about what you wanted. And I was absolutely not the bill. So I threw my CV in anyway. But again, see, the theme just chucked myself in, see what happens. And I was like, I’m not gonna get anything but whatever. Then I get a call for an interview and I’m like, Oh, all right, go along. The first stage, getting on like a house on fire, huh? What are the odds of this? Get called a second stage? Three people left, two jobs. Odds are in your favour. You get inside. At this point changed me. I mean, you believe that you weren’t going to get the job and now you’re plotting your route to work, you know, I mean, even though you haven’t got the job, you’re like totally in. And I didn’t get the job. Craig gives me a call rather than sending an email. It’s like, you’re a fantastic young man. You’ve got a great future ahead, but I’m not giving you the job yet. And then two years later, we can have a chat. Yeah. What’s going on? I’d love for you to come with me. What would you mean? So he rejected. You rejected me, and he said, you know. You know, I’ve said this to you before.

[00:31:03] When people sometimes deliver bad news, they like to put a nice sugar coating on the top of the bottom so you don’t feel so bad. And I thought I was doing this because I didn’t know right at this point. Shit. Sandwich. That’s exactly what it’s called. Yeah, yeah. See what I mean? So we’ll leave it to bring out the good stuff. But I was like, he’s probably just being nice. He’s probably just being really nice because he doesn’t want to doubt it. He’s a good human being. But we slowly realise is that some people, whether you met them. For a long time or a short amount of time. They just they don’t need to feed you the rubbish. They’re just telling you how it is. And then all of a sudden, two years later, he’s obviously been following what I’ve been doing, lecturing with, with me myself. Him and Asif Tatou. Yeah, we. He invited me to go and open a farce together. So it was Ramadan going over the fast together. And then we did this like biannually meet up and lunch dinner. So we still keep in touch, but, and I’ll make myself very clear on this, I wasn’t trying to force myself into his world. He instigated for us all to be well, go it, go him. But I want to just dig deeper into that rejection. Yeah. What? You know, we said I’m not going to hire you yet.

[00:32:21] What did that mean to you? And did he give you some criteria? Did he say to you, I’m not going to hire you yet, but if I do, how you in the future? No, this is what did that mean at that point? Did it give you hope? No, it genuine. The typical response for me is he’s just saying it to be nice. There was no hope. I mean, I didn’t I didn’t suspect that one day I would get there. I didn’t think not and not in any way to be discrediting to him. I just thought I’m you know, I’m from a vein of life where, you know, you sort of believe that good things don’t happen to you. Like we never get, like, lucky or whatever that means. Right? So I was just like, Oh, he’s just saying it to be nice. Oh, what a shame. I was heartbroken about it. The thought process about it, you kind of wanted it to happen, didn’t work out. Maybe they’d just be nice. So there was no there was no belief that it was going to happen. But what it did instil in me is how important that felt. So it made me think being going to the clinic, seeing how beautiful it was, seeing the waiting room, seeing the sorts of cases they’re doing, that it made me understand that that is something at that point. So that’s 2017, 2017.

[00:33:36] At that point I realised that’s something that yes, I do possibly want to achieve that in my lifetime. And then it came about as it did. It just came as we rang you randomly, but you’d been connecting socially. We had been connected. Yeah. It wasn’t like a out of the blue situation. Yeah. And I think he had certain people leaving the practice to start their own clinic. He had other people that he may have employed that didn’t work out with. So availability came up. That was a steep curve going from where I was to go into the that was I mean, COVID as much as it was the worst thing that’s ever happened in the world. There’s many beautiful things about it too. Silver linings and that break that for three months kept me going. It kept me going because, you know, you entered at 20th January 2020. You think you kind of know it and then you’re like 5000 processes extra and you’re like, Well, what was the shift in going from working where you were to working for Cory? Yeah, what changed? One thing that was really lovely was the way that his consultation process existed was still very, very much aligned to his what I trained to do, the things that changed is were genuinely the process is now. The great thing for for my career is that I was already very on top of clinical photography and that’s quite a big part of that clinic.

[00:34:54] So that was a bit that I was already ready with. Yeah, I already had that. It was just things like occlusion that I probably didn’t have the understanding to the amount that I should have. It was things like implants. I didn’t have the amount of understanding it should have. It was the level of documentation. Trial is the level of letter writing that we have to send to our patients that I was not doing anywhere near as much. And slowly but surely that starts adding up quite significantly to hours, days, weeks, months of being behind. So when you go from not doing that stuff to then start doing it, I had three months and then all of a sudden I really had time to get my feet under and understand how to do the processes. But it was it was challenging. There’s no there’s no denying it. But I don’t know if this is, again, a personality type thing. But if there’s a challenge set in front of me, I want to be able to overcome that. I think that’s just who I am as a person. If I’m not good at something, I want to become better at it. I understand you can’t do everything. I’m not I’m not trying to pretend to be that. But if there is a situation that requires me to perform and I don’t perform, I look at why. I look at what I can do to get better and then push myself to be better.

[00:36:13] So at what point you mentioned you got married. What was it about 2015, 2015, 2015? Unfortunately for my wife, she’s wonderful. Testing has been a huge support, by the way. So tell us tell us about your wife and then and then one kid to the kids. To the kids and your children. And you often sort of post on social media about what a rock you’re what your wife is and by side. And, you know, we all know the old saying behind every successful man and all of that. Right. Tell us a little bit about her. Tell us about your kids and what fatherhood is like. Okay. So so first things first. My wife is a very beautiful young lady who stumbled across my life in a way that you wouldn’t even expect. And we hit it off from the from the first day we met. What do you mean? It’s a funny story, Prav. Okay, so in my younger days, I used to do fashion modelling. Hard to believe. I know. Without the beard. Right. Without the beard. Yeah. And I’ll tell you a funny story. When I started growing the beard, the amount of booking requests quadruples that. You wouldn’t expect it, right? You’d be like, Oh, no, he looks a bit rough. It went up because he started becoming a trending thing. But we were doing the Asian Wedding Exhibition Show.

[00:37:38] Who’s we? Me testing. And there were like ten other models there. Right. So Tassie was another she’s another model there. Did you meet her there? And I’ll tell you a funny story. So we I walked in with another bloke who was quite well known within the scene and he obviously knew testing there on a high. And he went and said hello to her and I was like flipping eggs. She is absolutely beautiful. I’m not going to let her know that in the slightest. And she was. I just ask you. Hi. Sure. As lovely to meet you. Walk off. I’m not even going to give the time of day, not even cool as anything. But obviously I was like, she’s not even trying to pretend that she was absolutely the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen. And we’re doing rehearsals. I didn’t plans or whatever. We have a few exchanges, but I’m quite I thought maybe this is also a personality trait thing. If someone gets loads of love in like a and this is not a social media related at all, this is physical. Yeah, I’m not going to go and feed that. I’ll speak or converse or exchange in my own terms. Create a mean keep it key kind of. Well, it’s not intended to be that way because frankly, I didn’t think I had a chance, mate. I mean, if you saw the blokes that that show, I was definitely the lower of the pecking order.

[00:38:56] There were some pretty sharp looking people there. And then we all went to Nando’s together. We all ate and she sat across from me and then a vibe side. Like it was just we were catching so much jokes. Another really pretty girl who actually is she’s a presenter for an Indian sports channel. She’s like millions, millions of followers of whatever she’d like. Really famous. Now, she had accidentally not known that they were her fries, whatever. Me and her, we’re both just eating her food, not knowing. And they’re, like, away for us. I think you just take them. Oh, so sorry. We just. Just totally lost about the world, and we exchanged. At the time, it was Facebook obviously was a big thing. Then obviously like Instagram, exchange, Facebook, keep talking, talking, talking. And the rest is history. Your relationship with your wife started over a cheeky Nando’s, cheeky Nando’s mate, and it wasn’t even a cheeky Nando’s, just the two of us. I mean, there was like three people on this long table. Yeah, yeah. Serendipity put you in front of each other completely, completely, completely. I was like, Oh, I’m going to sit across from not even. Not even so. Yeah. And, and, you know, I think talking about it because obviously we got married in 2015. 2022 now. So we’ve been through some great times, been through some tough times. But one thing I’ll say about that lady is that sometimes when you’re a driven individual and I’d mentioned this recently on something else that was on that you make a decision to do something and you’ve got to work hard for it, right? So I decided to do a masters.

[00:40:35] I have to do that work. It’s me I’ve got. I’m going to fund it. I’m going to pay for it. I’m going to do all of that work. It’s not just you. You’re impacting your other half’s life at the same time. And I think perhaps in my earlier days of being married, I probably didn’t really realise that properly. Every decision I make has generic repercussions, not just on me. I always used to take it on me and she has been so fantastically understanding in all of the aspirations, you know, applying for awards. I mean, that’s like days and days of work, writing a dissertation that was. So black going up to Boeing and doing lecturing, going abroad to do lecturing, being invited to do all these things, in essence, breaking it takes time away from us. And she’s been such a fantastic support to that because if and you know, you’re right, it is kind of just candid commentary nowadays that I’ll find every good man. There’s a really amazing woman. But actually, if she started pulling me and saying, Why are you not spending time with me? Maybe some of these shootings wouldn’t have happened. Maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe the relationship might break.

[00:41:42] A number of things can happen. So she’s been aggressive. She tells me she must do right. I think. I hope she does. I hope she doesn’t. Listen, I know him from my relationship, right? That you know, the only thing that my wife wants more of is my time. Yeah. Yeah, the one currency. And. And I’m sure that your wife would want more review. Right. Or is expressed that to you has definitely but now when she talks about which is kids yeah so now and strangely you now start having the guilt that may maybe should have existed before. Right. But now it’s no, I need to go and see. I need to make sure that I’m home before they sleep or you kids called. So I’ve got a girl who’s now going to be three next month. Her name’s Iya Iya. And I’ve got a boy who’s ten weeks, 11 weeks old now. His name’s Xavier Avila. Xavier Xavier said av y. So can you take yourself back to the day that I was born? Yeah, man. It has gone up on your arm and you’re thinking about it was just. You know, like. You start to think that the amount of children that are born per hour and every one that comes out is nothing short of a miracle that organs move out the way, like bodily changes, like it’s just like bizarre how that happens. And by and large, most of them are healthy.

[00:43:18] I mean, it’s just yeah, man. I mean, pictures on that day and obviously it was a girl as well. So there’s an extra soft spot. I mean, I love my son to bits. There’s a lot of a lot of love for him because he’s just something amazing. But daddy’s girl, mummy’s boy, that exists for a reason, right? Of course. Of course. And are you one of those guys? The moment she came out, you were just besotted and totally in love. Yeah. I mean, weirdly, I was in love before. Like we do these city things. Like, if you can hear your daddy make, just do a little kick and you hear it and like things like that, you know, like you’d already become really attached. But yeah, of course, when you see it hold when you hold it, it’s it’s amazing. And, you know, we should never take for granted that a lot of people may or may not be able to have children. And it’s such a blessing. It’s a blessing. What changed for you when you became a dad then? How did you or life change? I think the things that I would ordinarily commit myself to. I had to start thinking twice about stuff like that. I think my empathetic nature really, really grew because ordinarily I’m quite talking about let’s just get this done. But all of a sudden I’m a bit more. How do you feel about this? I started really trying to understand those things and invariably the respect for my for my misses.

[00:44:48] I mean, it just goes up astronomically, doesn’t it? The fact that you can grow a human being, you can carry a human being. I mean, it’s just insane. Men could never handle that, right? Wherever anyone says, no man could ever handle that. So for me, just my whole outlook on life and priorities changed, right? So for me. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. Right? But prior to that, I was I was certainly a lot more selfish. And then they give you purpose. Yeah. You know, whatever. Whatever that is. Right. Whether it’s those little micro challenges of, you know, they’ve just read the first word or two steps, all these little things. And what I find hilarious, right, is she just spoke a word. Oh, my God. Do you remember the simplest? Human communication tools, things. Right. And you and your wife are blown away by that, right. And then you think it’s it’s your right to then announce it to the world that my kid just spoke. Right? Like no kid’s ever spoken history. Right. And those are special times, I think, for any parent. And there’s no there’s no there’s no other times like it. No, like, you know, your first big achievement through work or your first sporting great opportunity. Nothing. Nothing touches those moments. Nothing. Yeah. And what are they both like in terms of personality? Is one more like mom, one more like dad? Just it’s quite vocal.

[00:46:23] Certainly has dual personality types. So she has a very methodical type thing, which is 100% my wife. Like, what was it we’re trying to clear, not doubt, trying to help out clearer stuff away and I’m just chucking it in the different box. No, no, no, no. And puts that one into that box because it goes in there and she’s not even three she’s not learned that that’s ingrained from some genetic code right. When she’s sleeping is like, you know, proper start. That’s totally me, like throwing shapes in the night, you know? Like, there are definitely traits of us both. She’s. She’s special. Really special. Any son? Xavier. Xavier? Yeah. Xavier. He is. He’s a wonder child. So 14 weeks taslim was rushed to hospital because there may have been a breach. And we it was. It was. It was my brother’s wedding. But they got married at the registry office. Something changed. We got rushed to Annie, and we got told he wasn’t going to survive. So I cancel work for the week, we’re being told. On the procedure. And they come in to have the chat to say, well, look, if this is the case, we may need to instigate the the loss of of your kid. And we didn’t even look at each other. It’s like. No, not really. And of course, it was completely emotionally filled at the time.

[00:48:06] But it’s that no, let nature take its course. It’s like, yeah, you do understand it’s harder the older they are to lose and all of that. And with iron. So with I, we kept her, we kept gender neutral. We didn’t know what it was until she was born. You just kept it a secret. We didn’t even want to know. You didn’t want to know because we were just grateful for whatever it was. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Obviously that drove our families insane. Yeah. Particularly Asian families, because they’re OCD about wanting to get the colours and the themes and the schemes. And Aunty coming up, she’s like, I know what you’re doing. It’s very, very nice, but it’s a huge inconvenience to me that we don’t know the gender. And it wasn’t so, so eloquently said either. Hey, tell me what it is. I don’t know. Yeah. So we didn’t do a reveal or any of that? None of that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then at the time, 14 weeks, they were like, he isn’t going to survive. So that’s when you found out? That’s how we found out. That’s how we found out. And I was really upset because even want to keep it secret but also surprise or. Yeah, well, we always wanted we always wanted to keep surprises. If we did it for the first, that was the way we were going always. Yeah, but the point was you weren’t mad, isn’t it? You weren’t attached.

[00:49:25] You had Archie, and now you’re attached. It’s a really difficult thing. And I’ll tell you about it, because I spoke to a mindfulness coach and who’s a patient and the because I don’t share my personal circumstances with with patients or whatever. But she had to get cancer and she’s really lovely lady. And we were getting to the end of a big treatment and she had to get cancelled. So I sat down to explain to her why and it turned out that she’s a mindfulness coach. And I said, Oh, you know what? And they told it, this is him. And we have no idea, because at the time I came back to work, we had no time. We had no idea about how long it was going to any day we could then rush to hospital. So I said, Yeah, and they told it it was him. And you know something I don’t want to know because don’t wanna get attached. And she’s like, That’s exactly what you need to know, because now you’re not fighting for it, now you’re fighting for him. And it was so powerful and so like motivating. Like, I was like, Yeah, yeah, we are fighting for him. And you know, again, I’ll repeat the credit to my wife. She was jabbed two times a week to check that she wasn’t getting infections or anything. She’s having to go in to get tests done, scans done three times a week.

[00:50:48] It was impossible for her to work. She was at the hospital back and forth every two, three days for six months. It’s a long time and 25th of April. Outcomes my son. So then how does how does work life balance fit into this whole, whole mixture? You’ve got two children who you obviously absolutely adore. Yeah. Your wife. You’re raising your teaching. You’re learning your dentist doing dancing. Dancing. Yeah. All of that family thing. All of it, yes. Well, what does work life balance like? Give me a typical week in the life of Shiraz, not blow by blow, but like what would your typical week look like in terms of work, teach to being taught? And then so up until recently, I stopped working Saturdays because I think that was really important for me. But in essence, I’m clinically committed Monday to Monday to Thursday practice, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Corey’s Chelsea on Tuesdays. I must admit the difficulties with those days. I don’t often finish before seven, which is very challenging. So what should what’s your clinical day like? So from what time? So I’ll be in probably 8:00. First patient. First patient is usually nine an hour before. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I want to be in the right mindset, mind frame, everything so we know what we’re doing if there’s no love. I just want to be in the zone and physical fitness is quite important as well.

[00:52:31] Before we go into physical fitness, you get an eight, you start work at nine. And what happens in that hour, if you’ve got a huddle, do you check your day list? So incidentally, I’ve tried to include a huddle because of course practice isn’t the huddle, but usually there are treatment plans, photos, daily lab work. I mean, the amount of stuff that goes on and on and on that we have to do, it just continues. There isn’t a huddle. As such. But I’ve actually made the recommendation that we do that in the morning to get team spirit up. I think I think this is really important for practice. I touched on physical fitness, so obviously it’s not time for the gym usually. So whether I leave at 645 to get to work or seven. Yeah. Or I leave at 615. It makes no bones about me seeing anyone at home makes sense. Everyone’s in bed anyway. It was in bed anyway. So I get myself up earlier so that I can get a gym session and usually before work at the gym, at home, at the gym, which is 3 minutes away from work. So I’ve signed up at the gym, which is in Marylebone Monday to Thursday, Fridays, often teaching Friday, sometimes Saturday. So Monday to Thursday you’re in work. You work of 7 p.m. gym in the morning before that if I can if you at least three times a week.

[00:53:52] Yeah. And so at seven you finish work at home. At home and then we’ll sit down for an evening meal. What’s your routine from seven onwards? It is so ad hoc Prav because it completely depends on children. Tassie may have had to catch herself eating while she was sorting one out and then sorting the other. Often she hasn’t eaten by the time I get home. I try to get home just before it’s Aya’s bedtime, which is 745 8:00. So you look at, what, 35, 40, 50 minute commute. Usually at that time on the way back, it’s quite, quite 40 minutes, I’d say. And incidentally, if I leave at six, it’ll take me an hour and 40 minutes. So get home. Same the same time. Yeah. 10 minutes apart roughly. So yeah, I’ll leave then and get home and try and at least try and get home to put my daughter to sleep. That’s non-negotiable. I’ve established a few non-negotiables, so just toy with this idea because when I was or when I’m working away and if I get home just before the little ones are due to go down. Right. I get a bit of grief. Because my kid hasn’t seen me all day. It’s a wind down time and they’re not absolutely dilated anything. Right. Do you get that as well? Sometimes. Sometimes, sometimes. And then you get the. Oh, yeah, you know, just leave him to it. Now you saw it.

[00:55:24] But I’m cool with that. Like I’m very in the sense I’m very hands on dad. I’m not like, Oh, I don’t do nappies. None of that rubbish. That’s my kids. I’m doing everything. I’m not letting anything I can bastard do whatever Mr. Best time. It’s the time that soul heals, isn’t it? You’re with your kids and then usually I try and keep a so I’m not always teaching every Friday and Saturday obviously. So that’s usually as a family time. I go to congregational prayers which are on a Friday, and then we’ll either try and plant it with the family, or if there are other activities which you’ve mentioned, it’s your home. You put it to bed. Yeah, no more. Then often it’s a scramble to either sort out what’s food or if my wife’s been able to prepare. And when I sit down, obviously my son’s very young. So usually just as soon as one is put to bed that are we never manage in that one getting him so it it’s that’s what I meant by so fluid at the moment but the aspiration is we have a meal I mean me and my wife having a meal face to face is quite an important thing to me and to her obviously. But I’m not always guaranteed. It’s not. It’s not. And sometimes it’s because of me, sometimes because of the situation. Family are both always. Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard the term passing ships.

[00:56:55] It’s a bit frustrating because. Yeah. Cards, anything. Shiraz. Shiraz, Shiraz. Wow. Okay, we. Right then see loads of people. This generation won’t even get what that was. It’s totally lost in a generation. Right. But yeah, it’s interesting what you’re saying there because, you know, we’ve had that at home where especially when the kids were younger. Right. Is that you don’t get any husband wife time. Right. And it’s for a couple of years. Right. You’re 12, ten, 12 weeks. Did you say 12 weeks, 11 weeks, ten, 12 weeks. Yeah. You got you got a good couple of years. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, I find it so important to if you can, if you’ve got the support network around you to get that time where it’s just the two of you. Yeah. And remember why you fell in love. Yeah. You know, sometimes you forget and and we’re lucky that actually my parents are 10 minutes away. 20 minutes away. Her parents are in Birmingham, which is far. But in fairness to them, I mean, huge crowds of them are there. They’re down as often as that can be. You know, 120 miles isn’t anything as far as it goes to. But obviously when your grandparents like that’s that’s a drop of drop a hat 120 miles. Not much stress, is it? They’ll do anything. And they’re great with my kids as well. Both parents, both both sets of parents are just absolutely wonderful, my kids.

[00:58:20] But yeah, I think one thing that we’ve reflected on constructively over the Christmas and beginning first quarter of this year is we need to have more of that time. Yeah. And date night exists for a reason. Like, sure, it’s a thing. Yeah, absolutely. And just moving on to other topics. Yeah, yeah. You dress up. It’s obviously questionable on the best of days, whatever that is. And it’s it’s out there. It’s striking, you know, whether it’s the suits that you wear, the colour of the socks, whatever it is. But you obviously take a lot of pride in the way you present yourself. Is that something that’s been with you from a young age or is it something that you just sort of thought, you know what, I’m going to give this a go now. Like it gave my dad industry a go and like I tried to apply for medicine. Or do you know what I mean? Like all these different things, do you think, right, I’m going to get deep into fashion now. Like I’m going to get deep into breaking and and where did that start? So God bless my grandfather who died in 1997. He’s my dad’s dad. He would like wear a three piece suit to the park, you know, a three piece suit to Tesco or like he’s just immaculate. And it didn’t really at that point. It makes no difference to you, is that right? Yes.

[00:59:45] And then I started my first job was at Debenhams on a weekend. So sales system, whatever you call it. And so I was in the shop there and then I’d done that whilst I was at A-levels and then when I went to Birmingham, I need to keep up some form of work and then it from Debenhams. I went to USC. Yeah. Do you guys see? It’s sort of. I mean, it’s basically a failing organisation really, in my opinion. But it was a big thing then, wasn’t it? Like if you got some money, you’d go to USC and get some stars or whatever it was, right? So I got a job there. Then I went from there to House of Fraser. Then I worked at Ted Baker. Then I went to Selfridges throughout my university time when I when I was at Ted Baker, I got inducted and formalised for the measuring and adjustments for customising people’s suits. So I was the formal specialist, specialist, whatever, whatever you call it. And what was really interesting is I started then my whole creativity duties start flowing because I’m in a work, an educational process that’s really scientific. There’s not really any space for creativity. Frankly speaking, you need to learn and apply end of. So then I get the chance to put myself out there and start putting things together and I start putting bits of shoes together and clutch and yeah, yeah, all of it, like.

[01:01:12] And I was like, Oh, this is really cool. And very quickly, I started getting identified as being that weirdly weird guy puts dress together in a weird way, but for some reason it works for some reason. So, I mean, one of the best things about Ted Baker is that if you’re formal specialist, you get one suit at 90% off the season. So if you work there for five years, there’s two seasons a year, ten suits at 90% off. So I had a fantastic wardrobe of stuff that was ready to go and qualifying dentistry obviously started going to conferences and I was like, Oh, I’ve got some, I’ve got some pretty I’ve got some bangers in that closet. Let’s go. I must stop not using them excuse to get dressed up and excuse. Well actually everyone that goes, some of the people that I would go with would go quite formally anyway. A lot of people go casual and that’s cool, but I love the formal thing. And then it just became just started rubbing off more and more. And the funny thing was, was that I didn’t do it. And this is a really common misconception. I think people think you do it to get attention. It’s exactly the opposite. I do it because I don’t care about the attention. Quite frankly, if people like it, they loathe it. That’s entirely up to them. I’m cool. Yeah, I’m cool.

[01:02:30] And because we’re in a relatively conservative field, it happens to stand out. You know, I’ve had people say to me, Oh, what you done there was really clever. That’s not what. Yellow socks. That’s clever. That’s really smart, is it? You know, anyway, so it’s not something that I aspired for, it’s something else surrounded by. So the outfits that you put together. Are they are they outfits that you can just walk into a shop and get off the shelf? Or have you just put have you just got some combos and said, do you know what? That jacket with those trousers and that shirt and them shoes. That’s my stamp on what I bought in the shop. You see these? You’ve probably seen it on Instagram. Yeah. You buy these five shoe suits, you buy a pink shirt, blue shirt, blah, blah, and you’ve got 75 suits. Right. And you’ve seen that. Right. Is that you’re obviously not that combo, but do you sort of mix and match like the trousers from one to with a jacket from another? Sometimes, yeah, sometimes. I mean, it depends on. It’s funny, I was talking about this with an actor and I think I’m quite well write about you create your own formal style weirdly because certain certain requirements there are I need to wear the same combo because it’s quite a formal occasion. So I’ll jazz up with a particularly different pocket square and tie in different coloured socks or whatever.

[01:03:56] But if it’s like smart, casual, then actually I’ll start doing a bit more mix and match something I got into recently. Well, not recently. It’s about five years ago, really. So I think I got into his double breasted waistcoats and I love the way they look, except for the fact that every time you go out, people are asking you for their reservation or dinner requests for dinner. And I’m like, No, I’m not the waiter. But yeah, if I find a particular piece, it doesn’t have to match anything I’ve got because I know I’ll be able to make it work with something. So but I do have very, very formal like pinstripe suit and beige suit and grey suit and. But usually there’s a little twist. Yeah. And moving on to teaching. Yeah. How did you get into that? Do you remember the first time you taught, got up and spoke? Yeah. How did that feel? Felt really easy. Weirdly, the first one was really straightforward. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I had finished my foundation. Training Should Be a chef who’s the training programme director for cancer. Ssx had asked me to come back to speak to the delegates from the year the following year. What was my PhD like? And I did a very, very simple, straightforward PowerPoint times. New Roman. Yeah, very simple. And everyone had a great time and it was very much when I, when I present, it’s very much of this style.

[01:05:29] I’m trying to keep it relatively conversational. It’s got it’s packed with information. There’s formal aspects to it, but it’s not meant to be a formal proceeding. I want it to be relatively jovial. I want it to be conversational, and I want people to be engaged. That was the key should be I thought it was great. And he said, You’ve got really natural affinity for it. Let’s get you back to the whole scheme. So went from 15 to 100 people or 90, 90 people, and then I got invited to do things with the Young Dentist Academy. Remember that about in 20 1516? And they were just asking me to do more and more and I was like, and I haven’t said this before. There were opportunities that I got asked to speak that I declined and I sent to some of my mentors because I wasn’t qualified to speak at that time. I didn’t have enough information, I didn’t have enough cases. I didn’t have the understanding. And I think if I’m going to give any sentiment to anyone that maybe would like to teach or whatever, it’s okay to say no rather than go up and look like an idiot very openly. And I passed on things to Andrew, Pal, Tiff, whoever it was, because I think they were better suited to those opportunities. Yeah. Because I think it’s a really big everyone thinks it’s the high life you’re in the limelight and all that.

[01:06:50] It’s not, it’s a responsibility if you go, if you, you teach prep all the time, if you teach and you get someone that just doesn’t get it, you take that quite personally. You need to make them understand it before they leave. You give them everything. Yeah. Whereas people just want to do the thing. Get paid to see you later. That’s not how it is for me. So if I can’t make you understand, I’m not a good enough teacher. Yeah. Something wrong with my communication? Exactly. Exactly that. Yeah. And what you enjoy more the teaching or the dentistry, but definitely the dentistry without a shadow of a doubt. I’ve got a very natural ability to talk in public places and with people and try and break things down. But I don’t like talking for no reason. Yeah, and even if there was a day and age where I didn’t need to do dentistry financially anymore, you still have me there because I love the clinical and it’s what I talk about. So I never want I never want people to ever consider that actually we didn’t train as teachers. We changed as clinicians to keep that your primary and make it a fantastic secondary. Yeah, but it will always remain that people don’t want to listen to people that aren’t doing it anymore. You don’t listen to the people that aren’t on the front line anymore.

[01:08:04] You know, technology and techniques keep changing so you can’t have to be up with it. Then what was your biggest clinical mistake? Its biggest clinical mistake. Like a massive oh, shit moment. Did I just do that? I’m aware I’m at. That’s where. Well, my experience I’ve just done something wrong. There’s obviously been a few. But one thing that has happened in the past was retreats from theif they’ve been retreat necessarily. They’ve been retreated and restored, but the crown is really, really loose and the only way to keep the teeth was to do post crafts. And I think at the time, quite a few years back, there’s disgruntlement between someone and someone at the practice. And I got involved and they want to be involved. And it’s the first time that the political situation leaned into the clinical. And I was thinking about it while I was doing the procedure and I was getting more and more irate about the situation. And you tend to lose focus. And I was doing a post preparation and this perfect root canal got perforated. What did you do? I didn’t even realise this is the bad thing. I didn’t realise until I took my X-ray and sat the patient. And the only saving grace in this situation was the patient was very well aware that these teeth might not survive. So the patient took care. So let me see how your X-rays and I saw the X-ray and I’d seen that the post was at the wrong angulation.

[01:09:37] So that set the lady up and said Hi Mrs. X today gone relatively well. However, it hasn’t gone as good as it could have and there has been an error which has led to the fact that this post will not survive and the tooth will not survive. I know that we had already talked about the fact that this tooth was questionable survivability wise, but this is compromised the tooth further. I’ll tell you what we’re going to do to solve this situation. I’m going to refer you to a specialist to see if the tooth is repairable and then we will re restore the tooth. But I think we need to have that very frank discussion about replacing and replacing the tooth because there’s a risk for it. And it starts off and then you see a bit of tension and stress and then a bit of thankfulness for the openness. Because you know what it’s like if you’re telling someone you’ve done something wrong. It’s a really awful situation. Yeah. You feel embarrassed. You feel right thing to do. Yeah. No, you have to, though. I can’t. I can just say to her. Oh, everything went really well. Cheers. On your way. I won’t be able to sleep at night, perhaps. What good is it doing? Charity work if you’re going to treat people as they come before? And yeah, so I was very, very open about it.

[01:10:50] She’s really thankful for my openness and honesty. Obviously, any specialist fees that were incurred I, I covered and incidentally, we were able to save the tooth. Now she understands, but she understood from before that the chance of survivability long term is still questionable. So far we’ve been alright and I know we’ve probably asked these questions before on the podcast, but let’s, let’s get them out again, right? So imagine it was your last day on the planet and you had your loved ones around you. What three pieces of wisdom would you leave them with? The three pieces of wisdom that I’d leave people with? Always remain humble. The world has given us a lot. We need to give a lot back. If someone’s having a bad day, don’t tend to try and make their bad day worse. So if someone’s come at you with something, then go back because you have no idea about the mentality in the situation they’re in. And so I’m going to say four enjoy every day. You lost. Go for it. If there are things you want to do, take the chance. Finally, always give charity. Because that always makes you richer. And not financially. The soul, the mind, the body, everything. So always give back. Just don’t. If your success happens, don’t forget where you. Where it all started. Charity is a really big part of my life, and I want it to stay that way.

[01:12:13] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:12:29] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

Alfonso Rao has never let the lack of a big plan get in the way of success. He’s the owner of a succsesful chain of clinics and Delta training academy—one of the UK’s leading implant training facilities.

Alfonso sits down for a chat with Prav about moving to the UK from his native Italy, his journey from associate to entrepreneur and how he is passing on his family’s medical heritage to the next generation.  

 

In This Episode

01.00 – Background

06.33 – Coming to the UK

13.03 – First jobs

21.34 – Practice purchase and growth

31.43 – Teaching and Delta Academy

41.19 – Teaching Vs dentistry

44.42 – Children, family life and fatherhood

51.25 – Definition of success

55.08 – State of the profession

59.02 – Blackbox thinking

01.03.59 – Last days and legacy

 

About Alfonso Rao

Alfonso graduated from the University of Chieti in Italy in 2007 and moved to the UK in 2009, where he took up associate positions in London and Lincoln.

He is the owner of the Queens Square group of dental practices and Delta Academy, a leading centre of excellence for implantology and restorative training. 

[00:00:00] There is almost like each practice as go. A story. A story is not been something where we’ve done try to approach. Even one of the last one in wings or we bought through common friends with the previous owner. So we often find that our way of getting contact with the practice owner is through recommendation word of mouth. So we’re going back to what we were discussing at the beginning is the personal relationship that creates that strong bond that probably for people that are like minded, the mind is more important than £20,000 more.

[00:00:42] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:00] So Alfonzo, just to introduce yourself and tell us about your upbringing, where you grew up and what your childhood was like.

[00:01:07] So my name is Alphonso and I’m a dentist in Bristol, althought I’ve got other practice. I was in Bakersfield Windsurf and different partners and different rangers. I’m also the co-founder of Delta Dental Academy. That is a teaching academy that is based in Bristol, but we run courses also from other parts of the UK. So going back to your question, I grew up in Italy in Caserta. That is a town about ten miles from Naples. I’m the only child and both my parents were working. My dad is a doctor. He’s an eye surgeon. And my mom, she was a teacher. She just retired a couple of years ago. So I had really, I would say, an happy childhood growing up with all my cousins and with the family around. And I always knew that I want to do medical or dentistry something. I always had a passion. And one of the my vocation was for health care.

[00:02:06] And is that because of your dad? Because your father was into the medical sector eye surgeon, and was there an inspiration from his friends, colleagues, him or.

[00:02:18] I think, yeah, definitely it was I mean, it was not one of those things that, you know, he’s never done anything to force me or to to try to push for one in the direction. I mean, all of my family, there are a lot of doctors and medical in the family. So probably was what I saw almost as normal. I think I was telling earlier that like I go for tuna. My daughter, she was with us a couple of weeks ago doing the surgery and we joke together and every delegate that was on that day, they were shocked because then I was playing a video where I was doing implant surgery, so there was blood and Fortuna was just watching and say, Are you not going to screw?

[00:02:58] And she’s she’s eight years old. She’s six, six, six years.

[00:03:01] I think it’s just one of those things that, you know, I’m not doing anything to influenza, but she’s coming in my office in a while. I’m preparing a presentation or I’m editing a video. She obviously sees me doing those things and she just probably wants to spend time with her dad and start. Question And she’s interested. She’s at that age where she’s asking questions about everything without doing anything to influence. But you often have got your parents as role model. And if you see what they are doing and you you like what you’ll see, I think that probably become an an unconscious influence that then when you are in the stage where you need to make the decision of what you want to do, become okay, I know that I’m quite shocked of that. I often see that people, they, they either hate the parents of doing because they might have seen the stress or the negative aspect or whatever or they can be quite shocked. And in my case, I think I was attacked, but I wouldn’t say that was done anything from their side to push me in that direction.

[00:04:04] And as the only child growing up, you mentioned you were with your cousins and this and that. So was it like quite a big family network that you had where where you didn’t feel you missed out because you didn’t have brothers or sisters because your cousins were your extended family anyway?

[00:04:22] Yeah, correct. So then for me, you know, like I always felt that I had the best of both the world because I had like kind of like a brother said, then you can return in the evening.

[00:04:32] So, you know, having fun.

[00:04:34] We were playing together, but then in the moment they were start to fight with each other. Everyone was going back to his old man and was fine. And we’ve kept a really close relationship, especially. I mean, I’ve got a lot of cursing, but I’m really close roughly. I mean, I grew up with my mum’s brother, family close, so we were both living close to my grandmother and they are three. So we basically grew up, all four of us. We were every afternoon my grandmother was kind of picking up us from school and we stayed all the afternoon together and then I’ve got probably another seven or eight girls in the Caserta is a relatively small place, so we were kind of seeing almost each other every day playing football, especially, you know, about 13, 14 years old, really nice. The things, for example, when you grow up in Italy, I think we were speaking about that earlier about like the public school is that you grow up in an environment where you’ve got really huge variety of personality, social classes all together. But I felt that that was really beneficial for me because I really feel that I’ve learned to deal with all sorts of people, and I think it’s something that I quite enjoyed at the time. And I’m still. Good friend with a lot of my friends from schools that they’ve done completely different careers. So there is someone then they’ve got their own shop. There are people that they are successful solicitors, but there are people that are really humble and they might even work in a farm. And, you know, like I think it’s nice, we all we grew up together, so we respect each other and really what we’re doing or the amount of money that we’re making doesn’t really make any difference. And when we manage to catch up, usually once a year when we’re all back home for Christmas, we still have a really nice time together.

[00:06:33] It’s lovely. And then sort of growing up. So you’re talking about around 13, 14, you know, with your cousins and your friends and all the rest of it. So just in terms of your education, how far did you take it in Italy before coming to the UK?

[00:06:50] So I graduated in Italy, so I did the high school up to 18 in my own town, and then I did university in Katy Pescara that is about 3 hours away. And that was already quite big things because in Italy again, often people tend to do university in the city where they grow up as long as there is university close by. So I think that out of all my school group, I think was probably three out of 30 that we went somewhere else to do the university. But that also was really valuable experience. When you’re when you leave home at 18 and you learn how to survive, manage yourself, you know, you can do all those things. So that is also been a really positive and important experience I think for my development. And then I moved to UK one year after. So after they graduated I worked in Italy for a bit and then I moved to UK when I was 24. So I got really young. I was the youngest of my year so I got it kind of two years earlier than the average.

[00:07:59] And moving from Italy to the UK, just in terms of the difference in the dental system and all of that, did you have first of all, do you have any exams or anything to transfer or.

[00:08:12] It was the only time that I actually at the time was an English exam, so it was like kind of language proficiency exam. But I did the University of Bath and it was a specific sermon on dental, and that was relatively easy at the time because obviously, especially a lot of the dental worlds, they are similar anyway. Yes. And then I had to do all the GDC application with the CPD, good standing and things like that. But the system obviously is completely different because in Italy it’s all private. And I remember when I first moved here was really difficult for me to understand the NHS, how they work, the UDA and all that aspect. But yeah, it was quite steep learning curve because we moved first to London really to improve the English and to finalise all my applications. But then my first job was in Lincoln, so I went from living in Rome, London to Lincoln.

[00:09:09] And what was the what was the difference in culture like for you? So you go from Rome to London. Was it was there a big difference in culture for you?

[00:09:19] I mean, you know, probably at that time was as my English was not great I that in London probably they were more Italian than in Rome.

[00:09:29] So I was.

[00:09:30] Not speaking in Italian, probably more than I used to speak at home. I mean, obviously London was completely different in terms of size of the city, cost of living and everything compared to Italy and completely different lifestyle. But London was still obviously a big city where everything was open at every time. I then for me, moving to Lincoln was really the biggest shock because, you know, in Italy we used to go out for dinner at nine, 10:00, especially in the south in Naples, where I come from, because otherwise it’s too hot. And in Lincoln, I remember that at 5:00 all the shops were closed and most of the kitchen, and after 8:00, probably they were not serving any food. So for me, like 8:00 was not even the time of an aperitif at that time. You know, going out and don’t be able to get anything at the beginning was a bit strange. But then obviously Lincoln was the opposite than London because there was no one else speaking Italian I think was just me and the bottle that we were Italian in there. So then I had to learn and practice English, which was kind of one of the main reasons, also because we moved there.

[00:10:37] So when you moved from to the UK, where was your first dental job? Was it?

[00:10:43] Lincoln was my first dental job.

[00:10:45] So when you were in London, what were you doing? Just finding your feet.

[00:10:48] Yeah, yeah, it was finding the feet and studying English. Because when I moved to UK. Again, I had to obviously see to that exam, but my first class was like a beginner. I was not really able to speak English. And as you can see, after 12 years, I still not improved as instructor. I still have the need for every word that I’m saying with my Italian accent. And at the moment, I’m sitting on my hands, don’t move the hand. And no, but leave that aside. Yeah, it was really an experience. I mean, I’ve never had like a gap year and as I mentioned earlier, I qualified really early. So I quite enjoy to say, okay, I’m going to have a three or four months of break, I’m going to study English, but I’m also going to just take a bit of time off for myself as well. And that was useful.

[00:11:36] And you moved here? We were already married before you came to the.

[00:11:39] No, I move. I moved with the genes that it obviously is now my wife, but at the time was my girlfriend and she was the one that really wanted to move to UK. So we’ve met in Italy and we were, we stayed together one year before move together to UK and she always was really keen to do postgraduate education in UK. She really liked the idea of a university here in the UK and that was kind of the drive that really took us to. To relocate. To relocate. Yeah.

[00:12:11] So then you moved to Lincoln?

[00:12:14] Yeah, Lincoln. And then after Lincoln, she then basically also shattered to get the eias. So the English test, that is a lot more difficult, especially if you want to do to some of the most prestigious university. They tend to have quite high rank. And so she hated the the states she passed. So she was studying in Lincoln. And then she got what we said at the time and said, look, if you want to apply for university, try to apply to a city, wherever. I also can get a job and as a city where we can stay at least for four or five years. And then she applied Leeds, Lincoln, but York and London. And I think she got the offer from Leeds, York and Bristol. And then we decided to stay in Bristol as there was one with the the closest airport to Naples.

[00:13:03] So when you first came to this country, you were just figuring life out as a couple, getting to grips with English. Yeah. Willing to take any job that life threw at you because, you know, you think, oh, well, I’ll take a job in Lincoln. Fine, we’ll go to Bristol now. Follow where my wife wants to go, that sort of thing. But there was no there was no inkling or thought of building this empire that you have now. Was that ever in your sights? Was it just about I just want to get a job as a dentist and be able to speak English to my patients. What was going through your mind then?

[00:13:36] Afonso Yeah, I mean, I’ve always kind of no, I’m not a type of person, but like a long term plan. I always like to live my life thinking about what I feel that is the right thing to do and what make me happy at the time and obviously within respect of my family, my value in all those things. So even like when at the moment I think we were chatting last time about how do you decide what you want to buy a practice or not? I still strongly believe on my vibe. So when we’re going to say a place, if I like the practice, if I like the team and I feel that is a team that I want to work together, then I might consider if there are the right conditions then to buy as well. So it’s never been kind of something planned on the offset to say, okay, my five year plan is this, I want to achieve that by the age I’ve always lived life based on what life was throwing me and and try to do the best in every occasion.

[00:14:33] So what was your first job like in Lincoln?

[00:14:35] Terrible.

[00:14:37] So basically what happened is.

[00:14:41] I remember that.

[00:14:42] I was with one of these recruitment agencies and they said, look, we’ve got this perfect job for you is really, really nice practice. And I didn’t know anything because I didn’t have any opportunity to compare. So I’ve got this couple that they had. This practice was actually not even in Lincoln, was in Louth. That is a small town outside Lincoln. And I remember that mean at that time I didn’t have any money and I was like, try to look how to save money living in London, that is expensive. And I remember they sent me to pick me up in London with a mercedes to take me to Lincoln for this job interview. So they took me and my wife there, really nice hotel. They took us for dinner and was a lovely couple. And, and I really didn’t thought much about the fact that they didn’t show me the practice.

[00:15:34] So I signed the contract.

[00:15:36] I had this conversation with them about all those things. We don’t even see the practice.

[00:15:40] But you were blown away by the Mercedes and the fancy.

[00:15:43] Like, you know, look like that is.

[00:15:45] Really they really want me there. They really look after me. So I felt important at the time. And then when I went in there and that was like another fun experience because by then we bought a cat.

[00:15:58] A cat, a cat.

[00:15:59] So, well, this cat is really and we went in there and the estate agent because they use an agency to arrange all our move, they forgot to say to the landlord that we had the cat. So we arrived in this house and they said, No, you cannot get in with the cat. So he had the man with the van.

[00:16:19] In the.

[00:16:19] Car park. We don’t have luggage. We changed my life crying with this cat because she didn’t want to give this cat away. And that was like my first day in Lincoln. And then I remember that the landlord actually then was there, worked, and he then started to speak to us and he said, You know what, I’m fine. I have the cat anyway. So we kept the cat.

[00:16:41] On the day he said that. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:16:43] After 5 hours in this car park and we try to finding another place in Lincoln where the cat was allowed.

[00:16:50] And chinchilla crying.

[00:16:52] She’s crying on the other corner.

[00:16:53] I don’t want to be here with other cats. So.

[00:16:57] And then what was it? An NHS job.

[00:16:59] Was an NHS job. So basically when I went there the first time, I didn’t really understood like the NHS system and I remember that I went in there and there was no dentists allowed or there was no any other is there for many years. So my first day I think I had like 40 patients booked and they didn’t really understand the UDA and everything. So I didn’t last long because there were other issues as well. So coming from a really high end, nice private practice in Italy, Naples and Rome, where I used to work, I was not too impressed with some of the level of the, let’s say, decontamination cross infection control. As I remember that surgery. And at the time they had like the autoclave, which was one of these old autoclave in the rooms. In the while you were trying to speak with the patient, the autoclave was tough to steam out. Pain was, you know, the nurse was never been a dental nurse was someone round up. So it was a it was a bit different than what I thought. So it was a little bit of a shock at that time. I say, look what I’m doing in Louth in this in this condition. But then I found another practice in Lincoln that was a really nice practice. And I remember that there was the other associates that working in there. They were really nice and kind to us a bit older. There was there were an Indian couple, Kapil and Becky, and they really helped us to settle in Bristol. They helped me to guide my career. You know, we were discussing about postgraduate, so they really inspired me to try to improve and do better and better. And also I’m not in touch with them as much as I would like. I still got really nice memory of all the help that we had from there.

[00:18:47] And so your first job in Bristol, where was it?

[00:18:50] First job in Bristol was a mixed practice not far from where we had dinner yesterday. So Gloucester Road, Home Field, really nice practice. There are quite a lot of funny stories about that practice as well because there were three expense sharers and that was working for associate of one of these expense sharing and they had argument between them and I turned up to work one day and Nadia actually she probably remembers that. And the night one of the partners, he removed the dental chair in the surgery.

[00:19:23] So I went to work. It was an empty room with nothing.

[00:19:28] In that and I think we had a patient booked and then I think it was the time that it was also staff. Placing implant implant kit away so that Nadya at the time, she led me one of this trauma kit alone. And then we’ve placed the implant on that week and then obviously they got things sorted between them. But yet there are quite a few funny stories about the practice as well. But again, was another really a good learning experience because it was a mixed practice. The target of patient in Bristol, really different than the type of patient in Lincoln. So that was also something that really helped me to understand a lot more or of the patient management, probably more than anything else.

[00:20:09] And so moving on from there, what was your next what was your next move from that practice.

[00:20:15] To at that point? I I’ve kind of I’ve lost faith in the NHS. So one of the things is when I moved to UK at the beginning, I really liked the concept of, you know, like the NHS healthcare for everyone, whether needs. But then I realised that there were a lot of things in the system that were not really allow me at least to perform high end dentistry within that system. So then I’ve quit the job without even having another job. And then I started to work as a visiting implant ologist placing implant for Jim’s heart. At the time, he was still the owner of Jim Sally’s group. So they also helped me quite a lot to try to get into the implant world. And then one of my friends, Joe, that is the orthodontist, that is my business partner as well. He was working in Green Square and unfortunately the previous owner, he went off sick and they needed someone to try to cover almost as quick as possible. And because I could get a job, I was free. So then that is how I started in Green Square. And then the previous owner then decided to take longer time off and offer me to to buy the practice.

[00:21:34] Knew owning Queen Square was a complete sort of mash together of consequences. It wasn’t a plan right at that point. You’d left that job and in your mind you didn’t think, right now I want to go and open my own practice? No, no. You went and took this job as a almost like a part time locum cover for someone who’s ill.

[00:21:55] Yeah.

[00:21:56] And then as you were covering, the guy had sent a message to you. I’ll let you know that. Do you want to buy it? Is that right? He approached you. Do you want to buy it? And at this point, did you think, well, I’m not a business owner, I haven’t owned a business before. You just shrugged your shoulders like you do with most things and say, Why not?

[00:22:14] Yeah, exactly. So as you can see, like the theme from everything you were saying is that there is nothing that has been planned. You know, I went to Lincoln because they sent me a cup to pick me up and then they left the job because I felt it was not the right things for me to stay there and in the same way about the practice. So yeah, it was really kind of why not? So I often like, I think about like, why not?

[00:22:37] Could you afford to buy the practice?

[00:22:39] That was tough. But I have to say that at the time the bank was really supportive. I had a an existing relationship with the bank manager, and I think that they were seeing that as an associate. I was doing quite well and they were quite relaxed because I was already in the practice. So that was one of the criteria at the time that they felt a lot more relaxed because it was kind of a smooth transaction from their side. And the other thing is that when I bought Queen Square, the practice was obviously not what it is at the moment. So it was only two surgery was only open three days a week. So that was a squat with the previous owner set up like four or five years before. So it was never really been pushed to the full potential as yet. Also the practice so was relatively affordable obviously with the support with the support of the bank.

[00:23:35] And what was the deal back then was was it is it a leasehold building freehold.

[00:23:40] So was really a good deal that I did again another unconsciously again like you know one of those things because was a leaseholder but it was owning the freehold as well and we’ve managed to agree a first refusal of the freehold. So then a few years later, then we decided to sell the freehold and I had the first refusal on the job. So then I was able to buy the field as well. But that worked well for me because I wouldn’t have been able to afford the freehold at the beginning. So I was only able to just with Stretch and with the support of the bank, just to get enough to get that goodwill. That was not really a lot, a lot at a time.

[00:24:21] So had you been offered the freehold back then, someone else would have become your landlord and you probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get it right.

[00:24:28] Right? Yeah, probably.

[00:24:29] It’s funny how these things work out, right. In terms of. I mean. Yeah, stuff. So it was a couple of surgeries. Did you like build it out into more surgeries at that point? We renting the whole building and oh, did you expand up and take more of the building to build more surgeries?

[00:24:46] So basically what was happening is that we were only on the ground floor, first floor, and then there were offices upstairs that he was renting to other businesses. Sure. And then when there was the opportunity to buy the freehold, which was like I think three years later, the turnover of the practice was already triple what was when I bought. So then we were in a much stronger position. So then that was the time where then I bought the freehold and then expanded and the surgery and the teaching centre were Delta started at the beginning on, on, on that top floor.

[00:25:21] And so initially from you taking over three years time tripled the turnover. And where did that tripling of turnover come? Was it from purely from your own hands or or an associate led initiative.

[00:25:34] Was mainly my own hands. However, I already had that kind of a vision at the time, which was one of the first leaders in this area of the multi specialist approach. And again, I think, you know, been doing more postgraduate education in the meantime, the Eastman or other international courses, I’ve seen a lot of other successful dental business practice offices that they were working with that multidisciplinary approach. And I strongly believe that if you want to do something at the best of your ability, you often need to focus just in one sector and try to do as good as you can. So that was one of the first practice that was run almost as a multi specialist approach. So we were having different specialists or people with special interests coming to the practice and working. And that was difficult because everyone at the beginning I remember said that was a concept that could work in London but cannot work in Bristol because the people in Bristol, they want to see the same dentist that does their end and then does their crown and then does their implant. And then that’s the barrier. But then I remember that, you know, explaining to people the benefit of that type of approach to that. A lot of patients, they really bought in that concept and they were seeing that we were able to offer a better quality of care than some other practice where there was one associate try to do a bit of everything and I think that really helped a lot growing because if you remember the first few years we’ve never had any marketing agency, we were not doing anything was really word of mouth the way the practice was growing.

[00:27:18] But when you’ve got a practice, you start it off essentially as a as a small squat, right? Like how do you how do you go from that to attracting the group of specialists to then deliver that higher level of service? If you don’t have the patients to serve them, you might like you’ve got one, probably one of the world’s most experienced and sought after end dentists, right, working at Queen’s Square. Massimo Right. And how do you attract someone like him when you don’t have a line full of.

[00:27:51] The secret is get them for dinner and get them drunk.

[00:27:55] And take them to dinner in a mercedes.

[00:27:56] Yeah, I think now I think again, like I said, that I’ve always been quite persuasive in terms of I don’t like to have a promise and I think that I’ve got the reputation over the years that if I had a vision and I worked out, then ultimately that worked and it worked in the best interest of everyone. I always try to be extremely fair with all my associates and really understand from their side what they like, what they want. And I always try to don’t limit their growth or expansion. And I often find that every person is different, that there are people that they like to just get the 95 job. There are people they might want to feel that they are part of the decision making. There are people that they might want shares. So I think it’s really there is no one set approach that works for everyone. But I find that probably the personal relationship that was the motivation at the beginning to create that. And then as we’ve thankfully been successful with a few projects like that, I think now is a lot easier for other people to believe that I’ve done that over a few times and we hopefully can try to do this again with some of these new practices as well.

[00:29:19] Sure. And so you grew Queen Square and that was the first practice, right? And then you started doing some direct to consumer marketing, growing the practice and. From there. When when did the vision come that you were going to have practice number two, three, four or five? How did that all come about? So what was practice number two?

[00:29:41] So finally, number two was this one so High Street Dental Clinic, and again was another one that, as always, I didn’t really thought about. So basically what’s happened is that the previous owner of this practice, one day they’ve just turned up in Green Square and they say yoga, go practice close by. Would you like to buy us out because we want to retire? And I thought, okay, you know, I mean, do I really want to practice close by? But then at that time, I was also thinking there were not many practices in the city centre of breeze. And for me, buying the second practice relatively close was also from a strategic point of view, an opportunity to stop some competitors to come. And I felt that obviously the two different practices had different strengths and probably also different target of patients. So I didn’t really feel that there was something where it was in conflict but was more like complementary. So I guess why not that one? And then number three is up and in a similar way that an agent approached me and said, I’ve seen that you bought to practice in Bristol. I’ve got the practice in Portishead. And at that time, me and Joe, we were discussing the idea of potentially opening a practice together. So again, we said, why not? And we bought the practice in Portishead. So there is almost like each practice as go a story. A story is not been something where we’ve done and try to approach even one of the last one in wings over we bought through common friends with the previous owner. So we often find that our way of getting contact with the practice owner is through recommendation word of mouth. So we’re going back to what we were discussing at the beginning is the personal relationship that create that strong bond that probably for people that are like minded, the mind is more important than, you know, £20,000 more.

[00:31:43] And so when did the teach in actually feature in all of this? Alfonzo You come into this country, you can barely speak a word of English. And fast forward to today. Yeah, you’re teaching Native dental students how to place implants, right? Talk me through that journey. Is that another? Why not.

[00:32:08] Another? Why not? I mean, I always had that. I always enjoyed the teaching side. So even at the university I was involved with with the oral surgery department, doing some teaching for the undergraduates.

[00:32:23] Well, how did that come about? So you came to this country, you were working in Lincoln. At what point did you get involved with the Universities University graduate?

[00:32:30] No, that was my faculty. So I always had that kind of passion. I always kind of enjoyed the teaching side and the opportunity to really learn from each other. Because I find that I think the two nice things for me with the teaching is one I often have. I have got the opportunity to audit my own work when I prepare representations or I’ll view the literature. So I find that I learn a lot, just even preparing the lecture or preparing the course. And the second is that I always find that, you know, even when people say, okay, you’re going there, you’re teaching every day, you learn from each other. So I feel blessed that I’ve got delegate. They come here and we all learn from each other because I don’t know, everyone does something slightly differently or from the other of the coming year. And I think as long you’re open minded is always nice to pick like things that people are doing slightly differently, that they can improve your daily practice. The way that is happening UK was that I did an implant course at a time and one of the the person that was in charge of the course then asked.

[00:33:34] Me.

[00:33:35] Would you like to to work with us? Would you like to stay with us? So it, it’ll be more and in that way then I’ve been with them and then slowly start. I was more like mentoring more than teaching properly.

[00:33:49] So you were on a course and they asked you to help assist teaching on that course.

[00:33:54] Start with these things. And then I think what’s happened is that they were opening, they were increasing the number of courses. And obviously in the meantime I was doing also the diploma instrument. So they said, why you don’t work with us a little bit more? And then that is the way that it started.

[00:34:12] I think I think I remember we spoke about this around that time.

[00:34:16] Yeah, that was the time when we spoke.

[00:34:18] Only when we met. And I think if the conversation serves me right, you were like, Hey, prof, these guys are teaching. They’re getting patients in to have implants done on the, shall we say, at a discounted rate. I think it’s a good idea. Yeah. What do you think? Should. Should I give it a go? Why not?

[00:34:39] Yeah.

[00:34:40] Was it again like another thing that is up and it was kind of almost. Why not? Because it was not just that, but was also that at that time. Then that was start working with trauma and I was approached by Strawman UK, although it was an HQ project and that was the time that they were running the first smart course, which was the the course that and was planning to run in a lot of different countries with the standard format coming from University of Zurich. And they asked me to be one of the pilot to do the course in UK, but then we had a terrible course in UK. It’s unlikely that is going to work because there are a lot of really well structured university course. So why someone should come to a private course? That is just a theory. So then I suggest a strawman. Great idea about why I cannot have the clinical aspect of treating the patients, which was the part that I was doing with the other provider. So I’ve kind of merged these two idea, of course, and that is how then we started. So is another thing that is often because.

[00:35:49] Strawman approach to trauma has to be at the right time.

[00:35:52] Yeah.

[00:35:54] And I say, why not?

[00:35:58] And so was that when Delta was born, or is that something you just did independently with? Was that a strong and branded smart course and you stuck live patients on the end of that course? Well, how did I vote?

[00:36:10] Yes. So that at the beginning was again, was a pilot. So within the pilot, we were able to just tweak the course based on the need of the country. So the education measures trauma. At the time when I suggested the option of treating life patients, either there was great idea. So the first few smart calls, we run as a trauma branded course. So that was of course where technically was a strawman, taking the booking, taking the delegates, and I was just kind of looking after the. The running of the course more than anything else. And then when? Then Strawman decided to dismiss the course. In the meantime, me and Massimo, we were also starting to think about this concept. It was working really well of treating life patients and really show the delegates how to implement whatever is possible. We done zone with life surgery and new skills on the patients and then is something we saw was working well. Feedback from delegates was great. So then we say why not doing alone? And that is how we started us.

[00:37:17] And so Massimo, was he already working for you in Queen Square as an end? Adonis Then, was he already teaching somewhere else as well or.

[00:37:26] Yes, so Massimo was I think is Massimo has been teaching postgraduate at King’s for quite a while and he was also having a lot of other project with the style Italian or I think it was with University of Moscow, Spain. So we’ve kind of both had our own pattern of education. I mean, I was doing things for strongmen and for other companies as well. Massimo was doing his own things and we were obviously working together, but also good friends. So then we say why? We don’t join that together and start that also using our Italian connection to bring more speakers or to try to do something slightly different in terms of education, at least in Southwest.

[00:38:11] And so Delta was born. Yeah. And what were the first courses that you that you launched obviously and then didn’t take one and implant one.

[00:38:19] So we started with the implant and within the course again at that point, we basically part of the conversation with trauma was that they were happy for us to rebrand the course, which was the is how implant fundamentally started. So that was like our own version of what was the math course from from strawman with few other change. So that is, is a course that is evolved a lot over the years. So I feel that it’s getting better almost every year. So I was looking after that aspect and then Massimo started using similar setting to do the implant based course. And so in the course.

[00:39:02] And then as time has gone on, you’ve not only gone to launch your own Andela courses, but you’ve become a key opinion leader. And I see your photograph on randomly on social media that you’re doing this international lecturer or that lecture for this company and that company. How do all these opportunities come along?

[00:39:24] Again, I think it’s still a lot about relationships. So there are kind of all things that have happened randomly, relationships that I had. So for example, we guys in specific and the person that I’ve met, it’s trauma. He left trauma and then a few years later he joined Guy’s Village and we stayed in contact because we had like a few nights out in Basel when I was going to HQ to prepare. This is my of course, and then when you join guys a few years later we got in touch and say, you know, I’m head of education of guys teaching these, this, this country. Would you like to. We work together. And again, I think because when we were working with trauma and we did the two or three project together, and I think one of the the things that I’m often get as a feedback is that I’m relatively easy to work with, so I’m not too precious. I’m really committed. So if I say to you that I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. Otherwise I rather don’t say it at all. And I find that a lot of companies, they really value that, like a non diva approach and quite proactive approach as well. So yeah, I think with a lot of companies has been building a relationship and I think it’s important also to try to get a win win situation where again myself and the company we feel that we can work together and have a mutual benefit I think is also lot about be credible. So if there is a company or if there is anyone that offered me a product that I’m happy to try, but then if I don’t like it, they know that I will not be able to talk or use that product because I will only use and will only promote a share whatever I feel is the best for myself and for my patients.

[00:41:19] And then moving on from that, like doing the dentistry, the teaching, which one’s more fun? Which one? Which one’s? Where is Alfonso? In his zone of genius. The absolutely is in his element and loves doing it. Is it the treating patients or is it the teaching?

[00:41:36] Lecturing side of things is difficult because I think like they both find each other. So I. That I would probably get both to do only one without the other. So in order for me to be able to do the teaching, I feel it is essential for me to treat the patients. And I still love dentistry. I always say that I was still happily due for free. If someone said, Look, I’m looking after all your bill, you just go there and work. I would happily do that still because I really enjoy the aspect of helping patients and to see sometimes with some of the treatment that we offer, how we can change and improve their life is really emotional and is really rewarding. But then at the same time, as I mentioned earlier, I really enjoy the teaching element. I really feel that when I’m with delegates, with I’m a dentist, and often a lot of the delegates are even people older than me. When they’re coming to the course, I really feel that I can learn and almost punch their brain and try to get things. And I think that is really stimulating because I think one of these dentistry and again obviously is not my case but can be a little bit like a lonely job. You know, you get isolated. Isolating, yeah. You can be in the room and do some sort of dentistry day in and day out. And this is often when I get that say, okay, I hate this job, but I don’t really find the motivation. I think it’s because, you know, they’ve been doing the same things all the time. They are probably fed up to be disliked by patients because let’s be honest, a lot of people don’t like to go and see the dentist, and that is just creating a pressure that I think if you are able to largely change and tweak your routine and your working life, I think that is a lot more sustainable in long term and is a lot more interesting. Yeah, of course. Of course.

[00:43:33] And so do you think you’ll always do both what you want, move over just to solely teaching later on or.

[00:43:40] I mean, I have to say that obviously, you know, he is a tough to try to get the balance because then on top of that, I’m probably also I’ve got the old the business side because with all the practice I’m in daily contact with all the different practice manager or, you know, with yourself discussing the marketing. So I’m also need to try to get that side of the business as well, which I also enjoy a lot. You do? Yeah. You like that side as well. And then obviously there is all the the family balance that is important as well. So again, I’ve got two young daughters that I want to spend time with. Why? So I need to the parents so that they are still in Italy. So I need to try to get that balance where I try to spend my free time as much as I can with the people that they love and the things that they enjoy. But then at the same time, when I’m at work, I’m not shy to work as hard as I need to be and and at the same time try to do things that I enjoy more than anything else.

[00:44:42] Tell us about the kids.

[00:44:44] Yeah, they’re great. So it’s amazing, like how different they are. So 4 to 6. And Victoria, she’s three and four two nice is really similar to her mum. So he’s a little bit more introverted, he’s a little bit more shy, but she’s really bright and she’s really, really funny. But she always takes about the first half an hour just to warm up so everyone knows that it’s cool, you know, like it’s you’ll drop out of school and the first 5 minutes she cry or you know, the teacher needs to say she has to be the special, but then as soon as she goes there, then she enjoys and she likes the other one. She’s she’s the opposite and it’s probably a lot more similar to me is a lot more extroverted, a lot more friendly. She’s completely fearless. So as we were speaking, she was definitely at the moment with my wife, they start already the holiday and I enjoy them like soon. And they were just playing in this farm with the horses and then she decided to jump on this horse without telling the horse and she’s been beaten. So my wife just sent me a photo of a bruise that she’s got lying on her leg because, you know, she was not even scared of this horse that was probably six times taller than her. And she’s always she’s the one, you know, like she’s she’s a trouble maker. Like last month, she cut her fingers. The months before, always something happened to her. Yeah, but she’s really positive, really smiling, really friendly and confident. But it is great to be able to spend time with them. And it’s amazing how you’ll see their personality development and you really realise that they grow so quickly that you want to spend time with them.

[00:46:29] Yeah, so quickly. I remember, you know, it only seems like yesterday that Fortuna was born, right? How have you changed since becoming a father? So you can pay yourself like six, seven years ago before for. Sheena was born. And then what? What changed for you? Can you remember? Can you remember the day she was born?

[00:46:49] Yeah. Really? What? I remember the time. One thing I have to say is that go memory. That is not extremely useful. But I remember everything. I remember how I was dressed a patient ten years ago. Like all of my staff is amazed now without reading a note. You know, I said, I remember when I saw you ten years ago. You are going on holiday to Canada. How was it? And the patient looked at me and said, This is a bit spooky.

[00:47:15] I really don’t remember going at all.

[00:47:20] I remember everything. But obviously something like the day that your first child is born is obviously unforgettable. I would say that is really the biggest change, at least for me, has been the big changes in life. You know, getting married is great, but we are living together for many years. So that was not really you choose a lot of then, you know like obviously have to have another person in the world that you need to look after. It really changed the perspective. I would say, like I’ve definitely changed a lot and with whoever knows me well, they say that especially over the last couple of years, I’ve changed a lot and I think as being locked down, that helped me from that point of view because again, I’ve got really busy life and even when my daughter was born, I took the time off and I always tried to spend my free time with that. But I think what was happening was that I had my working life, which obviously I’m doing because I enjoy, but also to look after them. And then I had my family time, but then I really put myself almost like at the bottom of the list of the priority without really realising, because I think sometimes in life you do things without really sitting and say, okay, I’m going to do this.

[00:48:31] You don’t plan it.

[00:48:32] I don’t plan anyway.

[00:48:33] So, you know.

[00:48:36] And then know during the lockdown, I think it’s been one of those times where, you know, I’ve been spending a lot more time with them and then realised that I had to make few changes in terms of my priority and try to get a different life.

[00:48:48] Work. What instigated that, Alfonso? So, you know, sometimes it can be your kids or you know, for me there’s some moments of realisation when your kids can vocalise themselves and how they feel about you. You know, like I’m here today on a Saturday, right? Yesterday, Friday I was in Surrey teaching my course and Thursday afternoon I left the family home. Right? And my two girls knew I wasn’t going back till Saturday night. Yeah, as I said goodbye. And as I’m leaving, they run into the garden and both give me a hug. And they both squeeze me as hard as they can possibly do. Right. I’m going to miss you, Daddy. I’m going to miss you, Daddy. Don’t go right. And you know it pulls on your heartstrings, right? I love it. Makes you feel great as well that I’ve got two human beings here who want nothing more than to spend time with their daddy. Yeah, it’s an amazing feeling, right? Even as you’re leaving, it’s a wonderful feeling. But it pulls on your heartstrings and makes you realise. Actually, for me, you know what? If you invest in your children at a young age and when I mean invest in them, I don’t mean that. I mean send them to private school and buy them nice things, but just give them that. Yeah. That you’d like to think when you get to older age. Yeah. That investment in that relationship with them when they’re younger is a much nicer relationship when you’re when they’re adults. Right. That’s, that’s my dream anyway.

[00:50:19] I don’t know, like if maybe it was you that didn’t, because that is exactly my thought. You know, like you is the point where you realise that, you know, you can buy them a bike, you can buy them clothes, what they want, especially at that age, they won’t spend time with you and you realise that if you don’t do that, that distance between you and them is going to become greater and greater and then will become a lot more difficult to get that. So yeah, for me it is something similar and it’s amazing. You know, we can say kind of similar story. I mean as you know now I’m with defined and with Ben in Beaconsfield and what’s happened is when I go to working there, I usually leave the Tuesday night and I stay there on the Tuesday night and then I work Wednesday in Beaconsfield with Benji and last time Fortuna stopped me and say that they I don’t really think that is fair that you are going to Benji all the time. Why Benji doesn’t come to Bristol now.

[00:51:10] So, you know, like these are doesn’t understand.

[00:51:11] She doesn’t.

[00:51:12] Understand. So she say, okay, you are going there, right? So now is his term. You stay home and Benji come to stay with us. So but that kind of really shows, as you said, he’s the same than the alpha that you were mentioning a minute ago.

[00:51:25] Yeah, yeah. It’s so powerful, right. That what that balance is. And then and then what is Alfonso, what is the definition of success? Right. You know, is it the money? Is it the nice house, the nice clothes, the fancy cars, the. Ability to go and eat in any restaurant that you want and all of that. Right.

[00:51:46] Is that success for me? No, but that is the reason because like, you know, when people tell me, you know, success successful, I don’t feel that it’s not because I think, like, you know, success is be able to reach your goal in life. And the goal in life doesn’t have to be financial. I mean, I don’t mean to be disrespectful or I’m grateful for what I’ve got and I’m really happy and grateful for everything. But ultimately, for me, it’s not the main goal. So, you know, if if tomorrow I cannot afford a watch, a car or the Vespa is not going to change. My personality is not going to. You know, these are things that come and go. So this is is the same way. Like, I try to enjoy what I’m doing and and what I’ve got. So people say, okay, but are you wearing your watch? And what happens if you get scratched? And but it’s an object that is made to be used and to enjoy the people that they, they, they prove an enjoyment just owning something and they want to keep the safe. And I respect obviously that as well. But for me, if I got something, it’s because I want to enjoy it and we only live once, so why not?

[00:52:59] And so what is the what is your definition of success, Alfonso? You know, you say you’ve got you have a goal and you achieve it or whatever. But take yourself, cast your mind, you know, what are you 38 now? 58, 48, 58. Let’s take you to 68 now. Fast forward 30 years. Yeah, if you could if you could look back 30 years from today, what must have happened in that time for you to be happy both professionally and personally?

[00:53:30] But, you know, like I think again is be happy more than anything else. And, you know, if you ask me, how would you be happy? I mean, in the personal life, obviously, you know, hopefully health of the family and all the people that I love comes first. So be able to stay with my daughters and make sure that everyone is happy and healthy and.

[00:53:53] Well at this point, Fortune is 36.

[00:53:55] Yeah, I know. So she will probably still live with.

[00:53:58] Us.

[00:54:00] Like proper Italian style.

[00:54:04] And cooking for.

[00:54:06] Now. So, you know, like again, hopefully, you know, they will have fun. They will find someone that they love and they can build a family. So that will be something that will be great.

[00:54:16] The dad approves of.

[00:54:17] Of this. Yeah, of course.

[00:54:18] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:54:19] I think there is still like at the moment the granddad needs prefers I’ve got my dad that is more jealous than me and, and then like, you know, like professional, for example, you know, we are going back to the point that you often tend to your role model that can be of parents. And I was chatting with my dad a couple of days ago. He’s 68. So first you mentioned in his head of consultant, he’s been successful in his profession. He’s got great reputation. A lot of people respect him a lot, asking advice and he’s always helped everyone. So it’s quite nice that wherever we are going, I’ve got a lot of people, they say, Oh your, that was great. You did this for me, did this for that. And I think it’s quite nice. And I say that why you don’t retire. I mean, you know, like in Italy as a consultant, you can retire.

[00:55:07] Still working?

[00:55:08] Yes. An extension. And you say, but I enjoyed work so much, so why should I retire? So from a professional point of view, I don’t know what is going to happen in the future. And I have to say that I’m slightly concerned because the dentist treated are living at the moment in UK. I don’t feel that it’s the dentistry that I signed up for, but if in 13 years in the future I can do something that I enjoy, I think professional will be happy.

[00:55:38] What did you sign up for?

[00:55:40] I signed up for that to see where I was more like about a health care job. So where we were there to help patients and help patient doesn’t mean obviously only get them out of pain, but was really kind of to fulfil their expectations or improve the quality of their lives, give confidence back with a smile other than at the moment. I think after COVID, the things that change a lot is getting really litigious. There is a lot of defensive dentistry and it’s really sad, especially when we do this course that I speak with young dentists that they don’t want to work full time anymore. They find that it’s too stressful and they only want to do certain type of dentistry. And the type of that is they want to do is what they find is the most rewarding, probably financially or socially on social media, rather than really caring and helping patients. So I’ve seen dentists that they don’t do root canal anymore on a molar because they see that it’s something that someone else has to do. And if the patient is in pain, they don’t even know how to open a tooth anymore. Some of the of the new generation and I think that is a bit sad because ultimately from my point of view, if you signed to be a healthcare professional, your main duty of care is to make sure that you look after the patients. And if the patient is in pain, you need to try to help them. You need to do whatever is the right things for the health of their mouth before then. From your financial gain or from cosmetic, whatever, then I’ll see that there is a lot of shift toward the cosmetic. The I mean, I would say this is a generation of these Invisalign bonding and whitening is what, eight out of ten dentists now they’re interested, which nothing wrong with that, but it’s hard work. There are no people keen to, I don’t know a patient who is go paleo or even diagnosed with repair or an end, which I think is the foundation of the dentistry, really.

[00:57:50] But it seems to me like there’s this new generation of younger associate dentists, right, who want to be you know, there’s this term of super associates that you hear a lot, right? And all they want to do is the sexy dentistry. Right? Right. And even in our practice, we see some associates join us. And as you don’t have this, the full restorative skillset to do everything in a patient’s mouth. And so they’re just treating the the doing the AB or the edge bonding or the composite veneers and all the rest of it. But when that patient needs maintenance, a tooth fails or something like that, it ends up becoming someone else’s problem.

[00:58:32] Yeah, they really struggle. And the other thing is that also is everything about the short term gain. You know, often there is not, you know, you’ll see a lot of dentists interested in the sexy dentist, as you say it is that they tend to move from one practice to the other. But then I think for me was extremely important to be in the same practice for ten years and really learn from my failure of my mistakes. And that is one of the things I was mentioning with the teaching. You know, when they review a case that I’ve done ten years ago, I look and I say, God, why did I do that incision in that way? Why did they do that in that way? But dentistry is changing, and I think the only way to improve is to be critical with yourself and try to.

[00:59:16] To push.

[00:59:17] It to improve all the time. But there are not many people prepared to do that.

[00:59:22] And so speaking about errors and mistakes, Alfonzo, can you can you think of what your biggest clinical mistake was? You know, one of those moments where something happened in the moment and you thought to.

[00:59:35] Yourself, shit. I mean, I’ve got quite a lot.

[00:59:39] Of.

[00:59:40] Those. I mean, especially with the courses. So for example, talking about courses and being here, we did the course once on immediate placement and to join the course, the dentist had to have quite a lot of experience already and we were working and basically the dentist was trying to place this implant and I don’t know how because again, he’s an experienced dentist, he just dropped the implant into the sinus. So then it was one of the moment I said, Oh shit, with life surgery, with everyone around. So then we had to retrieve Yeah. Vision out and then open and then social design is back and then thankfully everything was fine in the end. But this was one of the time where, you know, like you are on the course lasting, you want something to go wrong and then have old people around. But as I said earlier, that is part of dentistry. Things can go wrong and you need to deal with that. I also feel that sometimes. And I feel that probably about a year ago I was a little bit more. I always struck all of my patients and they will review failure, success, conversion rate and all those things.

[01:00:51] So again, I’m really keen on audit my work from all the point of view and never noticed, like an increase of failure and problems. And I remember like all these people on Facebook started speaking about the level of stress, the vitamin D, which I’m sure they will also go like a part and and a role on things that we might not know. But then I really start to kind of analyse myself and say, what’s changed? And what’s happened is that I was getting more and more confident and I think I was push the boundaries probably a little bit more than I should have done. And then I realised that there were things that I said, okay, let’s go back to some of the basics and let’s maybe start to to play safer, whatever. Then sometimes you’ll do a complex case and everything goes well and you say, okay, I can do something even more complex next time. I can do something even more complex then I think is important to understand your limit and and step back.

[01:01:47] Just gives you that false sense of confidence that, yeah, I can keep and keep doing more, right? Correct. Have you ever had a moment where it was just you in the patient and you did something wrong, you know, pulled the wrong tooth out, perforated yourself when doing a root canal or whatever.

[01:02:07] Yeah. So I think like the biggest mistake that I did was many, many years ago where I still remember like, like really when you say like shit and then like become like to be paid. I was doing root canal for this patient and I didn’t need this endo on the side and I didn’t realise, I mean there was wrong chart or something like that. I’m not making excuses, but basically at the end of the eighth thing it was the last tooth. And then when I took the X-rays, the PR, I mean I was like really tricky and I said, This patient has got really strange anatomy with this. So I did all the angle. And then when I took the pay, then I saw three molars. So I said, okay, so that is not a seven something. So because all my x rays were on the last one and sometimes after you put the rubber down and if you have not really looked properly, which tooth you are treating, once that is in there, you just carry on treating the tooth. So, you know, from that I’ve learned a lot, you know, I’m I don’t do any more.

[01:03:17] So that’s the lesson, right? Yeah.

[01:03:19] But I remember like, you know, like, as you were saying was, was difficult to have that conversation with the patient to say, look, I’ve done I mean thankfully was an eight that was not something was so crucial obviously we had to do everything we had to do to put it right. And the patient in the end was like he was try to cheer me up, said.

[01:03:40] Well, you know, these things can happen. So no, no, no.

[01:03:43] I was I was so upset when that happened because I really felt that, you know, I’ve caused damage to someone. But I mean, unfortunately, it is a part of the risk of our job where sometimes we can do things and things can go wrong. And, you know, we’re human. We may all make mistakes.

[01:03:59] And so, Alfonzo, let’s let’s cast life much, much further ahead to the time where perhaps it’s your last day on the planet, you know, all being well, your loved ones are around you to spend that last moment with you. And what would you say to the girls? The last three bits of advice for you all for your girls from Teddy.

[01:04:21] I mean, definitely will be, you know, like on the theme of why not live your life with no regrets? And I think, you know, that is is really, really important because we really we only live once and we need to try to enjoy as much as we can and do the best that we can do. I think that is definitely one of the things, one of the most important point that I’ve learned second probably will be really give the right importance to the right things. So there are a lot of things where we might get to stress so upset or nervous that, you know, if you really take in the grand scheme of everything in life, probably they don’t really deserve so much importance because there are a lot of things that they are that are more important. So live with no regrets, get the right priority, and enjoy every minute that you’ve got on this right.

[01:05:18] Brilliant. Thank you, Alfonzo.

[01:05:19] You’re welcome. Pleasure.

[01:05:24] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:05:39] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:05:54] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget.

[01:06:05] Our six star rating.

 

Implantologist Katie Blake couldn’t have picked a better time to purchase her first practice.

Shortly after buying Cairn Brae dental practice in Witham, Essex, Katie and her husband Alex had their first child just in time for the COVID pandemic.

She sits down to chat with Payman about her implant journey, training with Malo in Portugal, life as a new mum and practice owner, and much more.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

01.51 – Backstory

09.59 – Women in dentistry

14.05 – Surgery and implants

20.30 – Practice ownership & NHS to private

25.58 – Vision and processes

40.10 – Implant journey and inspiration

43.21- Building happy teams

47.16 – Blackbox thinking

56.38 – Finding associates

01.03.36 – Working within your competency

01.05.15 – Future plans

01.08.36 – Fantasy dinner party

01.10.41 – Last days and legacy

 

About Katie Blake

Katie Blake graduated from St Bartholomew and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

She has completed training in implant dentistry with the Eastman Institute and gained the MFDS in dental surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

Katie is the principal dentist at Cairn Brae Dental Practice in Witham, Essex.

[00:00:00] One of my favourite things which I don’t often see, because normally I must admit I’m out the door to get the kids from nursery at 5 to 6. But I happened tonight because I was, you know, staying around to speak to you guys. Was that all of the staff? Not all of the staff, but at least five members of staff, they park about two minute walk from the practice in a car park, which we rent some spaces. They all got changed, sat in reception and they wait for each other. The five people who are in that day parking together to make that two minute walk together and they could be rushing to get off. But, you know, five or six, you know, and I just thought, that’s so nice to see that, because they could go one by one by one, but they all wait and then they all walk over together.

[00:00:39] I was like.

[00:00:40] That actually kind of shows that it’s not that there’s a social, it’s not that the boss is buying drinks. It’s it’s nothing.

[00:00:45] It’s just that the family have that. That’s what they do.

[00:00:54] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:11] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Katie Blake onto the podcast. Katie is a practice owner implant ologist, which is really the reason I wanted her on the show today, because if they get enough, enough ladies going in to implant ology and figure out what it was about her that got her into it. Mother of two young kids. And when I went over to the practice in Witham, I just got a general feeling that this lady, whatever she takes on, is going to be a massive success at it. I mean, every question I asked the answers were all brilliant, better than I would I would have normally expected. And just a great pleasure to have you on the on the pod. Katie, how you doing?

[00:01:50] Thank you. Good evening.

[00:01:51] Welcome. So, Katie, this this podcast kind of like your life and times and so let’s start there. Where were you born and what kind of childhood did you.

[00:02:02] Yeah, I grew up actually not far from where I am based now. So over in Suffolk, pretty normal upbringing, lived in the country, nice house, pretty good school, then ended up studying up at Barts in London for dentistry, toyed with a few careers engineering, veterinary, something like that, but ended up with dentistry as my first choice and it kind of went from there, I guess.

[00:02:26] Why dentistry?

[00:02:27] Well, one of my dad’s best friends, who was our family dentist growing up, really good guy, very enthusiastic about his life, his patients and that work life balance, which I’m sure a lot of dentists have at the forefront of their minds at the moment, is getting that balance right. And he was very enthusiastic about someone in our family going into that. He tried my sister and she devoted over to medicine and then had a go at my brother and he ended up in sales. And I guess third time he tried me and I said, okay, sounds great. So did the classic work experience. But I think at any point in your dentistry career, it’s really about finding somebody who can inspire you, who likes their job, and meeting that person at that key point, whether it’s as a 15 year old, making your GCSE going into GCSE as A-levels or whether it’s later on in your career, I guess people call it a sliding door moment, get get the right connection at the right time, and that can just send your whole life in a different direction, essentially.

[00:03:31] What was it about this person that inspired you that sort of changed that direction for you? Was there a moment or was it something sad or something that you observed or.

[00:03:43] I think, yeah, probably more the the key ethics in in their practice, the enthusiasm. And like I said, I’ve always known that there needs to be this work life balance. And he certainly demonstrated that that was possible. There’s definitely an entrepreneurial background in my family and I guess all these kind of factors tied in together to make dentistry seem, and I still think it is a great option for bringing those aspects in together. I think there was negatives playing against the other career options at that point. You know, I love animals. I would love to be a veterinary surgeon, but I think there’s things about it that wouldn’t have suited me. So I think I’m in the right place.

[00:04:30] When you grew up in Ipswich.

[00:04:33] Yeah, exactly. So yeah, only about 40 miles from where I am now. But good thing about that, it’s just such a lots of friends and friends and family. My husband grew up not far who would sit for them together. Just took about a decade before we dated. So, you know.

[00:04:48] It’s a slow burner. What was.

[00:04:50] It like? What was it like arriving in London to study after growing up in Ipswich? I guess you’d been to London several times.

[00:04:58] Well, London.

[00:04:59] East London, you know, it’s kind.

[00:05:01] Can be a bit of a.

[00:05:04] Shock. It’s actually, I think, you know, alluding to being a.

[00:05:08] Third child again, I drove myself to university with my big brother who lived down the road. He’d just graduated from city uni and then he helped me unpack and parked the car by his flat. So I think there’s always been a fairly strong level of independence in my life, so I guess that kind of made it less of a scary step than it might have been for others.

[00:05:28] You know why, Katie? Did your parents encourage that somehow?

[00:05:33] Yeah, for sure. So grandparents and things, they have always travelled the world. Both my parents lived abroad when they were younger. We were very much kicked into being independent through travel and things from a young age. Age 16, I went out to Japan on a youth exchange program for the summer and we went and stayed in people’s houses and my Japanese.

[00:05:54] Is virtually.

[00:05:56] Non-existent as it was then. But really you can learn like we will find with patients who we don’t have the same first language with. You don’t need to speak the same language to. Communicate with people. I can’t remember the statistic. I’m sure one of you guys know.

[00:06:08] What’s the how much is nonverbal? Yeah. How much is.

[00:06:13] It?

[00:06:13] It’s an actual amount. Is it?

[00:06:15] It’s a lot.

[00:06:17] So. So, you know, I think going.

[00:06:21] Through experiences like that, great experiences when you’re younger, suddenly means, you know, turning up at university, you know, an hour’s train drive from where you live, you know, not maybe as intimidating as some sort of country bumpkins might find it.

[00:06:36] And what was uni like for you, Katie?

[00:06:39] Yeah.

[00:06:40] Uni’s great. I played a lot of sport, which I’ve always loved. It’s a great way to meet people, play clubs, club hockey, know it’s great, it’s great uni, lots of good education, not campus uni which you know, young people looking at universities. I think that would be really the only negative I can think of to to study at a London university. But it was great fun. You know, you can’t fault it. Whoever wants to university to work hard, play hard, I think is how we got through most.

[00:07:09] Of our dental dental degree.

[00:07:12] What about when you qualified, Casey? What was it when was your what was your first job?

[00:07:17] So I ended up down in.

[00:07:20] Fulham.

[00:07:20] For feet with a paediatric, one of the paediatric tutors from university. Just thought I’d try the other side of London for a bit. It’s really great. He taught me great key messages to deliver, which really said today to to kids. I then went on to Kings and did Max. Max, which was an induction of fire, I guess, is how I describe it.

[00:07:44] Great experience, you know, being chucked it as a.

[00:07:47] As a dentist alongside half the team, being doctors and nobody nobody else in the hospital knows.

[00:07:53] What you are.

[00:07:54] Means. You really just have to learn on your feet, which I think.

[00:07:57] Did you enjoy?

[00:07:58] You enjoy, Max?

[00:07:59] Max absolutely loved it. Yeah, loved it. And it was it was a strong consideration. But I think this draws back to what I said already in terms of that work life balance, you know, and and I don’t know how doctors do it. I have a lot of friends, obviously, from uni who are doctors. I’m sure you guys do as well.

[00:08:19] Probably as a.

[00:08:19] Doctor, you just work all hours. Why?

[00:08:26] That’s why he’s no longer a doctor.

[00:08:28] No, never done it. Never done an honest day’s work in my life. But yeah, a lot of my friends who I was at uni with as well. Right, is the work life balance is non-existent. You’re right. Yeah. I don’t know how they do it, but I guess you know what? It’s because we know a different life, right? We don’t know any different and and that’s all they, they normalise with. Right. So yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s easier to make that statement when we’re on the other end and you have and we’ll talk about work life balance later, Katie, because obviously we’ve had discussions where you took a bit of time out of your own practice and your situation allowed you to step out of dentistry, step out of your business. Yeah. Go and have a kid come back and start smashing metal rods in people’s heads again. And you know what I was I was quite impressed with because obviously, you know, I’ve got four kids. I’ve worked with numerous associates, some who have taken longer time out of dentistry. But you were very clear. You was like, okay, so Prav, we’re going to we’re going to tailor the implant campaigns down because I’m going to place my last implant on this day. Then I’m going to have X number of weeks off and then we’ll just it and then I’ll start doing some simple cases and then and then I’ll go straight in.

[00:09:52] Yeah. I mean, what’s stopping you? Save your baby.

[00:09:55] People being babies for centuries all over the world.

[00:09:59] And do you do you think do you think it’s harder for women to do dentistry?

[00:10:04] I think well, I listen to one of your other podcasts. I forgotten the lady’s name. Who was you were just discussing.

[00:10:11] A lot about about women.

[00:10:12] In dentistry. Forgive me for not remembering. And and I think, you know, like you said, that it’s a great career choice for women. You’ve got that flexibility, you know, to be in and out you trousers and things like that. I think the only difficulty somehow is when everybody tries to do everything, you know. And of course, I feel the pressure is the same as anyone else. You know, owning a business, having kids, you know, some something’s got to give somewhere. But children are resourceful things, aren’t they? They just get on with it. I think my opinion is that sometimes we’re all a bit too led by children and they just have to get on with it. But you know, they’re only little, so we’ll see how they turn out.

[00:10:53] Yeah.

[00:10:53] I mean, it’s an interesting point, isn’t it, to be led by your children or to lead your children in different directions. But there must be a tension, right, between the amount of time you’re spending with them and the amount of time you’re spending at work. And do you do you feel that you don’t feel like others do the guilt and all of that?

[00:11:13] Yeah, I think it is sometimes stressful. I’d say the thing that does often give is having any time for yourself, which I know is is a challenge. You know, there’s obviously been a lot on social media in the news and stuff recently about this kind of, you know, burnout stresses, mental health and all of this. I think it’s a really interesting point I’m very good at. I personally think compartmentalising things so I can go home and not think about work for a whole evening, you know, which can be a negative, I guess can be a positive. But it does mean that for me, at least when I’m not at work, I feel I don’t really get too involved. Not like I do occasionally wake up early and think about it, but I don’t struggle to get sleep at night, you know? So whether that’s a good or bad thing, it probably is what allows me to be very busy at work and then go home and be a mother and there isn’t much crossover between the two. I’ve got a great team at work, makes a big difference. You know, occasionally I can think of even a couple of weeks ago my husband was away skiing in February. Very important to go skiing even with a newborn baby. Home and I had a late patient. And so I sent the treatment coordinator to go and pick up the kids from nursery down the road and she brought them back to work.

[00:12:25] Because I.

[00:12:26] Can get there. So I think everything. You can’t do it all by yourself, can you? So, so having that, that support team, whether it’s for childcare, for the house, for the business, it’s, you know, it’s a team.

[00:12:40] Effort.

[00:12:41] Okay, Katie, your husband’s your right hand man, not just in life, but in your business as well. Right. So just before we get into that, you mentioned you met at sixth form.

[00:12:54] Yeah.

[00:12:54] Ten years later, you got together. Just just how did that just tell us about that? That I’m just curious.

[00:13:04] Maybe just a slow burner. I think I in a big.

[00:13:06] Group of friends, you know, and I think it’s a case of. Right, right person. Different time, right person, right time, everybody. Sometimes you think what would life have been like if you’ve recognised age 18, whatever? We met over 14, you know, but actually all your experiences make you the person that you are. So, so we got there in the end, you know.

[00:13:30] And yeah.

[00:13:32] So did did you have a ten year gap or were you in touch with each other?

[00:13:35] We were in touch, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, we’re still friends over the same group of friends. Yeah. Oh, cool. So, so, so yeah. We’ve, we’ve essentially grown up together, but, you know, it means you know each other, each other’s families. So bizarrely, my parents didn’t actually realise his first name for about the first two years that we were dating because we all call them by surname, which is Blake.

[00:13:58] And they realised it wasn’t two years into the relationship because they never had anything else.

[00:14:05] Blake. Blake So Katie, how far did you go in or surgery? Did you just do the one little house job or did you take it further?

[00:14:14] No, just the one house job. Yeah. And then a moment of clarity that although.

[00:14:18] I loved the job, I needed a life.

[00:14:20] So I actually tapped out of London and went down to Cornwall and did a few locum jobs, took a bit of time out. You know.

[00:14:27] Having done London and.

[00:14:30] London for seven years, you know, I wanted to go get a bit of bit of headspace, which is a great thing to do.

[00:14:36] You know.

[00:14:36] Lovely area bit, the back and beyond. So I thought I’d come back up for work where I came from.

[00:14:42] But then, so your oral surgery job didn’t particularly help with being a implant surgeon. You didn’t you hadn’t had enough experience of cutting people.

[00:14:51] And I think.

[00:14:53] Was it one of those jobs that you did jump in and take wisdom teeth out and all that.

[00:14:58] A bit? Yes, I think that the most important thing and why I would still always say to new graduates that doing a job like that is great is after you’ve been the on call person for a trauma centre in London.

[00:15:12] And your first person.

[00:15:14] Nothing fazes you. You know, so and I distinctly remember my last day on the job being on call and being called to the neuro ICU and they’d hit something was doing a tracheostomy. And I was the person they called to stop to stop the bleeding out of a hole in the neck. So having having had that as your kind of you are the person that they call for those sort of issues, really, you know, teeth are just teeth.

[00:15:42] Which, you know.

[00:15:44] So.

[00:15:45] I think can.

[00:15:45] Put things into perspective a bit. Not saying that it could make people blasé because I think there’s obviously we all know there’s risks of everything, but it certainly makes you think, okay.

[00:15:56] You know, it’s going to be okay.

[00:16:00] So then you decided you’re not going to go down that path and then what’s a general practice became a goal.

[00:16:07] Yeah. General practice. I was in a busy NHS practice in Essex, called off an old union, said, Can I have a job? And they said, Yeah, there you go. Which in that is a practice. You know, in retrospect, at the time I thought, wow, I must, you know, they really, you know, really good friends. In retrospect, I think if someone like me called me up now and said, Can I have a job? I would say yes. So I can.

[00:16:33] See see.

[00:16:34] Where it’s where, where they were coming from. So did a bit of that and then went up and did death tells in part course at UCL and it carried on from there really which is a great, a great foundation interest and course taught me a lot, exposed me to a lot of interesting lectures and things like that and was a pretty robust course. I found it robust, let’s put it that way.

[00:17:01] Take us through the decision making process. Because, look, the vast majority of men and women, by the way, don’t go to implants. What is about you that made you want to go that way? Did you decided from the beginning that you would be doing implants? Was there a particular patient, a conversation, someone you spoke to, a mentor? Like what? What made you make that call to go on Deaf Patel’s course, where so many people don’t like me as a dentist? I’d never even considered it for a second.

[00:17:30] Yeah. I think for me it was being in the right place at the right time with the practice principle at the time was quite enthusiastic about implants and supportive of somebody who wanted to do that.

[00:17:43] Was he placing himself being.

[00:17:46] Yes. So you were watching.

[00:17:47] Somewhere where your boss sent messages through. Oh, I’m just about to do this. Do you want to come and watch? And the answer is always yes. Go and have a look, see what they’re doing. So, you know, not an academic high flying guy, but just, you know, a decent dentist placing decent implants, you know, that I think is important. Obviously, that or surgery experience has always been really interesting, which I think actually stems from going out on a few charity projects. I’ve done a few over the years, sort of bridge to aid a few other of the Ugandan projects and Europe, Central America, things like that. So the doctors in the surgery had come from a few of those experiences over the years as well. So for me it seemed like a natural step. You know, how can you make.

[00:18:31] Or some.

[00:18:32] Kind of surgery sit in with general practice? I think for me that was the obvious way to go and looking around at courses, probably I should think still at that time. Definitely. You know, UCL is one of the reputable ones as far as I was concerned.

[00:18:47] Anyway.

[00:18:49] Let’s get back to implants a bit later. Tell me about the charity work. How did that come about and what’s the feeling of it? Do you feel helpless when you’re out there? There’s so much a mountain of work that needs doing and.

[00:19:01] Well, yeah, I think.

[00:19:03] Probably quite.

[00:19:05] Naively, maybe I think I went between like the second and third year of I think second and third year of uni. Out with Christian relief Uganda they called and that was just by chance finding them online I think I think always the heart’s always in the right place of all of these charities. They are trying to help where they can. Subsequently, having volunteered with British Trade, I know they’ve had a little bit of a change in the direction of the charity, I think, in the last year or so and caught up with them fairly recently. But I think anything like that, the idea is always, isn’t it, to train the people out there, you know, because there’s only so much that you can impact as a single dentist going out to the country and pulling out teeth for three weeks. Yes, you help some people, but where’s the long lasting help? So I think for me it was a good experience. It certainly made me realise how lucky we are with the provisions and things we have in the UK and the practical side of getting out there and getting on with clinical stuff compared to the limited clinical experience any undergraduate degree.

[00:20:09] Can can.

[00:20:10] Give you probably they gave me a leg up. You know, you get back to union, you can put up teeth better than the other fourth year student. So you get given the harder ones and you get given the harder ones and it carries on from there. So I guess that spirit of adventure instilled in me as a as a teenager probably. Maybe do that. Maybe do that. You know how life goes on.

[00:20:30] And Katie, you mentioned earlier when you were younger, sort of being an entrepreneur or businesswoman and was kind of like destined for you. It was it was in the blood for from a young age. When when did you decide that? Right. I’m going to be a practice owner. And what was your journey from where you were sort of in your journey? Learning to place implants, doing some work in your mates, practice and whatnot, and then and then moving into making that jump into practice ownership. And do you know what? It’s it’s a topic of conversation. You jump on Facebook and everyone’s opening in a squat, buying a practice, thinking of doing it, asking 101 questions. Just talk us through your journey and your thought process. Even before you you talked into being a business owner.

[00:21:17] Yes. So I was. Selling eggs at the end of the farm drive in age 12 on a business loan from my parents buying the chickens, I then have to pay back. So, you know, from that perspective.

[00:21:29] It’s all learning, isn’t it?

[00:21:32] The practice ownership part. I had a fairly strong idea of what area of the world I was going to live in. Family is very important to me. We still live next to my parents. You know, we had a bond. So for me, there was only a finite area and a finite size of practice, I guess, that that my budget could afford at that time. So essentially keeping an eye on the marketplace for, I think almost three years before this one came up. Half an hour drive from where you want to live, in my opinion. And you know, you have this much money. I want you to mix practice, wants to own the building. So really a combination of those things. We looked at a few, but I think it’s just waiting for the right for the right time, right time, right place.

[00:22:20] To cater you. Other criteria like right at the start mix practice have to own the building half an hour from home. To half an hour from home again. Yeah. Really easy that you just. You just want a smooth commute, right? And close to home. That makes sense. Yeah. And the mix practice and the.

[00:22:41] Building and.

[00:22:42] Owning the building. Yeah. What is it about owning the building?

[00:22:45] Well, this is something which I’m reconsidering. You know, if we do move to sue practices, would I do the same thing again? I don’t know if it’s naivety in business. I mean, it still kills me as it ever has when I’ve rented properties to think that you’re paying off someone else’s mortgage. And it’s basically the same thing with a lease. Oh, right. Yeah. So and I guess for me the, the other time I’m a is because of what a mixed practice. And the reason that was one of my criteria assessing when I.

[00:23:15] Bought.

[00:23:16] Would I buy a second mixed practice? I don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and see if.

[00:23:21] If, if what.

[00:23:22] The new NHS contract when it’s a whole different topic for debate. But you know would I think it does give a good security, it does give a solid patient base to somebody opening or taking over a practice. At least you know what you’ve got and you’ve got some patients to play with to start with, you know. So for me it was that.

[00:23:45] And what are your tips for converting NHS to private? So a lot of mixed practice owners will, will say actually I’ve got, I’ve got a, I’ve got a list of patients here that some of whom will convert straight across to private duty. Do you have any tips yourself in terms of converting any NHS patients to private?

[00:24:05] I think it all lies at making sure that you as a practice are making that patient feel valid, listening to them communication when they feel that they can trust you as a clinician. Yes, but the whole team, because the goal of any practice in my mind, practice ownership is to get to the point where you don’t have to work in the practice, you know, or at least at least the practice isn’t 100% reliant on you, but you’ve got to build the trust. You know, I don’t think it’s the same as sales techniques. I think it’s it’s a it’s a communication in a trust communication. And that will build a practice.

[00:24:44] Tenfold over all of.

[00:24:46] The marketing.

[00:24:47] And has has has the split from the NHS private split changed since you took over the practice and in if so, how.

[00:24:57] Yes. So we have very small NHS contract. Ace. We’ve had the practice coming up about two and a half years now. And in the last two and a half years, we’ve. Tripled the private coming through the practice. I think about five or six times the practice plan we have here. Now, some of that is covered. Yes. How much? I don’t know. I guess that will all come out in the wash in the next few years and we’ll find out. So I think it does help. I wouldn’t say we convert that many people because we don’t really try to to to flip the NHS over. But for me we get a lot of word of mouth, new people joining us and and mostly that’s through an experience a helping out. For me if a patient needs seeing that day they need seeing that day if it means, you know, I don’t have a hold out, I never have a whole life lunch, who does?

[00:25:51] You know, I help I have people.

[00:25:53] That you’ve got to care about people fundamentally. It’s a caring health care profession.

[00:25:56] You know.

[00:25:58] Perhaps you’ve never been there, although you’re more involved in in their business than than I’ve been. But when you go there does not feel like an NHS practice at all. Not one little bit, you know, the smiling people, the surprise and delight gifts calling patients before, before they even come. For the first time, there was some other amazing stuff. Little, little, little, little cupboard with with goodies for the patient that they just hand out whenever there’s a situation. And and very strong on the marketing side, which I guess you need to be in private practice. You do need that. But, but I’m quite interested in this sort of your vision. You, you seem to have a very sort of simple way of looking at things. And but I’m saying that with in I don’t mean simplistic. No, no, I mean simple. Did you have a vision for it when you when you came and saw the practice, are you thinking about buying it apart from it had those different criteria. Could you see that there were things that you could do better? And what were those things and how soon did you start changing things? Because it doesn’t make sense to day one stock going berserk. Changing things is that you don’t want to annoy you don’t want to disturb the patient base or the staff or anything. So what was that? What were the things that you saw about it that you thought there’s extra potential here? And then how long was it before you put stuff in place?

[00:27:25] Yeah, sure. I think a lot of things we have done and we’re not there by any stretch of the imagination. I’ll put my hands up and say, we don’t know all the answers. We’re just learning like anyone else is. We’ve spent a bit of time still going into other people’s practice. Whoever will have us to spend days with people, I try and do at least sort of two different practices a year. And it’s it’s it’s been really refreshing within the profession to call up people who we know or connect through other people and say, listen, can I come down to practice for an afternoon sitting with you doing clinic because you always learn from other people. I don’t know at all by any any stretch. So to have found that I think if you can come away from an afternoon with another clinician or another practice manager and pick up one tip that you then take back to your practice, you know, multiply that by hundreds of days, hundreds of tips, and that really does help a practice grow. I think when I took over the practice organically, we wanted to see where it goes. It was sort of still in parts, a little bit scruffy, but that has meant that it’s retained the sort of non-clinical family environment family feel to it. Lots of my patients now, the kids know the babies and all of this and it wouldn’t necessarily surprise them and hasn’t surprised them when they’ve come in for treatment. And there’s one of my babies in a pram asleep in the waiting room, which maybe isn’t the kind of slick London experience you’d get. But we’re not.

[00:28:49] In we’re not on Harley Street, you know, and I think when people know you as a.

[00:28:54] Person, they maybe trust you more, you know. So I think that that’s helped as to the vision, that’s something I have up here. We’re working with Mark Topley to try and get some of this stuff that’s in my head, my husband’s head down on paper so that we can kind of work on what it is that makes the practice what it is in order to help other staff recognise it. Get the message across on social media website as we expand, rebrand things like that. But I think you’re right that you don’t want to change everything at once. You don’t want to scare off that core of patients, you know, so and a lot of it we don’t see occasionally a patients say, oh.

[00:29:38] Looks a lot.

[00:29:39] Smarter than a few years ago and you have to pause and go, thank you.

[00:29:42] It’s very difficult for people.

[00:29:45] It’s very difficult to take praise, isn’t it?

[00:29:47] You know.

[00:29:48] So I think it’s very nice when you suddenly hear that recognition from a patient very, very different and able to accept that praise and think, oh, actually we have done a lot. I have a to do list as long as my arm. But actually to say, okay, well we’re getting there, you know, it’s two and a half years.

[00:30:05] Well, ten years is nothing. Yeah, it really is nothing at all.

[00:30:09] It’s.

[00:30:10] So considering that you’ve done a lot already, that’s that’s kind of the crux of my question, you know. You must have started pretty soon after buying it, making changes. Yeah. What were the first changes you made? I mean, what was what was glaringly obvious to you that needed changing at the beginning.

[00:30:29] Taking receptionists out of the back corner and put them up front so patients can see them when they’re walking through the door. Lovely receptionist she’s on maternity leave but comes by every month with her baby for lunch until she comes back, you know? And and everybody knows that. Everybody, like, say you’d walk in through the door and you have to look around a post into a back corner to find her. So why would you hide someone like that who’s who’s a great person in the back corner? So who pulled her out the back.

[00:30:54] Corner for the.

[00:30:56] Reception at the front? You know, it’s simple. Changes like that, I think, make a big difference. You know, refurbished, smart art, fresh coat of paint, even if you haven’t got the budget to, you know, if you haven’t got the budget to re plaster, don’t re plaster, but, you know, put some new lights.

[00:31:12] In the.

[00:31:13] Put a smelly thing into it doesn’t smell like a dentist. As soon as you walk in, it all builds to helping patients relax a little bit more, doesn’t it? Nobody really likes going to the dentist even. I don’t.

[00:31:24] Know.

[00:31:25] And from the treatment perspective, was that was that was there any implants being placed at that practice? Was there any Invisalign going on?

[00:31:32] There was no Invisalign. So we brought that in. Arturo, we brought in a CBC that there was some implants being placed, not any of the full.

[00:31:40] Mouth stuff, all.

[00:31:41] For type stuff I’m doing. It was sort of single implants, no marketing going on. So a few, what I would call relatively easy fixes have been done. The harder ones, the planning permission, the rear extension, they are still a work in progress, but we’re.

[00:31:57] Getting that.

[00:32:00] To Prav and I both know the area kind of a little bit from. We both worked with Andy Morpho for years and years and you look at Chelmsford, you think, Well, that’s a major hub, right? So there they will need all of this stuff. But, but I don’t know, maybe, I don’t know Witham very well. Yeah. So, but when I look at Sleepy Witham, yeah. And then I just don’t imagine that a town like that would have as much invisalign in it as, as you guys are obviously doing or enlightened or all on for or did you realise this anyway because you’re from the area or did you say, I’m going to be the one because it’s inevitably going to happen in a town like this or how? Tell me about that.

[00:32:43] I think. Well, I’ve never been to Western before. Bought practice here to tell you just drive past it on the A12 you know. Great has a train stop.

[00:32:51] Yeah yeah we did obviously.

[00:32:53] Look at the potential the new development.

[00:32:55] There there was a lot of housebuilding, there’s a lot of housebuilding going on.

[00:33:00] But in essence, a lot of people, particularly with more working from home, I think are moving slightly further out of London. And that’s I think is is giving either the new builds or the villages. You know, there’s some really nice areas around here, villages where all the houses are sort.

[00:33:17] Of tied.

[00:33:18] To 1.5 mil, you know, so so there is the money around here. And I know it’s not all about money, but you’ve got to have people who want to spend money to have a business 70.

[00:33:31] So I think that.

[00:33:31] There’s a wider draw. Yes, I think that’s the answer.

[00:33:36] Interesting. Prav What about your journey in marketing best practice. What did you do? What did you think? What did you how did you start?

[00:33:46] I think we well, I initially spoke to Alex, right. You’re at the house and I think you were having some challenges. It might have been with another agency or something like that. And and for me, with whatever practice it is, right. It’s just understanding the sales process. That’s the first thing. Because if you’ve got a terrible sales process, that doesn’t matter what marketing you’ve got going on, it’s not going to work. So understanding the sales process was really important and I think I believe I met your TCL stroke lead ninja at the time and it was clear to me that their sales process was good. The follow up systems, we had a couple of conversations around how that could be elevated a little bit and improved, and then we just kicked off with the basics, right? And when I speak to clinicians, you know, the first thing is, okay, you want me to market implants, know, the first question I ask is, Well, give me your clinical remit. What can you do? And the conversation with Katie was more about what she couldn’t do. There wasn’t very much so. So, you know, often to have that conversation, it’s a bit like, what are you are you are you a single implant, a multi implant, ones and twos or full arch and cases like everything. Send me everything.

[00:35:04] Right. So we so we kind of know what we can push, right? You can push the marketing that focuses on the identity patient focuses on the loose denture sufferer, all that sort of stuff. So that makes our life super easy, right? Because if we’re driving inquiries that come through and unfortunately either the clinic don’t have the ability to to service that from a clinical perspective, then then you’re struggling. And it’s the same with orthodontics, right? But you know, there’s there’s a lot of volume for children’s orthodontics and stuff like that, but we’d never dream of targeting that for a practice that focuses on, let’s say, invisalign or clear aligner treatment or whatever, unless it’s specialist service. So a big part of it is understanding the sales process. And then, you know, I think the benefit that you’ve got, Katie is having Alex there, who can keep an eye on things, who can respond quickly, who can monitor things. Do you see what I mean? And if things you know, if things are not quite going to plan or whatever, pick up the phone, reorder, adjust things, make some adjustments, and then away we go. And for you guys, I found that because your sales process was pretty robust, it’s is pretty straightforward. Generate the leads, they’ll convert and then away we go.

[00:36:22] But why is that? Most practices you go to or you work with, you’ve got to fix the sales process, the follow up and all that, I think. Katie, did you did you know this? Did you know this was key and you put that process in place or was it already in place when you bought the place or.

[00:36:37] It was not in place when we bought the place.

[00:36:39] I think there’s a lot a lot.

[00:36:41] Of things go on in the background. You know, a lot of different courses we’re sending. The TSOs just finished a course of Lord Horton, who does all of the course, stuff like that, even though she’s pretty confident at what she was doing already. So like I alluded to, already tweaked lots of things and suddenly it all comes together. Spend time on training so that it’s all the elements because they might not get it eco knows or the training they might get the girls second week at reception, you know. So I think you’ve got to make sure that everybody understands and everyone’s singing from the same same songbook, isn’t it?

[00:37:18] I think the thing is, though, Alex knows his onions, right? When it comes to processes and systems and stuff like that. And that’s that’s a massive plus, like having somebody in the business that knows their shit.

[00:37:31] What’s his background, what’s his what was Alex doing before he was doing this?

[00:37:35] So he did a maths degree. He taught maths head of department at a high school for nine, eight, nine years, something like that. The police for a year. Then I bought the practice, we bought the practice and and I suddenly thought, oh Christ. Luckily at the time he wasn’t decided that the police wasn’t for him. So we did a rapid, rapid conversion over into the practice just at the right time because.

[00:38:02] Because.

[00:38:03] As you said, Prav, there’s no chance I could be doing this by myself. I don’t know what I was thinking.

[00:38:07] Thinking I could.

[00:38:08] Which means that’s allowed. That’s freed me up to focus on the surgery, focus on the implants, and focus on the clinical side. He is non-clinical he knows a few dental words now, but that means anything.

[00:38:22] That’s not anything that’s not clinical.

[00:38:25] It goes to him both in terms of managing the staff, in terms.

[00:38:28] Of all of the.

[00:38:29] The marketing, the finances. There’s quite a clear delegation.

[00:38:35] On paper, though. That’s not a great background for what he’s doing. I mean, maths teacher and police expertise, did he did he do a lot of reading or going on courses or does he take a massive interest in businesses now? How does it work?

[00:38:49] Yes. So I think I think two things. One is that actually being in a managerial position within the teaching role meant that he didn’t know how to manage people. So I think the that side of things, yes, the massive business, I think actually do go quite hand in hand understanding the numbers. All of that he loves. And we actually he took advantage of the complete back catalogue of Chris Barrows stuff he put free online during COVID. So for most.

[00:39:18] People.

[00:39:19] Yeah, for most people, COVID was this lovely period of relaxation. We literally put our heads down for eight weeks, which couldn’t have come at a better time for us, to be honest with you. Would have the business got the business in the August, had a baby in September and COVID hit was it February, March and at that. So we suddenly we had our six month baby at home, which was fine, because that meant I got booked on maternity leave, in essence, and, and did half days of work and half days of childcare and got through.

[00:39:49] A real, real lot.

[00:39:50] Of vision for the business. So I think for us that worked that worked well and we learned on our feet what we don’t know, we ask. Lots of people will answer if you ask.

[00:40:00] And we do.

[00:40:02] It’s true. So tell me about the moving from single tooth implant. A couple of implants to full arch.

[00:40:10] Yeah.

[00:40:10] How long? How long did it take you to go from never having put an implant in to becoming an all on fall chick?

[00:40:18] Well, yeah, I think a couple of years. It’s. It’s the thing. Yeah, you just got to do the right job in the right place, you know?

[00:40:27] If you’ve got.

[00:40:28] I think if you’re in an environment with any aspect of dentistry, if you’re somewhere where you’ve got somebody who will help you, you can nip it and ask a quick question in the room next door. Then. Then I think you will naturally try.

[00:40:41] Things.

[00:40:41] Try things.

[00:40:42] More.

[00:40:43] We see it.

[00:40:43] But the course in UCL, the Dev Patel course, did that cover all four as well or not?

[00:40:48] No. So I went out and did some work at the Mala Clinic in Lisbon.

[00:40:53] Oh, did.

[00:40:54] You? And that opened my eyes.

[00:40:58] Yeah. So I thought, well, you want to.

[00:41:02] Learn about dentistry? Why not go to the people who invented oral? Four Kind of make sense in my mind. So went out there, looked at a lot of their processes. Yeah. And for.

[00:41:12] Me, the skyscraper.

[00:41:13] Thing.

[00:41:13] You don’t know it all by spending a few weeks at a place like that, but you can see an awful lot.

[00:41:19] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:41:21] What’s it like in there? Like, literally a 15 storey dental hospital. That’s what it looks like from the outside.

[00:41:28] Yeah. I can’t think about Florida.

[00:41:30] It’s like.

[00:41:31] It’s like floor 12 or something like that. Absolutely.

[00:41:35] I mean.

[00:41:37] They really have got their processes sorted. You know, patients do X, Y and Z. They’ve, you know, so I think, like I alluded to, you see different things. You take different things away. Their processes are.

[00:41:49] Phenomenal.

[00:41:50] So slick, you know, they just every little step is made to make the patient experience better in the clinical outcomes better, which is all we can try and do in dentistry is, is work against the, against the negatives. Keep things.

[00:42:04] Keep things high.

[00:42:06] Success rate as possible. And that’s what they do there, I think, in my limited experience.

[00:42:13] So clinically, who would you say are your sort of dental inspirations or mentors or even people you haven’t met before who’s really like, who do you look up to in dentistry?

[00:42:23] What I think obviously there are the Dev Patel’s and the public Mallory and things like this. You know, these are people who who are leading the industry as far as I can assess. Obviously, there’s a lot of people on social media and things like this nowadays. Very interesting. I follow people like some chart. I think what he’s doing is, is, is great. All of the AGI crowd when I was doing my implant diploma, I was with Wael Girgis, his Devonshire house practice over in Cambridge. His stuff is is really good. The ethics are just phenomenal. And again, that’s the type of place I haven’t been there for a few years now. But you go there, you see what they’re doing and you.

[00:43:02] Think, Oh, I like that.

[00:43:04] I wonder if we can just just work that into what we’re doing. So I think for me, it’s about having an open profession, you know, help each other out equally. I would say people want to come down to us and see what we’re doing. You know, everyone’s.

[00:43:17] More than welcome.

[00:43:18] I like having people around. I like talking clearly.

[00:43:21] So I recommend it. I recommend it. You’re going to get a bunch of people calling you now, you know that. But I recommend it because what I got from it was from I walked in from the outside, looked like an ordinary practice, quite charming, ordinary practice, you know, old building and all that. But when I went inside, extraordinary things going on in this ordinary town and and that if you could bottle that then then I’m sure. I’m sure people people will love to drink that sauce, that special sauce, because really, really a special feeling in that practice. And I remember at the end of the training for your team, I just turned round to you and said, I know this is going to be a massive success because sometimes you can just tell that you’re in front of people who are going to implement stuff. And the other lovely thing was how happy you were your team were, you know, because sometimes in that high stress environment of high turnover of patients or whatever it is, that sort of kindness can fall off, fall off the edge. And it felt like a family, you know, it felt like happy people who are happy to be there with each other. Do you work on that? Who works on that side of it or does that just come naturally?

[00:44:36] Well, I think it’s I’d hope not chance but put people in the right environment. Maybe it recruiting the right people. One of my favourite things which I don’t often see, because normally I must admit I’m out the door to get the kids from nursery at 5 to 6. But I happened tonight because I was, you know, staying around to speak to you guys. Was that all of the staff? Not all of the staff, but at least five members of staff, they park about two minute walk from the practice in a car park, which we rent some spaces. They all got changed, sat in reception and they wait for each other. The five people who were in that day parking together to make that two minute walk together and they could be rushing to get off. But, you know, five or six, you know, and I just thought, that’s so nice to see that, because they could go one by one by one, but they all wait and then they all walk over together. I was like, that actually kind of shows that it’s not that there’s a social, it’s not that the boss is buying drinks. It’s it’s nothing.

[00:45:29] It’s just that the family have that. That’s what they do.

[00:45:33] You know, which is so nice. And you can’t I think maybe you can build that. Maybe you can lead by example. I always say when we recruit or sometimes interview, I just don’t want bitchiness. It’s such a female dominated, you know, the risk of it being a bitchy environment with lots of nurses, lots of female dentists. I’m not saying guys can’t bitch, but you.

[00:45:54] Know, we’ve all worked in practices where that’s been the situation, right? I mean, you’ve never worked in a dental practice, but you’ve owned a few and intense practice. Sometimes you get this massive split where you’ve got two powerful women on either side of this split, and I’ve noticed it only worked in four practices, but like three of them, there was a situation going on. You’re absolutely right about that. Yeah. So you still you still no bitchiness from the outset?

[00:46:24] Well, I said to them, you know, and if there’s a problem, just call them in and get it over with.

[00:46:30] I’m not letting it fester.

[00:46:32] You know. So I know that.

[00:46:34] Style of leadership.

[00:46:36] If you can call it that, isn’t going to be for everyone. But I think hopefully it works. What can I say? We’re only a few years in. I’ll let you know in a decade how it’s gone.

[00:46:47] Who’s the good cop and who’s the bad cop?

[00:46:51] I’m the good.

[00:46:51] Cop until someone pushes me too far.

[00:46:53] And then maybe about once every six months, I get crossed.

[00:46:58] Did you have a word with Alex?

[00:47:00] Yeah, probably.

[00:47:02] Send in Special.

[00:47:03] Ops. Yeah, I mean, we’ve.

[00:47:08] Got a great team here, so hopefully that will continue to expand as we as we expand the practice.

[00:47:16] So we’ll talk about expansion plans and the future in a bit. But now I want to move on to the dark. Aside. Tell me about errors. Decision mistakes. Things you should have done. You didn’t do things you should’ve done sooner. Things you know, clinical mistakes as well. I’d love to hear about clinical errors. Someone who said at the end of the day, the trajectory of your your career has been quite, quite a steep trajectory. You know, you’re young. You must have made some mistakes along the way.

[00:47:48] Yeah. I mean, I think mistakes with patients.

[00:47:53] Happen.

[00:47:53] They happen to everyone is how they’re handled. I wouldn’t ever try and cover over a mistake. I think honesty goes a long way with patients and if things do go wrong, you.

[00:48:04] Know.

[00:48:05] Fess up to it and try your best to put it right. If you can’t put it right, then send them to someone who can. You know, I don’t see that things can be swept under the carpet, you know, and.

[00:48:15] It sort of.

[00:48:16] Alludes to what we just saying about staff management. You know, the style of my dentistry communication with patients may not be for everyone. Bizarrely, although I don’t think I’m a very empathetic person, I seem to have a lot of anxious patients because I say, Oh, you better get in the chair, you know, which.

[00:48:30] Somehow people seem to like when they’re nervous.

[00:48:33] That’s why. So I think for me, it’s, it’s you try your best to, to not have errors. If errors do happen, then then you’re upfront about them. I think with the business.

[00:48:46] I do, you know, why do you not want to discuss the actual errors?

[00:48:50] I think a few, I guess ones I can think of a kind of more the prostate context side of safer large cases. It’s marring that expectation with the patient. You know, they come in and their mouth looks a mess. You get something that you might think looks great in there, you know, a full arch rehabilitation, you know, all on for this case as a case, I’m currently on a full upper ceramic remake from scratch because she’s not happy with it, you know.

[00:49:18] So even though you are. Yeah.

[00:49:20] Well, she she was on the train, but she’s changed her mind now. So, you know, it’s it’s frustrating. Yes. Do you want to put it right? Yes. Does that mean that there’s no money in the case? Yes. But equally, I think it’s got to be it’s got to be right. You know, so and maybe that’s a communication thing, you know, that I’m happy that we will get there with that patient where we want to go. And probably by the end of it, she will be one of our biggest fans, you know, and probably will send us more patients after, you know, so it’ll all come back round keeping positive.

[00:49:54] I’m so interested in why. Why is it that you can stay so positive about that? And then you hear other people completely crippled by by complaint. What’s the difference?

[00:50:06] Yeah, I mean. I guess it’s taking a learning point from it isn’t it.

[00:50:11] That. Yeah.

[00:50:13] I think his one take.

[00:50:15] That did your best and you did your best.

[00:50:17] It’s really important isn’t it. You did your best, you know, whatever, whatever. Whether it was a communication breakdown or something else, you did your very best. You didn’t, you didn’t go out to make an error. Right. But some people some people are so crippled by it, crippled by being sued and being, you know, what’s your sort of vaccination to that problem?

[00:50:40] Yeah, isn’t it?

[00:50:42] I’ve always had my family look on the bright side. You know, I think flipping that from this patient has sent me a 20 page email with 15 photographs attached screenshots of the teeth from different angles that she doesn’t quite like the shape of that one canine tip. And now I’m going to have to spend 4 hours fixing it and another massive lab bill. It’s frustrating, you know, but the positive for me and I always look at a positive in a situation is that at least she’s telling me about it so I can at least resolve it. We’ve got communication lines.

[00:51:17] Open.

[00:51:18] And it’s a learning. It’s a learning for me. Off the back of that, we’ve then had a think at the practice. Okay, do we need to show patients more examples of final prosthesis? Prosthesis? Do we need to make sure that they’ve got that understanding? You know, a full arch on implants is not the same as teeth. You know, it’s the best that we can currently get to replace them. But it is not your own teeth. So this is leading to us rethinking our treatment coordinator at work to rethinking some of our consent process, you know, all of these factors. So for me, although there is negatives from a case like that, what can you take that’s positive? And let’s focus on that so that same thing doesn’t happen all over again, or at least you see them coming.

[00:52:05] Funny you should savour. You know, we do a lot, a lot of flashes in our clinic. So we do probably on a bad week. We’ll do four. On a good week we’ll do six. And I’ve been in on conversations with patients that that my business partners have been on. We’ve had a patient come in. Initially happy in the chair with his bridge and send it to a really good lab. Ashley Burns lab and patient comes back and goes, Do you know what? I’ve got all these, like, little shapes and characterisations and it goes it goes a little bit more lighter towards the end of my teeth. Right. So Mack sat there explaining to this patient that these look like real teeth. And what we’ve done is we’ve tried to replicate nature. The chap turns around and says, I want my temperature. Same shade from top to the bottom.

[00:53:05] Near the one completely clear.

[00:53:07] Right. That is what I want. And you know what? Give Ashley credit. Where where is due? We picked up the phone, spoke to Ashley and said, look, this isn’t our fault, but this is a concern that the patients expressed to us. He was happy on the day he’s come back and Ashley said to us, Mack, the use of premium lab and use a premium lab for a reason. We’re going to do this. We’re going to sort this out, and it’s not going to cost you anything and we’ll put it right. And then that gave us the confidence because we said to the patient we were going to put it right anyway, but we thought it’s going to cost us a few grand, right? The great thing was we had the back from the lab and we do a lot of these and it happens from time to time. And going back to, is there anything that you could have done differently?

[00:53:55] Well, funny you talk about that patient almost spot on with this one. It’s the same thing, right? My social media girl has a video of the patient crying with happiness when she first saw her bridge. Three months later, she’s back wanting a remake. So I don’t know what.

[00:54:12] You can do.

[00:54:13] No, I think you just you just got to take a view on it. And my lab techs remaking it with us for free as well.

[00:54:19] So.

[00:54:20] Yeah, so it happens. You know, it happens. And you sit back and you could kick yourself and like you said, maybe we should have shown them more pictures and this, that and the other. I think the outcome would have been the same. You can never predict that. Right. But we have because we’ve got such an extensive portfolio, we show them pictures on pictures, on pictures, on videos and pictures of previous patients. He will have been through exactly the same process. But you know what? Sometimes it’s their friends will say something, their relatives will say something to the then they’ll make a mental note of it. And then they’ll come back and they’ll explain there that even though they were happy. Yes. Sam down the road said, What’s going on with your teeth? I thought you’ve had them done. Maybe they don’t even look like you’ve had them done.

[00:55:09] We said, change. Change your friends, is what I said to someone.

[00:55:12] But apparently that wasn’t funny.

[00:55:15] It’s a feature of cosmetic dentistry that at the end of the day, it’s based on an issue of taste, you know, does the tooth hurt or not? That’s sort of a yes or a no sort of answer sort of thing. Right. Whereas, you know, it’s I think it’s like it’s sort of like cost of business and cosmetics in cosmetic dentistry that you’re going to have the odd patient like that. But I think, as Katie says, the way you handle that super important. But but I’m interested in the way you handle it internally yourself, your own head, where the next person might have thought, I’m not going to do any more of those. Whereas you look like the third person said, well, that happens. Let’s, let’s, let’s do it again. Let’s, let’s, let’s make it better. Let’s keep on going. And you just, you’ve got that practical, pragmatic way of looking at life. Katie It’s very interesting.

[00:55:59] And I don’t know where that comes.

[00:55:59] From.

[00:56:03] Did you say you would grow up on a farm?

[00:56:06] Yeah. We still live on a.

[00:56:07] Farm, so.

[00:56:09] I can see cows out of my bedroom.

[00:56:11] Window every morning. Yeah.

[00:56:14] That has something to do with it. You know, it keeps things real.

[00:56:17] Yeah. You’re not selling eggs anymore, though.

[00:56:20] Not selling eggs? No.

[00:56:21] We just have to raise my mom to get her.

[00:56:23] Out the hatch in the morning if you want eggs for breakfast. But, I mean.

[00:56:29] Like I said to my patients, implants is.

[00:56:31] Just.

[00:56:32] Just. Just like a bit of DIY is just a bit smaller, a bit cleaner and a bit more expensive. So.

[00:56:38] Can you tell me I met some of your associates. Tell me what you look for in an associate. And how. How can you tell if you’re getting that from an associate in the interview process and coming to work for you? And what’s it like working for you rather than working for someone else? Because I imagine, you know, like you were saying, to be surrounded by to have a boss who’s doing implants, that’s a massive advantage for someone who wants to get into implants. Right. So if an associate wants to eventually look at implants, maybe have that option open, it’d be amazing to work at your place right where someone’s doing loads of implants. Well, tell me about the associate story. How do you attract them? How do you keep them? How do you you know, what pisses you off about them, that sort of thing.

[00:57:21] I think I think the short.

[00:57:22] Answer is we’re still learning.

[00:57:24] Like I’ve alluded to in a lot of this. You know, I.

[00:57:26] Don’t pretend to know it all by any stretch. I’d say I’d say what I hope to deliver is a friendly, nurturing environment, enthusiasm and some experience, a willingness to share like people share with us in terms of getting people in and keeping people. I think recruitment is challenging. It’s something I hear from from everyone we speak to. You know, everyone’s really struggling with it. You know, the further you get out of London in the main city centres, I think the harder it gets as well. We are commutable just I’d say that that has been it.

[00:58:04] Wasn’t such a big train journey.

[00:58:05] Yeah. I guess, I guess that the thing for me is it’s, it’s that day in, day out and it’s building the long term, the long term associates into the practice. So recruitment is a challenge. And as to what you can tell if an interview I don’t know, we’ve had some luck. We’ve had we’ve had some some failures with associates even to date. So I think when we’ve got people we’ve been running a private VC equivalent for the last year is we’re aiming for people who are open to learning. You know, I don’t mind if people don’t know it yet. You only know what you don’t know. You don’t know what you don’t know. So I think I think for me, it’s having associates who are open to learning, open to sharing and and enthusiasm. I think the attitude has to be right for any associate. And I would base any interview or any associate more on that willingness to learn or willingness to want to learn from each other, from courses, to expand the attitude.

[00:59:04] Rather than the clinical.

[00:59:07] You know, you pay for them to go on courses sometimes, right.

[00:59:10] Yeah. That’s on our year programme. Yeah. Well I think it’s that thing.

[00:59:15] Of.

[00:59:16] Ideally want people who are going to be part of the practice long term so any courses that they go on will benefit the practice. I think you have to take a view on these things and hope that you build people up, you help them become the dentist that they want to be, and that enthusiasm, that love of dentistry will feed back into the practice and therefore grow the business. So so that’s that’s my aim with it, as I say, whether it will work also in a decade.

[00:59:42] But, you know, we talk to associates all the time, the love.

[00:59:44] And the passion.

[00:59:46] We get. We get associates on many Smile Makeover who are 100% sure that the principal is not going to buy the composite, 100% sure about it. And you think, well, you know, make a case or whatever, and then you get other associates coming and it’s almost like they’ve got carte blanche to buy whatever they want. And then I guess you’ve got your your, your, your higher level one. You actually paid for the courses. It’s rare. It’s rare.

[01:00:11] It’s not I mean, I wouldn’t say we go we go wild. I mean, ask my husband about the budget and he’ll tell me. But I think as long as people can justify.

[01:00:21] As long as people.

[01:00:21] Can justify what they need, why they want it, like you said, make a case for it then. Then we’ll we’ll do it, you know, because like I said, what’s what’s good for the associate, they’ve got a good attitude at work that will shine through. Nobody wants to see a grumpy dentist, nurse and receptionist, do they? I mean, so it’s getting that enthusiasm, enthusiasm, get that flowing through the practice and we hope off the back of that. Yeah.

[01:00:48] We’ll be good.

[01:00:49] Katie, you know, I think people underestimate being a local and what that means, you know, because if I was I think you yourself don’t realise that the way that you talk to your patients is such a natural way of talking to your patients because you know that community inside out, you know the type of people inside out. So, for instance, if I was you and I was hiring someone, then being a local would be for me the biggest the number one most important thing, because you can gauge the patients, you can understand the subtle cues when you’ve grown up in that in that community, whereas some hot shot from London comes there, doesn’t even get when the guy says, Oh, I work on such and such street or farm or whatever, has no idea what that means. Or I went to so-and-so school, has no idea what that means. And the subtle, the subtle, the subtle, the subtleties in communication are very, very local, you know, and we’ve come across this before where people say, Oh, I’ve filled up seven chairs for six weeks ahead and I just don’t know how I did it, you know? And they really don’t know how they did it. But, you know, they’ve taken care of people, but they’ve understood people and they’ve been understood by their patients. What do you think?

[01:02:09] Yeah, I completely agree. And I think that also ties into looking at location of of associates and thinking who is going to commit long term, you know, somebody who’s.

[01:02:20] From our perspective. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:02:23] You know, they may sick. Yes. But my ideal associate is somebody who is, like you said, embedded in the local, not the local local, but the wider community who is settled perhaps once the long term commitment, once those long term connections with patients to build a decent career.

[01:02:44] Do you have a chat with your associates about how much they cost and how much they need to make? Yes.

[01:02:51] Yes.

[01:02:52] Do they understand the numbers?

[01:02:55] Yes. And and that, interestingly, is something that I think isn’t taught at an undergraduate level and should be perhaps. I think dentists come out as self employed associates and have no idea about how to actually work work a business, because essentially they’re a small business within a business. So yes, we try and build a lot of that in we do targets. We do their weekly numbers in terms of NHS private looking at their costs, how do they compare with industry standards and make all of that information freely available to the to the individual so that they have an idea? Because when they’re earning, we’re earning. When they’re happy, we’re happy.

[01:03:36] And then we deal with your implant work when something’s gone wrong. Have you always bounced back from that or did you ever have a moment where you thought I shouldn’t? I’m not going to bother with this anymore because I think that’s how I would react. Know if I’m sure it doesn’t go the way I’m saying, because, you know, you build up you build up the complexity of the case. But it tends to be generally when things go wrong, they go badly wrong. And then I’m sure when you’re starting to put screws in bones, things go wrong more right. I mean, how do you how do you stay strong in that situation and not think, you know, I’ll just I’ll just keep it simpler rather than make it more complicated the way you have?

[01:04:19] Well, I think I aim to work within my expertise. I think you’re talking to Andy Moore on the podcast. He said the same thing. You know, I don’t dislike gayness. I think I’ve seen some. But you’ve got to be doing a decent number of cases in order to keep clinically competent within any part of dentistry. So so the bottom line for me is making sure that you you are happy with what you’re doing, you’re confident with what you’re doing, and sometimes putting your hands up and saying, listen, I can’t meet your expectations. You know, I can think of a case literally. She was ready. She was ready to commit. I thought I could get another surgeon in to help me do this. I go. And after a few consultations over the phone, I just thought, Do you know what? I can’t meet your expectations. You know, it’s not about money. It’s it’s about stress. And I refer to someone else in the end, which I rarely do.

[01:05:15] So what does the future hold for the practice or practices? Okay.

[01:05:21] We had.

[01:05:21] It depends if you’re.

[01:05:22] Asking me or my husband. Hey, I mean.

[01:05:27] I like to have a challenge every year or a figure every year. So. So so far I think we’ve gone sort of, you know, build a house, get married, buy a practice, have a baby covered, have another baby for surgery. Extension is the plan for end of this year. So next year, who knows? I’m building the looking to educational type thing we’ve got our first course loosely scheduled for is scheduled for September with Nova Bike running an in-house course, which would be the first one where we’re aiming to do based on GDP’s restorative dentistry stuff going how they can restore potentially implants stuff. We’re currently doing the rebrand of the practice, the new website and trying to launch maybe a some level of local referral stuff. A second site would be great. I’m keen to go now. I think my husband is the one in the background saying Hold up, let’s get this sorted first.

[01:06:27] So the little voice of reason on my shoulder. So I think this let’s give that give.

[01:06:34] That another year and then and then we’ll do it anyway and he’ll pick up the pieces.

[01:06:41] Katie was saying that she’s up for building something from scratch. Sounds amazing. It’s the right time for it. Katie, I think you should.

[01:06:50] Wow.

[01:06:53] I think you should. Oh, we would imagine. Have you ever been there? It’s a very quaint little place. I was. I was telling her you had put a Robbie Hughes here somewhere. You know, one of those wicked, massive warehouse conversion jobs. And it’s funny because we think Essex, us people don’t know the area very well. You think Essex where it’s all TOWIE and all that, but there’s this big bits of Essex that aren’t like that at all. Yeah. And much more quaint and sort of home counties than Witham is one of those. But I think it must be sort of spreading the TOWIE effect.

[01:07:31] Well, you know, you’re the.

[01:07:33] Whitening guy. So you tell us.

[01:07:35] What area of the UK does the most white teen? Liverpool.

[01:07:38] Liverpool and Manchester.

[01:07:40] Liverpool. All day long.

[01:07:43] Once in a while. The other side, Newcastle and Sunderland. Those areas, those areas that people want white teeth before they want a coat.

[01:07:50] You know. Yeah.

[01:07:56] We saw a lot.

[01:07:56] Of white to that, to Essex. Yeah.

[01:07:59] We see that bright shivering teeth mate.

[01:08:02] You know, the, the toilet toilet seat, white composite. We sell a lot of that up north and almost nothing down south. It’s been a real pleasure to have you.

[01:08:12] The corner of Essex.

[01:08:14] Yeah. You know, your social was quite nice as well, I think. What’s, what’s the page called? It’s not called Blakes yet because of your rebrand. Or is.

[01:08:25] It? It’s not so we’re not yet. Give us about three more weeks. So we’re in Canberra, which nobody can say or spell. But Katy, dentist is my Instagram, so.

[01:08:34] Katie’s just fun to connect through.

[01:08:36] That’s the best way to connect you dentist. Let’s get to the final questions. Let’s start with mine, because yours is more profound. Fancy dinner party, three guests. Dead or alive. Who do you have?

[01:08:53] Well, I’ve been toying with this question for the last week since you asked me, and one was a straight up easy answer, which was Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mean, what an inspirational.

[01:09:07] Guy. Hey.

[01:09:08] He’s come up before. He’s come up.

[01:09:10] Before. I know.

[01:09:13] He was one of mine.

[01:09:14] Oh, really? Yeah. Yeah.

[01:09:16] I mean.

[01:09:17] I think, you know. Yeah. Just. I mean.

[01:09:21] What can you say about him?

[01:09:22] I mean, I think just keep.

[01:09:23] Reinventing yourself with a new, amazing commitment to hard work and vision.

[01:09:27] You know, I think that’s that is easily the guy who you could pick.

[01:09:31] His brains apart. The other one, I’m slightly more random thought I actually had was Beatrix Potter. So the Peter Rabbit author just for her kind of passion and I guess playing a little bit on the kind of.

[01:09:46] Just.

[01:09:46] Because you’re female. She was in a different time. Yes. Are there still constraints to it nowadays? Yes. So I.

[01:09:53] Think.

[01:09:53] Again, it’s drawing on that passion, that ambition that not accepting what the norms of whatever time you’re in, hold you back, do what you want to do.

[01:10:04] She’s a small person, baby.

[01:10:06] David Attenborough.

[01:10:08] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s come up before, so.

[01:10:11] He’s come up before. I just think the danger is that Arnie’s going to eat Beatrix Potter.

[01:10:18] Yeah, I have considered that.

[01:10:22] I imagine she’s a small person. I don’t know why. I don’t know why, but interesting choice.

[01:10:26] I mean.

[01:10:26] I’m not going with maybe I could have three different dinner parties, you know, because I’m not sure that that would be necessarily the most cohesive group.

[01:10:32] Set I have to know.

[01:10:36] Let’s finish with perhaps.

[01:10:38] Yeah, a bit of fun.

[01:10:41] Katie, it’s your it’s your last day on the planet. You’re surrounded by your loved ones, and you need to leave them with three pieces of life advice, stroke, wisdom. What would they.

[01:10:56] Be? Well, I think a.

[01:10:58] Few you’ve already got the vibe of from talking. You know, positivity goes a long way, I think. Be positive, you know.

[01:11:06] Smile, laugh.

[01:11:07] It will get you a long way. Maybe not laughing at people, but, you know, positivity, really?

[01:11:13] Yeah.

[01:11:14] Positivity, I think really does breed positivity. So in any element of life, dentistry, I think keep that going and you can go a long way. And I think taking opportunities, you know, I.

[01:11:26] Think.

[01:11:27] You only regret the things you don’t do. You know, I very much say I’ll be fine and it drives everyone around me up the wall because I’ll just do stuff and then figure it out afterwards. So I think jump in, take the opportunity, seize the day, give it a go. And I guess the last.

[01:11:42] One.

[01:11:44] Maybe just be polite.

[01:11:45] You know.

[01:11:46] Dentistry, I think is a is a small world at the end of it, even outside of dentistry, everybody knows everyone. You know, somehow or another, you know, you don’t get anywhere. But by being.

[01:11:56] Rude, I think I think.

[01:11:59] Be polite, be nice and and the world is nice.

[01:12:01] Back to you on the whole.

[01:12:02] I love that. I love that. Thank you. It’s been a real pleasure. I feel like there’s a there’s a there’s a whole story of Katie Blake that’s going to play out now going forward because you’re so early in your in your you are you’re so early in your career and, you know, you just started. You just started. And so far, so good is all I can say to you. Because, you know, just like.

[01:12:27] I said, thank you.

[01:12:29] We’re going to come back and do this in a decade, as she keeps saying, ask me in a.

[01:12:33] Decade, after two decades, I’ll tell you. So I’ll come back in ten years.

[01:12:37] We’ll come back in ten years and finish the story off.

[01:12:39] Matt.

[01:12:42] It’s been a real pleasure. Katie, thank you so much for doing this.

[01:12:45] Thanks, guys.

[01:12:45] Thank you.

[01:12:46] Katie This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:13:04] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say. Because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:13:19] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.

[01:13:29] And don’t forget our six star rating.

This week, dentist and entrepreneur Loven Ganeswaran talks to Prav and Payman about his Chairsyde patient communication app. But it’s his impromptu hip-hop performance that really impresses!

Loven talks about the challenges of building teams, raising funds and balancing time between clinical work and running a successful start. Plus, he reveals why his busy schedule will never get in the way of making music.

Enjoy!    

 

In This Episode

01.42 – Chairside and visual learning

16.19 – Purpose, passion and impact

26.47 – Building teams

33.49 – Equity and fundraising

54.03 – Hip-hop, impact and legacy

01.01.17 – Chairside  – pricing and platform

01.16.31 – The working week and sabbaticals

01.21.32 – Impact and performance

01.36.24 – Last days and legacy

01.39.43 – Fantasy dinner party

 

About Loven Ganeswaran

Loven Ganeswaran graduated from King’s College London in 2005 and went on to general practice in Oxford before becoming a partner and principal at Ascot-based Sunninghill   Dental Practice.

He is the founder and CEO of Chairsyde, an interactive patient communication app designed to help mitigate risk and boost case acceptance by explaining using simple, visual treatment explanations. 

[00:00:00] Impacts obviously important to you.

[00:00:03] If I can take impact and dive deep into that word. For me, it’s contribution to society or contribution to a community or contribution or play my role. Play my role in this world. Really? And what have I contributed to? If you know, at the end of the day, like, what were you part of? Everybody needs someone to stack the shelves as you need for society to run. Unless a computer or a machine is going to do it. Someone needs to do it. Someone needs to. You will always need nurses. You’ll always need people to contribute their role in society, and you can find passion and purpose in any of those roles.

[00:00:43] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:01] It’s my great pleasure to welcome the love of Janice Warren onto the podcast website onto the podcast. Love is a partner at Sunninghill Dental. I’ve known him for a while since he started his enlightened journey years ago, but also one of the founders of Cheer Side, which is a cheer side sort of tool to explain different treatment options to patients. And he’s going through the whole founder experience at a tech company now. Let me have you, buddy. How are you doing?

[00:01:32] Oh, I’m really well. Thanks, Payman. Thanks, Prav. It’s actually super exciting. I’ve never been invited to a podcast before, so I’ve been super pumped to do this and really grateful for the opportunity.

[00:01:42] Well, you know, you said you listen to this podcast, and so we usually we start with childhood and all that, but I want to kind of take it in a different direction this time, if that’s okay with you or I want to start with the latest thing you’re doing with chair side and.

[00:01:57] Okay, cool. Yeah.

[00:01:59] Let’s start with when did that come into your head as a direction you might be going into and why? Why?

[00:02:07] That’s a really interesting, really good question. Why? Okay. I was four years into my into clinical dentistry post-grad and I found I was also an PhD trainer at the time and I found that I was having these consistent problems that were coming through that I was experiencing. There were shared experiences with, with, with the PhDs. And it stems it all stemmed down to communication. It really all just stem down to communication. It was like a lot of the the PhDs were like kind of kind of afraid of this litigious space that was emerging. And there was a lot of fear being placed, you know, upon graduation or, you know, you need to do things a certain way. And I find that the main focus at that point is also on clinical dentistry, and communication sometimes takes a bit of a backseat. So for me, I’m a visual learner. I always have been. I’ve been, you know, when I was even at uni or even it’s actually a levels of drawing mind maps my whole, whole life. And I learned things visually. So I spent so many hours, so many hours with patients, one after the other, just drawing out teeth. And I’m a terrible artist at the same time, so I’m drawing our teeth, highlighting what an abscess is that it did it. It did it. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

[00:03:23] So there has to be a better way of doing this. And, you know, I thought there has to be more of a systemic way I can explain every single thing that I want to in dentistry, condition wise, pathologically or what not visually, and also showed them their treatment options and also show patients the risks in a standardised, transparent way where people can understand and really looking deeper into it, we found out that 65% of patients are visual learners, right? And so you had 100% of our consultations available. So that kind of really hit, hit home. But it was at that point that I was, I was just I think that was almost the beginning of a feeling that I want to do something visually, that that can explain conditions. But then I spoke to my best mate, who’s also the co-founder of Chair Side Kiri, and circling back, we decided to do a trip to Sri Lanka where we contacted a ton of dental companies and ask for filling materials, sterilisation packs. I would probably say instruments as well to some degree because we borrowed some from the practice and then we, we put it all in suitcase, put it in a backpack, and we went up to the northern northeast of Sri Lanka where we went to some orphanages. And in those orphanages, you know, care. And I thought, let’s do a bit of dental treatment.

[00:04:38] Let’s go and go and go and see these kids and see if we can help them. And there’s about 120 kids in this fast orphanage that we went to, and I sat with them and carried one of the most humble individuals I’ve had the pleasure to be surrounded by. You know, he was he’s not a dentist. He’s in tech. But he he was he was the guy who was holding the light from a torch through a torch while while we were treating these these kids. We were doing check-ups on these kids. And I thought, you know, the feeling that I got from that that we got from that was incredible. We had kids who were subject to war to tsunami, queuing up to have dental treatment in this little dental practice that we almost borrowed for for a day, once we’d done the triaging in the orphanages to go and actually do the treatment in the clinic. And we and then when when the community found out about it, they’d queue up round the corner and there was these kids and one of them came on a bike and his mate was riding the bike and he was on the back of the bike and he didn’t have one arm and one leg and he had on the other side he had one arm and one leg because apparently when when one of the bombs dropped, he didn’t quite make it into the bunker.

[00:05:45] Half his body was left out, half his body was in. And he came in with these I mean, it was crazy. And so this gave me this incredible perspective on. My fortunate position in life and largely because I was born in Sri Lanka and my parents were subject to a lot of what was going on at the time. And if it wasn’t for the fact that my father was offered to do a PhD in Scotland in a university in Stirling, I wouldn’t have moved to England, Scotland at the time anyway at the age of sort of eight months. And it was that split second decision that could have actually my life could have ended up being one of those kids that we’re treating in this orphanage. Right. Who knows? So I’m in this position now where I’m trying to do dental treatment, and I think I’m coming back thinking, yeah, I’ve done some charity work. Awesome. I feel great. But actually I didn’t it didn’t feel like that was that I did anything sustainable there. You know, I went in, I thought, you know, this is not something I can go into and do every six months. But it was one of the best feelings I got. Now, one thing that came as a by-product of what we did on that trip, and we did go again and again.

[00:06:48] But on that trip was we taught these kids off the cuff. It was a five minute thing which we wrote. We taught these kids a song, and we used visuals on how they how to brush their teeth. So it’s like in the Tamil language, it’s like, go to the left, go to the right, up, down, up, down. And these are kids who didn’t have toothbrushes. There’s like the most northern east village in Sri Lanka. They were using all the sort of anything they could get hold of. Really. These are kids who didn’t actually know the techniques of oral hygiene or the importance of the fact that you should do it twice a day. So we taught them the song and then we left and came back three years later. Actually, two years later, actually, we came back and it was incredible. The entire everybody who was there could sing the song in an assembly off by heart. And not only that, but the new kids that were coming through could also sing this song. And it almost became like a nursery rhyme about how to brush their teeth and if something as simple as that. And I was like, wow, no, hang on a second. This is impact like the dental treatment I did two years ago. That’s fleeting to some degree, right? But this is genuine impact.

[00:07:53] And at that moment, something hit me which is like, wow, this feeling is incredible. And then to know that then a year later, Kyrie went back, same sort of thing. That song is going, that song is that’s something that’s going to pass down. So then I came back to the UK and at that point this was now sort of like the year before we started share side. I looked at the UK and I found one was like 180 kids having their teeth removed under general anaesthetic in this country every day. And why? Fundamentally, it’s because of a lack of knowledge on the parents part and there’s obviously various other socioeconomic issues around that, but it is something that can be largely preventable. Caries is a preventable disease, right. Looking deeper into it, 94% of this population suffer from some form of the spectrum of gum disease, the spectrum, and then like 45% from chronic gum disease, which is, again, a preventable disease. But more importantly, I mean, if you look at the systemic impacts of gum disease or what we can find from gum disease on the rest of the body, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, I’m sure a periodontist would be much better at explaining this than then. I but, you know, we know the we know the systemic impacts, but these are all preventable conditions. So why why are we in a system where prevention is still not quite making it work in day to day practice? And I kept that kept lingering in my mind, going a few steps further.

[00:09:17] You know, Raj, I think Raj Rajaratnam had released an article and this it may have been before that it was it was a point where 90% of dentists were afraid of being sued. And these PhDs that were coming through sort of in the latter latter parts of of of my PhD training, you know, that fear was very much a real thing. And and I personally and all my colleagues, the associates were all feeling that. So why are we feeling that? And again, the running theme throughout patient health and throughout dentists satisfaction and happiness in the workplace all came down to poor communication or great communication. That was just the communication was a fundamental thing. Right? And then something just the penny just dropped for me at that point where it was like, I really am struggling with this whole explaining things and I find that patients eyes light up when I do it visually through drawing. It’s not a scalable solution for me on a daily basis to keep drawing pictures, right? At the same time, communication is not clear, but patients are appreciating, appreciating the visuals. How can we fix that and keep dentists safe at the same time? And that’s when the vision for our side kind of developed.

[00:10:24] And it developed through the core concept of we want to make it easier and safer for dentists to communicate effectively so patients can make better decisions about their health. And that is the fundamental drive for and culture and chess that is built on that as a foundation. Our values are aligned fully on that team. Everyone’s built with the view that we want to make it easier and safer for dentists to communicate effectively so patients can make better decisions about their health. So we’re fully empathetic on why is it that communication is such a problem in communicating better health to patients from the dentist part and being a practitioner, I feel like I have this inside experience on a daily basis as to the time constraints, the pressures, the stresses, the decisions and numerous decisions we have to make, the decision fatigue that we have as we go patients in the morning. You know, you probably, probably have a different view when you’re treating patients in the evening and late, late at night. It’s like we’re human beings at the end of the day and then adding extra elements to the workflow. I mean, how can we be compassionate about that to some degree when dentists already have so much going on? So all of these problems lingering, like, how can we build a great team to solve this? And so first and foremost, it was Cory and I with a PowerPoint presentation going around the houses, really trying to trying to get some kind of buy in from to build a prototype, really.

[00:11:49] And I remember we did a presentation with our accountants, sort of friends and family sort of network. There was about 20 of them in the room. And we did this sort of PowerPoint presentation of what we how we felt we could impact patient communication for the better. And, you know, we got zero sort of zero kind of movement on that. But what we did get was a lot of if you can build something and show us what it could look like, we’ll consider it. So Kyrie and I, we put sort of we were working at the time and I’m I was I was sort of four and a half clinical days at that time. Remember, we went five, we went to four and a half. I found around four and a half to be a nice spot for me when I was fully focussed on clinical and I use that time, that money, that income to facilitate on a monthly basis the ability and any savings to build prototypes and really understand what it is, the content, the animations, everything for gum disease for a fair few conditions and what that journey looks like. So we could explain that to investors.

[00:12:52] But more importantly, we then changed our stance a bit because we thought we don’t really want to explain this to investors. And that was something that was really powerful for me because that moment it became, we want to make this we want to explain this to patients and dentists. We want patients and dentists to love this. How can we build a prototype that the patients and dentists could love because everything else comes as a result of that, right? How can we impact patients? How can make life easier for dentists? So we continued on that journey. We built a user experience and and things were progressing on a on a side. I going to call it a side hustle called our side hustle, but on evenings and weekends and and really intense at that point. Then once we built our first prototype, we put it in. Chess originally was a screen in the dental chair, on the dental chair that patients could just watch and dentists could actually use use the tools. It was almost like a little, little proof of concept. At that point, we took the proof of concept back to the lead to the to the lead investor. And he was the first person to invest. And it wasn’t a huge amount, but he invested. He was very generous. He was very trusting. And we owe him a lot to this day. And at that point.

[00:14:07] He was he was he was he friend and family?

[00:14:09] Yeah. Well, he interestingly enough, he came on the the off the trip to Sri Lanka to three years before I was the one who helped coordinate the trip. And he experienced the journey that we experienced on those trips. So when we came back, we went to him and said, Hey, look, we’ve got this, we’ve got this idea. We think we can transform patient communication. We want to make an impact. We think this can impact if we think this can change the way dentists and patients interact. And it was at that point that we we secured that investment. And then things went from strength to strength at that point, because we were allowed to then turn that prototype, that proof of concept into a real tangible prototype that could be used by a fair few dentists. Right. And yeah, so so that’s how it kind of started. And it just went on from there. And we were able then to get two or three dentists on board to use the platform, bearing in mind we were very hardware based at the time because we had this tablet screen on the dental chair playing and dental animations that dentists could touch interactively. And the UI was horrible, the experience was terrible, but it did serve the purpose.

[00:15:14] It was almost like it played animations, but the biggest impact was patience. And I still remember one of the first few patients that that came across. It was this autistic child that I had really struggled to to get to sit in the chair. But the minute I put him in this chair and I had these visuals, he almost got drawn to them. And he sat back and I and I was and I was able to actually do a physical check-up on him. And the mom actually wrote me one of the most loveliest testimonials. She said to me, You know, this child has struggled to come and sit in a chair. He had really severe autism. So to actually concentrate allow you to to to carry out what you want to carry out. However, the minute you were able to switch on these visuals and show this patient exactly what you’re doing, but more importantly, engage with him and give him something to look at, he was a lot more cooperative, let alone the positive impact that the visual could have on his understanding of what we were trying to do. And it was at that point I thought, we’re definitely on to something here. Like the hassles, you know, you.

[00:16:19] I love the way you sort of extrapolate stuff from, you know, your experiences, you know, because it’s beautiful. It kind of gives meaning to your work, meaning to everything that you do because, you know, the next guy could have said, you know, I wanted to start a company and wanted something to help dentists make more money. And there it is, you know. But you started off with the orphanage and the the story has a lot more meaning to you than just doing a business. Is that because you’re a charming storyteller, or is that is that does your brain work in that in that way, that what you do has to have meaning? And, you know, like, I feel for it. It’s almost it’s almost like, I don’t know, talk to Simon about Parlour and he’s there’s there’s like a mission focus the mission to save the planet. That’s why he’s he’s got that thing. And I find difficulty. If you talk to me about my toothpaste, I’ll say I’ll tell you it’s the best toothpaste in the world. Right. I try you know, it’s the best. I haven’t got some stories to tell you about that or or, you know, how the best toothpaste in the world might change the world or and I guess we’re all wired differently. But but this. What about you? I mean, what is it? Is it is it that you’ve got this sort of mission that you want to get through?

[00:17:40] I think I mean, one of my core values personally is that I want to live my life with purpose and passion, and I want to only do things that I’m passionate about fundamentally because, you know, I want to wake up every morning and just really get excited about what I’m doing and the ability to create, the ability to impact people’s health and be in health care. And it might sound fleeting. I’m not sure it might sound something we might take for granted, but we’re actually involved in impacting people’s health, which I think is like firsthand incredible. But then to to be able to create and build something with people using ideas that we all have, using our brains, problem solving, thinking from using different methods of thinking, using different mental models. You know, it’s it’s also learning something new, like, you know, like building a business and all of that. It leads. It is almost like one of those challenges that you just fall in love with. And for me, I, you know, I’m very, very passionate about impacting if it can really impact people. And in in my case, people’s health, you know, that would have been a purpose worth or an a mission worth worth pursuing through my life. Right. So I find that incredibly rewarding. I mean, that gives me job satisfaction. I’ve always felt actually with my patients, if I’d be fair to you. I don’t like the word play, but the term here is play the long game and maybe not the word game either, but the two fundamental ways they play the long game and play the long game, in a way I think was Raji told me that Saroj Rajaratnam said he was an incredible comment because what it means, what he said is, look after your patience over the long term and expect nothing.

[00:19:31] Do the best by them over a period of time and expect nothing. And the value comes with time. And I’ve been in the same practice my whole life. I was in Fiji then I stayed there and became a partner there and I’ve seen that journey with patience and to be in a position where actually patients come back. Now that I’m only there two days a week, it’s like, oh, like, you know, it’s probably more stressful trying to squeeze everyone in, to be honest with you. But that’s what happens when you’re in a practice for a period of time, especially given the current climate where it’s hard to get into dentists. And I think that I’ve been rewarded with that feeling largely because I like to feel like I’ve always put patient’s best interests first, not expected anything as a transactional relationship at any point, but if they found value in what I did, they’d be interested in what else I could do for them as well over time. And yeah, that all stems kind of from from just being I guess, I guess just just being passionate about what you and having a purpose, having a real sense of mission. It makes you honestly feel. I honestly feel like I can’t wake up in the morning and be excited about something if I don’t have that. And I’ve been in jobs during my childhood, like during my my teens, where I’ve felt like I can’t do this, I can’t do this for the rest of my life. Like and so maybe that’s also.

[00:20:50] Just just going back to the piece where you developed a piece of software. You weren’t looking for money because you’ve got this purpose and you believe in this in this project, and you’re going to impact all these patients through education and helping them understand it and then become more compliant, shall we say. And just I think you referred to the whole game. Game, you don’t like the word game, but but the.

[00:21:14] Whole you know.

[00:21:15] Of educate. And I think communication is the key word that I think is the key to success of any practice, whether we’re talking about business, whether we’re talking about having patients happy dentists or happy team members, communication is key. But how do you go from that piece of saying, right, we’ve got this idea that I want to communicate and I’m going to produce this thing, this piece of software on a tablet. Yeah, that’s engineering. It’s software development is writing code and then the whole money raising piece. And then just take me back to when you go to someone and say, give us some money for this project. Surely there’s a whole conversation that happens about equity or how you get your money back and all the rest of it. And would you like to give us some insight into that?

[00:22:01] Absolutely. So when Chair said when we talk about the hardware, the software, I think one of the biggest things we did, you know, you make decisions and with a view of what this vision could be and you pivot so much as you learn from the feedback. And when it was a hardware based solution, you know, we actually had a manufacturing line in China and we had to and we’ve got a pattern for it in the UK as well, for this piece of hardware that sits on a dental chair, you know, where you can always Netflix and fill to some degree, you know, but you can also learn a lot about what you want to what you want, want to understand. And I think we’ve learned some lessons through that journey and also through the software development journey, because what we’ve actually done is I’ve been very privileged to be able to have to connect with people who are experts in their field in that space. And that for me was the secret. It was to find the best minds who have either done it or who are doing it. And in dentistry, the only thing I can compare it to is having mentors and and really tapping into that and seeing if you can learn from their experiences and if they’re happy to share those with you. There’s you know, you can really you can do anything you want if you’ve got advisors in the necessary space. So let me put it this way. In the software side, one of my cousins and again, I feel life is really interesting because things just align.

[00:23:25] But my cousin who who came to this came here when he’s 24 from Sri Lanka, lived with us for five years. He’s older than me, but he owns a software house. Well, that he built himself then. It was my grandma’s funeral, sadly. And I met and we we got the flight down to Sri Lanka and he was I was talking to about what we’re doing share side. La la la la la la. And he’s like, let me build you a team, a tech team. And the more I got into it, he’s like, I would love to be part of this. Like, this sounds like something worth pursuing and to the point where he sort of separated himself from his his software house. And he then came in, came on board as what we call the CTO and really built an in-house tech team from the ground up, all the processes, all the things that need to be done, the systems. I’m very much we’re all very much orientated on people’s systems and processes. So really getting all of that right aligned with the vision. And if we can, if you can hire talented people and you understand for me understanding a clear vision and a clear sense of purpose and having a strong set of values. I have a 65 page blueprint about chess that I wrote just, just on our culture, which for me was important for me because it allows us to to employ, to recruit way.

[00:24:48] But you can’t we can’t we can’t continue we can’t go forward without discussing that again. Go on. 65 pages.

[00:24:57] 65 pages. A lot of it’s probably waffle, to be honest.

[00:24:59] No, no.

[00:25:00] But it’s it’s almost like a journal of thoughts of of everything from vision, from our vision, from our mission, from this thing called the hedgehog concept, which I find really fascinating, which is what you’re passionate about, what your world class are and what your and what your economic engine is. And it’s a Venn diagram and where you sit in that as a business. And for me, it was like what we’re passionate about, we’re passionate about helping dentists and impacting patient health for the better patient understanding because we’re trying to get specific as possible. And then what are we while class that we’re going to be. Well, class building innovation that can transform patient communication for dentists. And what’s the economic engine? Well, we have to build a business model around that, sort of like it’s a SAS product at the minute, but there are other various elements that come into that. So that’s one big major part of like that. There’s a huge element as well of leadership, what leadership looks like, what level five leadership looks like, what it is to act with humility but also professional will, you know, but also inspire and empower as we grow. So there’s sort of a chart on that. And then and then as you go past level five leadership, there’s a partner and like who we hire and what that looks like and what the values of the company are.

[00:26:22] To who is that and who is that.

[00:26:25] Like? So fundamentally, people who are highly disciplined and highly passionate about the purpose, heart, strong work ethic. And integrity. These are some core things that are non-negotiable when it comes to our side. I’m a true believer in consistency and discipline over time.

[00:26:47] How many people have you got now?

[00:26:49] We’ve got a team of developers, animators and a business team, so we’ve got three elements of cheer side. We just recruited a new someone in marketing, which is like, I’m just trying to count. So we’ve got six, six, seven, eight, about 15, six, six, 15 to 15 and we’re still recruiting two more. So. I’m about 17 now. But we’ve we’ve got a long way to go. It’s just. I mean, it’s just a beginning. But, I mean, we’ve also learned our lesson. So we’ve got to know who we want to hire, how we want to hire, and what those those people look like because they all have a stake and they will have skin in the game. And skin in the game is a really important thing, a concept to me, because everyone has to have if the chessboard has to be their company, it has to be their company. They’ve got to feel it, believe it. So they have equity. They will have shares, all options. When you do that, you have a long term relationship. And when you when you have long term, when you make long term decisions with long term people, you end up making really good. You have to make sure those people are the right people right. And you never get it. I mean, it’s hard to get it spot on every time, but one way of filtering it is not based on just talent. It’s also based on personality. It’s also based on those values that we uphold. And the extension of of who we are is the leadership team. But also, when I talk about the leadership team, as soon as having a democratic way of way of working, there’s so many different cultures out there like freedom and responsibility and all of this. Right? But I found that I would love to have a team that’s freedom and responsibility, but it’s so hard. It’s so hard. And so it doesn’t come without its challenges.

[00:28:28] I’ve got a few questions that stem from all of that, what you’ve just said. And I’m just I’m just going to be sort of sort of, first of all, drill down into I’ve recruited hundreds of people over the year, and I feel like I’ve got the process nailed down. And when I finally do think I’ve got the process nailed out, I hire someone in a serial right point. In case that happened to be a senior senior web developer that I ended up hiring, technically, even my current senior developer will tell me like gifted beyond gifted, right? These guys, this guy was right in ERP systems for banks and stuff. Amazing. Passed all of our tests came aboard long story short fired him. He’s not he’s not been with us long. Payman knows when I hired him didn’t last very long. And it was a values based thing. Right. You talked about you like to hire people of integrity, values, this, that and the other. How on earth do you test for them? Because until this is in my in my limited experience. But until they’re in your business, until they’re communicating with your team, until they’re attending discussions where perhaps they disagree with team members or disagree with you as a leader. Right. And that’s and that’s all. Okay. Is how they respond. You can’t test any of that. Right. So a lot of the time I get it right. There are times even now after being in business for 16 years, I can’t do it all up. So how do you test for integrity and how do you test the things like values and all of that? And then I’ve got a second question after that, which stems down to slicing up your equity and all that razzmatazz, because I’m curious about that more than anything else. But let’s let’s just stick to recruitment for now. How do you test.

[00:30:20] For okay, so deep seated values are something that you learn over time. And I don’t think it’s something you can test in in a in an interview. I don’t think it’s something that is fair to test in an interview almost and based. It’s almost like judging a book by its cover. But there are definitely questions you can ask based on experiences of how people have performed.

[00:30:43] Go and do. Tell me, tell me. Have you hired some good people?

[00:30:46] One example actually that worked really well for us is we have a policy that we actually when we do one interview, then we all go out for lunch on a separate interview and a second interview where it’s a lot more formal and you learn a lot from that relaxed environment. In fact, there was one guy that we thought was incredible and he was on paper and he interviewed really well. Actually, interestingly, when it came to the conversations over lunch, it was almost like, I hate to say it, but it was almost like the examples he gave from his experiences with his last company. Like everyone else was really bad at what they did and he was a maverick at what he did. And it almost you started to realise that actually, you know, these, it’s these little things. And I think I think I’m very again fortunate to have co-founders who are quite good at also reading people and also good at recruiting alongside. I mean I personally have as part of the dental practice, obviously recruited nurses and and dentist and whatnot in the past. But then, Sanjay, he’s been recruiting developers for four years. Kyrie, he’s been in in recruitment in the the banking and tech space as well with experience. And also we have an advisor for recruitment. So with all of that in place and with our core fundamental things that we look for, we’re fortunate to have sort of four I would say I’m not going to say four, eight years and eight eyes from four people that can all input into what what they’re noticing from, from the behaviours and the conversations that these, that these potential employees have that fit in line with the culture of chair side. And it’s probably sense and I think it might sound soft, but I think it’s more of a feeling and based on how and what and how and what people act in, how they act in certain circumstances and when posed with certain questions and more than what what actually how they actually respond.

[00:32:40] I think that’s a very good point, man. I think that’s a very good point to have to have some relaxed time with the potential candidate. That’s a buddy. Excellent idea.

[00:32:50] Excellent. I mean, how high is low? Five, how fast if hopefully you don’t have to fire fast. Right. But hiring slow is part of that process. And in fairness, we came across that accidentally because I think when we with one of the candidates, we actually, you know, just coincidentally ended up going for lunch early doors. And then we learned a lot from that lunch.

[00:33:11] We learned from that.

[00:33:11] And we learned so much also afterwards because because it was a case of like, oh, we went, you know, went to went to the bar to play pool afterwards, all of that. And then when the guards down, you get to understand if they’re the right cultural fit and especially with some of the, the experience based questions that come. And I think, I think over time you try and build a kind of understanding, but we’re still learning. I’m always learning. I’m not the best at that at all. You just have to try and minimise the mistakes and reduce the number of mistakes you make.

[00:33:41] It’s an amazing stuff, buddy. It’s amazing stuff. Tell us. Tell us. Let’s go back. Let’s go back. Childhood before and why people go, hey.

[00:33:49] Before we do that, let’s finish off the question about the equity. The staff get in, check all that because I’m really, really curious. So we started off we started off the conversation about like you go in for to raise money. And, you know, it’s interesting how different businesses approach this. And I always find it really interesting that, you know, you’ve got this business and on day one, you’ve got a tablet and you’ve got some animations, and then you show someone a prototype and you say, give us some money. And in exchange for that, there’s going to be some kind of exchange. Usually it’s equity talk to. I don’t know how comfortable you feel sharing the numbers, but just talk to me, if not just about the thought process of you’ve got a company that’s not generating any revenue right now. It’s an idea. It’s something you’re passionate about, and you’ve got a prototype and you go to an investor, be it a friend, family member, or someone you went on a trip with and say, Give us some dough and we’ll give you this in exchange. Talk me through that. Did you did you do it like a valuation in your head or a future valuation? Just take me to those conversations, mate.

[00:35:02] So, so, absolutely. So just as a guiding principle, you need if your business there’s two types of businesses in my mind, there’s a cashflow, a solid cash flow business. You could call it bricks and mortar to some degree. Nowadays, it doesn’t even have to be bricks and mortar, but it is fundamentally a a revenue based business. And then there’s another business where you can add value through scale. Right. And that value doesn’t necessarily mean commercial value from sales. It could come in various, various means. But you’re building the value of the business because of the number of people you are impacting per se. Right. So when you exit business, I guess my understanding is that you can exit a business based on a multiple of EBITDA of a of a cash flow because you’re selling the future cash flow or you’re fundamentally selling the values that generated the uses or not. When I say uses, you’re selling the fact that, you know, you’ve got a concept that people love and they’re willing to pay for or someone’s willing to pay for somehow. Right. And interestingly, I have actually coming back to just on that exit point share side is actually like we’re building a business for life. Like it’s not actually something that we’re looking for like a, you know, most start-ups are going to have an immediate five year runway with an exit or whatnot. We don’t actually have that. We want to build a business that will last. And through that journey, what happens? What happens? Well, you know, something happens along that journey. Great. But so going back to that with knowing the end in having the end in mind and knowing how we want what our North Star is and knowing that we want to build a business that will last, we know that having people on the journey, this isn’t going to be something that is going to be a quick overnight thing.

[00:36:43] So we have to build. We have to have significant investment. It’s not something that we can to achieve to realise the vision of impacting patients around the world through visual communication. That’s not something we can do, you know, door to door sales. Right. And hope for every transactional cost. Also, one critical part here is that we’re Chesnut is a product that’s not replacing an existing product in a workflow, if that makes sense. We’re not the new. So that replaces the current SUV. That’s not what we are. We are an additional option in a in a climate where patients demand to know or wish to know more and dentists are at the risk of litigation. So we’ve come to a point where we’ve created a solution to help mitigate risk but also empower patient understanding. Therefore, that solution is a culture change, and that culture change comes with its own challenges. I can’t promote chair side or the team can’t promote chair side as Oh, we’re the new so common users, we’re PMS. We have to almost explain what it is we’re trying to do. We are we are a patient community onwards for so long we’ll are we a patient communication platform? Are we a patient education platform? What sounds what sounds sexy? What doesn’t like what is our reality? And so actually getting the words because we are not replacing an existing software or an existing part of that journey, you could argue we’re replacing flip charts, you know, where you had those pictures of teeth.

[00:38:10] So all of that requires investment. So to get that investment, you need to somehow a firm, in my opinion, really have a purpose that is worth pursuing, that is has a tangible business model around it and has a tangible market that is willing to be impacted by it. So when you raise money and you value your business, there’s this thing called the total addressable market. Where how big is this market? Look, you can’t raise, you know, £1,000,000 if you can’t value a company £1,000,000 if your market there’s only sort of ten people willing to spend £100 in that market. Right. It’s just not going to happen. But if you’ve got a market like dentistry where there’s one point you know, 1.2 million odd dentists around the world, this is call it 42,000 dentists in the UK. You know, maybe there’s an opportunity where you can build a product to target a specific niche within that domain and therefore you can then in in my understanding, you have a fair assessment of how many people you think you can impact over what time early doors investors get a more favourable share and you value the company according to your total addressable market, according to your potential economic model and the various impact in revenue streams you can generate from that, right.

[00:39:27] Yeah, but what did you tell, what did you tell the investor that came down to in pounds and pence and percentages.

[00:39:33] Pounds and pence. I would I think.

[00:39:36] If you honestly don’t want to talk about that’s.

[00:39:39] No we can I think at the beginning it’s fair to say there is also this incentive called this by the way. Yeah. Where you know early doors investors get.

[00:39:52] What’s a.

[00:39:53] It’s it’s seed investment entrepreneur seed investment entrepreneur scheme. I can’t remember what it’s called, I think. I can’t remember what the the. So the idea is it’s.

[00:40:07] An investment enterprise scheme, but the same sort of seed. So it’s a it’s a it’s a good tax break for anyone who is wanting to invest. So there’s there’s a tax benefit from that. And it allows you to go out to mass market and I guess give a percentage of your company.

[00:40:25] Up.

[00:40:25] To a pool of investors who you choose to invest. You invest in your company under that enterprise scheme, if I understand that correctly.

[00:40:34] Correct. I mean, I guess what it is, is, you know, high risk individuals are able to invest in businesses that are non bricks and mortar, that are not, for example, property and stuff like that, and put money in and have a potential tax relief on that investment. Right.

[00:40:53] Quick question on that. So did you set up an SES as an investment platform for chair sites or was that correct? Was that your original strategy before you approached your number one investor or did that person bypass that and get into the equity early doors?

[00:41:11] That investor was already savvy on that. And it was it was it was our accountant’s advice. And by counting, our accountant was the first investor here. So his advice, well, it’s the other way round. He’s the first investor and then became our accountant. Right. So he was like, look, we can raise this off ses the da da da da da. In fact, you know, here we go. Here’s some, here’s some funding. Let me go with it. Let’s go with it. And we were like, okay, really, it’s a case of how much equity would you like to have in exchange for the amount that you’re putting in? And we believe that this is how much we feel we can let go of to make it interesting for you, but also scalable for us as we go through this journey. Because, you know, you can’t give away 50% of the company on day one for a very small investment that if you’re raising big money later on, you know, you could get diluted quite heavily. Right.

[00:42:05] So and then and then go on going forward, when you get like a rock star, sort of you go higher that you want to hire. What ends up being the the ownership part, the do you are you following the usual thing that tech companies do with share options and all that for people?

[00:42:23] Absolutely. Like every every every we we mean the ethos that aside is that everyone’s part of the journey and wherever we go, however we get there, when we get there, we will get there. Everybody wins. That’s the idea. And if you’re a rock star, you win to just as much as if you’re not a rock star and you just contributed in a different way in your own. And that’s why hiring is really important for us. But then they’re all part of an option pool that is safeguarded that they can access as part of the agreement within chance.

[00:42:52] So back back to that original piece where what percentage did you hive up and say, we’re going to give that to SAS and as owners we’re going to hold onto the rest. Where where was that comfort point for you?

[00:43:06] I think a good question for me. I think early days, we wouldn’t want to give away any more at that point then I don’t think anyone would would want to give more than I think incubators generally give away about 7%.

[00:43:20] Okay.

[00:43:22] So the market there is a market average kind of thing, but each industry is also different, right? Like if you’re going to build, if you if you’re going to if you’re going to need to start off, if you need seed investment of like 10 million because you’re building like something that can enter your brain and you need R&D like research grants to be able to actually embed a chip in your brain. The R&D itself will cost about five mil. Right? And you can’t then go to go to an investor and raise, you know, what, 20 to 25 grand as your first investor and give him 50% of the company. That’s not going to happen. So there is every industry is different, but I would say 7% is typically what most incubators offer, as I think they might give you six figures for that.

[00:44:09] So did you give any did you give up 7%?

[00:44:13] It’s not like we didn’t do that. We didn’t actually do that. And we didn’t raise we didn’t raise that at that point. He was a much smaller investor and is a much different equity stake. But just to give you an idea.

[00:44:25] Do you know what I’m not I’m not being I’m not.

[00:44:29] Nosy, Mr..

[00:44:30] Newson. I’m not buying this book. I’m not I’m not being Mr. Nosey and I’m actually being Mr. Inquisitive and I’ll explain why. And I’m just about to jump into a partnership with a couple of people.

[00:44:43] And.

[00:44:44] And there’s, there’s a, there’s a business idea stroke model that I think is fairly powerful. And the people involved a the right people in that business.

[00:44:55] Should we get it out of him?

[00:44:58] That was proven right. Obviously. Love it.

[00:45:00] Love and let’s get this.

[00:45:01] Out of, you know, love it, love it, not make anything.

[00:45:06] Host, guest host. This week is loving and just.

[00:45:09] Yes.

[00:45:10] It is. Prav, take.

[00:45:11] A.

[00:45:12] Lovely thanks again. Thanks for joining.

[00:45:15] Me. So I’m just going to tell you that I was born and raised in Manchester and my dad drove a taxi and owned a corner shop. I had a tough childhood and I was bagging spuds in the corner shop for a living.

[00:45:28] All right. What was it? What was it? What was it? It was the basic area without giving it all the way. So you might as you can’t say what you said and then not say the next thing gone.

[00:45:36] I’m going to tell you why I’m acquisitive and I’m not being a nosy, you know, what is the there is this business idea, right? That revolves around three individuals who’ve got this idea to take it to market. And there is an opportunity for us to go and raise some money to kick start this project. Now, the reason why I’m curious is that the idea is great. The concept’s great. We there’s a mission that we believe in and we’re all pretty positive about it anyway. So but the business has got no value, right? Because there’s a product, there’s an idea, it’s potentially a service behind it, but it is cash flow zero. So we can go out to either individuals that we know we’re going to put our own hands in our own pockets to kick start the business as well. But if we want a massive cash injection. We’re asking ourselves this question at the moment. What percentage do we let go of before we go hunt it? Right.

[00:46:37] Really good.

[00:46:37] Question. And that’s really good. That’s why I’m asking that is why I’m asking you this question right now, because I am curious. I don’t actually care about the numbers, the percentage like you talked about, 7%. And then you said, oh, well, this investor got a different deal in this, that and the other just broadly speaking. And it’s not a tech it’s not a tech product, by the way. But broadly speaking, like how do you even have that conversation with investors with yourselves? Right. Because you could just pick a number out of the air. Right. We’ve all watched Dragon’s Den. Right. They make an absolute fool of themselves in value in the companies for like 10 million quid and they’ve not even got a product or whatever. Right. And embarrassing themselves. That’s what I wanted to learn from you May is just just get some insight because you’ve done it. You’ve been there and done that, right? We haven’t.

[00:47:30] Now, of course, I mean, I think I think there’s three parts to any I believe, anyway, from my learning. Sure. One part is understanding product market fit. The next part, I’m just going to lay this out as to how I how I see this. Right. So you’ve got product market fit. You need to achieve product market fit. There’s a huge investment element there with high risk that’s super early stage, that’s you’ve got this idea, but you haven’t actually proven the concept, you haven’t proven usage, you haven’t proven that people are willing to purchase it or not purchase it, and that is probably the highest risk. So there’s a risk to reward ratio based on that phase. So if you’re coming in at that phase early doors, you’re more likely to get to take a bit more equity. But you also have to be understanding of founder motivation. Right. If the founding team don’t have enough skin in the game where it’s worth their sweat equity, and that’s fundamentally what you’re valuing your sweat equity. Right? And then we bootstrapped for years. For years, like I can say, we didn’t we didn’t raise we raised hardly anything for about four years and then had then we were revenue generating and then we were going, you know, sort of like that that raised that funding round. That’s more significant. But what it did was it proved the concept at each phase and you raise enough that you need to to create a runway that takes you to the next phase. So the way I would see it is your concept or the who you wish to back. What is their runway for, what they wish to achieve, and what could the valuation potentially be at that stage? So I’ll give here’s an argument. They say you’re going to you’re in lemonade. You’re selling lemonade. Right. And you think you’ve got this mission, you’ve got this.

[00:49:19] But you’re selling patient education software to pitch to us. Yeah.

[00:49:24] Thank you. Yeah.

[00:49:28] You can give us a glass of lemonade while we listen to you. Me?

[00:49:32] Imagine. Imagine it’s us going and then going.

[00:49:34] Yeah, we’re the lemonade and you’re in. You’re saying no. Hopefully at that early stage, you’re saying, right. I think we could if we get this product right, I think we can make vegan lemonade. Vegan lemonade, we reckon can scale. There’s a vegan market of X, Y, Z. And in the first year, we need to we need food. In the first six months. The first year, dude, we need.

[00:50:09] Is there any eggs, meat and dairy in lemonade?

[00:50:13] I don’t know. Water, lemon, whatever. It’s the process. It’s the process. I’m not sure. Okay. Yeah, let’s let’s call it let’s let’s call it the way the bottle was made. Maybe in the content, but anyway, very bad.

[00:50:31] Whatever the process is.

[00:50:32] Whatever the process. Yeah. So just an argument just it’s just an argument. I use the word vegan because there’s a niche market, you know, it’s targeted, you know, lemonade already exists. Fine. You’re saying we’re going to target this market at this time, this many people, we think we can hit this many people. But first, we need to build to make the best vegan lemonade. To make lemonade we need we need one. We need 150 grand. Right? Most incubators give you 150 grand for seven, 7%. And you say we think that that over six months to 12 to over 12 months, that that 150 grand, you know, that will pay basic wages. We never took salary, but some people may want to take salary that will allow us to, you know, source the product, you know, build the IP, whatever, whatever, whatever, get the actual ingredients right, get the flavours right. And we know that maybe five out of ten people at that stage will want to buy this. Buy this sometimes at seed stage 150 is not enough because you haven’t quite solved it. You might then go to the next level of seed and you might say, I want to raise some more. And I think the trade off is how much if this did go in and if your vision was 100,000 a week that you’re selling, you’re selling this 100,000 a week. And eventually, you know, I don’t know, Procter and Gamble might buy it off you. I’m not sure you will then say to the investor, hey, I think that at this stage in the next 12 months, we can raise more money at this point because we would have hit these targets, hit these milestones. And therefore, this is. Sure, sure, sure, sure. If it’s. But let’s say.

[00:52:11] For this business. I want a million quid. They want. It’s that out there. For sentences. I mean, like you’ve been through all. I’ve never. I’ve never raised.

[00:52:25] Money. Why not? Why not? Why not?

[00:52:27] Is that. No, no. But off the back of a. An idea, right? In your experience, the edge?

[00:52:35] Yeah, 100%. It’s out there. The market’s a bit funky for the next three months. Three years. The projections. I was reading this thing from Sequoia Capital, this really great projection where this thing where there’s like. The next three years is probably going to be quite challenging raising money. But the money is out there and I would probably say scaleable money as opposed to like scalable investments as opposed to cash flow rich investments where more favourable in the past two years for sure, three years, I’m not sure about the next three years. People are looking for more secure cash flow rich investment options. But having said that, the money is out there. You can raise you can raise a million. You can raise 2 million. You can raise 5 million. There are enough, especially in London, there is enough investment to go. It comes down to whether they believe in the purpose. They believe they’re passionate about it, and they believe there’s an economic engine that is tangible and that actually, honestly, I think it comes down to the team. I think it’s if they actually believe in the team because the vision, the product changes, the idea changes what the idea might be at seed stage once you’ve tested it in the market could be completely different when it’s actually the thing that people are using. But if you’ve got the right team that can navigate through that, the challenges and the pivot, I think that’s what people invest in largely. Yeah, yeah.

[00:53:55] Love that, man.

[00:53:56] I think I think I’ve only come to learn that over time. It seems so much, you know, things in hindsight seem so much more obvious.

[00:54:03] So tell us, tell us. Tell us then. More about dentist. What made you want to become a dentist and what made you want to stop being a dentist?

[00:54:12] I originally wanted to do I originally wanted to be a rapper that was actually rap.

[00:54:19] So did Proud really know?

[00:54:21] I grew up listening to NWA and Ice-T back in the day and.

[00:54:27] Oh, amazing.

[00:54:28] How we realised I didn’t have the voice or the.

[00:54:31] Lyrics.

[00:54:33] But I’d study anatomy and biochemistry instead. Payman is winding you up.

[00:54:40] The Fair.

[00:54:41] Enough. So what you wanted to be.

[00:54:43] I thought you actually. I was actually quite excited. I thought.

[00:54:45] You did. No, no, no. I’m just a good storyteller, mate, and. But come on, tell us, rapper, who was your inspiration? Inspirations. Why?

[00:54:55] I come from a point where I think I think I was around at that particular at a particular age, I would probably say 14, 15, where the UK grime scene was in its infancy and it was transitioning from garage, transitioning from garage to, to, to sort of this like more emcees, none of these tracks and having these these lyrics. And I also I think at that point was really was listening to a lot of West Coast hip hop. I think I think in that phase, Tupac and all of them guys were like really making commercial movements and Jay-Z was becoming a thing. And I think I just had this really this I was super passionate about songwriting. And if I would actually go to the crux of it, I think at school it was the thing that I was good at, if that makes sense. Like when I say good at very subjective, but like it was the thing that I felt like.

[00:55:45] I felt like you were in flow.

[00:55:47] I felt like was my thing, right? Yeah. And we do battle raps with other schools and I would be challenging and you know, I wasn’t I probably I wasn’t the captain of the football team nor was I probably the the, the, the coolest kid in on the block at the time. But I was passionate about songwriting. I loved it, I loved it. I did it in my sleep. I did it with my free time. And I felt like I was I felt like I had my identity and that identity like and I still am attached to it because it was such a big part of my identity, but it allowed me to express myself. It was a great platform for expression, but also it allowed me to be myself. And that was something that I carried through. And I’ve been very fortunate to meet friends in the industry who are now full time musicians as well doing their thing and watch them grow and succeed. And, and I was really lovely. But there was there was a point for me where I’m not saying that I ditched it, but I had to make some decisions whether I wanted to follow something I was really passionate about, really passionate about, which is a music thing that was like, I mean, absolute no cash flow like zero negative.

[00:56:58] Like you can’t raise you can’t raise money for that or anything. You just got to graft it. And in hindsight, I learned something about myself. Through that journey is like, what if I actually I didn’t pursue I pursued, I graduated as a dentist and I went three days a week dentist when I graduate because I want to do two days of music. I said when I start earning some money on music videos, I do this on a really pursue my passion. And I ended up becoming a dentist for days and ended up becoming a dentist five days. And because at that point it became like, I don’t know if I had the graft at the time because dentistry was becoming a thing where I was really starting to enjoy the clinical practice and then life kicks in and it’s like, Oh, you know what? I need to, I want to I want to do this course and that course and do this and do that. And then that kind of starts taking over and the whole music thing as well. I felt very like, I think it’s a personal thing at the time, but my mindset at the time was I’d make a song right and I’d go to one extra and BBC one extra would say, Go to the Asian network, and I go to the Asian network and they’d say, Go to BBC one extra.

[00:58:12] And it was like, Oh, and I played my stuff on this Radio one show, which was lovely, but it was also especially a show with Asia. So I was like making, I was like having these Asian beats, but I was also like, I’m saying completely Western. I can’t even speak Tamil or English. I’m not I’m not part of the Punjabi crew. So I didn’t really have the Bhangra thing. But I love lots of Punjabi mates and I loved that music. So we’re a very weird niche of like, wow, you know? And I kept being ping pong and I was like, I can’t build a sustainable crib. But actually in the world now, if I have the courage and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think I had the courage at the time to actually take the plunge and pursue something I was super passionate about and see where it led. And I learned a lesson from that. And now that. Gratitude. Sorry.

[00:59:01] Regrets?

[00:59:03] Yeah. Well, regretted the timing. Yeah. You regretted the fact that I accepted it as it was and thought.

[00:59:10] You know what didn’t fit right?

[00:59:12] Yeah. Like, I mean, my niche was so small I was making, but I could have. I could. You know what I know now you can build a following of a small niche and then expand, right? And like, I was also super insecure about releasing stuff I just wasn’t 100% happy with. So I’m a bit of a I was a bit of a procrastinator in my own because when you make music, you are the brand, you are the product, you are the solution.

[00:59:39] You at the end of it, isn’t it?

[00:59:40] Yeah. So I was so paralysed by that and I was like, Oh no, you know, it doesn’t really sound too great. And I don’t really have an understanding of market and all of that. And I was just making music and. With what I know now. Like, if I just stuck at it. Like, I think. I think sometimes there’s something. Yeah.

[00:59:58] Sorry, love and sorry. Sorry to interrupt, but tell me this this then moving into the communication side is is kind of that story started with the wrapping. You know, you have the music.

[01:00:11] The music.

[01:00:11] And I actually actually did.

[01:00:14] Yeah. Yeah. That’s kind of kind of where it stems from. You actually connected the dots there? Payman. Yeah, true thing. Yeah. I mean, I learned that and I thought, I’m not playing at this time. I’m just going to really, really blitz it. And if there’s something you’re passionate about, have the courage to really go for it. Take some risks, try it. Obviously educated risks to some degree, but that was a real life lesson. And I still I still write today and I have this hope that like not this hope, but I’m putting it into practice where still recording stuff and just, just putting it out. I think I come to realise as well with that music thing is like that’s everlasting, that’s evergreen, that’s forever that, that is me as a person. I’ll continue to write and do it for myself and to do it for anyone who’s willing to listen to me. And so that’s kind of I’ve kind of made peace with that.

[01:01:07] But that’s how I feel about this podcast. That’s how I feel about this podcast. Really, really. I just feel that, you know, it’s for whoever wants to listen to it and for me.

[01:01:17] But for me, why is that not the best way it takes out so much of the nonsense in your head when you want to do something just for you and for people who want to be part of that. Interestingly, I think it was my younger brother who taught me that he’s five years younger than me, but it was the career he chose. He didn’t choose anything. He didn’t pursue sort of the financial returns of a particular career. He went into like a start up world in like the basics of of VR in a time where, you know, VR was not really a thing. And and I was like, Wow, man, you really inspired me. Like, you just done something you’re just super passionate about zero kid. You really love that kind of stuff and turned him back. Looking back on it, I’m like, you know, that’s that’s kind of kind of important. Just pursue what you’re passionate about, take some risks, have the courage, do it for yourself. And same thing with chess. I’d look if we can impact one patient and we can help one one dentist and it adds significant value. Surely there’s other dentists and patients that will want it right and we just have to try and find them.

[01:02:16] What’s the business model worth? How do people pay for it?

[01:02:20] It’s a subscription product, so it’s a SaaS product at the moment where, yeah, you can you can pay monthly or you can pay for an annual license, which is a bit cheaper. And we’ve tried to keep it, keep the costs as low as possible with the view that it’s an early product. You know, people need to experience it to keep the barrier to entry low at this point and the free.

[01:02:40] Trial or something.

[01:02:41] Yeah, there’s a, there’s a month free trial and hopefully the early. The early users reap the benefits from the from the early incentives.

[01:02:52] To talk us through what happens. Patient comes in needs, needs. Something can explain it to him. Hit the screen.

[01:03:01] Don Yeah. So what.

[01:03:03] Happens is your video comes.

[01:03:04] Out okay. So like really evolving care side now is a cloud based platform. There’s no screen. Yeah, we have that screen as a premium. It is a cloud based platform. Yeah. You sign up within. I would probably say once you’ve filled out your name and a few details, you get access straightaway. You’re in the chat, you’ve got all your conditions. It’s a Netflix style approach. So you’ve got Imagine Netflix, but imagine you’ve got conditions, treatment options, risks, and then you start condition and you can take your patients through that visual journey showing them their condition, their treatment options and their risks. The entire conversation is then timestamped, tracked and stored in your notes to say This was set at this time. This was played for this. This percentage of this video was played. And you can annotate, you can draw, you can do anything you want in an interactive fashion. You can then jump on a video, call with your patient, and again, share all of that content on a video call. Say you’ve had a situation where the patient’s been around. You know, you’ve got large treatment plan and you want to discuss, jump on that and have that conversation to a video call.

[01:04:04] And so you’ve covered what must have been a big time for an accelerated because of the video call. Right.

[01:04:09] That I mean, that’s when it spiralled, to be fair. That’s when it spiralled. A few things came off that we had like within three months we had like 400 practices sign up and then that was on a practice model. Now not the dentist model, but the X number of dentists.

[01:04:25] And then how did that feel? That was to felt like amazing and scary at the same time.

[01:04:31] Do you know what? It’s incredible. But it was five years to get to that point. Right. And like it was just timing. Like the product was in the right place, the market had an immediate need and then it was through that that the visuals became the thing that people loved. Like, okay, a cool video calling, but actually I can share visuals. How can I use these visuals in the chair? Oh, by the way, this is the original product which is chair side, which is like a SAS based cloud based product. Go into Google app com, log in and show your patients anything you want to do on your phone. Do it and your wherever you want and if you want to jump on a video call so that spiralled it and that sold, I think that created awareness for us. That’s what it did. And since then, you know, we’ve been able to go to sort of improve the content while we’re increasing scale. But more importantly, what we’re focusing on user experience, we’re focusing on on having the best content that will that the dentist want to help articulate their messages, whatever that message might be to the patient, whether it’s it’s your perio, whether it’s implants, whether it’s ortho, what the risks are.

[01:05:35] We’ve got animations on like IPR, you know, really explaining, you know, resorption, all these things that, you know, you might not articulate in a conversation or patients might not grasp. You can actually visually explain it within 8 seconds using chair side. And that’s the beauty of it. It’s actually faster and it’s a lot more thorough. And then everything is tracked and stored in your notes. So, you know, there’s proof in five years time, if anyone comes up to you and says, Hey, you never told me that I had gum disease. Well, actually, I did. I even showed you how to use a tepee. And that’s know that was the next one and I showed you this and so on. It’s all timestamped at 9:00 on a monday, 4th of July, whatever the date is. Yeah. So the idea here is in the most automated fashion to help communicate easily, effectively, transparently, using a very straightforward journey that is absolutely customisable whilst having being protected at the same time. And then all of that can be emailed to the patient automatically. So based on what you clicked or those, all that content gets shared to the patient and they can consent to that there and then.

[01:06:41] Does. It connects with the practice software.

[01:06:45] We have we are going through that process right now. The video calling does at this minute, it’s integrated. And it’s a very good question because it’s the question we get all the time. And, you know, what I love about dentistry is like generally from the dentists, through the groups, through to the software houses. Is there is this collaborative like feel? I really feel like people are open to collaborating now. Sometimes there are barriers to collaboration, like technical issues and stuff, but generally everybody is willing to support and help each other. I think that’s a that’s like there’s an abundance mindset as opposed to a scarcity mindset in dentistry. I feel from my experience that’s a really positive thing in our community.

[01:07:26] So for so for example, the you’ve got a video calling platform which I’m assuming has got booking and you can like set appointments or availability or whatever.

[01:07:38] On the video calling side.

[01:07:39] Yeah, yeah, like calendar or something like that or some kind of your version of that. Can that interlink with the dental diary? So the double bookings are not made because we found we’ve built a few bits and pieces of software and the one thing that we found is getting knocking on the door of SWE and trying to get them to open up their API. Yeah, it’s like Rocky not to mate.

[01:08:06] I would probably say the hardest part. I mean, integrating bookings is near enough. It’s a huge challenge. It’s a huge challenge. We don’t have that because we can’t actually get that to happen at this point. And so that actually makes it very challenging. And I don’t think it’s the fault of any of the software houses. I just think it’s the way things are built that are feasible. It’s actually quite difficult as we move, as everybody moves to a more cloud based solution like, you know, you’ve got dental and you got everyone’s moving to sort of more cloud based. That becomes a lot more, I would probably say, achievable.

[01:08:46] Fine. And then you can push your patient data into, let’s say, dental, really, because that’s got an API that allows you to push and pull and whatnot. That’s obviously so I guess it depends on the practice software in terms of what you can and can’t do.

[01:09:01] Yeah.

[01:09:02] But I have a question for you, Prav, when you say to get so to open their API. Yeah. Isn’t that just the revenue share that would determine whether they would or they would agree.

[01:09:14] So there’s technical constraints, point number one.

[01:09:18] Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah.

[01:09:19] And then point number two, I don’t know whether it’s or you guys are too small to talk to. We’re not opening an API or they actually don’t have an API. And for those who are listening that don’t understand what an API is, it is just a language that allows you to connect my software to your software where I can push data into it and I can pull data out of it in both directions. And sometimes you have a one way API that just pushes data out and you can just pull it. Or sometimes you have a two way where you can throw data back in and ideally to connect with a third party software platform, you need some kind of two way API where you can throw data in and you can query it and pull it back out. It’s the easiest way to describe it. And with certainly with software of excellence, that’s that’s not been possible. However, speaking of Dental, their engineers will get on the phone with you and have a chat with you and be very collaborative in terms of if you want to build a tool for their platform and they’ll give you all the documentation code as well. Yeah. Really. Yeah. Yeah. And that, that love of what you’re saying, they’re very collaborative.

[01:10:26] Yeah, very cool. I mean on that note I actually as I said, we are really have a really great mindset. Like they are really open to collaborating, they really want to improve the dentist experience. It’s important to them. I actually think that that because as a we own density now I know.

[01:10:48] Yeah.

[01:10:48] So I think the focus is more on the growth of it’s much easier. I think it’s just easier as we have so much on their plate, they’ve got all these nice things that they have to program and the changes every time they have to program. Yeah, I can imagine even just trying to like work with the tech team on chair side and that’s like like a 20th of maybe, maybe even less like of what so is, is a beast in terms of, in terms of the things that need to be programmed. I can understand why actually getting onto the roadmap is a bit of a challenge, but there is definitely I think there’s definitely a push for everyone, you know, naturally moving, cloud based. I think that might be the future is the integrations and the cloud based platforms.

[01:11:27] Yeah. So just out of curiosity, what integrations like let’s say you’ve got the the best Dental platform that you have. Let’s say somebody comes to you and goes, look, I’m all of. Chair side sunshine right chair side is the is is the censor point of my communication. Which dental practice software should I.

[01:11:50] Get.

[01:11:51] That has the best connection with chair side? And could you describe what that journey would be? Would you be pushing and pulling data out? Could you fire patient data over into the practice software, into that patient’s record? And then curiously, how do you identify James Smith in and James Smith in chair side as being the same human beings when this 25 James Smith’s in the system.

[01:12:21] Very good point. I think the best way for genocide is three levels of integration. The first integration is that when you when you start an animation, it works within the platform itself. So we’re not like you’re eliminating that need to go onto the Chrome based platform. I think that that is that’s a natural, like easy, better user experience. Then the next part is having the name. And so like when you, when you go through an animation sequence on Shoreside, what we call flows, when you go through a flow like a period flow, you’re actually everything that’s being recorded is being recorded under that patient that’s been opened on. So. Right, so you’re not entering. So like honestly, I’m opening up James Smith, I’m looking at the previous notes and I’m looking at his x rays and then I’m opening up the chair side under James Smith because James Smith is already open. I’m using chart side to to explain the visual chair.

[01:13:20] Side is already connected to s away and I can open up chair Smith Chair Smith James Smith Chair So I can open up chair side under that patient’s. Nelson It will fire that patient chair side records open who’s already in sway. So those that’s connected already, right? Is that what you’re saying?

[01:13:45] No, that’s what we’re working on right now.

[01:13:48] Oh, okay. Okay. But if you want to take the best.

[01:13:52] I’m just telling you that. I’m telling you the dream tree with this.

[01:13:55] But but but if you were to take the best integration that you’ve got with a cloud based platform, I’m assuming dental is probably the strongest connection you’ve got. Or maybe there’s another one. What are the possibilities as it stands right now.

[01:14:09] And endless possibilities with with platforms like that because. It’s almost like I’m just plugging in different elements.

[01:14:15] Yeah, but I’m talking about in its current incarnation now I buy chair side and I buy generally. What can I do today.

[01:14:24] You can open up chair side on like today. Yeah. We don’t really you can’t do anything right now because it’s not life, it’s not acting.

[01:14:31] Okay.

[01:14:32] The API is the APIs are being both APIs are being developed, they’re being plugged. So I wouldn’t want to tell you what we can what it will become. But if your answer is today, there is no no deep integration.

[01:14:48] Well the possibilities are endless.

[01:14:51] Huge. Yeah, yeah. But, but.

[01:14:56] But I guess and when we’ve developed pieces of software to integrate.

[01:15:02] It just, just links. Those have two things don’t have to stitch I’ll let the guys I have from Kuroki they’re, they’re not even trying to be within each bits of the software.

[01:15:11] Yeah. They don’t have to be. Yeah.

[01:15:14] That’s the whole Andre Allo. That is the Holy Grail.

[01:15:17] I mean it’s a question they ask the most because I mean probably same with everything, but just like could like and as I mentioned like that they’ve done such a great job. I would probably say trying not to rely on anyone is the best thing. Like if you can be stand alone experience but on awesome. But then the next layer is cool. If you can’t integrate, it makes everyone’s lives easier in terms of the experience. But we set out to build this as a standalone product with no expectation of any integrations because we can’t worry about what we can’t control too much. Yeah. So therefore, if it’s not, if it’s not on the table, we can’t, we can’t expect that to be the be all and end all of, of the success of share side or the failure of chatter. But is the success of chat side fundamentally? And if we if we rely on other people, it could actually lead to the failure of a business. So it’s not it’s not the right thing to do in my eyes. Yeah.

[01:16:13] Yeah. Just a bonus if it happens.

[01:16:17] To the British people change a lot of things in terms of experience. You know, it’s already restricted. We’re all restricted on time, just generally what we do. But in the clinic, more so. Right.

[01:16:31] So what’s your what’s your week? Is it how many days are you doing clinical. None. Or, you know.

[01:16:36] I still do. On on it feels like a day, but it’s actually two like officially. But I take so many like odd clinics here and there, like dental shows, all of that kind of stuff. But yeah, a day to two days a week that’s transitioning down now. And that’s, it’s, it’s more so because of the responsibilities I have to the practice. And yeah, but on a personal level it’s also because I get to use this thing and it’s new innovation on in the trenches every day. Like every day I’m in clinic with every patient and really understand and understand how we’re adding value that that for me is really important because I get to see every incremental change, every animation, how it plays out with my patients on a weekly basis. And I can feed back immediately. I can see the flaws, I can see, Oh, hang on a second. There’s no chance I’m going to do this. I don’t have enough time. How do we make it better? How do we make it quicker? So that for me in the trenches is, is an opportunity as well as upholding some of that to.

[01:17:34] Yeah. I mean, the question is, do you do you plan to stop completely or do you not plan to stop completely? We haven’t decided yet because I know if you’ve heard Prav was the one who pushed me. I was on one day a week and Proust pushed me and said, Look, either you’re pregnant or you’re not, or some other phrase you missed was.

[01:17:55] I’ve got a way. I’ve got a way with choice, way with words.

[01:17:59] It just depends who on a canoe and one foot on the shore or something like.

[01:18:03] That in a canoe on the shore, mate. More likely to be the pregnant bit or something. A bit more crass than that.

[01:18:09] But he pushed me because it’s really hard to stop it. It doesn’t feel right to stop with patience either.

[01:18:14] I think that’s probably the hard part for me. It is. It is hard. I’ve you know, I’ve more so more so because I, I like being wet fingered in dentistry. Like I like that feeling of when I speak to my colleagues, I speak to my colleagues as peers. And I don’t want to you know, I enjoy that still. I enjoy saying, hey, I used this or I did this with this patient and this happened and this result and it’s it’s I’m a dentist, you know, I actually really love clinical dentistry. I really, really enjoy it. It’s the opportunity to impact people firsthand there and then is huge. And I’ve had conversations with friends outside of health and there’s like, how do you feel like I mean, you just impact people straight away like there and then in a 20 minute appointment, 50 minute one half an hour appointment, hour long appointment on the day. And I think that feeling is is quite addictive as well, you know, when you have those relationships with patients. But I also am appreciative of the fact that, you know, it’s it is wise to go all in and it is coming to that point. For me, I think the hardest decision, one of the hardest decisions is actually letting go of it because of the love of it. But I hope I hope to still do some clinical here and there and not completely discard. I’ve had some great mentors, advise me accordingly. And like people like Raj Rattan, who’s the dental director, who then to protection going on about what an incredible individual human being but that’s that’s another story it’s just as as a human being a philosopher thinker and also as someone who knows and has seen everything in dentistry, you know, when he became the director, he still does some clinical work on on the side today. So there’s an argument for both just to not skill as well. But I think that’s a hard thing as a dentist. It’s like any skill, right, as well. And you have that attachment. So I don’t know. I’m I always.

[01:20:09] Think I always used to think, though lots of mothers stop for five years and then start again.

[01:20:14] Hmm.

[01:20:15] I wish that was five years is to be my number. You know, you can stop for five years. Loads of women do that or that. Or do they. Maybe, maybe I just made that up.

[01:20:27] I mean loads.

[01:20:29] Must do that.

[01:20:30] Right? I know at least half people take sabbaticals, right? Yeah. You can always go back on courses and learn how to redo certain things. If you’ve been five years out. There’s no excuse. I have no excuse. I’m just pondering. I just need to.

[01:20:46] Know, too. It’s actually difficult to find. I mean, the first thing you said is I want to talk to my peers as peers, which, by the way, that won’t really stop. Yeah. You know, I haven’t practised at all for ten years now. I still talk to my peers. Like peers kind of thing.

[01:21:01] Yeah, kind of thing. No, don’t worry about that. Yeah, I think, I think, I think there’s a point of diminishing returns where you have to take the plunge and just go all in on what you believe in and what you’re passionate about.

[01:21:14] And I think what Prav said to me, something like.

[01:21:17] I have a timeline for that and that should come to fruition.

[01:21:22] But did you know along the way you’ve spoken about or you’ve said the word impact a lot?

[01:21:29] I didn’t realise. But it’s great.

[01:21:32] You have. You have. I used to think about impact a lot too, but. And you’ve said it in so many different ways. You’ve said that you said impact on one human impact on the world impact. You’ve said a few different impacts, obviously important to you.

[01:21:47] If I can take impact and dive deep into that word for me, it’s contribution to society or contribution to a community or contribution or play my role. Play my role in this world, really? And what have I contributed to? If you know, at the end of the day, like, what were you part of? Everybody needs someone to stack the shelves as you need for society to run. Unless a computer or machine is going to do it. Someone needs to do it. Someone needs to. You will always need nurses. You’ll always need people to contribute their role in society. And you can find passion and purpose in any of those roles, some harder than not. But I believe you can, depending on what your personality type is like, you know, maybe certain certain roles allow for you to enjoy experiences because, you know, there’s some jobs out there that are less stress but allow you to earn a certain income and allows you to have experiences. But there’s. But then in your job or outside in your experiences, you may wish to pursue some impact, whether whatever that is or some contribution. For me, I want to hopefully contribute through my work as well as in whatever it is that I do to society. I think that for me gives me fulfilment and if on that journey I can, I can earn a living. Happy, happy days.

[01:23:03] Did you used to see the rat as that? Or was it just fun?

[01:23:08] Impact impact. The rap was I’m kind of like I’m that.

[01:23:13] That was fun for you. Like what was it?

[01:23:16] Was it fun?

[01:23:17] Was it like that? What’s your which one was it? Know when you said on impact the.

[01:23:20] Impact it was.

[01:23:21] For society. Do my bit on society. For society.

[01:23:24] Honestly speaking. Honestly speaking. The bits that I wrote this track called Teardrops, which is about the conflict, which is about orphans in Sri Lanka who had gone through the tsunami and whatnot. And like I remember performing that once and when I had like people messaged me saying they actually it brought tears to their eyes during that summer. Something with impact that was like resonated for me.

[01:23:47] Is it somewhere online if someone wants to listen to that?

[01:23:50] Teardrops? Yeah. I mean, YouTube took it down because I actually used at the time, like when I made it, I actually used some UNICEF images accidentally, which I didn’t realise, but UNICEF images and then there was like this copyright thing and they pulled it. But I mean, I’ve got stuff now that like I could like it’s, it’s, I’m actually going to be putting some stuff out just for myself really, but until my, my Instagram in the next couple of weeks. But again, it’s cathartic. It’s like therapy almost. I wrote this track, How are you? Which is how hard a friend, a very close friend of mine who’s unfortunately at a very young age, his wife passed away at the age of 37 in in quite very difficult circumstances. And I realised that after that my relationships with people changed a lot because I was actually asking people how they were, but actually asking you how are you like on a deeper level, how are you not just, Hey man, how are you? And it’s bad me on to write something that I was really quite passionate about in them. It’s that kind of thing. It’s almost like journaling is like therapy or therapy.

[01:24:54] You should do a podcast, man.

[01:24:58] What? You should. You should. Shall I rap to you guys? Please.

[01:25:03] Please. Please. No. Sure. Go.

[01:25:06] Would you let me do this? How are you thing? Right. Do it. Okay. All right. How are you? No, really, how are you? The question is kind of simple, but the answer is really true. There’s something deep inside that you might want to say. And I don’t mean. Yeah, cool. I’m cool. Yeah, I’m okay. In true friendship, we’re meant to circumvent the niceness, and they say talk is cheap, but to me it’s priceless. Forming connections comes from communication. But when was the last time I called to discuss my trepidations? So many around me with Hunchback. But this ain’t Paris. Heavy weights on the shoulders. Too hard to manage. I go in line. Everyone’s fine. Ain’t nothing savage. So maybe it’s just me on this journey with the excess baggage. Look. What if it’s okay to not be okay? What if it’s cool to not be cool? Society’s provided us with the stigma seen to be strong. But by burying my feelings, I feel I no longer belong. Centuries have passed shaped our perceptions. But who are they to define? What is perfection? Vulnerable was dishonourable. The emotional was weak. How much longer can we accept this for? Three emotions. How I speak. We still connect every minute just to hot spots, not humans blog our everyday lives. Like on a show like Truman. If ego is the enemy, testosterone keeps testing us, let alone progesterone imposter syndrome, preventing us from being ourselves. Share the weight of our feelings. How we use them deserves a greater meaning. The power of three words can go a long way, when answered honestly changed the course of our day. So next time we meet, maybe I’ll find the courage just to say thank you for asking. Yeah, I’m not. Okay. Jesus. Bloody hell. Wow. Wow.

[01:26:52] Bloody hell, man. Thank you so much, buddy. Thank you so much. Oh, definitely this podcast to a place that had never been before.

[01:27:00] I thought, you’re going to carry on wrapping them up.

[01:27:06] But I think we go back to back.

[01:27:08] But if you give if you give 10% of that song to Prav, I’ll stick it on the back. Let’s do this, buddy. Buddy, that was so good. That was so, so good.

[01:27:18] It was beautiful.

[01:27:19] It was beautiful. That means a lot to me. That really does mean a lot to me.

[01:27:24] It just. Just just the meaning that hung on every single word there. And funnily enough, do you know what I was speaking to? I was speaking to Bob earlier today, because we’re having this conversation about this business course that I’m doing later on this month. And we came we were having the conversation and we were talking about how were you? And we had the conversation this morning and it was like. It’s a question that you don’t expect an answer to. That was the conversation that we had this morning, and it really made me think about the fact that actually, when we asked that question, how are you? We don’t. Majority of the time, we’re not looking for an answer. Right. It’s just a you’re okay, you’re all right. And you’ve just.

[01:28:17] Lost the communication tool at that point. But then, you know, he said that to me and said that to me and I go, Oh.

[01:28:23] Yeah, you know, I mean, actually, this is what we’re so used to. And understandably, we’re so used to just saying how coincidental. In my conversation today, by the way, that’s.

[01:28:36] Really like.

[01:28:39] It’s.

[01:28:39] Literally why I was just I was sat there and if anyone was watching the video, I was I was struck. Do you know what I mean? Just just deeply struck while I was listening to it, because I’d had that conversation earlier, I was reflecting on that conversation that I’ve had with Bob, literally about that this morning. And Bob’s the guy who’s going to write the show notes. So he’s going to listen to this and he’s going to chuckle to himself because he knows the conversation that we had this morning. So it’s so surreal. But the depth of every single word that hung on what you said was was beautiful because there’s no other way that was defining.

[01:29:14] That was I was like.

[01:29:17] Oh, so I could do that and start up and be a dentist.

[01:29:20] Man Yeah.

[01:29:22] Look going on that you put some content up, but he put some content out like that because that was really strong. That was really strongly.

[01:29:31] For my birthday. I actually said to myself, I want to do this. And I got I got I got the video guy who shot something for our side. Lovely guy, Lucas. He’s coming round on Saturday, this Saturday to film about just me in the camera, black and white, just me dropping about five of these different ones that I’ve written. Six, six of them. See how it goes? I just put them out and. But it’s not like I can’t believe. Like I dropped the first one here.

[01:29:58] Buddy, buddy, you don’t even need this. This guy to come around with his camera, pull your frickin phone out because he’s. I’m being serious, right? I’m being serious. Me? Because what you actually just dropped there was I think will impact so many people. Right. Because at any one time when someone’s listening to that, I can assure you there’s a lot of people who are not all right.

[01:30:24] And.

[01:30:24] They want to be questioned deeper. Well, right by the right people. Yeah. And for you to do that as a production in black and white, nicely added, nicely polished, rather than just get your phone out and just do it here and now and whack it on Instagram or Facebook. As a marketer, I can tell you now the second version less polished you raw will have far more impact me promise you.

[01:30:55] Fat.

[01:30:56] Do you know what I don’t let not take Don’t let that camera guy hold you.

[01:31:00] Back You know what happened? You know what happened there. You went for perfection. Paralysis? Yeah. Because you were worried about doing it just like when you were a kid, when you were going to do the rapping. And and then he snuffed it out. He snuffed it out like. Like like a Gary Vee kind of guy. Now you got to do it, dude.

[01:31:17] He’s right. He’s right. And if that’s something that that I try and think deeper into why what things program program means or us to to behave in certain ways. Right. And, and I think I must come from a I want to do it. But now, you know, I just I’m not in the camera. No, not right now. You know, I’m going to have dinner. Yeah. And I will get it done properly. We get we’ve got proper video guide to come and do it. But, but actually sometimes the best things are just done impromptu just like that. And just click send and post it and see where it goes. You don’t need to have a marketing plan behind it. Sometimes you don’t need to have a strategy behind it. You just do it.

[01:31:55] The strongest content that you will produce will be stuff like this. What you’ve just done now, right, that isn’t planned, isn’t pre-production. You’re not fumbling your words or you just go with the flow, right? And whatever happens happens. You pull your camera out, you record something, you share it out there on social and just let the world unfold. Mate, whoever whoever resonates with that resonates with that. Right. And we know the feeds are all made for these devices, right? We’re watching them on these devices. We film on on these devices and the algorithm drives it. You produce a flippin picture, perfect, polished production. I’m confident that you’ll have more impact if you just pull your phone out in about 25 minutes.

[01:32:37] I think you’re giving me this this you’re giving me a bit too much credit for this this this production here, by the way, were made with a camera. But you are right. It’s still a level ahead of a raw, raw footage on your phone, which I think you know. In hindsight, actually. Spot on. Yeah.

[01:32:56] But Doo did do start writing again for sure, right.

[01:33:00] I’m I have recently I don’t know why it is I have recently like. Just being honest with myself and stuff about myself, really. Which is quite nice actually. You know, even younger is like, you’re rapping about other stuff. I mean, Teardrops was a really passionate one for me because it was about the history of my culture, I suppose, and the things that that people where I’m from in Sri Lanka also went through. But but you know what it is, guys? It’s like this really weird thing. Like, now is so good. It’s like it’s ever since I definitely social media has helped with that but to just be genuine and just do what comes to mind and put yourself out there and do it is way better than before when actually you had to go through the barriers to get played and what you got. What got played was what people wanted to hear. Stuff like this would never have got played back then and kind of thing, but I feel now is a much better time for it. But as far as process, as.

[01:33:54] Prav says, it also means much more competition. But but you know what you just did? There was bloody good dude.

[01:34:00] The best part of the podcast mate. Yes, right.

[01:34:03] Yeah. Bloody good.

[01:34:04] Being serious.

[01:34:05] That was promised to that rap expert. I know I’m not, but perhaps the rap expert. Well, but he was excellent. All joking aside, it was all excellent.

[01:34:14] Was it just you didn’t rap, mate? You told the story. Yeah, and that. And that’s what you did.

[01:34:22] I was so glad we started at the end. This time I’m so happy about it. Like, I might never have got to that rap man.

[01:34:28] Sure. Payman Payman payment or credit to you, buddy?

[01:34:31] Yeah. Yeah, it was the onion. Right down to the core of it. That’s where that’s anyone who knows. Like, I mean, I was I was at uni obviously with a lot of dental students. So there’s a lot of the like gen cache, those guys who all were like whereas similar time Sanjeev Sanchar together then Dosanjh was emceeing with me at one point from together, you know. Oh really. Yeah. Yeah, he was in. I’m going to call him out on it. His name was.

[01:35:00] Let me see what. Emcee Ray Radia.

[01:35:04] Radar. Yeah. Crazy. He was easy. He was like, We lived in horse together. He’s like, he’s such.

[01:35:12] A great kid. And Kisch as well, were they? Were they?

[01:35:15] Jen was deejaying. He was doing the whole deejaying thing. And they still doing.

[01:35:18] Where? Where was this?

[01:35:19] That was a kings. Oh, yeah. So that was that was a good time. It’s a good time.

[01:35:28] Amazing, man. We’re one hour, 40 minutes in. Amazingly.

[01:35:34] Wow.

[01:35:36] Let’s get your. We might as well get a final question, Steve. And, you know, just I just like I said to the character, guys, I want to I want to see you in the next round, you know, like in the next finance round to say, hey, man, where we where we at now? You know.

[01:35:52] Like.

[01:35:55] Amazing. So amazing having you on my body.

[01:35:58] You guys have been such, so easy to speak to. I’ve really enjoyed it. I, I haven’t even. I didn’t even realise what the time is right now, but I’m like, oh man, it’s such honestly, such a pleasure and I’m so, so, so, so grateful to come on and be able to even be able to rap. Like, I never thought I’d do that here, but yeah, great.

[01:36:20] Like, it definitely was the best bet.

[01:36:22] But without.

[01:36:24] Question. Without question. Even imagine it was the last day on your planet and cheer side has already impacted millions of dentists and and and become this forever company that you’re never going to sell. And it leaves that legacy. What would be the three pieces of wisdom that you would leave for your loved ones?

[01:36:47] Really? Okay, really interesting. I would I think these these three bits are important to me that I would like to to share. I think the first thing is be curious, just be curious and explore your curiosity and learn to be student. Be student and learn through experiences, learn through reading, learn through understanding people and interactions and expand your curiosity. I think that has led me to to really because through that curiosity you find out almost what you’re passionate about. So the second one for me is discover what you’re passionate about and be passionate and then pursue that passion and have a purpose. Align with your passion because when you have passion, you can wake up every day and really enjoy what you do. But also you can be passionate about simple things. You can be passionate about like birds, passionate about things that we don’t take for, we take for granted. But when you when you live with that passion, everything has a meaning and a story behind it and depth to it. Even the words, how are you? You know, like you can unravel so much out of it. But if if you don’t, if you’re not curious and you’re not passionate, sometimes, you know, we get on with our daily treadmill of life and you miss sometimes I found that I miss the beauty of things when I’m not in that space. So yeah, the, the first thing is definitely be curious and be alert, always be student learn. The second thing is find things that you’re passionate about and pursue them and live with purpose and find purpose around them.

[01:38:21] And then the third thing for me would be courage. Have the courage to take risks. If I didn’t have the courage to take risks, maybe I wouldn’t have explored the music thing at that point. And maybe if I had a bit more courage, I would have actually pursued it. If I didn’t have the courage right now, I wouldn’t maybe be doing shoreside or something that I’m I love because I do my best mate, do it some of the great, the best people I know, some of the best minds I know, and my cousin as well as involved. And I’ve met so many people like yourselves through that journey. And that was all at a time where, you know, the risks I took were, you know, cut. My job was lose, lose, lose, lose, whatever came of that stability, security, all of that. And and just generally, even on a day to day basis, you have the courage to take risks that you’re passionate. But I think it all intertwines to each other to be curious about life and explore and continue to continue to learn. And then once you while you’re learning that, be passionate about when you find the things you’re passionate about, you know, explore that and find purpose and then have the courage to take risks. And then I think for me, that’s helped me a lot. And if I knew that a young, younger age, I may have done, you know, explored a lot more as well.

[01:39:35] So it’s beautiful, man. It’s amazing advice, isn’t it? Amazing advice.

[01:39:43] Thank you. France is a dinner party.

[01:39:46] It just doesn’t seem as important now, doesn’t it? Fancy, fancy, fancy dinner party. Ballet.

[01:39:52] Fancy dinner party.

[01:39:54] I think it’s dead or alive.

[01:39:56] Okay, cool. For me. I found. I find Leonardo da Vinci incredibly interesting. Like he’s someone who is, like a thinker. Like a painter. Like an engineer. Like, you know, he was everything. He did everything. And he was actually really, apparently, according to history, really great many things. And I just don’t understand in a world where now we focus in on one thing and be really great, that one thing. How someone back then had the ability to to master so many concepts. And just as individual. I just love to. To understand his mind. So I think Leonardo da Vinci, for me would be someone who has always stood out as a quite remarkable person in history. If what they say about history.

[01:40:40] It’s a good one.

[01:40:40] I know you’ve had this already on the podcast a few times, but just because of the place that I’m in in my life right now, I think Elon Musk would be super interesting for me, this whole journey that he goes on. Mine’s on a much smaller scale, but nonetheless some transferrable ideas there thoughts, problems, concepts, processes, systems, all sorts but ideas. So I think that’s really, really cool. And the final one for me is a personal one because I’m a Bitcoin fan, like kainos been my guy. So like I’ve never had a chance to really have a chat with him. So I’d love to have Kaino come down. He’s a he’s an MC, he’s a rapper in a UK based guy. He, he, he, I think was someone who was ahead of his time, was ahead of his time. If he did something now, he’d be huge. But he he was at a time when the scene there’s a time and a place for everything. And one thing that whole grime UK garage movement taught me was 20 years ago was the birth of a culture. 20 years later, those who loved it, I mean years ago are now buying the CDs that can allow it to be a sustainable sound. Or you can actually have people like Stormzy and them come through and make a living of it. But it’s these guys just like NWA back in the day or even the precursors of them Run-D.M.C. really built. Hip hop is a similar thing, and I was one of those guys who built the crime scene, which the UK music scene. So for me understand like having him there would, would be super cool for me. That’s a personal one.

[01:42:07] Amazing body, really.

[01:42:09] Amazing.

[01:42:11] Woman. Thank you.

[01:42:12] So lovely to have you, buddy.

[01:42:13] Thank you so much.

[01:42:14] Thank you, guys. Really, really been a pleasure.

[01:42:19] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:42:34] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:42:49] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening.

[01:42:59] Thanks.

[01:43:00] And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

Neil Gerrard got an early start in dentistry, helping out at his dad’s lab, where he first started making models aged just 13.

But after spending some time as a clinical dental technician, Neil enrolled in dental school to scratch his itch to work more closely with patients and see the fruits of his labour pay off first-hand.

And dentistry is still very much a family affair for Neil. He now practices alongside his wife and brother, who continues their dad’s CDT legacy.

Neil chats about how it all started, the origins of his hard work ethic and gives his perspective on technical and clinical dentistry drawn from his years of unique experience in both disciplines.

Enjoy!

 

In This Episode

02.55 – Backstory and work ethic

12.39 – Switching to clinical

24.50 – Business culture and structure

31.57 – Team training and motivation

42.53 – Neil’s patients

52.55 – Clinical-technical tension and tech

01.05.50 – Guarantees

01.13.41 – Surprise and delight

01.19.21 – Black box thinking

01.26.47 – On employees and associates

01.39.54 – Charm Vs clinical skills

01.44.37 – Fantasy dinner party

01.47.39 – Last days and legacy

 

About Neil Gerrard

Neil Gerrard is a former clinical dental technician turned dentist and one of only a handful of UK dentists to hold British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) accreditation, for whom he is also an examiner.

Neil is the author of There is No Perfect Dentist—a consumer guide to choosing dental professionals.

 

[00:00:00] But I must admit, without sounding too pious, I do try and sort of keep true to myself. I only talk about things that I use in practice, and I only talk about things that I know work. Because if I don’t, if I talk about a product that I haven’t got faith in and then somebody buys that product, uses that product, and then they don’t get the outcomes with it. Again, nobody’s going to listen to me again. And, you know, I’ve been lucky. You know, I’ve never been good enough to work properly with with Enlightened.

[00:00:34] But this is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:59] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Lewis Mackenzie onto the podcast. Louis is a long time friend and mentor of mine, educator, general dentist, now ahead of head dental officer Dan Plant, Clinical Lecturer at Birmingham and at King’s and General General good guy on the lecture circuit, someone who probably is the most entertaining lecturer out there. Every time I’ve seen you lecture Louis, the crowd’s been in stitches. And in my story, most notably, the person who introduced Palmer to me. You didn’t. You weren’t quite the person who introduced the poem. But as soon as I met the Palmer, you called me and we knew each other, I think from the Manchester MSC, we were supporting that and you know, the best lectures on our many smile maker, of course, I think, you know, Lewis certainly. And I would agree, a once in a generation talent found his start in Birmingham Dental School, where Lewis was putting on hands on days for the students. And he always mentions you, Lewis, as his key inspiration. Well, lovely to have you, buddy.

[00:02:13] Well, thank you very much. It’s a very nice sir. That’s an excellent introduction. And pretty hard to.

[00:02:17] Pretty hard to live up to. All right. Well.

[00:02:20] All I can say is we’ve all got a similar haircut. So we’ve got something in common, haven’t we?

[00:02:29] Lewis, we’ll get back. We’ll get to the back story in all of that. Yeah, but just just on that Depeche front and I was thinking about this, the number of others you must have inspired. I mean, I know a few of them. You know, Millie Morrison, live scorer who introduced to me people like a few I know a few of a few of your graduates, but you must be responsible for so much good dentistry coming out there. Do you feel the weight of that when you have a new class?

[00:03:01] Not not really. But those are those names that those names that you mentioned are sort of extraordinary talents. I would say of all the things I’ve done over the years, one sort of skill that have got is being able to recognise this sort of unique you I think you said it sort of once in a generation talent. Depeche was definitely the first. And I remember I met him during the final year in 2009, and I run a special study module, run it for nine years. And Depeche was the first ever year and. He came on the he came on the course, and the first exercise I ever got him to do was just some occlusal composites and just to sort of set the set the bar. And when I looked at these composites, I thought. Shit. I’ve got to improve my teaching here. This. This bloke. This bloke is an absolute genius. And. And as you say, Millie. And we’d live again. They’ve just got this unique talent, and I’m not sure you can teach it. My. My role really was them was just to put the materials in their hands and just just just let them go with it. But but, yeah, they don’t come along to too often. Another one that comes to mind is Richard Lee. He just just emigrated to New Zealand, actually. But again, when you when you when you’ve I think now I’ve done over 1000 hands on courses. And so so you really get you really get a feel for somebody who’s just just way, way out of the ordinary. But Depeche was the first for definite and he definitely made me realise I need to up my game on a teaching point.

[00:04:49] And at the time you were a general dentist, you used to visit the dental school for hands on sexual for what was that was what it was.

[00:04:58] Yeah. I was a part time lecturer. I started, I’d been in practice for about ten years and then I’d always had that sort of little itch about doing a bit of teaching. I’ve done a couple of courses myself and sort of really enjoyed them. And yeah, just started doing a Thursday afternoon on clinic, did clinic for many years, probably about eight or ten years. But then I found a real passion for Phantom Head teaching. So I like it because it’s a level, level playing field, everybody starting with the same cavity and you get a really good opportunity to sort of rank the students and identify those who have got weaknesses. And so this special study module that I put on and ran for nine years, Depeche, as I mentioned, was that was the first year. And yeah, just, just really, really enjoyed that sort of aspect of it. But yeah, sort of clinical lecture is the title nowadays. I don’t do any undergrad teaching. It’s just purely postgrad working on the working on the master’s at Birmingham and the Maths and a couple of master’s courses at King’s. But I do quite a lot of, as you know, hands on courses around the country all the time. Anyway.

[00:06:04] What is it that makes somebody stick out, Lewis? Is it is it generally how inquisitive they are? Is it does it just come down to you, look at the work and think, crap, that looks amazing. How did that happen? What is it that is there a like if you could bottle that up and put it into a formula, what would it be for these super successful delegate guts that you’ve had?

[00:06:27] I think it’s when they do something that hasn’t been taught, they’ve just got that eye for it. They can just see something, explain something, but then take it to the next level. So one, one of my mentors, Adrian Shorter, we might chat about him later on. He, he said to me, don’t, don’t be upset when your students are better than you are. Take, take, take pleasure and pride in it. The thing is, with people like Depp’s Millie, Liv, Richard, they were always already better than me before they started. So. But I think it is that just that unique sort of X factor, whatever it is. And if you could bottle it then, then it’d be worth a fortune. But I don’t think you can. I think we can all. I mean, you’ve only got to look on Instagram and Facebook now to see the you know, the beautiful, beautiful quality of dentistry that is literally within anybody’s grasp. But then you’ll see the others who just take it up to the sort of the next level. I think one of the first contemporary couple of contemporaries that I saw of my sort of era were Jason Smythson and Tiff Qureshi, where I just thought, Wow, that’s a bit special. And then I mean, the nice thing about the people we’ve talked about as well is that they’ve gone on to become really great teachers as well, because that for me is an extra skill. You know, there’s plenty of people doing extraordinary dentistry nowadays, which is brilliant, but to be able to communicate that to us mere mortals, I mean, I go to to the enlightened course. I go to Dipesh lectures now and I’ve got my notebook out because he’s constantly pushing, pushing the boundaries when it comes to teaching and practice, because he’s just got that eye for aesthetics, that eye for colour, which, which, which I haven’t got.

[00:08:10] It’s interesting what makes a good dentist and then what makes a good teacher? Let’s agree firstly, two different things. You know, there’s many good dentists who aren’t great teachers and but I think with I think you gave Dipesh the advice that he shouldn’t go on any composite hands on courses so so that all the ideas would be original his own. He wouldn’t feel like he was taking an idea from someone else or something like that.

[00:08:41] That definitely wasn’t.

[00:08:41] Me. Sure that you don’t like my advice is going as many course.

[00:08:49] So yeah. Absolutely. There might be. There might be. There might be crap courses, but.

[00:08:55] You will always.

[00:08:56] You’ll always pick something up off them. And and of course he did. Chris Of course, there’s another legend. He did. Chris all year long course. I mean, he was only in fact, that was that was actually a really nice sort of bit of feedback that I got that Christopher has always had. I don’t know what the rules are nowadays, but it used to be you had to be graduated, I think, for at least three years before you could apply to go on Chris’s course. But then he made an exception unless they’d done the special study module at Birmingham Dental School in their final year. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So. So Dipesh and Emily got on their lips, done it as well. And of course, Millie now is one of Chris Christopher’s associates. So he knew what he’s talking about.

[00:09:41] And the teacher herself, not in composite, but more Invisalign. But but it’s interesting, you know, because we were doing a little series called My Mini Tip and we had dentists and I took it for granted. Every dentist has got one or two tips and they probably do and maybe camera shy at that moment or whatever. But I guess the difference between a teacher and a technician is a teacher has more tips that came from them. You know, that that things they do slightly differently to the rest of us need teaching.

[00:10:16] Doesn’t that’s true and but I think we all fall down the same holes anyway, don’t we?

[00:10:23] Yeah, that’s true.

[00:10:25] And that’s how we learn by by sort of reflecting. And I think in the let me use the term old days, we’ve probably the first of several times this evening, usually it was sort of ten years or so before you did any sort of postgraduate qualifications. Now, obviously, dentists are doing it a lot earlier and, you know, certificates, diplomas, even mscs on our MSC course, we’ve had some literally sort of first year, first year graduates. I just wonder whether actually doing these courses earlier on actually reduces the risk of you sort of falling falling into the regular sort of pitfalls. Or again, the old fashioned mantra is you need to make a few mistakes and then do the course and then learn basically based on your experience. So I don’t know what it is, but certainly there’s as you know, there’s a trend for courses a lot earlier nowadays.

[00:11:23] Yeah, I think in the US it’s slightly different, you know. When you talk to the academics out there, they haven’t got that mantra of become a generalist first. You know, they. Well, some do. By the way, I don’t think it’s the right or wrong. You can’t say one is right and one is wrong. But but you’re right that the sort of the general thing that people have been saying here is you learn a lot of things first and then go and specialise into one one area that you like to see, try a lot of things. But I remember when when I did my elective in the US, the advice wasn’t that it was, it was, you know, as quick as possible, try and get into something. And and I’ve given that advice to a lot of people as well. Louis, you know, because people asked me, Hey, what should I do? My answer is, pick one thing and just run with it. You know, get really, really good at something. You know, if you want to if you want to do something, pick pick one, pick one and go. But, you know, you’ve seen so many students come and go. Would you say that specialising these days is a good idea? Or would you say that general practice where you’ve thrived if creches thrived, crystals or ideas? Which way? Which way would you advise someone to go?

[00:12:41] Often down to the individual person. But don’t forget, whatever you choose, you’re going to be doing it for the next 30 to 40 years. So you’ve got to make the right decision. I wouldn’t close certainly early in your career. I wouldn’t close any doors because once it doesn’t take long in dentistry to sort of do skill, not necessarily skill, but lose confidence. And then you’re kind of you’re going down that one little route. And of course, obviously no perio. You can just do that all day long. But certainly when it comes to sort of aesthetic restorative, is it something that’s going to sustain a sustain for for 30 or 40 years? One interesting thing I’ve noticed, talking to a few young dentists and even a few lecturers recently is is just focusing on front teeth. And which is a bit of a worrying, worrying situation when we’ve got, what is it, a year’s missed missed appointments due.

[00:13:38] To.

[00:13:41] Due to the pandemic. And obviously 70% of all problems occur on molars, which they’re not as they’re not as instagrammable. But that’s where most of the most of the trouble is. So yeah, it’s I mean, you must see it a lot on your courses and of course it’s lovely dentistry to do, but is it sort of sustainable for that length of time? I don’t know. Certainly just don’t know whether obviously every restoration is going to fail and are these almost sort of aesthetic cosmetic specialists. Their whole career is going to be about replacement of existing restorations or management of of marginal stain and stuff like that. So it’s down to the individual. But certainly I would say early in your career, don’t, don’t narrow it down too early. That that would be my advice.

[00:14:36] Not.

[00:14:37] You know what? What you’ve just been saying there, Lewis, in terms of how long these restorations, every restorations go into eventually fail, etc., etc.. Right. There’s two bits of, I guess, information I’ve received from from. So TIFF has always pushed the you know, you don’t really know how good a dentist you are until you’ve seen how long you work lasts and you’ve got that long term follow up. And he always talks about his ten, his 15 year follow ups and he knows how long he’s dentistry lasts. And funnily enough, I had the opportunity to interview a guy called Daniel Boozer. I think his name is he’s an implant guy over at the ADA. According to everyone who I spoke to, he’s he’s one of the gods of implant dentistry. Anyway, cut a long story short, when I was interviewing him, I asked him about what advice he’d give to new students who are getting into wanting to get into implant dentistry and how would they know how good they are? And he said exactly the same thing as TIFF, that it’s about this long term follow up that he’s got cases. 35 years ago we placed an implant and they’re still stuck there in somebody’s head. And he felt that that was the true measure of somebody who was really good. What do you think are the concerns with all of this? A lot of front teeth, dentistry, composite veneers and things like that. Now, obviously, a lot of the courses are teaching that. And then the longevity of that in terms of, I guess how long these are going to last. How is it? We’ll see. Easiest way to describe it. Is it a huge problem waiting to unfold and happen when all of these, you know, composite veneers sort of mature in 5 to 6 years time and they need redoing with either more composite or porcelain. And then something you just mentioned, which I hadn’t given any thought to, is that are these dentists reskilling by just focusing on that?

[00:16:37] Really good questions just to sort of start at the beginning of that. You made a really good point about the longevity. I’ve worked in only one practice, the same practice for 30, 31 years. Wow. So so you know what works, but equally, you know what doesn’t work.

[00:16:54] Yeah.

[00:16:55] We’re in the kind of the infancy with composite veneers at the moment. Obviously, the materials have come along massively. Again, advertising payments wonders there. When I started using enamel, really, that was the first time composite veneers actually became a thing for me because of the Polish and. Composite versus versus porcelain. We could do a whole whole hour just on that. Composites got its disadvantages with regard to sort of technique, sensitivity with regard to surface lustre. That’s that’s where enamel works because obviously it’s a microfilm that keeps it keeps it shine. But the way that aesthetic restorations usually fail, where they’re direct or indirect is usually marginal stain. They don’t usually they don’t usually drop off certain materials. They will composite materials. They will lose their surface lustre. So it will be interesting to see exactly, say Prav a few years down the line. Payman to remember exactly the same thing happened in the nineties with the with with porcelain veneers. Well, that was very much that was very much the the thing the thing to do. All the courses were based were based around that. And then if you choose the wrong patient, if, if you’re not bonding to enamel and people, people came unstuck and I think probably moved away from that. But you know, either restoration, if it’s done well, it is going to last for years. But again, you also make a very good point that doing dentistry for the second time is is is a challenge because you’ve got to you’ve got to take it off.

[00:18:32] And, you know, when you’re cutting, whether it’s ceramic, whether it’s composite, are you in material? Are you in dentine? Are you in enamel bonding resin? So yeah, it’s a real it’s a real challenge. So but I would say just to add to that, the foundation of skill with not necessarily young dentists is some amazing, stunning older dentists as well with composite is because the foundation of skill I don’t think really we know yet they might just literally just need polishing. I know I’ve got I’ve got re enamel cases where where the composite veneers still again as you say in my latest anterior composite lecture, I’ve got a re enamel veneer at ten years. Tiny bit of marginal stain, still shiny, absolutely never been republished at all. So I think now because they’ve got the skills, you’ve got the the bonding techniques, you’ve got the material technology, they’re going to last longer. And of course, as every generation goes, they’re just going to get better and better and better at them. So maybe it will be the treatment of choice. I know Dipesh is sort of now he’s sort of half and half isn’t. He loves he loves composite, obviously, but I’ve seen him lecturing more and more on ceramics.

[00:19:49] Now.

[00:19:50] Do you know when you talk about restorations lasting? So the purpose of which let’s say somebody has a composite veneer is less functional and protective and more cosmetic when you refer to them lasting. Do you mean just staying in touch or do you mean lasting in a in a cosmetic way?

[00:20:09] Yeah. I mean, they’re not going to fall off. You know, you might get a little bit of chipping, but of course, that’s that’s easy to repair. But yeah, it’s really a patient factor. Is the patient you’re happy with them? And and I think that I think that’s the main thing and that would that would probably drive the replacement. Yeah. They’re not, they’re not going to drop off if they’re bonded to enamel I think Trevor Burks who did this massive study millions of restorations that have been done on the NCE and and labial only veneers came out tops. They last longer than at any other restoration in dentistry, so they’re not going to fall off if they’re bonded to enamel. That’s the best bond in dentistry. So they’re going to last. But yeah, so it’s going to be cosmetic. It’s going to be cosmetic failure before before anything else.

[00:20:53] Which which year did you qualify this?

[00:20:56] 1990 graduated with a with a marvellous four four, four years in one term.

[00:21:01] Course Payman not not missed five years.

[00:21:05] Yeah. The good old course. And so I was, I was going to say you’re not old enough. Right. But when did like your composite come.

[00:21:15] Well like your has been around it thinks is the since they on the first composite that was out. I’m trying to think I’ve actually got a picture of Trevor Burt with with one of the original curing lights. It was probably I would say probably the seventies don’t know for certain.

[00:21:33] We have Wilson on the on the podcast and he was talking about when they were developing it with Eisai and it was.

[00:21:39] Yeah.

[00:21:40] It was one one shade only. Right.

[00:21:43] Yeah.

[00:21:43] Yeah. So yeah. And then there was a clues in of course the first composites you have to mix yourself and there was no polymerisation shrinkage issues because you had so much air in them that the material just didn’t cause any problems. But yes, so light curing really sort of probably sort of seventies, it sort of kicked off.

[00:22:03] But you know, people like to say that the current day dentist, I mean, even outside of COVID, that, you know, the newer, younger generation don’t have the skills that that let’s say our generation had because they didn’t they don’t drill enough teeth. Do you have another side to that story that says they’re they’re a lot better than us because of whatever other you know, whatever other thing they do have that we didn’t have. You know, they get taught patient management or, you know, what are they being taught while we were drilling teeth?

[00:22:33] Well, I think it goes further back than that. They’re just really, really clever.

[00:22:39] You know, I thought, yeah, I.

[00:22:42] Want to know when I it was a B, it was a B and to CS to get into dentistry in 1986, I smashed that with the two B’s and two.

[00:22:53] Sees. It was.

[00:22:56] In those days you buy three, you get one free with.

[00:22:59] General study.

[00:23:02] So yeah, I mean they’re superintelligent. You’re absolutely right about the undergraduate experience. You know, they’re going to do a lot less than they did with regard to everything, you know, particularly amalgam skills, you know, some dental schools, they’ll almost do non extractions again depending on where depending.

[00:23:20] On the why is that because enough patients to have their teeth extracted.

[00:23:25] Just I mean we work Birmingham’s fluoridated so even back then my oral surgery experience was was very limited and so I had to sort of learn those skills kind of on the job.

[00:23:39] So are you are you Birmingham born and bred? Were you born in Birmingham?

[00:23:43] Staffordshire. I’ve my my quest through life has taken me about 25 miles.

[00:23:48] From.

[00:23:50] From from Staffordshire. I went to Birmingham Dental School because it was the only place that gave me an offer.

[00:23:57] Birmingham at the time my dentistry did.

[00:24:00] Oh, well, now you have asked a good question, and I had to actually do some research for this because I always was certain that I was 11. I was 11 when I decided I wanted to be a dentist. And I was absolutely certain I could remember where I sit in, in a science class who was sitting next to my mike Dean. But my auntie has always, always said, No, you are much younger than that. And so I thought, No, no, she’s making this up. And but then I went up to see one of my uncles in the Lake district and I asked him about this and he’s in his nineties and he said, No, no, you’re about six. So then I went back to my auntie and said, Come on, tell me this story. Then she said, Do you remember you’re in the car? And I said to you, What are you going to be when you’re older? How about being a doctor when you can look up, look after your Auntie Lillian when when she’s old? I said, and apparently I said to her, Now I’m not going to be a doctor.

[00:24:51] I’m going to be a dentist. And I was standing up in the back of a Fiat 127. So so no seatbelts in those days. And obviously so I couldn’t have been very tall. So I think I was about six. So I decided I wanted to be a dentist. I have absolutely no idea why. I never, never changed my mind. I remember when I went to Careers Day and I told the careers advisor that I wanted to be a dentist and her advice to me was, You don’t want to be a dentist. That’s a terrible job. Then when it came to A-levels in those days, you had to fill in, fill in a different form for a polytechnic. Picasso’s Picasso art form. So as you. Cassin Picasso, it’s all on one form now. And I refused to fill in the the whatever it was going to be, whether suggesting pharmacy, pharmacy or something like that. And so I refused to fill it in. I only wanted to be a dentist, but I don’t know why. And I’m just glad that chose chose a career that’s worked out for me.

[00:25:55] What did your parents do?

[00:25:58] My dad was was a draughtsman and my mom was she was well, her final job, she did lots of sort of secretarial jobs. Her final job there both passed away, unfortunately. But a final job was once she really loved and she was she was a medical secretary. That was that was the last job that she did. But my parents, if I was the first person to go to to uni in my family. So there was.

[00:26:25] Is there a, you know, like the how the that that part of the country was very industrial and you know, our stories in your in your family about the black country and everything everything that goes with that. And did you sort of see that change in the area?

[00:26:39] You’re such a Londoner, you’re such a London.

[00:26:45] Gossip bullshit.

[00:26:46] Stuff, which is no way stuff is just north of Birmingham.

[00:26:50] Oh, is it?

[00:26:51] So I was so romantic about this story. Like your granddad works in the mines and then, you.

[00:27:00] Know, my grandma.

[00:27:01] My granddad, we are going back now. I had a granddad, this is on my dad’s side and my granddad from the Isle of Skye, Isle of Lewis and my grandma from the Isle of Skye. They both left to find work to go to Glasgow. And then once they’d sort of become a couple they walked to Liverpool too to find a job. So my, my grandfather on my dad’s side, who I never met was an engineer by training.

[00:27:29] So Dad’s Scottish.

[00:27:31] My dad’s. My dad was born in. My dad was born in Liverpool. So but my grandparents are Scottish and my on my mom’s side they’re more sort of midlands based, more sort of Brummie Brummies but. Right. Proper Birmingham.

[00:27:45] Yeah. So if you, if you were an Indian they’d say you’re Scottish because you know you’re Scottish, you’re a Scottish guy.

[00:27:52] Like I was Scottish.

[00:27:59] I’ve got Scottish ancestors, so but I’ve got loads of Scottish relatives, loads of loads of aunties and uncles and cousins.

[00:28:09] What would you like? What would you like as a dental student? Were you really into it or.

[00:28:13] Oh, really?

[00:28:14] Yeah, yeah.

[00:28:15] Yeah. I really was. Yeah, I kind of liked it away. I mean, I must admit, it was pretty tough at dental school. We were lucky, actually, that we’d just been sort of a change in sort of management, if you like. Birmingham had always been sort of known as kind of the cotton school. I think the Cons department at one stage had about 30 members of staff. So when I started, we used to hear the sort of horror stories from the previous, the previous tutors, one that’s always stuck in my mind. And I sometimes remind the students when, when they’re being a little bit, a little bit soft, that one of the tutors apparently used to say to when he was checking a cavity or something like that, he’d stand over the with the with the patient and the student and he’d say to the patient, he’d look at the look in look at the in the cavity. And he’d say to the student, I wouldn’t trust you to cut my lawn.

[00:29:14] So.

[00:29:15] So fortunately, we missed we missed that sort of era. And we had really fantastic young lecturers at that time, Phil Lumley, basically God have ended antics. And Ian Chappell was a junior lecturer as as well. And obviously they were both my bosses, Phil and Phil and Ian and Trevor Burke came to to Birmingham as well via, via Manchester and Glasgow and he Trevor’s been really instrumental in my career and Damian Walmsley was, was head of sort of head of prosthetics or fixed removable prods. And so we were really lucky that we had all these young legends basically want to do things differently. And so the teaching we have interesting actually the there are a significant number of people in my year who have actually gone back into dental education and my four and a half years sorry, four years and one term were yeah, I must admit I really enjoyed it. I think I was one of those lucky students who kind of on the practical aspects, sort of picked it up straight away. You know, I’m quite a sort of, you know, used to like playing with Lego, fixing my bike stuff, stuff like that. So, so it’s quite lucky I sort of picked it up straightaway. And of course in those days is you’ll remember the course was very practical. And now going back to your other point, I think now there’s so much new stuff that you’ve got to learn with regard to, you know, I mean, there were no posterior composites. Molar endo was kind of in its infancy. And so the course now is so packed that the students are doing less practical work than they would have before. But with regard to talent and skills, I would say, you know, the future is most definitely so. These these young dentists are going to be awesome and and they’re going to take dentistry to the next to the next level. You know, I hope I can hang around for long enough to to just to see where it goes. Obviously, the digital revolution is finally has finally arrived. So yeah, I mean, that is really, really exciting stuff.

[00:31:33] I feel like the, the newer ones, they’ve got more AQ than, than we have sort of more emotional intelligence. At the same time though, maybe it’s just they admit to it more, they seem to suffer with more sort of mental health crises and issues. Is that your feeling?

[00:31:55] It. Maybe it’s it’s an excellent point. And obviously there’s loads of evidence to back that up. But I just wonder whether we all always had those issues. But it was just a case of.

[00:32:06] Talk about it.

[00:32:07] Get on with it, and suffer and suffer in silence. And that’s the way of the world. Maybe it is the fact that they’re they’re more sort of more sort of people of the world. They’ve got access to everything when it comes to sort of social media. The Internet, obviously, the Internet didn’t exist. So just maybe they’ve just got a better sort of perception about what their part in the world. And obviously they can be a little bit emotional at times and sort of older sort of dentists. That takes a little bit of getting used to, but I think they’re probably going to get a much better life work balance than maybe the dentists of yesteryear did when it was very much sort of, you know, five days a week, full days of NHS dentistry and then look sometimes look forward to retirement, which is, you know, you’ve got to enjoy the ride. I would always say, I would always advise and whatever you doing just enjoy your dentistry. And if you’re in a if you’re in a situation where you’re not enjoying it, do something to to change that.

[00:33:18] I mean, there’s a lot of people who aren’t enjoying it. There is.

[00:33:23] Yeah.

[00:33:24] Absolutely.

[00:33:24] And I mean, at the same time, there’s loads of people who adore it and love it and can’t stop talking about it. And, you know. So what do you reckon is the difference? Do you think the difference is staying engaged and trying to improve the whole time? And why is it some people are in such a bad state about and I think the GDC whatever has has a role to play but it’s always been like that. Even before the Dental Law Partnership came along, there were some dentists were really into it and others who hated their lives. What’s the difference in those two characters, do you think?

[00:34:01] Well, it is such a good question. And if you actually love the physical act of delivering. Doing a filling or something like that, if you if you really, really enjoy that, then nobody can take that away from you. You literally just you know, that’s a that’s a big chunk of your life on Earth that you’re actually enjoying. But when you’re working in a situation where maybe you’d really enjoy that feeling, you know, it’s going to take you a 45 minutes to do it. But you’re working in a clinical situation where you’ve got 15 minutes to do it, then you’ve immediately got that. I think the textbooks call it that moral, moral tension, haven’t you, where you know you know what’s best, but you know, you’re working in a system that’s not allowing you to to do that. And I think that’s probably at the heart of of mental health issues in dentistry, which, as you say, have been around literally forever. I mean, the good thing is now mental health is most definitely on the agenda in dentistry. You know, the regular report coming out, looking at the profession, looking at the causes. Remember the BDA did did a massive one, thousands of dentists in 2019, just just before the pandemic. And, you know, they listed the top ten stressors in dentistry, and most of them were systematic problems and regulation was one of them. There was I read I read a nice article by Martin Keller, I think it was in the BDA, actually. And he said, nowadays it’s like practising clinical dentistry is like being in a lift with a wasp. And I think it’s a good analogy. The only way that that analogy falls down is if you’re in a lift, you can get out of the next floor.

[00:35:52] If you’re if you’re a dentist, you’re in the lift for 30 to 40 years. So I think there is obviously the dental legal stuff is never is never going to go away. But nowadays that’s that’s a separate self sustaining industry. But I’ve had I’ve had second year dental students literally just started on Phantom Head say to me that they’re worried about graduating because they don’t want to get sued. So, so, so second year, Joe so this stuff, this stuff does starts does start early and it can do but need to be prepared. That’s the way of the world. It’s not going to go away and just do your best for every patient as long as as long as that’s the sort of philosophy. And if you are in a situation that’s compromising your ethics, your standards, then do something to change it. And I know obviously Prav does loads of work with dentists and with whole teams to create the right environment. In fact, I think I listen in preparation for this. I did some revision, I listened to one of you, did an excellent talking heads when it was just the two of you. And Prav made the point that he felt that at that time one of his favourite clients was a bloke who was just unhappy in his job and he just needed to change. No, change was not an option for this bloke and obviously he did perhaps training and sounded like it all. It all worked out well for him. Prav is that correct?

[00:37:21] It’s Lewis. But you’ve just got me thinking about another thing, which is, you know, what is the reason some of these guys, especially what I’m seeing and it’s not you know, I’m not speaking for all the younger dentists, but I have a lot of younger dentists who come to me and say, I just want to make X per month. That is that’s the overriding thing that they come to me for. But they’ve not been they’ve not done enough dentistry, if that makes sense. So when you look at them from an I’m not the one to judge them clinically, but you know, they’ve been out of dental school for 18 months, two years and they’re both their prime motivating factor is I want to make X per month. Right. And it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about dentistry, whether we’re talking about a career in marketing or whatever it is, I think you need to earn your stripes first and get some experience under your belt before that. Becomes your sort of number one motivator. And I do say to them, look, my first bit of advice is get on these courses, right? And these courses happen to be courses that people that I respect that pay more respect probably yourself as well. Or is that that you just think that let let them get this solid, grounded, and then the money will come.

[00:38:41] But I do think that if finances that number one motivating factor from a very young age, I do think a lot of these dentists will start becoming unstuck later on because they siloed themselves into I am just going to be an Invisalign doctor. I am just going to press the button on this program and get this treatment plan done for me and I’ll finish it off with a little bit of edge bonding or whatever. Right. But it’s a bit like becoming a marketeer and running Facebook ads. But you don’t know the first thing about the problems of the people that they face that you’re marketing to. Right. So so how can you how can you market to somebody who needs a full arch of implants if you don’t know the problems that a loose denture wearer goes through and the fact that they can’t eat steak or the fact that they they cover their hands or they walking around with a tube of fixed it in their pocket all the time and so on and so forth. And I feel really strongly about this and I feel as somebody who helps practices grow, there’s a bit of a pressure on sort of them coming to me and saying, Well, I want to make loads more money. And my advice at the moment is get strikes first and the money will come.

[00:39:54] I couldn’t agree more. I mean, you’re giving absolutely spot on advice and I’d give exactly the same advice. I think in dentistry, if you put finances first, it’s doomed to failure because you’ll always be chasing something over the horizon, which is which never actually arrives. And you’ve got to obviously be constantly chasing repeat business over and over again. If you’re looking from a financial point of view, from a financial point of view, the best way to achieve that goal is is family dentistry. And look, I think TIFF talks about this, the lifetime patient. It might sound a little bit sort of old fashioned, but yes, the see the grandparents, the parents and the kids and sometimes even their kids. That’s from a business point of view that is the foundation of any successful practice. Also, when finance is at the fore, I’ll be careful. Our phrase this there is a danger that it affects your treatment, planning and and if you’re not looking at the whole patient and the whole patient’s needs and maybe just focusing maybe just on the anterior teeth, it is that old classic that if all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So everybody gets the same treatments. They all look pretty much the the same. And yeah, you get on a OCH, it’s not an NHS treadmill, but it’s a different treadmill. And so I think I think a balance between I think a balance between that where it’s lovely to do the aesthetic stuff, but of course it.

[00:41:30] Is.

[00:41:31] Patients demands. Now patients are so well educated that, you know, they know what, they know what they want and you’ve got to be able to deliver on that promise. So going back to learning your getting getting your stripes, getting your hours in, I think it is like any sort of it’s that 10000 hours, isn’t it? What if whatever whatever you do and if you’re going to become an expert in it, 10000 hours a mate of mine or shared an office with Charles Perry, he actually worked it out and he reckoned it was about ten years, ten years of of of sort of four, four and a half, five days of dentistry. That’s about 10000 hours of practical dentistry. In that time, you’ve probably you’re probably made most of your mistakes, not all of them. Unfortunately, you’ve learnt what you’re good at, you learnt what you’re not good at, you’ve learnt your patient communication skills. And it’s why in the again using that old phrase in the old days it usually was ten years was kind of a turning point where the where you maybe think, right, I’m going to buy a practice now or maybe I’m going to go on a, you know, I’m going to learn how to do implants.

[00:42:39] I’m going to be an end to dentist, that sort of ten year apprenticeship, for want of a better word. But I think that’s certainly come forwards now. Certainly young dentists seem to be a lot more business minded in a good way. You know, they seem to sort of grasp that it’s not something that’s ever taught at a dental school, but they certainly do seem to have a grasp of of what they want and the vision that they want. But again, I’ll mention this possibly when you ask me those questions, which I’ve prepared for at the end, is from a financial point of view, just just enjoy your dentistry. Just do do what feels right for the patient, what feels right for you. And the money will will will sort itself out. No, no problem at all. And use the team as well. You know, use your specialists, use your technicians and just become a whole little sort of industry. Yeah. Look, for me, looking after looking after families is the key and then the aesthetic restorative stuff. That’s, that’s the icing on the cake.

[00:43:42] Yeah. Not, not to mention Prav. Yeah. The best way of not making that money is to focus on making that money. But I wonder if people say that to you because they see a marketing guy before them and they feel like that’s I’m allowed to say this to, to, to the marketing guy. And so they come across as that guy, you know.

[00:44:03] Possibly there’s an element of that, right. And they probably see that I’ve worked with a lot of successful dentists who’ve who’ve done really well, both clinically and financially, but a lot of these dentists who have done really well as a stripes. Yeah, they’ve got the decade well and truly under their belt. Yeah. You know, and then they’ve done well however you define doing well financially right. We all have different I guess set points, call it whatever you want. Right. Well our definitions of success are and some of them are spending more time with your kids or whatever, and some of them are driving fast cars and going on luxury holidays, whatever that thing is. But, you know, people do come to me and they associate me with with those individuals who’ve done well, let’s say, for example. And then they come to me and say, hey, well, you’re the. That drives the patients through the door and then can give me advice on conversion and all the rest of it. So Prav bring me some money, right? And, and for me, whether I’m giving advice to somebody who comes to me for career advice as a as a, as a young marketeer or someone or somebody comes to me for career advice as a dentist. Yet I say, you’ve got to be able to do the shit that you can say you can do. Then we can market that, because if you end up marketing something that you know you can’t do, you’re only going to end up in trouble. And this comes down to my involvement with the IAS Academy has taught me a lot about how I guess you should operate as a dentist.

[00:45:39] Right. And case selectivity. Knowing your limits. Right. Knowing when to say no. Really, really important. Right. And so marketing can put you in trouble because it can deliver a patient that you have absolutely no chance of being able to treat because you don’t have the skill set of doing it right. But you decide, okay, I’ll be Mr. or Mrs. Brave and have a crack at that. So, you know, I’m a I’m a big believer in making sure that we market appropriately at a skill set and at a level that we can deliver because it will be short lived otherwise. And even with my clients, I want to build long term relationships. I don’t want to I don’t want to put someone in a position where they become unstuck. They’re up in front of the GDC, you know, and there’s I guess there’s a sense I feel like there’s a sense of responsibility on my behalf. It’s not just about an exchange of service for money, but I think I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can actually say, Look, if that’s what you want to do, there may be another agency out there that could help you do that. But this is my advice, and I think what weighs on me is having business partners like Tiff Qureshi, who’ve got a very, very high moral, moral, ethical, high ground for me to sort of say, well, okay, well, this is this is the route I think you should go down.

[00:47:05] Yeah. And Tiff’s always had that as me and just I mean, that’s such an excellent point that if you are going down that you’re almost always treating strangers. And I’m sure obviously you’re a medic by training as well. Never treat a stranger. Get to know the patients before before you jump in because you don’t know what they’re like. And and you made a really good point there that really sort of rang a bell rang a bell with me is asking saying to patients not to treat them. I would say some of the best clinical decisions you will ever make in your practising career are the patients you choose not to treat. And you know, you don’t have to be rude. You know, send them on the road. You need a you need a better dentist than me for for for this. And certainly if I think back, those had been some of the best decisions I’ve made. As you get older and more experienced, you see the warning signs, but obviously you can’t be expected to do that when you’re just starting out. So yeah, just earning your stripes exactly as you said it, doing that apprenticeship for a few years, just getting a feel for the and then decide what you want to do.

[00:48:21] Louis If that’s the best decision you’ve ever made, what’s the worst decision you’ve ever made in a clinical dentistry class?

[00:48:31] In clinical dentistry.

[00:48:33] With patients, whatever you said, some of the best decisions you’ve ever made is is actually having the courage to say no. I guess what what are some of the worst?

[00:48:43] What’s gone wrong? What’s gone wrong?

[00:48:45] Yeah.

[00:48:46] Well, perhaps question first of all would be those ones I’ve learnt from those learning patients where I’ve got into something, whether I don’t know whether it’s an endo or an aesthetic case or what or an extraction that I think I really wish I hadn’t started this. But but then you’re on, but then you’re on that, then you’re on that conveyor belt. To answer page question, you know, it’s a long list of nothing, nothing catastrophic pain. I’m sorry to see frozen.

[00:49:24] Or I’m just.

[00:49:25] Is just really good at sitting still. Nothing, nothing catastrophic, but a few a few learning experiences, which I think made me a better dentist. I’m more cautious.

[00:49:41] Yes. Which ones will happen?

[00:49:45] I knew you were going to make me be specific.

[00:49:48] Because.

[00:49:49] You’re not going to leave it like that.

[00:49:53] Far too vague.

[00:49:55] I’ll give you I’ll give you two. I’ll give you two of of many. Listening to a few of these podcasts previously I noticed quite a common theme is people’s worst day at work has been sort of Dental legal problems. And and as you know, sometimes this can be sort of a year of their lives with with a with a cloud over their careers. And for me, I would say it was probably it was probably the same. But I’m embarrassed to say that mine only lasted for 48 hours. And it was it was an end and end case which didn’t work and tried to it was one of those ones. It just on the x ray, it just looked absolutely perfect and it didn’t didn’t settle. So chats with patients said, I’d like to retreat this one. And she said, I’d rather just have it out. So we had the discussion and I took it out and then months down the line just got a letter, the clinical negligence letter, taken a taken a tooth out that didn’t need to be extracted. But I was just, you know, whether it’s luck or whether it’s judge judgement, did what you’re supposed to do, phoned up the one with the d-do they were brilliant. Just send us all the the x rays, send us, send us the radiographs and we’ll get back to you. So did that posted them off in those days and then it was I think it was Rupert Hoppen and Brewers at two days later he phoned me up.

[00:51:28] He said, is that Mr. Mackenzie said, We don’t usually do this but don’t worry about this, this will go away. He said about one in 5050 cases they get to actually make that call to say, don’t worry, this will disappear. Don’t give it another minute’s concern. Your notes are fine. You’ve done everything that you should have done. And sure enough, I got a letter again months down the line. We’ve decided not to pursue you on this, on this, on this occasion, but there’s no question about it. That experience. The wasp came into the room and the wasp never left. You know, it was. It was. It was in the corner. It never formed a hive or anything like that. But it did make me because that surprised me. It really surprised me because I had tried my best. Still, to this day, I’ve absolutely no idea why it failed. I’d actually saved the tooth to try and section it and work out why, where, where I’d gone wrong. And then you asked for two. So I suppose I’ll give you another one. Was again, just a mistake. I was I was finishing finishing a composite and sort of Class five composite adventurer and they hadn’t put the burr in into the handpiece. Burr fell out. The handpiece patient literally swallowed just at the, just at the wrong time and so yeah what can you do.

[00:52:51] So I again, this had a happy outcome as well. I said to the patient, we really need I don’t know where that’s got, where that’s gone. We really need to have a chest x ray. That was the was the that was the guidance. And so drove him up to the local, local hospital. He had a chest x ray. He had swallowed it. He hadn’t he hadn’t inhaled it. And the weird thing was that it was he was an elderly patient who’d retired. And based on that experience, he actually became a volunteer in the X-ray department, which he did for years and years and years. And I saw him for years afterwards. You know, every time I saw him, I just felt, you know, felt really, really bad about about making that making that error. But I certainly certainly learnt from it, but nothing too catastrophic. And I know I really feel for some colleagues who have got cases that have been hanging over them for years in some cases, and I had a very, very short experience of what that felt like. And it was, Oh, that’s great, my career is over. And it happened to me fairly, fairly early on as well. But everything, my note making just hopefully really, really improved by that. So so those are two that spring to mind. I’m sure I’ll think of some more.

[00:54:21] When you said there was a happy ending, I thought he was going to say fish the bear out and brought it back for you.

[00:54:38] I was just waiting for.

[00:54:39] I was waiting for the punch line.

[00:54:40] Louis I don’t know. I mean, I don’t mean to sound disappointed, Louis, but in a 30 year career, those don’t sound like really hard stories to me.

[00:54:52] Yeah, but they impacted. They impacted on that. They certainly had an impact on me.

[00:55:01] But have you never had a situation where the patient’s lost trust in you, you know, like that sort of situation or you took on a case that that went wrong in the wrong direction for a long period or even in my short. I mean, maybe you’re just a much better dentist to communicate to that. Yeah, but even my short five years at the the BR front, I did have a few couple of cases like that where, you know, like cosmetics is awful, right? Patients says it looks great, goes home, comes back because I don’t like them anymore. You know, you’re in a terrible situation just there on a matter of opinion, you know, does that never happen?

[00:55:44] Were fortunately not with regard with regard to that, because forcing I’ve done the course is when I started doing aesthetic dentistry. Fortunately, I’ve done some good courses and they the thing that I always bang into is, is make sure the patient knows what it’s going to look like at the end. So there are no surprises at the end because, I mean, there is nothing and I say this in lectures all the time, there is absolutely nothing worse than, I don’t know, some veneers on or something like that. And the patient, either immediately or after they’ve seen their family saying, saying, I don’t I don’t like them because there’s no plum. These are, you know, okay, if they’re too long, you can shorten them. But that’s all you can do. And then obviously redoing stuff like that is, is, is an absolute it’s an absolute nightmare doing redoing dentistry that you just did.

[00:56:44] Yeah.

[00:56:45] Really is is, is literally is your worst day at work isn’t it.

[00:56:50] Yeah.

[00:56:50] So I think it pay, I don’t think it is judgement. It is, it is just luck but I certainly and maybe, maybe it was, maybe it was that early on end of case that really made me choose, choose my battles and be able to deliver on, on whatever I, on whatever I promised. But I’m sorry to disappoint you.

[00:57:15] I can’t think of.

[00:57:17] Anything anything cut to catastrophic for you in my professional life.

[00:57:23] You mentioned Lewis. The conversation I had about the NHS and leaving the NHS and what people are saying about that and what worries people have about that. But now in your role in dental plan, that must be a daily occurrence. I know your role isn’t specifically to talk about that dentist. I mean, you’re more on the education side and so forth, but what stories do you hear or what concerns do people have and are they the same concerns every time? And then the solution’s a similar solution all the time, or is it different in each case? Tell me some stories of NHS to private.

[00:58:01] It is it is it.

[00:58:03] Is the similar it is similar all the time and it’s always and they’ve always been the same stories. I mean I’ve I say I’ve done a 1000, so I’ve been teaching for about 20 years. I’ve been doing hands on courses for getting on for 20 years as, as well. So I’ve spoken to thousands, thousands and thousands of dentists and that’s, you know, me, we’ve been on courses together, you know, and I know you’re as well. You like chatting to chatting to the dentist, you know, good. Good to chat to, good company, entertaining people. And so, yeah, I’ve got a whole list. In fact, I did a webinar last week on this exact subject. It is the same things that come up every single time people have transitioned from NHS to private all report. Same thing. Number one is always time, more time, more time with the patients, more time for your for your for your private life, for your for your life work balance. But it’s it’s never money. Money is always the absolute bottom of the list is it is clinical outcomes, it’s job satisfaction. It’s developing good relationships with your patients. It’s using good materials and equipment.

[00:59:17] It’s having the time to go on courses and upskill. It’s working with technicians who share the same philosophy that you do. It’s you know, I’ve spoken to dentists on courses, a hands on courses. And this is this was not an uncommon occurrence. I do I used to run a series of ten hands on courses on various different restorative subjects and be quite a common one. When I was just started to push the envelope with, with big composites and almost without exception sort of every month somebody, an NHS dentist, would come on the course and I’d, you know, and we’d do a, I don’t know, mode b build up on a pre molar, take about an hour or something like that. And a dentist would say, you know, you know, this is all well and good, but I can’t do this on the NHS and I used to quite commonly get into this discussion and I said If you don’t mind me asking, how many patients do you see per day? And I would say almost without fail, sort of definitely a few times a year the dentist would say eight zero 80 patients per day.

[01:00:32] Oh, my goodness.

[01:00:33] Wow. To which to which I’d say, well, no, no, you can’t. You know, what’s what’s your what’s your appointment time if you’ve got to do this if you’ve got to do this in 10 minutes. You might get the first one right, but you’re not going to get the fifth one right. You’re not going to get the 10th one right. And what I did want to see, I didn’t believe it, actually, but I actually went to went to the went to the practice. I once knew of a dentist who had 100 patients booked in every day. I didn’t believe it, but I actually saw the daybook. It was a pencil, a pencil day book. And there were there were 100, 100 patients booked in in that day.

[01:01:13] The interesting thing is, if you if you said clean up time between 100 patients.

[01:01:18] Is.

[01:01:19] Just just be really kind of say 5 minutes to 3 minutes clean up. That’s 300 minutes of clean up time, which is 5 hours of clean up time.

[01:01:33] It’s not terrible.

[01:01:34] And you would occasionally see dentists who would get themselves into this sort of. This treadmill of multiple surgeries.

[01:01:45] On the.

[01:01:47] On the go. Well, but then.

[01:01:49] What are the barriers? What are the barriers? I mean, why don’t people want to leave? I mean, there’s the obvious financial sort of, you know, with the the system is that you’re sort of assured a certain income per year. There’s that. And then and then there’s another one talking to people who are thinking about it, the people who are eminently more qualified than I was when I decided to leave the NHS, worried about their skill set and worried about whether they can pull it off or not. And I say, you know, it seems to me so obvious. I will just keep it simple. Refer. Simple as that.

[01:02:24] You’re absolutely right. Confidence is the number one. You know, they don’t feel they don’t feel like a private dentist. To which I always say.

[01:02:31] What is that private?

[01:02:32] Exactly.

[01:02:34] I’d say, went to dental school. You weren’t trying to be an NHS dentist. You were. You were trained to be you. You were trying to be a dentist and to do whatever that particular patient needs are still to this day, do a lot of hands on courses with foundation dentists. And so I really, really notice that they really, really feel going from the, I don’t know, safe environment of, of the dental school scene to maybe four patients a day or something like that. And then working to an environment where obviously you’ve got to speed up. But that sort of tension with regard to sort of clinical decision making they they a classic one would be they they know that a direct composite online is the best treatment for that particular tooth. But working in a system, I don’t know. Take the UDA system, for example, where you’d be pushed to do an indirect restoration and that tension, a chrome denture or something like that. So you know that a cobalt chrome denture is the best thing for the patient. But when you factor in the lab bill, you would know that you do too many of those. Your business is your business is going bankrupt and and where cases in the in the UK system as well. So I mean the system does need to the system does need to change and it needs to change rapidly. I mean only in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the, the Parliament Sean Smallwood talking to the health, health and Social, Social Care Select Committee. Things have to change and they have to change. They have to change rapidly.

[01:04:15] But you know at then plan what was the USP of that organisation is is it that they, they’re good at helping people go from one to the other. Is it, is it that they good at managing the teams because there are there are those concerns aren’t they. You know, what will my team think? What will my patients think? Am I up to it in all of this? Does Denton hold the hand better than the next company? I mean, they were certainly one. They were the first, weren’t they?

[01:04:43] Yeah, 1986 den plan was set up was set up with with three goals. It was set up by two dentists in the mid eighties. Eighties was a was a nightmare time anyway record unemployment record inflation. Falklands War miner strike it was it was it was a nightmare time and it was a nightmare time in in dentistry as well. And so these two two dentists came up with this idea for a basically a new system, a capitation system that was something to do instead of NHS dentistry, which was, which was the only game in town, you know, in, even in the nineties. I remember at the time somebody said there there are around about 500 private dentists in the UK. Now there’s 26,000. So plan was set up with three goals and those goals have remained the same throughout right up until today and they’re just as relevant as they were before. The first thing was professional control, getting control of your own career, which is what we’re talking about. The second was to create an environment outside the NHS where you could do quality dentistry. And the final one, which is even more relevant now, was to align the patient’s wishes with the dentists philosophy, which is prevention. Prevention patients don’t want dentistry. And so if if a capitation system works really for me, it’s perfect. It’s the perfect practical situation in clinical dentistry because you’re getting paid to keep people healthy rather than getting paid to find things to do and do things.

[01:06:32] And so having that balance of private fee per item and loads of patients on a plan just gives you that sort of clinical freedom to to make the right decisions every time, because your clinical decisions are based on, on what the patient needs. And obviously, I’ve talked to thousands and thousands of dentists and it’s the reason that we’re really quite evangelical about them plan is it because it was the first and it. It changed my professional career because when we went private, we weren’t completely private with them. In those days, you couldn’t you couldn’t have a children’s only contract. So basically it was, it was, it was private and and we didn’t retain any NHS within the practice. So in those days it was a leap of faith because there was no blueprint, big practices hadn’t done this before. But of course now there’s, you know, there’s a, there’s a blueprint. And, you know, thousands of dentists have already made they made that move. But so if you do chat to them plan dentists and I’ve heard this time and time again is that it changed it changed their professional careers even further. It changed their lives. And that is why that we’re so passionate about them.

[01:07:53] What is what is your actual role there? I mean, I know you were in charge of the education side for a while, but now now your new role.

[01:08:01] Yeah, well, the head dental officer, it’s actually the job that the original head dental officer is Roger MATTHEWS, who was one of my mentors, who is an absolute legend so far of ahead of his time. It’s really is a it really is a multi factorial role. Difficult to describe it in in just a sentence. The education side is still a big part of it. And one of the things that I’ve been really lucky to do is be involved with a big project to create our state of the art online education, to go along with our life courses. Our live courses have been incredibly popular for.

[01:08:42] Just summarise summarise the size of that that unit. I mean, I remember someone telling me, well, maybe it was you. It was like they do something like 500 days of live courses a year or something.

[01:08:53] Yeah. Yeah, we have way over 500 or 500 courses. I mean from, from hands on courses. I mean dipesh you, you kindly helped us out. I think that still remains our biggest ever hands on course. I think we had something like 40 dentists in the room, but you got good value out of Depeche that day. But we do in practice training that’s super popular. We do all the compliance subjects. We have ski conferences, cycling conferences, hiking conferences, and we just actually we’ve just finished actually, we’ve done our first four national forums. These are our sort of flagship events. And so so far we’re up in Scotland, in Blaine, Cambridge, Chepstow, and then we’re in Belfast the week before last. And so basically this is a full day study day with a nice meal and a stopover as, as well. And we’ve had Simon Chard lecturing for us on digital, doing a doing an hour and a half session. And he has been absolutely superb the den plan audience because you know is quite a tough audience. I say it’s it’s you know for for lecturers it’s a good rite of passage to to lecture to them to the dental plan dentist because, you know, you’ve got a lot of mscs in the room. You’ve got a lot of experience.

[01:10:14] Simon is a talented speaker, talented, very, very talented speaker.

[01:10:18] He is very, very polished. And but it does go beyond way beyond the clinical excellence, which he most certainly has. But it’s the whole sort of the the marketing, the use of social media. It’s his feedback has been off the scale. It’s been absolutely superb. So so those those are flood control.

[01:10:41] Have you got if let’s say you want to come up with a new course in Panama. Whatever.

[01:10:51] Well, like.

[01:10:52] You know, if you come up with a new idea, who does it? Is it you? Is it. Are you the last person who has to say yes to things? Or is there this other person who has to.

[01:11:02] Through.

[01:11:02] The process? What’s the process of if a new idea comes up, how does it work?

[01:11:06] It would be really lovely if that was if that was the case. My boss, Catherine Rutland, who’s another? Another and dentist as as well. So she would be the first person I would. In fact, literally, this actually happens only last week. I’m putting together ideas for the programme for 2023. So I’ve literally sketched out this is for me, this is the ultimate programme of live events and online online training events. And then we literally just go through the process with regards to funding budgets, manpower and workouts, work out what what we’re going to do for the next year. So we try and work kind of a year ahead. We’ve got an events team. The events team are amazing and we do lots of charity events as well, but not sort of CPD involved as well. You know, marathons, conferences. Our parent company, Simply Health Sponsored, The Great North is sponsored all of the great runs for a few years. So yeah, it’s just sort of because for me and I’m sure you’ll say exactly the same thing with your courses pay and even with your courses as well. Prav is for me some of the best little nuggets of education don’t come when you’re sitting in front of the lecturer. They come, they come in the breaks they come when when you when you’re having lunch, when you’re on a ski lift or.

[01:12:35] Wherever, the gin and tonic, man, you know, people underestimate that. It’s not it’s not the gin and tonic. It’s the different sort of sort of the barriers of the classroom situation. And then the barriers and the real conversations do tend to happen outside of the classroom situation. And for me, you know, the other thing is the delegates learning from each other totally. It’s a key point. It’s not just from the teacher, it’s a key point. They’re all going through the same things.

[01:13:09] Certainly from a practice management point of view, and I was really lucky I got into them quite early. I think it was about 93, although we were mixed for probably 15 years. Yeah, probably about 15 years. I was lucky, I think. I went on the first ever Dem planned golf conference and just sat down. My golf’s never never been any good and it it never it never will be. But I remember sitting down with some of the original Bampton dentists and they were really sort of saying, you know, from a great tips, you know, categorise your patients and correctly to begin with, equipment, materials, loads of techniques, loads of courses. Again, you know, I’ll go on one course, I’ll get a tip to go on to go on another one. It’s much easier now because obviously they’re all advertised on on social media, but it was very much a sort of a word of mouth who are the good speakers, who are the good mentors? And I was just really, really lucky that in the early, early years of my career, I just bumped into some just really, really influential people who transformed my career.

[01:14:18] Were you always that funny guy on stage? Because you are.

[01:14:27] Obviously, this is a fantastic opportunity to go into a Goodfellas moment here and, you know.

[01:14:34] When you have. But you could be a funny guy.

[01:14:41] Entertaining that entertaining style you’ve got. I was not from the first time you lectured. Was it like that.

[01:14:49] Style over content. I think that is.

[01:14:53] It is.

[01:14:53] It is. I’ve got a message that I want to get across. When I first started lecturing, I watched it before it started. I’d watch some really good lecturers and and you’d notice the ones who kept people sort of captivated. Trevor would be a really good. Trevor would be an absolute classic example of that because no matter how good your how good your, your content is, if people are asleep. And I’ve had plenty of people fall asleep in my lectures, they are going to learn nothing. They, in fact, just digressing from my worst ever. It wasn’t even a heckle in a live lecture. There was it was I don’t know. There was an audience of about I don’t know, about 40 or 40 or something like that. So it was a small it was a small seminar and there was a bloke in the front row and and he came in and he fell asleep almost immediately.

[01:15:49] And.

[01:15:50] And so that was a bit I was still introducing myself. I was still.

[01:15:54] I don’t have a long I don’t have a long I don’t have a.

[01:15:58] Long this is me intro but but he fell asleep during that. So then without a word of a lie, I kept going. I kept going. And then after a while his phone went off. It got off, it stood up. The group was in two, it was in two halves. So there was there was a sort of an alleyway down the middle. He walked up the alleyway, he answered his phone. And I.

[01:16:22] Don’t know what.

[01:16:23] I don’t know what the conversation. Nobody said, no, I’m in a lecture.

[01:16:27] No crap. And he walked.

[01:16:33] Out and he never came back.

[01:16:36] Wow.

[01:16:39] So that’s so that was my worst. So that was my worst sort of experience. But I think public speaking, I went to I went to a lecture the other day from somebody, a similar sort of vein to Prav. And it was people’s worst fears. And I think I think the worst fear this bloke was talking about was I think it was death of a relative public speaking and then being buried alive. So so when it comes to public speaking, I don’t I don’t I don’t mind. I never I never have.

[01:17:14] I think if you pull it off, you put it off so well with with the with the I don’t want to call it comedy, but the sort of the humorous side of it. And I always think if you if you say something funny, I never I never try it by person, because what if what if no one gets it or no one laughs? So and I find people do laugh in my lectures, but at points where I wasn’t expecting it. So it’s like they’re laughing at.

[01:17:38] Me so.

[01:17:39] Wisely. But but you put it off like a master, like a king.

[01:17:43] Give us an example, Payman. Give us an example.

[01:17:46] But he just. He can’t help himself from the first moment. Yeah, he’s talking it’s he’ll say a self-deprecating joke or something, but the audience will just get behind him straight away, you know, like, like what you said. You say, let’s say you can say something about your hair being a bald guy or whatever I’d say. And the room would be a room would be silent and worried. Yeah, he’ll say, and the room will be bursting out laughing. Yeah. And it goes on and it’s not like it’s only a comedy show.

[01:18:18] I’m not.

[01:18:18] Saying that.

[01:18:19] I’m going to say that at all. No, not at all.

[01:18:22] I was just about to ask Louis to tell us his favourite joke.

[01:18:26] It’s just. It’s just. It’s just.

[01:18:28] The content. The content is, is, is punctuated with some entertainment bits here and used to talk about different people, you know, good old and new places. So the way he would do it, I don’t know, Louis just carries it off in a really sort of for me, effortless is the way I would. I would describe it.

[01:18:50] That’s extremely nice of you to say. And it’s it’s not something I mean there’s certainly that. Edutainment as my my predecessor before Catherine Henry Clover he was my boss at Dental and he was the he was the head dental officer after Roger he said edutainment you know, you get you get you get your get your content across but it’s got to be entertaining. Otherwise, why why is anybody going to when when is anybody going to sort of actually come to your next lecture? But it’s not something that I sort of sort of script in really sort of I don’t know, they sort of I’m kind of lucky. It kind of sort of comes to me. I mean, I went to a school, a pretty rough school in those days. You didn’t have you didn’t have social media, so you had to go to school to be bullied.

[01:19:40] So I think.

[01:19:48] You have to be either really tall, which I wasn’t, or you have to be you had to be a clown. And so I suppose I learnt those skills from school. I remember my dad was always an entertaining bloke, but perhaps just made me think my my favourite joke. It was anything that I come out with a things that that please me are things that are thought of on the spur of the moment and and dental wise again probably 2 to 2 boring too late but I’ve been lucky enough probably because I’m I don’t mind public speaking I think I’ve been best man 11 I think it’s 11 times.

[01:20:31] Ten or 11.

[01:20:32] Times. And for me, my, my best adlib happened in a best man speech. And it was it was quite an awkward environment because the vicar had been drunk during the during the ceremony and it hadn’t gone disastrously wrong. But everybody, you know, it was it was one of those things, if you put it on telly, you wouldn’t think it was you wouldn’t think it was believable. So I was just getting nervous because I always do get a little bit nervous before certainly before speaking. And I thought, what am I going to say? I’ve got to kind of refer to it, but how can I refer to it? The vicar wasn’t in the room, but fortunately, but how do I refer to it without sort of embarrassing him and embarrassing everybody else? So I just I thought.

[01:21:19] Had.

[01:21:20] And so literally just it just came to me. I said, I don’t know about you, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had a wonderful wedding today, a fantastic service. And I don’t know about you, but in church today, I really felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

[01:21:36] And and for me, that is just.

[01:21:41] I enjoyed the fact that I managed to think of something under those sort of those circumstances and, and, and pull it off.

[01:21:51] I’ll tell you my favourite joke. What did you call a man with no shin?

[01:21:56] No shin.

[01:21:57] Notion.

[01:21:59] No idea.

[01:22:00] Tony.

[01:22:07] Wow. That’s my number.

[01:22:09] One. That’s my number one.

[01:22:11] Dad joke.

[01:22:13] Highbrow Oxford.

[01:22:15] Educated medic.

[01:22:20] Another one. When you go to Footlights on.

[01:22:22] A similar sort of play, we go. Yeah.

[01:22:27] This one always, always makes me laugh. Is mango’s into a fish and chip shop and says Fish and chips twice, please. And the bloke says, So I heard you the first time.

[01:22:45] Louis. Out of your different things you do general or done general practise teaching. Have you done some research as well?

[01:22:54] A sort of ad hoc research, I would call it. I started I started teaching a Birmingham dental school in 2003. And so we had a fantastic faculty. But as soon as I went on clinic, I realised that the students were asking me questions. I just didn’t know the answers to, you know, how does how does bonding resume work? You know, and you get different colour composites just using those, using those as examples. So I really had to sort of go back to school and and then I was I was equally lucky. At that time, Janus Davis approached me and asked me to write write a paper on post era composites. And so I spent three months right in a write in a long draft of, of, of this paper on Post Composites, which is my sermon on Post Composites. This is how you do it. And then a sense the I think probably had to print it out and and take it to. To Adrian Shortall, who is the head of head of comms. He’s my sort of main sort of mentor. And I gave it to Trevor as well. And they were very, very polite with me and said, Yeah, come. Come back, we’ll have a read through this. Come back. Come back in a week. And and we’ll give you some advice. And and I went back into to Adrian’s office and he said, yeah, you know, it’s it’s it’s fine, but but this is this is going in a peer reviewed publication. Everything that you’ve written is your opinion, and you haven’t backed up any of it with evidence. So he said, to help you out, I’ve printed you out a few things to read and I can still see it to this day.

[01:24:48] There was a stack of papers and abstracts. There were over 100 papers on post. I mean, Adrian always knew the key references and still does. And so for me, I think basically that was I don’t know whether they were throwing down the gauntlet. I think most normal people would have walked away and said, Right, I’ll, I’ll give up on my academic career. But I read all the papers. I realised what I’d written was just purely an opinion piece. I rewrote it. It took me three, three months to write the first draft, six months to write it properly, and then that was the first paper I ever published. In fact, in preparation for this, I actually looked it up of of now I’ve got 30 peer reviewed papers and four textbook chapters and those are all those are all written on subjects. Quite selfishly, that interests me. You know, posterior composites, anterior composites, clinical photography caries, bonding amalgam, indirect restorations. So for me, the learning has been my research, my postgraduate education. I’ve got well, I say, in fact, I’ve tripped myself up there. I used to have no postgraduate qualifications when I put my pen down and I made a promise to myself in finals. When I put my pen down and that final exam, I promised myself that I would never do another exam, and I haven’t. But in 2022, a colleague of mine, Steve Bonzo, who’s a who’s a brilliant bloke, material scientist, he proposed me and Ian Chappell seconded me for a, for a PhD from Royal College in, in Glasgow. So, so, so I have got.

[01:26:42] An honorary one.

[01:26:44] I’ve got. Yeah. But by accident not by exam. That’s why so, so yeah. I just didn’t want to do any more exams. What about.

[01:26:58] Lewis? Your relationship with manufacturers is is awesome too. I mean, you seem to know everyone in that side, you know, the trade side as well. You know, for instance, how do you how do you keep a clear head if unless Davis are paying you or or sponsoring you to to write about composites, not to sort of get their one as the main one or, you know, how do you keep a good reputation amongst lots of different manufacturers? Because you really do have a great reputation out there. And how is it that others sort of sometimes fall over on that front? I mean, what’s what’s there one called clear fill?

[01:27:39] Phil Yeah, clear from my aesthetic, which is.

[01:27:43] It’s an interesting.

[01:27:44] Which is an amazing comedy. It’s, I mean, so it’s a really good point. But I must admit, without sounding too pious, I do try and sort of keep true to myself. I only talk about things that are used in practice, and I only talk about things that I know work because if I don’t, if I talk about a product that I haven’t got faith in and then somebody buys that project, product, uses that product, and then they don’t get the outcomes with it. Again, nobody’s going to listen to me again. And, you know, I’ve been lucky. I’ve never been good enough to work properly with with Enlightened.

[01:28:24] But I think you did lecture at the minimalist event. But I can’t call that work.

[01:28:34] Talking paid work. Did you get paid? I’m still.

[01:28:39] Waiting. I played.

[01:28:40] A gin and tonics that.

[01:28:42] I needed. He certainly did.

[01:28:44] But he’s got to believe in it first, right?

[01:28:52] I mean, the nice thing is that the companies that I work with, I’m doing quite a bit with opted in at the moment. I love most almost all of the opted products, but in a lot of work with with Coeur. I was really, really lucky that my my kind of if you like sort of lecturing career took off when sort of bulk composites came in. So I did. I’ve done a lot of work with Dentsply Sirona over the years. And if if somebody gives me a product that I don’t like because I’m lucky that I’m on a number of key opinion leader groups. And so there’s a group of us do get sent off before it goes to market to test it out. And I love doing that. And it doesn’t take long, does it, for an experienced dentist to know, is it better than what I’ve got before? Is it worse or is it insane? And then I’m just I’m just totally I’m just totally honest. I would never, ever say anything bad in public or any anywhere else about about a dental product. Because, as you know, there’s millions gone in to the investment.

[01:29:54] And I have pulled out of lectures. It’s I remember when I started lecturing one of my colleagues who’d been doing it for a while, and our lecturer said, I said, How long does it take to write a lecture? Because this is taking me hours and hours. And he said basically the industry standard for an hour lecture, you’re looking at about 50 hours of preparation and and development. And to be honest, I’ve never got it down much below that that 50 that 50 hours. So I can only ever remember happening once where I’ve delivered one lecture once. And this was on a product that I started using. And really I’m a real early adopter. I like trying out stuff straight away. But then the patients were coming back and it wasn’t really working out as I hoped. So I actually had to sort of hat in hand, go back to the manufacturer and say, I’m afraid I’m going to have to pull out of this lecture lecture series because I don’t feel that so. And again, if you’ve ever seen me do a lecture, I get like way, way, way too excited about dental materials.

[01:31:02] And I quit and.

[01:31:03] I can get excited about matrix bands wedges. That’s probably one of the worst bonding lessons because if I really, really like them, because these these materials are designed to solve problems. Literally, the first time I used enamel was on. I remember the world of aesthetic Congress.

[01:31:26] Yeah, yeah.

[01:31:29] That’s what I was one of the mob down.

[01:31:32] Buddy, buddy, buddy, Andy. Son. What was his son’s name?

[01:31:35] Robert. Robert.

[01:31:36] Robert. That’s it, Bob. So that was a real turning point for me. I can’t remember what year it was, but Buddy Moffatt was doing 2 hours of lectures and.

[01:31:48] Yeah, that was the year we started with Cosmo then because we, we brought him over because of that now. Right. That would have been the 2008 I want to say.

[01:31:58] This, this, this all this all fits fits in nicely then. So so I don’t know you obviously you were in the room. There were about eight or 900 dentists in that room. And Buddy Mock was doing this presentation on composites, anterior composites, posterior composites. And I’ve never seen anybody do it before or since he had cases up on the screen and he basically said, What should we do? Do you want to do a posterior? Do you want to do an anterior? And basically his lecture could go off in any direction.

[01:32:30] Yeah.

[01:32:31] So now this was in the nineties, so this was in the era where porcelain was king. You couldn’t go on any other courses. Porcelain furniture causes the world aesthetic. Congress was basically a porcelain veneer course. And so I sat there watching Buddy Buddy Mapper, and it was showing case after case after case of these amazing composites used in using cosmetic products and how to build up composite veneers, taking crowns off, replacing them with composites. And it was absolutely groundbreaking. But then the thing that got stuck in my head, then he said, Oh, and here’s the ten year record. Going back to what you were talking about, there is your 15 year recall and thought, Wow, this stuff works. But the thing that the thing that really, really stuck in my mind is the lecture was in two parts and there was a break in between. And during the break, everyone went outside and everyone’s chatted. And the you could just hear these people just say, absolute crap. Worst lecture I’ve ever seen. Just, you know. And so when we went back in, there was still hundreds and hundreds of people there, but there were probably about 300 less people. They’d all gone off to a porcelain lecture from somebody else. And one of the first things Buddy said when he got back up on the stage wheel, he said, I won’t try and do his accent. People will say that you can’t do these things with composite as he does it.

[01:34:04] Combined composite.

[01:34:07] People will say that you can’t do these things with composite. And he said They’re right, they can’t. That just literally just stuck in my head that, you know, of course you can do it, but you’ve just got to dedicate yourself to the materials, the bonding, the know, the tooth anatomy. And so that was a real pivotal moment for me because they were doing stuff like you just, you know, in the States that you just wouldn’t believe and so much so that basically then I started using re now I did the hands on course with these with Robert is Bob is his son and the minute the minute you should have polished it. I thought, this is different. This is something that’s better than I’ve ever used before. And so I’ve used enamel on my hands on courses ever since. Because from a polishing point of view, as you know, and as dips, delegates, it’s one of those things that the delegates go away from the course with a nice feeling that they’ve done something that they.

[01:35:11] Yeah, they’ve seen something new.

[01:35:13] They never did before. Which is, which is what I tried to do as much as possible.

[01:35:18] Crazily, we’ve been speaking for an hour and 40 minutes now.

[01:35:21] Oh, my God. It feels like we haven’t scratched the surface.

[01:35:24] Maybe we have. Haven’t even said, who is your first boss? Where did you go from there? So we’ve. We’ve reached our limit already. Can I have to do it?

[01:35:32] Round two? I’ve got more questions, guys. We follow slogans.

[01:35:39] Don’t ask it, ask. Well, we caught another guy waiting, but there we go. We’ll have to do part two.

[01:35:46] We’ll have to do part two, man. There’s a whole bunch about public speaking that I wanted to ask you were saying you were comfortable and then you mentioned you get nervous sometimes. And then does that ever go away? And there’s so much buzzing around in my head. Right. So we’ll have to come back for round two.

[01:36:03] But sorry. So I hugged him. So let’s finish. Let’s go with the final questions, too. Let’s go with the phone. Let’s start with the fancy dinner party. One fancy dinner party, three guests, dead or alive. Who would you pick true to?

[01:36:19] Alive. Quentin Tarantino. Massive, massive movie fan. Come back. I’d be happy to talk about movies for for 2 hours.

[01:36:29] I’m not a massive fan. Massive, massive. Quentin Tarantino fan.

[01:36:36] Alex Higgins, the the ultimate the ultimate snooker player who still probably has got one of the best ever sporting quotes in history. And then the final one, I couldn’t decide either be Ricky Gervais or Frankie Boyle, because it would be an evening of absolutely zero political correctness.

[01:36:58] And.

[01:37:00] Talking about films, talking about snooker, talking about the, talking about the world. And then and then a game of snooker and getting drunk.

[01:37:07] After that.

[01:37:09] Whilst that sporting quote Lewis.

[01:37:12] Well, it’s been I read his autobiography years ago, and this quote has been has been given to lots of other sports people. George Best included. But I think the actual truth is it was Alex Higgins who said it the first he was asked in an interview quite late on in his career, you know, it made millions. He’d lost millions. And he was he was basically penniless. He was having to be crowdfunded. And he went on an interview. I don’t know. It might have been Parkinson not as good as U2, obviously, but he said in this interview. Over the years. All my millions. When I look back, I spent half my money on booze, drugs and women. The rest are just wasted.

[01:37:59] Squandered it.

[01:38:03] So I thought it’s a great a great sport. But he was a legend. He was an absolute legend.

[01:38:09] Yeah. Yeah.

[01:38:11] And the final question, Lewis, imagine it was your last day on the planet and you had your loved ones around you. And you had to leave them with three pieces of wisdom. What would they be?

[01:38:26] Well, I thought about this in advance as well. None of them. We’ve talked only about dental and teeth tonight. But, you know, that’s only half the equation. You know, we spend a lot of time at work, but it’s all about the rest of your life. Dentistry gives you the opportunity to have the experiences that you want. So I would say my first advice would be whatever experience is, whether it is travel, whether it is learning something, whether it’s a new opportunity in business or in practice or in any field of life. Don’t wait, do it. Just get as many experiences as as you can and just enjoy, enjoy every day. The second one is a practical one. This was advice that my dad gave me. He didn’t actually put a number to it, but he said, But, but I’ll sort of extend them the best bit of advice my dad ever gave me, which was be debt free by 4000 percent. Debt free by 40. No mortgage, no loans, no car loans. And then I’ll extend that live within your means. You know, I’ve got quite a few friends who’ve got ten watches and, you know, they haven’t even got long arms and, you know, multiple, multiple Ferraris. So, yeah, just because the minute you mean coming back exactly to what I’ve said at the start, the minute you’re not chasing finances, it’s all gravy. You you just your job is basically funding.

[01:40:01] Enjoy your job. But it’s funding the what you do in the rest of your life. All the other things you want to do, your family stuff and your relationship stuff. So if you can take that financial pressure off as soon as possible then and obviously in dentistry it is possible to do that fairly rapidly. And then the final thing would be just just enjoy yourself. I’ve got no sort of particular sort of sort of religious faith. You know, I’m just going to make sure that I enjoy sort of every day, every opportunity, enjoy every day. And if if you’re not doing something to change direction, that that would be the that would be my advice to, you know, I’ve given to my kids. Obviously, they’re just coming to that stage where they’ll actually listen to me again. Now, though, there was a protracted period of time when they fought and they knew everything already. And and I just didn’t understand. But I think they finally realised now that I probably have got something to, to offer them. But yeah. So that would be my advice sort of experience as much as you can out of life, get rid of the, whether it’s debt, whether it’s any other things that are bringing you down and just enjoy every day and, and do do what you want to do. Whatever, whatever is your passion, whatever drives you do that.

[01:41:28] I’ve messaged, I’ve messaged the next speaker so we can go to your final, final prayer, which is.

[01:41:35] Good.

[01:41:37] The final, final.

[01:41:38] How would you like to be remembered?

[01:41:40] Oh, of course.

[01:41:41] Of course. Louis If so.

[01:41:49] How would you like to be remembered if. If the following phrase was. Was said about you? Yeah. Lewis was. Finish the sentence. How would you. How would you spell loss?

[01:42:13] I. Go on.

[01:42:15] It’s it’s something that’s never really I’ve never really thought about. I’ll have to think about it if you do ever drag me back. But it’s not something that worries me at all. When I’m gone. Once I’m gone, I’m gone. I just, you know, just try and make the most of.

[01:42:33] Of my.

[01:42:35] My time on earth and good friends, good family and working in an absolutely fantastic profession.

[01:42:44] I’ve got one more question for you, Louis. Imagine you had 30 days left. No. Imagine you had a week left. Do whatever the hell you want. You know you’ve got a week and you’ve got all your health and no financial constraints. What would you do in that week?

[01:43:00] It’s not long enough, I’m afraid. I mean, it would be something crazy, you know? Keith Moon Sort of level heroic dose.

[01:43:15] That’s not long enough.

[01:43:18] I mean, for me, the I’m not frightened of Crikey, this is getting a bit deep. I’m not frightened of of death at all. But a couple of, I suppose, melodramatic to call them near-death experiences. But it doesn’t it’s not something that frightens me at all. It would be I think it would be what I sort of miss out on and seeing the kids grow up. And, you know, Tarantino said he’s going to direct ten films and he’s on nine at the moment. You know, you know, he’d have to get a I’d probably go I’d go and visit him and just ask for a screenplay on his. He’s currently undirected film. I’d probably give him a few tips, actually, and then I’d be happy to happy to pop off. But yeah, not planning on going anywhere too soon, but you never know. I mean, look at I mean, I’m 54 a few incidents that have happened recently in the public eye. You know more Shane Warne, he was one of my heroes. I’m a massive cricket fan this week. Ray Liotta, you know, he’s going to he’s going to live forever because the Goodfellas back to Goodfellas pie. But but yeah it doesn’t do them any good does it. So, so yeah. Just, just got to make the most of it because you never know when that, when that number is coming up.

[01:44:43] It’s been a pleasure, buddy. We’ll have to see.

[01:44:46] 100%. Part two.

[01:44:47] Yeah, that flew by.

[01:44:49] I certainly looked at the time. It was like, wait a minute. We’ve been talking for 2 hours.

[01:44:56] I know. I know. We’ve been talking for a while because my message is probably a couple of times it’s getting cold.

[01:45:05] Thank you so much, buddy.

[01:45:08] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:45:24] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:45:38] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.

[01:45:49] And don’t forget our six star rating.

If you’ve ever had the good luck of hearing one of Louis Mackenzie’s lectures, you’ll know you’re in for a treat: He’s one of the most engaging, entertaining and witty speakers on the circuit.

Louis sits down with Prav and Payman to talk about what it takes to spot and nurture exceptional talent. They also discuss the secrets behind treatment longevity and Louis’ role at Denplan, sharing plenty of groan-inducing dad jokes along the way!

Enjoy!    

 

In This Episode

02.29 – Being an inspiration

06.04 – Talent spotting and training

12.25 – Specialising Vs generalism

14.37 – Treatment longevity

22.03 – The new generation

23.57 – Why dentistry and background

28.09 – Dental school

33.18 – Moral tension and motivation

48.21 – Bad decisions and black box thinking

57.23 – Leaving the NHS

01.04.15 – Denplan

01.14.18 – On stage

01.22.45 – Research and opinion leadership

01.36.03 – Fantasy dinner party

01.38.11 – Last days and legacy

 

About Louis Mackenzie

Louis Mackenzie is a GDP who practices in Selly, Birmingham.

He is a clinical tutor at the University of Birmingham’s School of Dentistry, where he lectures on conservative dentistry and oral pathology.

Louis is also a prolific lecturer and educator and often conducts training on behalf of dental insurers Denplan.

[00:00:00] But I must admit, without sounding too pious, I do try and sort of keep true to myself. I only talk about things that I use in practice, and I only talk about things that I know work. Because if I don’t, if I talk about a product that I haven’t got faith in and then somebody buys that product, uses that product, and then they don’t get the outcomes with it. Again, nobody’s going to listen to me again. And, you know, I’ve been lucky. You know, I’ve never been good enough to work properly with with Enlightened.

[00:00:34] But this is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:59] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Lewis Mackenzie onto the podcast. Louis is a long time friend and mentor of mine, educator, general dentist, now ahead of head dental officer Dan Plant, Clinical Lecturer at Birmingham and at King’s and General General good guy on the lecture circuit, someone who probably is the most entertaining lecturer out there. Every time I’ve seen you lecture Louis, the crowd’s been in stitches. And in my story, most notably, the person who introduced Palmer to me. You didn’t. You weren’t quite the person who introduced the poem. But as soon as I met the Palmer, you called me and we knew each other, I think from the Manchester MSC, we were supporting that and you know, the best lectures on our many smile maker, of course, I think, you know, Lewis certainly. And I would agree, a once in a generation talent found his start in Birmingham Dental School, where Lewis was putting on hands on days for the students. And he always mentions you, Lewis, as his key inspiration. Well, lovely to have you, buddy.

[00:02:13] Well, thank you very much. It’s a very nice sir. That’s an excellent introduction. And pretty hard to.

[00:02:17] Pretty hard to live up to. All right. Well.

[00:02:20] All I can say is we’ve all got a similar haircut. So we’ve got something in common, haven’t we?

[00:02:29] Lewis, we’ll get back. We’ll get to the back story in all of that. Yeah, but just just on that Depeche front and I was thinking about this, the number of others you must have inspired. I mean, I know a few of them. You know, Millie Morrison, live scorer who introduced to me people like a few I know a few of a few of your graduates, but you must be responsible for so much good dentistry coming out there. Do you feel the weight of that when you have a new class?

[00:03:01] Not not really. But those are those names that those names that you mentioned are sort of extraordinary talents. I would say of all the things I’ve done over the years, one sort of skill that have got is being able to recognise this sort of unique you I think you said it sort of once in a generation talent. Depeche was definitely the first. And I remember I met him during the final year in 2009, and I run a special study module, run it for nine years. And Depeche was the first ever year and. He came on the he came on the course, and the first exercise I ever got him to do was just some occlusal composites and just to sort of set the set the bar. And when I looked at these composites, I thought. Shit. I’ve got to improve my teaching here. This. This bloke. This bloke is an absolute genius. And. And as you say, Millie. And we’d live again. They’ve just got this unique talent, and I’m not sure you can teach it. My. My role really was them was just to put the materials in their hands and just just just let them go with it. But but, yeah, they don’t come along to too often. Another one that comes to mind is Richard Lee. He just just emigrated to New Zealand, actually. But again, when you when you when you’ve I think now I’ve done over 1000 hands on courses. And so so you really get you really get a feel for somebody who’s just just way, way out of the ordinary. But Depeche was the first for definite and he definitely made me realise I need to up my game on a teaching point.

[00:04:49] And at the time you were a general dentist, you used to visit the dental school for hands on sexual for what was that was what it was.

[00:04:58] Yeah. I was a part time lecturer. I started, I’d been in practice for about ten years and then I’d always had that sort of little itch about doing a bit of teaching. I’ve done a couple of courses myself and sort of really enjoyed them. And yeah, just started doing a Thursday afternoon on clinic, did clinic for many years, probably about eight or ten years. But then I found a real passion for Phantom Head teaching. So I like it because it’s a level, level playing field, everybody starting with the same cavity and you get a really good opportunity to sort of rank the students and identify those who have got weaknesses. And so this special study module that I put on and ran for nine years, Depeche, as I mentioned, was that was the first year. And yeah, just, just really, really enjoyed that sort of aspect of it. But yeah, sort of clinical lecture is the title nowadays. I don’t do any undergrad teaching. It’s just purely postgrad working on the working on the master’s at Birmingham and the Maths and a couple of master’s courses at King’s. But I do quite a lot of, as you know, hands on courses around the country all the time. Anyway.

[00:06:04] What is it that makes somebody stick out, Lewis? Is it is it generally how inquisitive they are? Is it does it just come down to you, look at the work and think, crap, that looks amazing. How did that happen? What is it that is there a like if you could bottle that up and put it into a formula, what would it be for these super successful delegate guts that you’ve had?

[00:06:27] I think it’s when they do something that hasn’t been taught, they’ve just got that eye for it. They can just see something, explain something, but then take it to the next level. So one, one of my mentors, Adrian Shorter, we might chat about him later on. He, he said to me, don’t, don’t be upset when your students are better than you are. Take, take, take pleasure and pride in it. The thing is, with people like Depp’s Millie, Liv, Richard, they were always already better than me before they started. So. But I think it is that just that unique sort of X factor, whatever it is. And if you could bottle it then, then it’d be worth a fortune. But I don’t think you can. I think we can all. I mean, you’ve only got to look on Instagram and Facebook now to see the you know, the beautiful, beautiful quality of dentistry that is literally within anybody’s grasp. But then you’ll see the others who just take it up to the sort of the next level. I think one of the first contemporary couple of contemporaries that I saw of my sort of era were Jason Smythson and Tiff Qureshi, where I just thought, Wow, that’s a bit special. And then I mean, the nice thing about the people we’ve talked about as well is that they’ve gone on to become really great teachers as well, because that for me is an extra skill. You know, there’s plenty of people doing extraordinary dentistry nowadays, which is brilliant, but to be able to communicate that to us mere mortals, I mean, I go to to the enlightened course. I go to Dipesh lectures now and I’ve got my notebook out because he’s constantly pushing, pushing the boundaries when it comes to teaching and practice, because he’s just got that eye for aesthetics, that eye for colour, which, which, which I haven’t got.

[00:08:10] It’s interesting what makes a good dentist and then what makes a good teacher? Let’s agree firstly, two different things. You know, there’s many good dentists who aren’t great teachers and but I think with I think you gave Dipesh the advice that he shouldn’t go on any composite hands on courses so so that all the ideas would be original his own. He wouldn’t feel like he was taking an idea from someone else or something like that.

[00:08:41] That definitely wasn’t.

[00:08:41] Me. Sure that you don’t like my advice is going as many course.

[00:08:49] So yeah. Absolutely. There might be. There might be. There might be crap courses, but.

[00:08:55] You will always.

[00:08:56] You’ll always pick something up off them. And and of course he did. Chris Of course, there’s another legend. He did. Chris all year long course. I mean, he was only in fact, that was that was actually a really nice sort of bit of feedback that I got that Christopher has always had. I don’t know what the rules are nowadays, but it used to be you had to be graduated, I think, for at least three years before you could apply to go on Chris’s course. But then he made an exception unless they’d done the special study module at Birmingham Dental School in their final year. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So. So Dipesh and Emily got on their lips, done it as well. And of course, Millie now is one of Chris Christopher’s associates. So he knew what he’s talking about.

[00:09:41] And the teacher herself, not in composite, but more Invisalign. But but it’s interesting, you know, because we were doing a little series called My Mini Tip and we had dentists and I took it for granted. Every dentist has got one or two tips and they probably do and maybe camera shy at that moment or whatever. But I guess the difference between a teacher and a technician is a teacher has more tips that came from them. You know, that that things they do slightly differently to the rest of us need teaching.

[00:10:16] Doesn’t that’s true and but I think we all fall down the same holes anyway, don’t we?

[00:10:23] Yeah, that’s true.

[00:10:25] And that’s how we learn by by sort of reflecting. And I think in the let me use the term old days, we’ve probably the first of several times this evening, usually it was sort of ten years or so before you did any sort of postgraduate qualifications. Now, obviously, dentists are doing it a lot earlier and, you know, certificates, diplomas, even mscs on our MSC course, we’ve had some literally sort of first year, first year graduates. I just wonder whether actually doing these courses earlier on actually reduces the risk of you sort of falling falling into the regular sort of pitfalls. Or again, the old fashioned mantra is you need to make a few mistakes and then do the course and then learn basically based on your experience. So I don’t know what it is, but certainly there’s as you know, there’s a trend for courses a lot earlier nowadays.

[00:11:23] Yeah, I think in the US it’s slightly different, you know. When you talk to the academics out there, they haven’t got that mantra of become a generalist first. You know, they. Well, some do. By the way, I don’t think it’s the right or wrong. You can’t say one is right and one is wrong. But but you’re right that the sort of the general thing that people have been saying here is you learn a lot of things first and then go and specialise into one one area that you like to see, try a lot of things. But I remember when when I did my elective in the US, the advice wasn’t that it was, it was, you know, as quick as possible, try and get into something. And and I’ve given that advice to a lot of people as well. Louis, you know, because people asked me, Hey, what should I do? My answer is, pick one thing and just run with it. You know, get really, really good at something. You know, if you want to if you want to do something, pick pick one, pick one and go. But, you know, you’ve seen so many students come and go. Would you say that specialising these days is a good idea? Or would you say that general practice where you’ve thrived if creches thrived, crystals or ideas? Which way? Which way would you advise someone to go?

[00:12:41] Often down to the individual person. But don’t forget, whatever you choose, you’re going to be doing it for the next 30 to 40 years. So you’ve got to make the right decision. I wouldn’t close certainly early in your career. I wouldn’t close any doors because once it doesn’t take long in dentistry to sort of do skill, not necessarily skill, but lose confidence. And then you’re kind of you’re going down that one little route. And of course, obviously no perio. You can just do that all day long. But certainly when it comes to sort of aesthetic restorative, is it something that’s going to sustain a sustain for for 30 or 40 years? One interesting thing I’ve noticed, talking to a few young dentists and even a few lecturers recently is is just focusing on front teeth. And which is a bit of a worrying, worrying situation when we’ve got, what is it, a year’s missed missed appointments due.

[00:13:38] To.

[00:13:41] Due to the pandemic. And obviously 70% of all problems occur on molars, which they’re not as they’re not as instagrammable. But that’s where most of the most of the trouble is. So yeah, it’s I mean, you must see it a lot on your courses and of course it’s lovely dentistry to do, but is it sort of sustainable for that length of time? I don’t know. Certainly just don’t know whether obviously every restoration is going to fail and are these almost sort of aesthetic cosmetic specialists. Their whole career is going to be about replacement of existing restorations or management of of marginal stain and stuff like that. So it’s down to the individual. But certainly I would say early in your career, don’t, don’t narrow it down too early. That that would be my advice.

[00:14:36] Not.

[00:14:37] You know what? What you’ve just been saying there, Lewis, in terms of how long these restorations, every restorations go into eventually fail, etc., etc.. Right. There’s two bits of, I guess, information I’ve received from from. So TIFF has always pushed the you know, you don’t really know how good a dentist you are until you’ve seen how long you work lasts and you’ve got that long term follow up. And he always talks about his ten, his 15 year follow ups and he knows how long he’s dentistry lasts. And funnily enough, I had the opportunity to interview a guy called Daniel Boozer. I think his name is he’s an implant guy over at the ADA. According to everyone who I spoke to, he’s he’s one of the gods of implant dentistry. Anyway, cut a long story short, when I was interviewing him, I asked him about what advice he’d give to new students who are getting into wanting to get into implant dentistry and how would they know how good they are? And he said exactly the same thing as TIFF, that it’s about this long term follow up that he’s got cases. 35 years ago we placed an implant and they’re still stuck there in somebody’s head. And he felt that that was the true measure of somebody who was really good. What do you think are the concerns with all of this? A lot of front teeth, dentistry, composite veneers and things like that. Now, obviously, a lot of the courses are teaching that. And then the longevity of that in terms of, I guess how long these are going to last. How is it? We’ll see. Easiest way to describe it. Is it a huge problem waiting to unfold and happen when all of these, you know, composite veneers sort of mature in 5 to 6 years time and they need redoing with either more composite or porcelain. And then something you just mentioned, which I hadn’t given any thought to, is that are these dentists reskilling by just focusing on that?

[00:16:37] Really good questions just to sort of start at the beginning of that. You made a really good point about the longevity. I’ve worked in only one practice, the same practice for 30, 31 years. Wow. So so you know what works, but equally, you know what doesn’t work.

[00:16:54] Yeah.

[00:16:55] We’re in the kind of the infancy with composite veneers at the moment. Obviously, the materials have come along massively. Again, advertising payments wonders there. When I started using enamel, really, that was the first time composite veneers actually became a thing for me because of the Polish and. Composite versus versus porcelain. We could do a whole whole hour just on that. Composites got its disadvantages with regard to sort of technique, sensitivity with regard to surface lustre. That’s that’s where enamel works because obviously it’s a microfilm that keeps it keeps it shine. But the way that aesthetic restorations usually fail, where they’re direct or indirect is usually marginal stain. They don’t usually they don’t usually drop off certain materials. They will composite materials. They will lose their surface lustre. So it will be interesting to see exactly, say Prav a few years down the line. Payman to remember exactly the same thing happened in the nineties with the with with porcelain veneers. Well, that was very much that was very much the the thing the thing to do. All the courses were based were based around that. And then if you choose the wrong patient, if, if you’re not bonding to enamel and people, people came unstuck and I think probably moved away from that. But you know, either restoration, if it’s done well, it is going to last for years. But again, you also make a very good point that doing dentistry for the second time is is is a challenge because you’ve got to you’ve got to take it off.

[00:18:32] And, you know, when you’re cutting, whether it’s ceramic, whether it’s composite, are you in material? Are you in dentine? Are you in enamel bonding resin? So yeah, it’s a real it’s a real challenge. So but I would say just to add to that, the foundation of skill with not necessarily young dentists is some amazing, stunning older dentists as well with composite is because the foundation of skill I don’t think really we know yet they might just literally just need polishing. I know I’ve got I’ve got re enamel cases where where the composite veneers still again as you say in my latest anterior composite lecture, I’ve got a re enamel veneer at ten years. Tiny bit of marginal stain, still shiny, absolutely never been republished at all. So I think now because they’ve got the skills, you’ve got the the bonding techniques, you’ve got the material technology, they’re going to last longer. And of course, as every generation goes, they’re just going to get better and better and better at them. So maybe it will be the treatment of choice. I know Dipesh is sort of now he’s sort of half and half isn’t. He loves he loves composite, obviously, but I’ve seen him lecturing more and more on ceramics.

[00:19:49] Now.

[00:19:50] Do you know when you talk about restorations lasting? So the purpose of which let’s say somebody has a composite veneer is less functional and protective and more cosmetic when you refer to them lasting. Do you mean just staying in touch or do you mean lasting in a in a cosmetic way?

[00:20:09] Yeah. I mean, they’re not going to fall off. You know, you might get a little bit of chipping, but of course, that’s that’s easy to repair. But yeah, it’s really a patient factor. Is the patient you’re happy with them? And and I think that I think that’s the main thing and that would that would probably drive the replacement. Yeah. They’re not, they’re not going to drop off if they’re bonded to enamel I think Trevor Burks who did this massive study millions of restorations that have been done on the NCE and and labial only veneers came out tops. They last longer than at any other restoration in dentistry, so they’re not going to fall off if they’re bonded to enamel. That’s the best bond in dentistry. So they’re going to last. But yeah, so it’s going to be cosmetic. It’s going to be cosmetic failure before before anything else.

[00:20:53] Which which year did you qualify this?

[00:20:56] 1990 graduated with a with a marvellous four four, four years in one term.

[00:21:01] Course Payman not not missed five years.

[00:21:05] Yeah. The good old course. And so I was, I was going to say you’re not old enough. Right. But when did like your composite come.

[00:21:15] Well like your has been around it thinks is the since they on the first composite that was out. I’m trying to think I’ve actually got a picture of Trevor Burt with with one of the original curing lights. It was probably I would say probably the seventies don’t know for certain.

[00:21:33] We have Wilson on the on the podcast and he was talking about when they were developing it with Eisai and it was.

[00:21:39] Yeah.

[00:21:40] It was one one shade only. Right.

[00:21:43] Yeah.

[00:21:43] Yeah. So yeah. And then there was a clues in of course the first composites you have to mix yourself and there was no polymerisation shrinkage issues because you had so much air in them that the material just didn’t cause any problems. But yes, so light curing really sort of probably sort of seventies, it sort of kicked off.

[00:22:03] But you know, people like to say that the current day dentist, I mean, even outside of COVID, that, you know, the newer, younger generation don’t have the skills that that let’s say our generation had because they didn’t they don’t drill enough teeth. Do you have another side to that story that says they’re they’re a lot better than us because of whatever other you know, whatever other thing they do have that we didn’t have. You know, they get taught patient management or, you know, what are they being taught while we were drilling teeth?

[00:22:33] Well, I think it goes further back than that. They’re just really, really clever.

[00:22:39] You know, I thought, yeah, I.

[00:22:42] Want to know when I it was a B, it was a B and to CS to get into dentistry in 1986, I smashed that with the two B’s and two.

[00:22:53] Sees. It was.

[00:22:56] In those days you buy three, you get one free with.

[00:22:59] General study.

[00:23:02] So yeah, I mean they’re superintelligent. You’re absolutely right about the undergraduate experience. You know, they’re going to do a lot less than they did with regard to everything, you know, particularly amalgam skills, you know, some dental schools, they’ll almost do non extractions again depending on where depending.

[00:23:20] On the why is that because enough patients to have their teeth extracted.

[00:23:25] Just I mean we work Birmingham’s fluoridated so even back then my oral surgery experience was was very limited and so I had to sort of learn those skills kind of on the job.

[00:23:39] So are you are you Birmingham born and bred? Were you born in Birmingham?

[00:23:43] Staffordshire. I’ve my my quest through life has taken me about 25 miles.

[00:23:48] From.

[00:23:50] From from Staffordshire. I went to Birmingham Dental School because it was the only place that gave me an offer.

[00:23:57] Birmingham at the time my dentistry did.

[00:24:00] Oh, well, now you have asked a good question, and I had to actually do some research for this because I always was certain that I was 11. I was 11 when I decided I wanted to be a dentist. And I was absolutely certain I could remember where I sit in, in a science class who was sitting next to my mike Dean. But my auntie has always, always said, No, you are much younger than that. And so I thought, No, no, she’s making this up. And but then I went up to see one of my uncles in the Lake district and I asked him about this and he’s in his nineties and he said, No, no, you’re about six. So then I went back to my auntie and said, Come on, tell me this story. Then she said, Do you remember you’re in the car? And I said to you, What are you going to be when you’re older? How about being a doctor when you can look up, look after your Auntie Lillian when when she’s old? I said, and apparently I said to her, Now I’m not going to be a doctor.

[00:24:51] I’m going to be a dentist. And I was standing up in the back of a Fiat 127. So so no seatbelts in those days. And obviously so I couldn’t have been very tall. So I think I was about six. So I decided I wanted to be a dentist. I have absolutely no idea why. I never, never changed my mind. I remember when I went to Careers Day and I told the careers advisor that I wanted to be a dentist and her advice to me was, You don’t want to be a dentist. That’s a terrible job. Then when it came to A-levels in those days, you had to fill in, fill in a different form for a polytechnic. Picasso’s Picasso art form. So as you. Cassin Picasso, it’s all on one form now. And I refused to fill in the the whatever it was going to be, whether suggesting pharmacy, pharmacy or something like that. And so I refused to fill it in. I only wanted to be a dentist, but I don’t know why. And I’m just glad that chose chose a career that’s worked out for me.

[00:25:55] What did your parents do?

[00:25:58] My dad was was a draughtsman and my mom was she was well, her final job, she did lots of sort of secretarial jobs. Her final job there both passed away, unfortunately. But a final job was once she really loved and she was she was a medical secretary. That was that was the last job that she did. But my parents, if I was the first person to go to to uni in my family. So there was.

[00:26:25] Is there a, you know, like the how the that that part of the country was very industrial and you know, our stories in your in your family about the black country and everything everything that goes with that. And did you sort of see that change in the area?

[00:26:39] You’re such a Londoner, you’re such a London.

[00:26:45] Gossip bullshit.

[00:26:46] Stuff, which is no way stuff is just north of Birmingham.

[00:26:50] Oh, is it?

[00:26:51] So I was so romantic about this story. Like your granddad works in the mines and then, you.

[00:27:00] Know, my grandma.

[00:27:01] My granddad, we are going back now. I had a granddad, this is on my dad’s side and my granddad from the Isle of Skye, Isle of Lewis and my grandma from the Isle of Skye. They both left to find work to go to Glasgow. And then once they’d sort of become a couple they walked to Liverpool too to find a job. So my, my grandfather on my dad’s side, who I never met was an engineer by training.

[00:27:29] So Dad’s Scottish.

[00:27:31] My dad’s. My dad was born in. My dad was born in Liverpool. So but my grandparents are Scottish and my on my mom’s side they’re more sort of midlands based, more sort of Brummie Brummies but. Right. Proper Birmingham.

[00:27:45] Yeah. So if you, if you were an Indian they’d say you’re Scottish because you know you’re Scottish, you’re a Scottish guy.

[00:27:52] Like I was Scottish.

[00:27:59] I’ve got Scottish ancestors, so but I’ve got loads of Scottish relatives, loads of loads of aunties and uncles and cousins.

[00:28:09] What would you like? What would you like as a dental student? Were you really into it or.

[00:28:13] Oh, really?

[00:28:14] Yeah, yeah.

[00:28:15] Yeah. I really was. Yeah, I kind of liked it away. I mean, I must admit, it was pretty tough at dental school. We were lucky, actually, that we’d just been sort of a change in sort of management, if you like. Birmingham had always been sort of known as kind of the cotton school. I think the Cons department at one stage had about 30 members of staff. So when I started, we used to hear the sort of horror stories from the previous, the previous tutors, one that’s always stuck in my mind. And I sometimes remind the students when, when they’re being a little bit, a little bit soft, that one of the tutors apparently used to say to when he was checking a cavity or something like that, he’d stand over the with the with the patient and the student and he’d say to the patient, he’d look at the look in look at the in the cavity. And he’d say to the student, I wouldn’t trust you to cut my lawn.

[00:29:14] So.

[00:29:15] So fortunately, we missed we missed that sort of era. And we had really fantastic young lecturers at that time, Phil Lumley, basically God have ended antics. And Ian Chappell was a junior lecturer as as well. And obviously they were both my bosses, Phil and Phil and Ian and Trevor Burke came to to Birmingham as well via, via Manchester and Glasgow and he Trevor’s been really instrumental in my career and Damian Walmsley was, was head of sort of head of prosthetics or fixed removable prods. And so we were really lucky that we had all these young legends basically want to do things differently. And so the teaching we have interesting actually the there are a significant number of people in my year who have actually gone back into dental education and my four and a half years sorry, four years and one term were yeah, I must admit I really enjoyed it. I think I was one of those lucky students who kind of on the practical aspects, sort of picked it up straight away. You know, I’m quite a sort of, you know, used to like playing with Lego, fixing my bike stuff, stuff like that. So, so it’s quite lucky I sort of picked it up straightaway. And of course in those days is you’ll remember the course was very practical. And now going back to your other point, I think now there’s so much new stuff that you’ve got to learn with regard to, you know, I mean, there were no posterior composites. Molar endo was kind of in its infancy. And so the course now is so packed that the students are doing less practical work than they would have before. But with regard to talent and skills, I would say, you know, the future is most definitely so. These these young dentists are going to be awesome and and they’re going to take dentistry to the next to the next level. You know, I hope I can hang around for long enough to to just to see where it goes. Obviously, the digital revolution is finally has finally arrived. So yeah, I mean, that is really, really exciting stuff.

[00:31:33] I feel like the, the newer ones, they’ve got more AQ than, than we have sort of more emotional intelligence. At the same time though, maybe it’s just they admit to it more, they seem to suffer with more sort of mental health crises and issues. Is that your feeling?

[00:31:55] It. Maybe it’s it’s an excellent point. And obviously there’s loads of evidence to back that up. But I just wonder whether we all always had those issues. But it was just a case of.

[00:32:06] Talk about it.

[00:32:07] Get on with it, and suffer and suffer in silence. And that’s the way of the world. Maybe it is the fact that they’re they’re more sort of more sort of people of the world. They’ve got access to everything when it comes to sort of social media. The Internet, obviously, the Internet didn’t exist. So just maybe they’ve just got a better sort of perception about what their part in the world. And obviously they can be a little bit emotional at times and sort of older sort of dentists. That takes a little bit of getting used to, but I think they’re probably going to get a much better life work balance than maybe the dentists of yesteryear did when it was very much sort of, you know, five days a week, full days of NHS dentistry and then look sometimes look forward to retirement, which is, you know, you’ve got to enjoy the ride. I would always say, I would always advise and whatever you doing just enjoy your dentistry. And if you’re in a if you’re in a situation where you’re not enjoying it, do something to to change that.

[00:33:18] I mean, there’s a lot of people who aren’t enjoying it. There is.

[00:33:23] Yeah.

[00:33:24] Absolutely.

[00:33:24] And I mean, at the same time, there’s loads of people who adore it and love it and can’t stop talking about it. And, you know. So what do you reckon is the difference? Do you think the difference is staying engaged and trying to improve the whole time? And why is it some people are in such a bad state about and I think the GDC whatever has has a role to play but it’s always been like that. Even before the Dental Law Partnership came along, there were some dentists were really into it and others who hated their lives. What’s the difference in those two characters, do you think?

[00:34:01] Well, it is such a good question. And if you actually love the physical act of delivering. Doing a filling or something like that, if you if you really, really enjoy that, then nobody can take that away from you. You literally just you know, that’s a that’s a big chunk of your life on Earth that you’re actually enjoying. But when you’re working in a situation where maybe you’d really enjoy that feeling, you know, it’s going to take you a 45 minutes to do it. But you’re working in a clinical situation where you’ve got 15 minutes to do it, then you’ve immediately got that. I think the textbooks call it that moral, moral tension, haven’t you, where you know you know what’s best, but you know, you’re working in a system that’s not allowing you to to do that. And I think that’s probably at the heart of of mental health issues in dentistry, which, as you say, have been around literally forever. I mean, the good thing is now mental health is most definitely on the agenda in dentistry. You know, the regular report coming out, looking at the profession, looking at the causes. Remember the BDA did did a massive one, thousands of dentists in 2019, just just before the pandemic. And, you know, they listed the top ten stressors in dentistry, and most of them were systematic problems and regulation was one of them. There was I read I read a nice article by Martin Keller, I think it was in the BDA, actually. And he said, nowadays it’s like practising clinical dentistry is like being in a lift with a wasp. And I think it’s a good analogy. The only way that that analogy falls down is if you’re in a lift, you can get out of the next floor.

[00:35:52] If you’re if you’re a dentist, you’re in the lift for 30 to 40 years. So I think there is obviously the dental legal stuff is never is never going to go away. But nowadays that’s that’s a separate self sustaining industry. But I’ve had I’ve had second year dental students literally just started on Phantom Head say to me that they’re worried about graduating because they don’t want to get sued. So, so, so second year, Joe so this stuff, this stuff does starts does start early and it can do but need to be prepared. That’s the way of the world. It’s not going to go away and just do your best for every patient as long as as long as that’s the sort of philosophy. And if you are in a situation that’s compromising your ethics, your standards, then do something to change it. And I know obviously Prav does loads of work with dentists and with whole teams to create the right environment. In fact, I think I listen in preparation for this. I did some revision, I listened to one of you, did an excellent talking heads when it was just the two of you. And Prav made the point that he felt that at that time one of his favourite clients was a bloke who was just unhappy in his job and he just needed to change. No, change was not an option for this bloke and obviously he did perhaps training and sounded like it all. It all worked out well for him. Prav is that correct?

[00:37:21] It’s Lewis. But you’ve just got me thinking about another thing, which is, you know, what is the reason some of these guys, especially what I’m seeing and it’s not you know, I’m not speaking for all the younger dentists, but I have a lot of younger dentists who come to me and say, I just want to make X per month. That is that’s the overriding thing that they come to me for. But they’ve not been they’ve not done enough dentistry, if that makes sense. So when you look at them from an I’m not the one to judge them clinically, but you know, they’ve been out of dental school for 18 months, two years and they’re both their prime motivating factor is I want to make X per month. Right. And it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about dentistry, whether we’re talking about a career in marketing or whatever it is, I think you need to earn your stripes first and get some experience under your belt before that. Becomes your sort of number one motivator. And I do say to them, look, my first bit of advice is get on these courses, right? And these courses happen to be courses that people that I respect that pay more respect probably yourself as well. Or is that that you just think that let let them get this solid, grounded, and then the money will come.

[00:38:41] But I do think that if finances that number one motivating factor from a very young age, I do think a lot of these dentists will start becoming unstuck later on because they siloed themselves into I am just going to be an Invisalign doctor. I am just going to press the button on this program and get this treatment plan done for me and I’ll finish it off with a little bit of edge bonding or whatever. Right. But it’s a bit like becoming a marketeer and running Facebook ads. But you don’t know the first thing about the problems of the people that they face that you’re marketing to. Right. So so how can you how can you market to somebody who needs a full arch of implants if you don’t know the problems that a loose denture wearer goes through and the fact that they can’t eat steak or the fact that they they cover their hands or they walking around with a tube of fixed it in their pocket all the time and so on and so forth. And I feel really strongly about this and I feel as somebody who helps practices grow, there’s a bit of a pressure on sort of them coming to me and saying, Well, I want to make loads more money. And my advice at the moment is get strikes first and the money will come.

[00:39:54] I couldn’t agree more. I mean, you’re giving absolutely spot on advice and I’d give exactly the same advice. I think in dentistry, if you put finances first, it’s doomed to failure because you’ll always be chasing something over the horizon, which is which never actually arrives. And you’ve got to obviously be constantly chasing repeat business over and over again. If you’re looking from a financial point of view, from a financial point of view, the best way to achieve that goal is is family dentistry. And look, I think TIFF talks about this, the lifetime patient. It might sound a little bit sort of old fashioned, but yes, the see the grandparents, the parents and the kids and sometimes even their kids. That’s from a business point of view that is the foundation of any successful practice. Also, when finance is at the fore, I’ll be careful. Our phrase this there is a danger that it affects your treatment, planning and and if you’re not looking at the whole patient and the whole patient’s needs and maybe just focusing maybe just on the anterior teeth, it is that old classic that if all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So everybody gets the same treatments. They all look pretty much the the same. And yeah, you get on a OCH, it’s not an NHS treadmill, but it’s a different treadmill. And so I think I think a balance between I think a balance between that where it’s lovely to do the aesthetic stuff, but of course it.

[00:41:30] Is.

[00:41:31] Patients demands. Now patients are so well educated that, you know, they know what, they know what they want and you’ve got to be able to deliver on that promise. So going back to learning your getting getting your stripes, getting your hours in, I think it is like any sort of it’s that 10000 hours, isn’t it? What if whatever whatever you do and if you’re going to become an expert in it, 10000 hours a mate of mine or shared an office with Charles Perry, he actually worked it out and he reckoned it was about ten years, ten years of of of sort of four, four and a half, five days of dentistry. That’s about 10000 hours of practical dentistry. In that time, you’ve probably you’re probably made most of your mistakes, not all of them. Unfortunately, you’ve learnt what you’re good at, you learnt what you’re not good at, you’ve learnt your patient communication skills. And it’s why in the again using that old phrase in the old days it usually was ten years was kind of a turning point where the where you maybe think, right, I’m going to buy a practice now or maybe I’m going to go on a, you know, I’m going to learn how to do implants.

[00:42:39] I’m going to be an end to dentist, that sort of ten year apprenticeship, for want of a better word. But I think that’s certainly come forwards now. Certainly young dentists seem to be a lot more business minded in a good way. You know, they seem to sort of grasp that it’s not something that’s ever taught at a dental school, but they certainly do seem to have a grasp of of what they want and the vision that they want. But again, I’ll mention this possibly when you ask me those questions, which I’ve prepared for at the end, is from a financial point of view, just just enjoy your dentistry. Just do do what feels right for the patient, what feels right for you. And the money will will will sort itself out. No, no problem at all. And use the team as well. You know, use your specialists, use your technicians and just become a whole little sort of industry. Yeah. Look, for me, looking after looking after families is the key and then the aesthetic restorative stuff. That’s, that’s the icing on the cake.

[00:43:42] Yeah. Not, not to mention Prav. Yeah. The best way of not making that money is to focus on making that money. But I wonder if people say that to you because they see a marketing guy before them and they feel like that’s I’m allowed to say this to, to, to the marketing guy. And so they come across as that guy, you know.

[00:44:03] Possibly there’s an element of that, right. And they probably see that I’ve worked with a lot of successful dentists who’ve who’ve done really well, both clinically and financially, but a lot of these dentists who have done really well as a stripes. Yeah, they’ve got the decade well and truly under their belt. Yeah. You know, and then they’ve done well however you define doing well financially right. We all have different I guess set points, call it whatever you want. Right. Well our definitions of success are and some of them are spending more time with your kids or whatever, and some of them are driving fast cars and going on luxury holidays, whatever that thing is. But, you know, people do come to me and they associate me with with those individuals who’ve done well, let’s say, for example. And then they come to me and say, hey, well, you’re the. That drives the patients through the door and then can give me advice on conversion and all the rest of it. So Prav bring me some money, right? And, and for me, whether I’m giving advice to somebody who comes to me for career advice as a as a, as a young marketeer or someone or somebody comes to me for career advice as a dentist. Yet I say, you’ve got to be able to do the shit that you can say you can do. Then we can market that, because if you end up marketing something that you know you can’t do, you’re only going to end up in trouble. And this comes down to my involvement with the IAS Academy has taught me a lot about how I guess you should operate as a dentist.

[00:45:39] Right. And case selectivity. Knowing your limits. Right. Knowing when to say no. Really, really important. Right. And so marketing can put you in trouble because it can deliver a patient that you have absolutely no chance of being able to treat because you don’t have the skill set of doing it right. But you decide, okay, I’ll be Mr. or Mrs. Brave and have a crack at that. So, you know, I’m a I’m a big believer in making sure that we market appropriately at a skill set and at a level that we can deliver because it will be short lived otherwise. And even with my clients, I want to build long term relationships. I don’t want to I don’t want to put someone in a position where they become unstuck. They’re up in front of the GDC, you know, and there’s I guess there’s a sense I feel like there’s a sense of responsibility on my behalf. It’s not just about an exchange of service for money, but I think I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can actually say, Look, if that’s what you want to do, there may be another agency out there that could help you do that. But this is my advice, and I think what weighs on me is having business partners like Tiff Qureshi, who’ve got a very, very high moral, moral, ethical, high ground for me to sort of say, well, okay, well, this is this is the route I think you should go down.

[00:47:05] Yeah. And Tiff’s always had that as me and just I mean, that’s such an excellent point that if you are going down that you’re almost always treating strangers. And I’m sure obviously you’re a medic by training as well. Never treat a stranger. Get to know the patients before before you jump in because you don’t know what they’re like. And and you made a really good point there that really sort of rang a bell rang a bell with me is asking saying to patients not to treat them. I would say some of the best clinical decisions you will ever make in your practising career are the patients you choose not to treat. And you know, you don’t have to be rude. You know, send them on the road. You need a you need a better dentist than me for for for this. And certainly if I think back, those had been some of the best decisions I’ve made. As you get older and more experienced, you see the warning signs, but obviously you can’t be expected to do that when you’re just starting out. So yeah, just earning your stripes exactly as you said it, doing that apprenticeship for a few years, just getting a feel for the and then decide what you want to do.

[00:48:21] Louis If that’s the best decision you’ve ever made, what’s the worst decision you’ve ever made in a clinical dentistry class?

[00:48:31] In clinical dentistry.

[00:48:33] With patients, whatever you said, some of the best decisions you’ve ever made is is actually having the courage to say no. I guess what what are some of the worst?

[00:48:43] What’s gone wrong? What’s gone wrong?

[00:48:45] Yeah.

[00:48:46] Well, perhaps question first of all would be those ones I’ve learnt from those learning patients where I’ve got into something, whether I don’t know whether it’s an endo or an aesthetic case or what or an extraction that I think I really wish I hadn’t started this. But but then you’re on, but then you’re on that, then you’re on that conveyor belt. To answer page question, you know, it’s a long list of nothing, nothing catastrophic pain. I’m sorry to see frozen.

[00:49:24] Or I’m just.

[00:49:25] Is just really good at sitting still. Nothing, nothing catastrophic, but a few a few learning experiences, which I think made me a better dentist. I’m more cautious.

[00:49:41] Yes. Which ones will happen?

[00:49:45] I knew you were going to make me be specific.

[00:49:48] Because.

[00:49:49] You’re not going to leave it like that.

[00:49:53] Far too vague.

[00:49:55] I’ll give you I’ll give you two. I’ll give you two of of many. Listening to a few of these podcasts previously I noticed quite a common theme is people’s worst day at work has been sort of Dental legal problems. And and as you know, sometimes this can be sort of a year of their lives with with a with a cloud over their careers. And for me, I would say it was probably it was probably the same. But I’m embarrassed to say that mine only lasted for 48 hours. And it was it was an end and end case which didn’t work and tried to it was one of those ones. It just on the x ray, it just looked absolutely perfect and it didn’t didn’t settle. So chats with patients said, I’d like to retreat this one. And she said, I’d rather just have it out. So we had the discussion and I took it out and then months down the line just got a letter, the clinical negligence letter, taken a taken a tooth out that didn’t need to be extracted. But I was just, you know, whether it’s luck or whether it’s judge judgement, did what you’re supposed to do, phoned up the one with the d-do they were brilliant. Just send us all the the x rays, send us, send us the radiographs and we’ll get back to you. So did that posted them off in those days and then it was I think it was Rupert Hoppen and Brewers at two days later he phoned me up.

[00:51:28] He said, is that Mr. Mackenzie said, We don’t usually do this but don’t worry about this, this will go away. He said about one in 5050 cases they get to actually make that call to say, don’t worry, this will disappear. Don’t give it another minute’s concern. Your notes are fine. You’ve done everything that you should have done. And sure enough, I got a letter again months down the line. We’ve decided not to pursue you on this, on this, on this occasion, but there’s no question about it. That experience. The wasp came into the room and the wasp never left. You know, it was. It was. It was in the corner. It never formed a hive or anything like that. But it did make me because that surprised me. It really surprised me because I had tried my best. Still, to this day, I’ve absolutely no idea why it failed. I’d actually saved the tooth to try and section it and work out why, where, where I’d gone wrong. And then you asked for two. So I suppose I’ll give you another one. Was again, just a mistake. I was I was finishing finishing a composite and sort of Class five composite adventurer and they hadn’t put the burr in into the handpiece. Burr fell out. The handpiece patient literally swallowed just at the, just at the wrong time and so yeah what can you do.

[00:52:51] So I again, this had a happy outcome as well. I said to the patient, we really need I don’t know where that’s got, where that’s gone. We really need to have a chest x ray. That was the was the that was the guidance. And so drove him up to the local, local hospital. He had a chest x ray. He had swallowed it. He hadn’t he hadn’t inhaled it. And the weird thing was that it was he was an elderly patient who’d retired. And based on that experience, he actually became a volunteer in the X-ray department, which he did for years and years and years. And I saw him for years afterwards. You know, every time I saw him, I just felt, you know, felt really, really bad about about making that making that error. But I certainly certainly learnt from it, but nothing too catastrophic. And I know I really feel for some colleagues who have got cases that have been hanging over them for years in some cases, and I had a very, very short experience of what that felt like. And it was, Oh, that’s great, my career is over. And it happened to me fairly, fairly early on as well. But everything, my note making just hopefully really, really improved by that. So so those are two that spring to mind. I’m sure I’ll think of some more.

[00:54:21] When you said there was a happy ending, I thought he was going to say fish the bear out and brought it back for you.

[00:54:38] I was just waiting for.

[00:54:39] I was waiting for the punch line.

[00:54:40] Louis I don’t know. I mean, I don’t mean to sound disappointed, Louis, but in a 30 year career, those don’t sound like really hard stories to me.

[00:54:52] Yeah, but they impacted. They impacted on that. They certainly had an impact on me.

[00:55:01] But have you never had a situation where the patient’s lost trust in you, you know, like that sort of situation or you took on a case that that went wrong in the wrong direction for a long period or even in my short. I mean, maybe you’re just a much better dentist to communicate to that. Yeah, but even my short five years at the the BR front, I did have a few couple of cases like that where, you know, like cosmetics is awful, right? Patients says it looks great, goes home, comes back because I don’t like them anymore. You know, you’re in a terrible situation just there on a matter of opinion, you know, does that never happen?

[00:55:44] Were fortunately not with regard with regard to that, because forcing I’ve done the course is when I started doing aesthetic dentistry. Fortunately, I’ve done some good courses and they the thing that I always bang into is, is make sure the patient knows what it’s going to look like at the end. So there are no surprises at the end because, I mean, there is nothing and I say this in lectures all the time, there is absolutely nothing worse than, I don’t know, some veneers on or something like that. And the patient, either immediately or after they’ve seen their family saying, saying, I don’t I don’t like them because there’s no plum. These are, you know, okay, if they’re too long, you can shorten them. But that’s all you can do. And then obviously redoing stuff like that is, is, is an absolute it’s an absolute nightmare doing redoing dentistry that you just did.

[00:56:44] Yeah.

[00:56:45] Really is is, is literally is your worst day at work isn’t it.

[00:56:50] Yeah.

[00:56:50] So I think it pay, I don’t think it is judgement. It is, it is just luck but I certainly and maybe, maybe it was, maybe it was that early on end of case that really made me choose, choose my battles and be able to deliver on, on whatever I, on whatever I promised. But I’m sorry to disappoint you.

[00:57:15] I can’t think of.

[00:57:17] Anything anything cut to catastrophic for you in my professional life.

[00:57:23] You mentioned Lewis. The conversation I had about the NHS and leaving the NHS and what people are saying about that and what worries people have about that. But now in your role in dental plan, that must be a daily occurrence. I know your role isn’t specifically to talk about that dentist. I mean, you’re more on the education side and so forth, but what stories do you hear or what concerns do people have and are they the same concerns every time? And then the solution’s a similar solution all the time, or is it different in each case? Tell me some stories of NHS to private.

[00:58:01] It is it is it.

[00:58:03] Is the similar it is similar all the time and it’s always and they’ve always been the same stories. I mean I’ve I say I’ve done a 1000, so I’ve been teaching for about 20 years. I’ve been doing hands on courses for getting on for 20 years as, as well. So I’ve spoken to thousands, thousands and thousands of dentists and that’s, you know, me, we’ve been on courses together, you know, and I know you’re as well. You like chatting to chatting to the dentist, you know, good. Good to chat to, good company, entertaining people. And so, yeah, I’ve got a whole list. In fact, I did a webinar last week on this exact subject. It is the same things that come up every single time people have transitioned from NHS to private all report. Same thing. Number one is always time, more time, more time with the patients, more time for your for your for your private life, for your for your life work balance. But it’s it’s never money. Money is always the absolute bottom of the list is it is clinical outcomes, it’s job satisfaction. It’s developing good relationships with your patients. It’s using good materials and equipment.

[00:59:17] It’s having the time to go on courses and upskill. It’s working with technicians who share the same philosophy that you do. It’s you know, I’ve spoken to dentists on courses, a hands on courses. And this is this was not an uncommon occurrence. I do I used to run a series of ten hands on courses on various different restorative subjects and be quite a common one. When I was just started to push the envelope with, with big composites and almost without exception sort of every month somebody, an NHS dentist, would come on the course and I’d, you know, and we’d do a, I don’t know, mode b build up on a pre molar, take about an hour or something like that. And a dentist would say, you know, you know, this is all well and good, but I can’t do this on the NHS and I used to quite commonly get into this discussion and I said If you don’t mind me asking, how many patients do you see per day? And I would say almost without fail, sort of definitely a few times a year the dentist would say eight zero 80 patients per day.

[01:00:32] Oh, my goodness.

[01:00:33] Wow. To which to which I’d say, well, no, no, you can’t. You know, what’s what’s your what’s your appointment time if you’ve got to do this if you’ve got to do this in 10 minutes. You might get the first one right, but you’re not going to get the fifth one right. You’re not going to get the 10th one right. And what I did want to see, I didn’t believe it, actually, but I actually went to went to the went to the practice. I once knew of a dentist who had 100 patients booked in every day. I didn’t believe it, but I actually saw the daybook. It was a pencil, a pencil day book. And there were there were 100, 100 patients booked in in that day.

[01:01:13] The interesting thing is, if you if you said clean up time between 100 patients.

[01:01:18] Is.

[01:01:19] Just just be really kind of say 5 minutes to 3 minutes clean up. That’s 300 minutes of clean up time, which is 5 hours of clean up time.

[01:01:33] It’s not terrible.

[01:01:34] And you would occasionally see dentists who would get themselves into this sort of. This treadmill of multiple surgeries.

[01:01:45] On the.

[01:01:47] On the go. Well, but then.

[01:01:49] What are the barriers? What are the barriers? I mean, why don’t people want to leave? I mean, there’s the obvious financial sort of, you know, with the the system is that you’re sort of assured a certain income per year. There’s that. And then and then there’s another one talking to people who are thinking about it, the people who are eminently more qualified than I was when I decided to leave the NHS, worried about their skill set and worried about whether they can pull it off or not. And I say, you know, it seems to me so obvious. I will just keep it simple. Refer. Simple as that.

[01:02:24] You’re absolutely right. Confidence is the number one. You know, they don’t feel they don’t feel like a private dentist. To which I always say.

[01:02:31] What is that private?

[01:02:32] Exactly.

[01:02:34] I’d say, went to dental school. You weren’t trying to be an NHS dentist. You were. You were trained to be you. You were trying to be a dentist and to do whatever that particular patient needs are still to this day, do a lot of hands on courses with foundation dentists. And so I really, really notice that they really, really feel going from the, I don’t know, safe environment of, of the dental school scene to maybe four patients a day or something like that. And then working to an environment where obviously you’ve got to speed up. But that sort of tension with regard to sort of clinical decision making they they a classic one would be they they know that a direct composite online is the best treatment for that particular tooth. But working in a system, I don’t know. Take the UDA system, for example, where you’d be pushed to do an indirect restoration and that tension, a chrome denture or something like that. So you know that a cobalt chrome denture is the best thing for the patient. But when you factor in the lab bill, you would know that you do too many of those. Your business is your business is going bankrupt and and where cases in the in the UK system as well. So I mean the system does need to the system does need to change and it needs to change rapidly. I mean only in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the, the Parliament Sean Smallwood talking to the health, health and Social, Social Care Select Committee. Things have to change and they have to change. They have to change rapidly.

[01:04:15] But you know at then plan what was the USP of that organisation is is it that they, they’re good at helping people go from one to the other. Is it, is it that they good at managing the teams because there are there are those concerns aren’t they. You know, what will my team think? What will my patients think? Am I up to it in all of this? Does Denton hold the hand better than the next company? I mean, they were certainly one. They were the first, weren’t they?

[01:04:43] Yeah, 1986 den plan was set up was set up with with three goals. It was set up by two dentists in the mid eighties. Eighties was a was a nightmare time anyway record unemployment record inflation. Falklands War miner strike it was it was it was a nightmare time and it was a nightmare time in in dentistry as well. And so these two two dentists came up with this idea for a basically a new system, a capitation system that was something to do instead of NHS dentistry, which was, which was the only game in town, you know, in, even in the nineties. I remember at the time somebody said there there are around about 500 private dentists in the UK. Now there’s 26,000. So plan was set up with three goals and those goals have remained the same throughout right up until today and they’re just as relevant as they were before. The first thing was professional control, getting control of your own career, which is what we’re talking about. The second was to create an environment outside the NHS where you could do quality dentistry. And the final one, which is even more relevant now, was to align the patient’s wishes with the dentists philosophy, which is prevention. Prevention patients don’t want dentistry. And so if if a capitation system works really for me, it’s perfect. It’s the perfect practical situation in clinical dentistry because you’re getting paid to keep people healthy rather than getting paid to find things to do and do things.

[01:06:32] And so having that balance of private fee per item and loads of patients on a plan just gives you that sort of clinical freedom to to make the right decisions every time, because your clinical decisions are based on, on what the patient needs. And obviously, I’ve talked to thousands and thousands of dentists and it’s the reason that we’re really quite evangelical about them plan is it because it was the first and it. It changed my professional career because when we went private, we weren’t completely private with them. In those days, you couldn’t you couldn’t have a children’s only contract. So basically it was, it was, it was private and and we didn’t retain any NHS within the practice. So in those days it was a leap of faith because there was no blueprint, big practices hadn’t done this before. But of course now there’s, you know, there’s a, there’s a blueprint. And, you know, thousands of dentists have already made they made that move. But so if you do chat to them plan dentists and I’ve heard this time and time again is that it changed it changed their professional careers even further. It changed their lives. And that is why that we’re so passionate about them.

[01:07:53] What is what is your actual role there? I mean, I know you were in charge of the education side for a while, but now now your new role.

[01:08:01] Yeah, well, the head dental officer, it’s actually the job that the original head dental officer is Roger MATTHEWS, who was one of my mentors, who is an absolute legend so far of ahead of his time. It’s really is a it really is a multi factorial role. Difficult to describe it in in just a sentence. The education side is still a big part of it. And one of the things that I’ve been really lucky to do is be involved with a big project to create our state of the art online education, to go along with our life courses. Our live courses have been incredibly popular for.

[01:08:42] Just summarise summarise the size of that that unit. I mean, I remember someone telling me, well, maybe it was you. It was like they do something like 500 days of live courses a year or something.

[01:08:53] Yeah. Yeah, we have way over 500 or 500 courses. I mean from, from hands on courses. I mean dipesh you, you kindly helped us out. I think that still remains our biggest ever hands on course. I think we had something like 40 dentists in the room, but you got good value out of Depeche that day. But we do in practice training that’s super popular. We do all the compliance subjects. We have ski conferences, cycling conferences, hiking conferences, and we just actually we’ve just finished actually, we’ve done our first four national forums. These are our sort of flagship events. And so so far we’re up in Scotland, in Blaine, Cambridge, Chepstow, and then we’re in Belfast the week before last. And so basically this is a full day study day with a nice meal and a stopover as, as well. And we’ve had Simon Chard lecturing for us on digital, doing a doing an hour and a half session. And he has been absolutely superb the den plan audience because you know is quite a tough audience. I say it’s it’s you know for for lecturers it’s a good rite of passage to to lecture to them to the dental plan dentist because, you know, you’ve got a lot of mscs in the room. You’ve got a lot of experience.

[01:10:14] Simon is a talented speaker, talented, very, very talented speaker.

[01:10:18] He is very, very polished. And but it does go beyond way beyond the clinical excellence, which he most certainly has. But it’s the whole sort of the the marketing, the use of social media. It’s his feedback has been off the scale. It’s been absolutely superb. So so those those are flood control.

[01:10:41] Have you got if let’s say you want to come up with a new course in Panama. Whatever.

[01:10:51] Well, like.

[01:10:52] You know, if you come up with a new idea, who does it? Is it you? Is it. Are you the last person who has to say yes to things? Or is there this other person who has to.

[01:11:02] Through.

[01:11:02] The process? What’s the process of if a new idea comes up, how does it work?

[01:11:06] It would be really lovely if that was if that was the case. My boss, Catherine Rutland, who’s another? Another and dentist as as well. So she would be the first person I would. In fact, literally, this actually happens only last week. I’m putting together ideas for the programme for 2023. So I’ve literally sketched out this is for me, this is the ultimate programme of live events and online online training events. And then we literally just go through the process with regards to funding budgets, manpower and workouts, work out what what we’re going to do for the next year. So we try and work kind of a year ahead. We’ve got an events team. The events team are amazing and we do lots of charity events as well, but not sort of CPD involved as well. You know, marathons, conferences. Our parent company, Simply Health Sponsored, The Great North is sponsored all of the great runs for a few years. So yeah, it’s just sort of because for me and I’m sure you’ll say exactly the same thing with your courses pay and even with your courses as well. Prav is for me some of the best little nuggets of education don’t come when you’re sitting in front of the lecturer. They come, they come in the breaks they come when when you when you’re having lunch, when you’re on a ski lift or.

[01:12:35] Wherever, the gin and tonic, man, you know, people underestimate that. It’s not it’s not the gin and tonic. It’s the different sort of sort of the barriers of the classroom situation. And then the barriers and the real conversations do tend to happen outside of the classroom situation. And for me, you know, the other thing is the delegates learning from each other totally. It’s a key point. It’s not just from the teacher, it’s a key point. They’re all going through the same things.

[01:13:09] Certainly from a practice management point of view, and I was really lucky I got into them quite early. I think it was about 93, although we were mixed for probably 15 years. Yeah, probably about 15 years. I was lucky, I think. I went on the first ever Dem planned golf conference and just sat down. My golf’s never never been any good and it it never it never will be. But I remember sitting down with some of the original Bampton dentists and they were really sort of saying, you know, from a great tips, you know, categorise your patients and correctly to begin with, equipment, materials, loads of techniques, loads of courses. Again, you know, I’ll go on one course, I’ll get a tip to go on to go on another one. It’s much easier now because obviously they’re all advertised on on social media, but it was very much a sort of a word of mouth who are the good speakers, who are the good mentors? And I was just really, really lucky that in the early, early years of my career, I just bumped into some just really, really influential people who transformed my career.

[01:14:18] Were you always that funny guy on stage? Because you are.

[01:14:27] Obviously, this is a fantastic opportunity to go into a Goodfellas moment here and, you know.

[01:14:34] When you have. But you could be a funny guy.

[01:14:41] Entertaining that entertaining style you’ve got. I was not from the first time you lectured. Was it like that.

[01:14:49] Style over content. I think that is.

[01:14:53] It is.

[01:14:53] It is. I’ve got a message that I want to get across. When I first started lecturing, I watched it before it started. I’d watch some really good lecturers and and you’d notice the ones who kept people sort of captivated. Trevor would be a really good. Trevor would be an absolute classic example of that because no matter how good your how good your, your content is, if people are asleep. And I’ve had plenty of people fall asleep in my lectures, they are going to learn nothing. They, in fact, just digressing from my worst ever. It wasn’t even a heckle in a live lecture. There was it was I don’t know. There was an audience of about I don’t know, about 40 or 40 or something like that. So it was a small it was a small seminar and there was a bloke in the front row and and he came in and he fell asleep almost immediately.

[01:15:49] And.

[01:15:50] And so that was a bit I was still introducing myself. I was still.

[01:15:54] I don’t have a long I don’t have a long I don’t have a.

[01:15:58] Long this is me intro but but he fell asleep during that. So then without a word of a lie, I kept going. I kept going. And then after a while his phone went off. It got off, it stood up. The group was in two, it was in two halves. So there was there was a sort of an alleyway down the middle. He walked up the alleyway, he answered his phone. And I.

[01:16:22] Don’t know what.

[01:16:23] I don’t know what the conversation. Nobody said, no, I’m in a lecture.

[01:16:27] No crap. And he walked.

[01:16:33] Out and he never came back.

[01:16:36] Wow.

[01:16:39] So that’s so that was my worst. So that was my worst sort of experience. But I think public speaking, I went to I went to a lecture the other day from somebody, a similar sort of vein to Prav. And it was people’s worst fears. And I think I think the worst fear this bloke was talking about was I think it was death of a relative public speaking and then being buried alive. So so when it comes to public speaking, I don’t I don’t I don’t mind. I never I never have.

[01:17:14] I think if you pull it off, you put it off so well with with the with the I don’t want to call it comedy, but the sort of the humorous side of it. And I always think if you if you say something funny, I never I never try it by person, because what if what if no one gets it or no one laughs? So and I find people do laugh in my lectures, but at points where I wasn’t expecting it. So it’s like they’re laughing at.

[01:17:38] Me so.

[01:17:39] Wisely. But but you put it off like a master, like a king.

[01:17:43] Give us an example, Payman. Give us an example.

[01:17:46] But he just. He can’t help himself from the first moment. Yeah, he’s talking it’s he’ll say a self-deprecating joke or something, but the audience will just get behind him straight away, you know, like, like what you said. You say, let’s say you can say something about your hair being a bald guy or whatever I’d say. And the room would be a room would be silent and worried. Yeah, he’ll say, and the room will be bursting out laughing. Yeah. And it goes on and it’s not like it’s only a comedy show.

[01:18:18] I’m not.

[01:18:18] Saying that.

[01:18:19] I’m going to say that at all. No, not at all.

[01:18:22] I was just about to ask Louis to tell us his favourite joke.

[01:18:26] It’s just. It’s just. It’s just.

[01:18:28] The content. The content is, is, is punctuated with some entertainment bits here and used to talk about different people, you know, good old and new places. So the way he would do it, I don’t know, Louis just carries it off in a really sort of for me, effortless is the way I would. I would describe it.

[01:18:50] That’s extremely nice of you to say. And it’s it’s not something I mean there’s certainly that. Edutainment as my my predecessor before Catherine Henry Clover he was my boss at Dental and he was the he was the head dental officer after Roger he said edutainment you know, you get you get you get your get your content across but it’s got to be entertaining. Otherwise, why why is anybody going to when when is anybody going to sort of actually come to your next lecture? But it’s not something that I sort of sort of script in really sort of I don’t know, they sort of I’m kind of lucky. It kind of sort of comes to me. I mean, I went to a school, a pretty rough school in those days. You didn’t have you didn’t have social media, so you had to go to school to be bullied.

[01:19:40] So I think.

[01:19:48] You have to be either really tall, which I wasn’t, or you have to be you had to be a clown. And so I suppose I learnt those skills from school. I remember my dad was always an entertaining bloke, but perhaps just made me think my my favourite joke. It was anything that I come out with a things that that please me are things that are thought of on the spur of the moment and and dental wise again probably 2 to 2 boring too late but I’ve been lucky enough probably because I’m I don’t mind public speaking I think I’ve been best man 11 I think it’s 11 times.

[01:20:31] Ten or 11.

[01:20:32] Times. And for me, my, my best adlib happened in a best man speech. And it was it was quite an awkward environment because the vicar had been drunk during the during the ceremony and it hadn’t gone disastrously wrong. But everybody, you know, it was it was one of those things, if you put it on telly, you wouldn’t think it was you wouldn’t think it was believable. So I was just getting nervous because I always do get a little bit nervous before certainly before speaking. And I thought, what am I going to say? I’ve got to kind of refer to it, but how can I refer to it? The vicar wasn’t in the room, but fortunately, but how do I refer to it without sort of embarrassing him and embarrassing everybody else? So I just I thought.

[01:21:19] Had.

[01:21:20] And so literally just it just came to me. I said, I don’t know about you, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had a wonderful wedding today, a fantastic service. And I don’t know about you, but in church today, I really felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

[01:21:36] And and for me, that is just.

[01:21:41] I enjoyed the fact that I managed to think of something under those sort of those circumstances and, and, and pull it off.

[01:21:51] I’ll tell you my favourite joke. What did you call a man with no shin?

[01:21:56] No shin.

[01:21:57] Notion.

[01:21:59] No idea.

[01:22:00] Tony.

[01:22:07] Wow. That’s my number.

[01:22:09] One. That’s my number one.

[01:22:11] Dad joke.

[01:22:13] Highbrow Oxford.

[01:22:15] Educated medic.

[01:22:20] Another one. When you go to Footlights on.

[01:22:22] A similar sort of play, we go. Yeah.

[01:22:27] This one always, always makes me laugh. Is mango’s into a fish and chip shop and says Fish and chips twice, please. And the bloke says, So I heard you the first time.

[01:22:45] Louis. Out of your different things you do general or done general practise teaching. Have you done some research as well?

[01:22:54] A sort of ad hoc research, I would call it. I started I started teaching a Birmingham dental school in 2003. And so we had a fantastic faculty. But as soon as I went on clinic, I realised that the students were asking me questions. I just didn’t know the answers to, you know, how does how does bonding resume work? You know, and you get different colour composites just using those, using those as examples. So I really had to sort of go back to school and and then I was I was equally lucky. At that time, Janus Davis approached me and asked me to write write a paper on post era composites. And so I spent three months right in a write in a long draft of, of, of this paper on Post Composites, which is my sermon on Post Composites. This is how you do it. And then a sense the I think probably had to print it out and and take it to. To Adrian Shortall, who is the head of head of comms. He’s my sort of main sort of mentor. And I gave it to Trevor as well. And they were very, very polite with me and said, Yeah, come. Come back, we’ll have a read through this. Come back. Come back in a week. And and we’ll give you some advice. And and I went back into to Adrian’s office and he said, yeah, you know, it’s it’s it’s fine, but but this is this is going in a peer reviewed publication. Everything that you’ve written is your opinion, and you haven’t backed up any of it with evidence. So he said, to help you out, I’ve printed you out a few things to read and I can still see it to this day.

[01:24:48] There was a stack of papers and abstracts. There were over 100 papers on post. I mean, Adrian always knew the key references and still does. And so for me, I think basically that was I don’t know whether they were throwing down the gauntlet. I think most normal people would have walked away and said, Right, I’ll, I’ll give up on my academic career. But I read all the papers. I realised what I’d written was just purely an opinion piece. I rewrote it. It took me three, three months to write the first draft, six months to write it properly, and then that was the first paper I ever published. In fact, in preparation for this, I actually looked it up of of now I’ve got 30 peer reviewed papers and four textbook chapters and those are all those are all written on subjects. Quite selfishly, that interests me. You know, posterior composites, anterior composites, clinical photography caries, bonding amalgam, indirect restorations. So for me, the learning has been my research, my postgraduate education. I’ve got well, I say, in fact, I’ve tripped myself up there. I used to have no postgraduate qualifications when I put my pen down and I made a promise to myself in finals. When I put my pen down and that final exam, I promised myself that I would never do another exam, and I haven’t. But in 2022, a colleague of mine, Steve Bonzo, who’s a who’s a brilliant bloke, material scientist, he proposed me and Ian Chappell seconded me for a, for a PhD from Royal College in, in Glasgow. So, so, so I have got.

[01:26:42] An honorary one.

[01:26:44] I’ve got. Yeah. But by accident not by exam. That’s why so, so yeah. I just didn’t want to do any more exams. What about.

[01:26:58] Lewis? Your relationship with manufacturers is is awesome too. I mean, you seem to know everyone in that side, you know, the trade side as well. You know, for instance, how do you how do you keep a clear head if unless Davis are paying you or or sponsoring you to to write about composites, not to sort of get their one as the main one or, you know, how do you keep a good reputation amongst lots of different manufacturers? Because you really do have a great reputation out there. And how is it that others sort of sometimes fall over on that front? I mean, what’s what’s there one called clear fill?

[01:27:39] Phil Yeah, clear from my aesthetic, which is.

[01:27:43] It’s an interesting.

[01:27:44] Which is an amazing comedy. It’s, I mean, so it’s a really good point. But I must admit, without sounding too pious, I do try and sort of keep true to myself. I only talk about things that are used in practice, and I only talk about things that I know work because if I don’t, if I talk about a product that I haven’t got faith in and then somebody buys that project, product, uses that product, and then they don’t get the outcomes with it. Again, nobody’s going to listen to me again. And, you know, I’ve been lucky. I’ve never been good enough to work properly with with Enlightened.

[01:28:24] But I think you did lecture at the minimalist event. But I can’t call that work.

[01:28:34] Talking paid work. Did you get paid? I’m still.

[01:28:39] Waiting. I played.

[01:28:40] A gin and tonics that.

[01:28:42] I needed. He certainly did.

[01:28:44] But he’s got to believe in it first, right?

[01:28:52] I mean, the nice thing is that the companies that I work with, I’m doing quite a bit with opted in at the moment. I love most almost all of the opted products, but in a lot of work with with Coeur. I was really, really lucky that my my kind of if you like sort of lecturing career took off when sort of bulk composites came in. So I did. I’ve done a lot of work with Dentsply Sirona over the years. And if if somebody gives me a product that I don’t like because I’m lucky that I’m on a number of key opinion leader groups. And so there’s a group of us do get sent off before it goes to market to test it out. And I love doing that. And it doesn’t take long, does it, for an experienced dentist to know, is it better than what I’ve got before? Is it worse or is it insane? And then I’m just I’m just totally I’m just totally honest. I would never, ever say anything bad in public or any anywhere else about about a dental product. Because, as you know, there’s millions gone in to the investment.

[01:29:54] And I have pulled out of lectures. It’s I remember when I started lecturing one of my colleagues who’d been doing it for a while, and our lecturer said, I said, How long does it take to write a lecture? Because this is taking me hours and hours. And he said basically the industry standard for an hour lecture, you’re looking at about 50 hours of preparation and and development. And to be honest, I’ve never got it down much below that that 50 that 50 hours. So I can only ever remember happening once where I’ve delivered one lecture once. And this was on a product that I started using. And really I’m a real early adopter. I like trying out stuff straight away. But then the patients were coming back and it wasn’t really working out as I hoped. So I actually had to sort of hat in hand, go back to the manufacturer and say, I’m afraid I’m going to have to pull out of this lecture lecture series because I don’t feel that so. And again, if you’ve ever seen me do a lecture, I get like way, way, way too excited about dental materials.

[01:31:02] And I quit and.

[01:31:03] I can get excited about matrix bands wedges. That’s probably one of the worst bonding lessons because if I really, really like them, because these these materials are designed to solve problems. Literally, the first time I used enamel was on. I remember the world of aesthetic Congress.

[01:31:26] Yeah, yeah.

[01:31:29] That’s what I was one of the mob down.

[01:31:32] Buddy, buddy, buddy, Andy. Son. What was his son’s name?

[01:31:35] Robert. Robert.

[01:31:36] Robert. That’s it, Bob. So that was a real turning point for me. I can’t remember what year it was, but Buddy Moffatt was doing 2 hours of lectures and.

[01:31:48] Yeah, that was the year we started with Cosmo then because we, we brought him over because of that now. Right. That would have been the 2008 I want to say.

[01:31:58] This, this, this all this all fits fits in nicely then. So so I don’t know you obviously you were in the room. There were about eight or 900 dentists in that room. And Buddy Mock was doing this presentation on composites, anterior composites, posterior composites. And I’ve never seen anybody do it before or since he had cases up on the screen and he basically said, What should we do? Do you want to do a posterior? Do you want to do an anterior? And basically his lecture could go off in any direction.

[01:32:30] Yeah.

[01:32:31] So now this was in the nineties, so this was in the era where porcelain was king. You couldn’t go on any other courses. Porcelain furniture causes the world aesthetic. Congress was basically a porcelain veneer course. And so I sat there watching Buddy Buddy Mapper, and it was showing case after case after case of these amazing composites used in using cosmetic products and how to build up composite veneers, taking crowns off, replacing them with composites. And it was absolutely groundbreaking. But then the thing that got stuck in my head, then he said, Oh, and here’s the ten year record. Going back to what you were talking about, there is your 15 year recall and thought, Wow, this stuff works. But the thing that the thing that really, really stuck in my mind is the lecture was in two parts and there was a break in between. And during the break, everyone went outside and everyone’s chatted. And the you could just hear these people just say, absolute crap. Worst lecture I’ve ever seen. Just, you know. And so when we went back in, there was still hundreds and hundreds of people there, but there were probably about 300 less people. They’d all gone off to a porcelain lecture from somebody else. And one of the first things Buddy said when he got back up on the stage wheel, he said, I won’t try and do his accent. People will say that you can’t do these things with composite as he does it.

[01:34:04] Combined composite.

[01:34:07] People will say that you can’t do these things with composite. And he said They’re right, they can’t. That just literally just stuck in my head that, you know, of course you can do it, but you’ve just got to dedicate yourself to the materials, the bonding, the know, the tooth anatomy. And so that was a real pivotal moment for me because they were doing stuff like you just, you know, in the States that you just wouldn’t believe and so much so that basically then I started using re now I did the hands on course with these with Robert is Bob is his son and the minute the minute you should have polished it. I thought, this is different. This is something that’s better than I’ve ever used before. And so I’ve used enamel on my hands on courses ever since. Because from a polishing point of view, as you know, and as dips, delegates, it’s one of those things that the delegates go away from the course with a nice feeling that they’ve done something that they.

[01:35:11] Yeah, they’ve seen something new.

[01:35:13] They never did before. Which is, which is what I tried to do as much as possible.

[01:35:18] Crazily, we’ve been speaking for an hour and 40 minutes now.

[01:35:21] Oh, my God. It feels like we haven’t scratched the surface.

[01:35:24] Maybe we have. Haven’t even said, who is your first boss? Where did you go from there? So we’ve. We’ve reached our limit already. Can I have to do it?

[01:35:32] Round two? I’ve got more questions, guys. We follow slogans.

[01:35:39] Don’t ask it, ask. Well, we caught another guy waiting, but there we go. We’ll have to do part two.

[01:35:46] We’ll have to do part two, man. There’s a whole bunch about public speaking that I wanted to ask you were saying you were comfortable and then you mentioned you get nervous sometimes. And then does that ever go away? And there’s so much buzzing around in my head. Right. So we’ll have to come back for round two.

[01:36:03] But sorry. So I hugged him. So let’s finish. Let’s go with the final questions, too. Let’s go with the phone. Let’s start with the fancy dinner party. One fancy dinner party, three guests, dead or alive. Who would you pick true to?

[01:36:19] Alive. Quentin Tarantino. Massive, massive movie fan. Come back. I’d be happy to talk about movies for for 2 hours.

[01:36:29] I’m not a massive fan. Massive, massive. Quentin Tarantino fan.

[01:36:36] Alex Higgins, the the ultimate the ultimate snooker player who still probably has got one of the best ever sporting quotes in history. And then the final one, I couldn’t decide either be Ricky Gervais or Frankie Boyle, because it would be an evening of absolutely zero political correctness.

[01:36:58] And.

[01:37:00] Talking about films, talking about snooker, talking about the, talking about the world. And then and then a game of snooker and getting drunk.

[01:37:07] After that.

[01:37:09] Whilst that sporting quote Lewis.

[01:37:12] Well, it’s been I read his autobiography years ago, and this quote has been has been given to lots of other sports people. George Best included. But I think the actual truth is it was Alex Higgins who said it the first he was asked in an interview quite late on in his career, you know, it made millions. He’d lost millions. And he was he was basically penniless. He was having to be crowdfunded. And he went on an interview. I don’t know. It might have been Parkinson not as good as U2, obviously, but he said in this interview. Over the years. All my millions. When I look back, I spent half my money on booze, drugs and women. The rest are just wasted.

[01:37:59] Squandered it.

[01:38:03] So I thought it’s a great a great sport. But he was a legend. He was an absolute legend.

[01:38:09] Yeah. Yeah.

[01:38:11] And the final question, Lewis, imagine it was your last day on the planet and you had your loved ones around you. And you had to leave them with three pieces of wisdom. What would they be?

[01:38:26] Well, I thought about this in advance as well. None of them. We’ve talked only about dental and teeth tonight. But, you know, that’s only half the equation. You know, we spend a lot of time at work, but it’s all about the rest of your life. Dentistry gives you the opportunity to have the experiences that you want. So I would say my first advice would be whatever experience is, whether it is travel, whether it is learning something, whether it’s a new opportunity in business or in practice or in any field of life. Don’t wait, do it. Just get as many experiences as as you can and just enjoy, enjoy every day. The second one is a practical one. This was advice that my dad gave me. He didn’t actually put a number to it, but he said, But, but I’ll sort of extend them the best bit of advice my dad ever gave me, which was be debt free by 4000 percent. Debt free by 40. No mortgage, no loans, no car loans. And then I’ll extend that live within your means. You know, I’ve got quite a few friends who’ve got ten watches and, you know, they haven’t even got long arms and, you know, multiple, multiple Ferraris. So, yeah, just because the minute you mean coming back exactly to what I’ve said at the start, the minute you’re not chasing finances, it’s all gravy. You you just your job is basically funding.

[01:40:01] Enjoy your job. But it’s funding the what you do in the rest of your life. All the other things you want to do, your family stuff and your relationship stuff. So if you can take that financial pressure off as soon as possible then and obviously in dentistry it is possible to do that fairly rapidly. And then the final thing would be just just enjoy yourself. I’ve got no sort of particular sort of sort of religious faith. You know, I’m just going to make sure that I enjoy sort of every day, every opportunity, enjoy every day. And if if you’re not doing something to change direction, that that would be the that would be my advice to, you know, I’ve given to my kids. Obviously, they’re just coming to that stage where they’ll actually listen to me again. Now, though, there was a protracted period of time when they fought and they knew everything already. And and I just didn’t understand. But I think they finally realised now that I probably have got something to, to offer them. But yeah. So that would be my advice sort of experience as much as you can out of life, get rid of the, whether it’s debt, whether it’s any other things that are bringing you down and just enjoy every day and, and do do what you want to do. Whatever, whatever is your passion, whatever drives you do that.

[01:41:28] I’ve messaged, I’ve messaged the next speaker so we can go to your final, final prayer, which is.

[01:41:35] Good.

[01:41:37] The final, final.

[01:41:38] How would you like to be remembered?

[01:41:40] Oh, of course.

[01:41:41] Of course. Louis If so.

[01:41:49] How would you like to be remembered if. If the following phrase was. Was said about you? Yeah. Lewis was. Finish the sentence. How would you. How would you spell loss?

[01:42:13] I. Go on.

[01:42:15] It’s it’s something that’s never really I’ve never really thought about. I’ll have to think about it if you do ever drag me back. But it’s not something that worries me at all. When I’m gone. Once I’m gone, I’m gone. I just, you know, just try and make the most of.

[01:42:33] Of my.

[01:42:35] My time on earth and good friends, good family and working in an absolutely fantastic profession.

[01:42:44] I’ve got one more question for you, Louis. Imagine you had 30 days left. No. Imagine you had a week left. Do whatever the hell you want. You know you’ve got a week and you’ve got all your health and no financial constraints. What would you do in that week?

[01:43:00] It’s not long enough, I’m afraid. I mean, it would be something crazy, you know? Keith Moon Sort of level heroic dose.

[01:43:15] That’s not long enough.

[01:43:18] I mean, for me, the I’m not frightened of Crikey, this is getting a bit deep. I’m not frightened of of death at all. But a couple of, I suppose, melodramatic to call them near-death experiences. But it doesn’t it’s not something that frightens me at all. It would be I think it would be what I sort of miss out on and seeing the kids grow up. And, you know, Tarantino said he’s going to direct ten films and he’s on nine at the moment. You know, you know, he’d have to get a I’d probably go I’d go and visit him and just ask for a screenplay on his. He’s currently undirected film. I’d probably give him a few tips, actually, and then I’d be happy to happy to pop off. But yeah, not planning on going anywhere too soon, but you never know. I mean, look at I mean, I’m 54 a few incidents that have happened recently in the public eye. You know more Shane Warne, he was one of my heroes. I’m a massive cricket fan this week. Ray Liotta, you know, he’s going to he’s going to live forever because the Goodfellas back to Goodfellas pie. But but yeah it doesn’t do them any good does it. So, so yeah. Just, just got to make the most of it because you never know when that, when that number is coming up.

[01:44:43] It’s been a pleasure, buddy. We’ll have to see.

[01:44:46] 100%. Part two.

[01:44:47] Yeah, that flew by.

[01:44:49] I certainly looked at the time. It was like, wait a minute. We’ve been talking for 2 hours.

[01:44:56] I know. I know. We’ve been talking for a while because my message is probably a couple of times it’s getting cold.

[01:45:05] Thank you so much, buddy.

[01:45:08] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:45:24] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:45:38] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.

[01:45:49] And don’t forget our six star rating.

You wouldn’t know from it his calm demeanour, but Rajiv Ruwala is a busy guy.

Things have always been that way for Rajiv, who purchased his first practice with his sister Aneeka before starting his VT year and quickly grew the ailing three-chair practice into a successful seven-surgery clinic.

He’s since opened a second practice under the 2 Green Dental brand and is poised to open a third, just weeks after the arrival of his first child.

Rajiv talks about the ups and downs of his journey so far, reflecting on what defines success, building organisational culture, and much more.

Enjoy! 

 

In This Episode

01.44 – Current practice and ownership

07.39 – Structure, management and culture

18.33 – Mindset and communication

26.44 – Why Rajiv loves clinical work

30.07 – Growth and marketing

37.00 – Brand positioning

40.44 – Plans and project management

45.38 – 2 Green Dental

52.06 – Keeping going

01.00.19 – Associates and the comfort zone

01.08.31 – Defining success

01.10.10 – Blackbox thinking

01.22.09 – Cultivating culture

01.31.39 – Last days and legacy

01.38.52 – Fantasy dinner party

 

About Rajiv Ruwala

Rajiv qualified from King’s College London in 2008 and joined his sister Aneeka in purchasing and running Croydon-based 2 Green Dental.

He earned a Postgraduate Certification for Dental Education from the University of Bedfordshire, acted as a clinical demonstrator at King’s College Dental Institute, and is now a foundation tutor with the London Deanery.

Rajiv is a prolific lecturer for the British Dental Association’s Squadron strategy on professional development and patient communication and has also addressed audiences on behalf of Invisalign and SmileFast.

[00:00:00] What tends to confuse people or tend to confuse patients where you end up just listing a whole load of options and hope that they’ve got the knowledge of a BDS, which took us five years, by the way, minimum, so that you’re trying to explain it to them in 15 minutes and then they just get confused. And the typical answer they give is, I’ll have to think about it. Can I let you know? And the moment you hear that you’ve lost that patient, they do not understand what you’ve talked about. So I think I think the biggest take home, I said, is just give them an honest opinion. And obviously the second thing is, which is probably more important, is listening to them, is asking them a question and the art of shutting the hell up and letting them talk. I think it’s it’s a lost art and it’s the easiest thing to do. Be quiet and let them talk and they will tell you what they’re looking for.

[00:00:57] This is Dental Leaders. The podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry.

[00:01:06] Is a principle at clean dental.

[00:01:09] Your house Payman, Langroudi and Prav Salon Kick.

[00:01:25] Been up giving your opinions on a lot of different forums. Reggie, welcome to the show, Rudy.

[00:01:32] Thank you. I don’t know whether those opinions are welcome or not, but I gather people like what I say sometimes. Sometimes they don’t.

[00:01:44] But if you worked at lots of different practises, or have you been at this one for most of your career?

[00:01:50] Actually, I’ve only ever really worked at two practises where I did my feet training, which was an amazing practise, actually. Still is an amazing practise with an amazing trainer.

[00:02:01] Who is.

[00:02:03] His name is Shani Kalsi. Lancaster House in Croydon and Centre Practise. And he is the most kind, patient, helpful man in dentistry. The loveliest guy you could ever imagine. Great guy. And the practise I work at, which is mine, believe it or not, I actually owned the practise before I did VTE, so I don’t know if you guys knew that. Know how that came about? Long story. Well, I mean, I was at university and I just hated the politics in the hospital. You could even as a student, you could feel it. And I knew I never really wanted to have a hospital job or do anything. And I’ve always wanted to work for myself. And I own the practise with my sister Mika. And I think Amica felt the same way. She’s a couple years older and she had just finished her vet and my father passed away when I was in my second year sorry, first year of university. So luckily we had a bit of inheritance money and when we were in the final year, my sister was in a second year, my mom said, There’s this guy in some random place selling a dental practise. Why don’t you just go and have a look just for experience, to see what this is like. We both turned up. We looked at each other effectively and were like, Well, there’s no way we can make this worse. It was kind of in the right place, the right time sort of situation. It was a really old, shambolic NHS dental practise and we thought, Well, why not? We’ll give it a go.

[00:03:39] Was it in your house where you lived?

[00:03:40] It’s built. Yes. I grew up in Dulwich in south east London. So the practise is in an area called Crayford, which is about half an hour drive. So it was local ish. I mean, that’s a definite commutable and it was in an area where it was improving, gentrifying. The practise, as I said, was tiny. It was an effectively it was a one chair practise open three days a week. And it was very old school, very old school. I mean, you wouldn’t find bite wing holders in there when we first went. So it was it was, you know, we turned up knowing that we can improve this.

[00:04:24] So you knew during your VTE you knew that straight afterwards you were going to go into practise ownership. Yeah. Did that have an element of sort of trepidation to it?

[00:04:33] Well, you say that straight after, but you know what it was? It was quite nice. I said, my my vet trainer was absolutely amazing when I first told him. He was obviously taken aback a bit, but then he helped me so much. He gave me lots of advice, you know, and I think actually I helped him out as well because because I wanted to learn how to do these things. Whilst also the vet, I actually took on a lot of those roles as a vet. So as a vet I was doing stock ordering, I was helping train nurses because I needed to. And sometimes, you know, you jump in the deep end. The learning curve is great, but it’s it’s it’s helpful.

[00:05:16] Would you do it again like that? Or do you think in retrospect, on upon reflection, do you think you would do it the ordinary way, sort of do it, have a team.

[00:05:24] People if somebody asked me if they should do it, I’ll tell them not to do it. I would do it again. Yeah. I mean, it’s but I’m like that. I will quite happily take big risk if I feel that’s the right thing to do, I will do it.

[00:05:43] So a three chair nurse practise with no right wing holders.

[00:05:49] Yeah, well it was actually one chair with three rooms. One of the rooms didn’t have a chair and one of the rooms was completely dead. Like it was prehistoric, I think.

[00:05:58] Take us through take us through the sort of evolution of that and how long it takes and what moves you made and what were the key sort.

[00:06:06] Of.

[00:06:06] Cornerstones of going from that situation to this? I guess it’s quite a high end, fully private, is it?

[00:06:14] Now it’s actually has a little bit of NHS. Oh very, very little. We haven’t changed our contracts since we bought it and only we only had seven and half thousand days to start off with. But now it’s a seven surgery practise running from eight, 730 in the morning to eight at night every week to every day, pretty much seven days a week, not Sunday, but and Saturday we run half a day. But it’s a it’s a pretty big outfit. And then we’ve got another one practise that’s six surgery, doing the same thing in Mitcham and then a new practise, which is also seven surgery. Yeah, a seven surgery squad, which which is a little bit of a gamble for us, but we’ll see how it goes.

[00:07:00] So a lot of it has been sort of building works extensions, that sort of thing, surely, right?

[00:07:06] Well, yeah, we took over in 2008. This would be our fourth. The current project would be our fifth project building project. So it’s either building or extension or. Yeah. So we’ve, we’ve had five building projects effectively. I’ve always had a builder on, on, on the go doing something. Wow. Yeah. It’s been, I think about it. I should probably get myself a builder and hold on to the projects.

[00:07:39] The both courier practises doing 12 hour shifts. Six days. Yes. Yes. Just out of curiosity, how would you make that work in terms of staffing and management and all the rest of it? What’s your organisational structure and team structure across that?

[00:07:58] Yeah, sure. Well, it’s you know, I don’t think anyone can work for 12 hours.

[00:08:02] No, no, no, of course. Yeah.

[00:08:04] So we actually run a purely shift based system. So effectively there’s two shifts. We have a whole new set of staff working in the morning and then completely different set of staff working in the afternoon. So there’s a the staff turn up at seven in the morning and they leave at 130 or 145, 2:00, and then the second set of staff come in at 130 and leave at eight 830. So effectively everyone has a half day every day and they do the staff do a seven hour shift. The dental, the clinical dental is 6 hours. But I find that if you work 6 hours, the efficiency is is far greater than a standard day or even a 12 hour day, which I’ve heard some people do, which is absolutely insane. You know, if I look at myself after about 7 hours, the quality of my work, it doesn’t drop. It just takes a lot longer to get there. Yeah, a hell of a lot longer.

[00:09:03] Out of curiosity, Rajiv, do you have like a huddle or some kind of team meeting?

[00:09:08] I mean, these are always things that we have to work on. Cultures are really difficult. Yeah, we were 9 to 5. It was a lot easier because we’d all have lunch together. Sure. So culture is always. Is always a little harder when you’re running. The bigger, the bigger the operation, the harder the the harder it is. We don’t do anything like a huddle or anything like that. What we’re trying to do is having more of a team meetings and not in the traditional sense. So Fridays we tried to get together and we tried to keep the Friday afternoon shift a bit lighter, and then we try and spend that afternoon doing more administrative, you know, talking to each other tasks. You know, in my head I call it a Friday reset, but the culture is always the most difficult thing. The bigger you get, the harder it is. And that’s just impossible. It’s just a numbers game that.

[00:10:03] And I’m just curious about this because obviously I’ve not run practises like this and don’t know of any that do. So I’m really, really curious in terms of like just the day to day now. Like for example, our PM is our firefighter, right? And she’ll be putting fires out left, right and centre or whatever or dealing with like, you know, whatever, whatever the issues are of the day. Right. So do you have like two shifts to PMS as well or what’s the like the structure of the of that, the higher level management?

[00:10:34] So we have, we don’t actually have a PM. I know that’s crazy, but we don’t we have, we have a team, an administrative team. So what I try to do is I’d rather outsource administrative work to existing members or staff. So, you know, I think one of the crying shames of our profession is that especially in the nursing sector and the reception team is that there’s actually very little progression. Once once you are a nurse, you know, I think I think a lot of nurses get bored after two or three years and there’s very little for them to carry on doing. So I try to give them more things to do. So one of our nurses ended up doing h.r. One of our nurses has ended up becoming a patient coordinator. One of our administrative team now basically does payroll and banking and all the finance teams. So one of our old receptionists and I like to promote that. So I try and give people tasks and then get them to build that into a career and move forward. So we don’t actually have a specific practise manager. And personally, I’ve always found it a bit dangerous to have one practise manager. You know, if, if they leave, all the knowledge goes with them quite, quite honestly, and they may leave for any sort of reason.

[00:12:02] So you sort of say like the so called, you’ve almost like separated out the management tasks into separate chunks and then give that to several different team members to handle. So it’s not there’s not one particular person who’s overall responsible.

[00:12:17] Well, I mean, as we get bigger and bigger and our projections are for the end of next year to be almost on 200 members of staff. Wow. Which is a hell of a lot of people. Wow. You can’t run on on on a simple practise manager system. You have to have an administrative team. Sure. So, I mean, we’ve got in my head, I’ve planned for an HR team, a payroll team, a sick team, a team to just be in charge of learning and teaching and practise progression that way. I’ve I’ve even got a person who’s just purely there to fix things chairs, breakdowns, maintenance, painting, get the door lock fixed or whatever it may be. But when I think as you get bigger, you have to start evolving that part. And I think that’s actually a very interesting business concept in that people don’t realise that you can’t stick to the same system as you get bigger and bigger. It’s something I’ve had to learn very, very quickly.

[00:13:19] And then so Rajeev, what part do you play in that in terms of your day to day? Like as that organisation grows to like 200 members of staff? Like where, where do you sit in that in terms of like your typical day or your typical week, who you’d be interacting with, what you’d be doing?

[00:13:38] It’s interesting because I still love clinical dentistry. The more I do it, I still absolutely love it, but the more I feel that I have to give it up at some point. But I’m holding on. I’m still doing three and one half days a week, so I absolutely love it. I think we’ve already touched upon it. Culture is probably the most important thing when you’re in the position I am, so I jointly run it with my sister and luckily we’re very, very different people. So I tend to hold the more role of forward thinking for planning. So I try and do anything, practise development, deciding where the practise goes in the future. Obviously with her blessing and she helps me with that and we discuss things together, whereas my sister is very much a hands on nitty gritty, she tends to make sure that the administration is done. She’s she’s a bit of more of a taskmaster and she’ll keep an eye on everything effectively. Yeah, it’s, it’s luckily we’re so different that it works that way. So I think as you I think as things progress, you, you end up being the person steering the ship, but you can’t be the person pulling the oars.

[00:14:57] But what happens regarding something like recruitment? Do you yourself get involved at all now?

[00:15:03] I mean, at the level of recruitment we’re doing at the moment, I only do the clinical side.

[00:15:09] Dentists and hygienists.

[00:15:10] Scientists and hygienists, whereas the receptionists and the nursing team is done by one. As I said, one of our existing staff members, in fact, two of them, the two people interview, they both have a veto. If they don’t like someone, then that’s that’s fine. And we actually don’t we don’t look to hire someone. We look to see whether they’ll fit into the team. We’re not really looking for specific qualities, if that makes sense. We make we’re trying to make them fit into a team rather than whether they’re qualified X, Y and Z. They’ve got this skill or that skill. Our thoughts are that we can teach skills. We can’t teach attitude and we can’t teach you can’t teach personality whether they fit in your team. I mean, I’ve seen so many lovely dentists who have got amazingly good skills, but I don’t think they’ll fit in our organisation just because of their personality. And that’s not to mean that they’re a bad personality, it’s just not our fit.

[00:16:09] And so, Rajiv, what is your culture like if you if you had to just sort of whip up in a few sentences or whatever to describe when you become a member of your team, what what is it that they become and what does that mean for me? I was Strohm and asked me to do a piece for them the other day about what their culture is.

[00:16:31] Right.

[00:16:32] And I didn’t know until I’d interviewed all of like a big chunk of their team. And it was very, very clear then that their culture revolved around family values, helping team members outside of work, progressing from within and promoting from within. And so I got a real sense of values, but I only learnt that after interviewing all their team members, right? So how would you describe your culture and your values in your organisation?

[00:17:02] So our culture I would I would say is it has to be quite relaxed, it’s quite natural, it’s quite free flowing. But more importantly than that, the key thing for us is that everyone needs to progress. You can’t stand still, you have to get better and better and improve. And we were having a little chat about this earlier. We were saying that if a staff member joins us, whether they’re a nurse or a trainee nurse, I don’t mind if they leave after a year. I really don’t. As long as they left better than when they joined us and as long as they leave for an opportunity. I actually hate it when people leave and I think they’re taking a step down. I want them to take a step up and I’ll happily do that. I mean, I’ve got two hygienists who were previous nurses for us. One of them is training to become a dentist. So she doesn’t work for us anymore. But she she wants to come back. I’ve had patients who are going on to study the industry and I’d love them to come back and join us at some point. As I said, we want our reception team to progress and do an administrative role or whichever role they’d like to do. But the key thing is they’ve got to leave better than they started. They cannot go back. And actually, I find it really frustrating when people stay still. That’s that’s the biggest bugbear for us.

[00:18:33] How would I demonstrate that I’m that dentist that. Forward thinking that progressive not standing still, is it through a track record of my post-graduate education, what my personal development plan looks like moving forward? What’s the thing that you’d look for me as maybe an associate working for you?

[00:18:52] So education is obviously very important in clinical skills, but I think clinical skills is actually, I hate to say, overvalued. That’s probably the wrong word, but I think more correctly, I think the other part is undervalued. And when I say undervalued and the other part, what I mean is that being able to progress in your own personal life is really important. Being able to progress in terms of being able to communicate with patients, dare I say it, financially progress. I’ve seen so many good dentists, not progress financially, but improve their clinical skills and and get deeply frustrated and not understanding why they’re going on all the best courses yet they don’t end up converting that into a career payment. I’m sure you’ve seen it with many people doing the Mini Smile makeover. Yeah, they come on the course. You see them four years down the line and say, how is that cost for you? And they’ll say, Actually, I’ve never done a case that.

[00:20:00] We’re trying to figure it out and say, why? Why is it one guy ends up being Matty Parsons booked up eight months ahead with composite veneers and then another guy just doesn’t even do one?

[00:20:13] Well, this is the thing I find really frustrating, because if you have a dentist who has got no skill at all, but they’re able to talk to patients and get them to do the work, they’ll very quickly progress. Even if they were born handed, they’ll eventually become a decent dentist and they’ll build a career because they can talk to people, whereas you can have somebody with the skills of mode, Monica and Jason Smithson all combined and multiply by five. But if they can’t speak to anyone and they can’t explain anything to patients, they’ll end up nowhere. And that now I feel it is really upsetting. You know, if someone like that joined our practise. Well, firstly, if they did, I would show them how to do how to do the other thing and actually speak to patients. But because I think that’s really undervalued. Massively undervalued.

[00:21:05] Do you think that’s teachable?

[00:21:07] Oh, yeah, 100% teachable. Well, you know, no one was born with that way. Some people are more naturally gifted, but I would say I’m probably the least likeable person in the world, naturally. And I’ve had to work on getting my patients to understand where I’m coming from. So if if I can do it, I think other people can. And I have to say that, you know, this is I didn’t learn it. I didn’t make up a system. I learnt it from an amazing guy called Asif Syed, who not many people have heard of, or if they have heard of him, they’ve never really met him because he kind of is one of these people who has quite a lot of influence in the dental world but hides in the background. And he taught me, you know, his version of how to talk to patients. And actually I think he’s actually trained over 400 dentists. But as I said, he kind of is a personality that likes to hide in the background, is more of a have you have you guys see non knockers or anyone see narcosis is more like the Kelly cartel. You know, they like to be in the background while working efficiency efficiently.

[00:22:29] Taff was that guy for seven, eight years and then suddenly one day he came out of his shell. What would you say that a couple of takeaways that you’ve learnt from acid.

[00:22:41] In terms of talking to patients, I would say very simply, tell the patient what you think is best and I mean that in a in a very blunt way. I think a lot of dentists get bogged down in options. They don’t like to give an opinion of what they think is right. You know, if a patient tells you, you know, they’re really upset that they’ve broken a tooth and, you know, it’s hurting and they can’t eat on it and they’re getting food stuck and it looks crap. You know, it’s quite easy to say, well, you know, you need root canal and a crown and it would be nice to have a white one because I actually I think it will fit what you want, and that’s the one I’d go for. There are other things we can give you gold crowns, amalgams, etc. but that’s the one I would recommend based on what you told me. And I think if you just say that to patients, most of them, as long as you come across likeable and trustworthy, they’ll say, Actually, yeah, I’ll do that. Hmm. I think what tends to confuse people or tend to confuse patients where you end up just listing a whole load of options and hope that they’ve got the knowledge of a yes, which took us five years, by the way, minimum. So and that you’re trying to explain it to them in 15 minutes and then they just get confused. And the typical answer they give is, I’ll have to think about it. Can I let you know? And the moment you hear that you’ve lost that patient, they do not understand what you’ve talked about. So I think I think the the biggest take home, I said, is just give them an honest opinion. And obviously the second thing is, which is probably more important, is listening to them, is asking them a question and the art of shutting the hell up and letting them talk. I think it’s it’s a lost art and it’s the easiest thing to do. Be quiet and let them talk and they will tell you what they’re looking for. It’s so true.

[00:24:38] So true. Although what do you think is the reason that people don’t naturally do that?

[00:24:47] I mean, I think we’re a product of the system. Partly the system doesn’t help. It really doesn’t. I mean, I think every dentist at some point has gone through an industry, whether it be for 5 minutes or 50 years. And obviously that’s a time pressure where, you know, the NHS doesn’t really value you talking values are you doing or it doesn’t even value you listening even less than you talking, which is which is even worse. So the system doesn’t help. Secondly, I don’t think that there’s enough emphasis on that part of it in university teaching. For the life of me, I have no idea why I spent a year learning histology. Just no idea. I’d rather they spent a year telling to teaching us how how to communicate with patients. It’s just. I don’t know. I think the focus is is very academic and less practical. And I think that’s also down to universities picking on academia as well, rather than being able to pick on soft skills. But I mean, there’s a vast, vast reason. But one thing I have noticed is that coming out of university is the most successful dentists are not the dentists who are very successful at university. They were the people who had to scrap effectively to get through. Those people have done incredibly well, whereas the academics haven’t done badly, but they haven’t excelled.

[00:26:27] You know, I find there’s the odd person who. Who’s good at both things.

[00:26:33] The unicorn. Yeah. Yeah. There are a few unicorns. Yeah, but that’s. You know, there’s always an outlier somewhere. Yeah.

[00:26:44] So what if you said you love clinical? I do. What is it about clinical that you love? Is it that getting to the bottom of what the patient is after and.

[00:26:55] Not finding that I’m quite unlikeable? I don’t actually care that much. I actually like the technical work. I mean, I do love it when you change a patient and you can visibly see them change. I love the technical work. I actually enjoy it. I love the problem solving and you know, I love my patients. I genuinely do. There’s some patients who I’ve had from day one who are NHS, who I treat for free now, you know, on a private basis because I just love them and some of them I’ve seen, I’ve got deeper relationships with them than they have with their own family sometimes. And one of my patients said to me, I see you more as my family than some of my family, especially around the cove. Around Cove, the time when I had some patients who had a only son, she’s by herself is in Australia and I see her twice a year, once, once a year even. But that’s, you know, she hasn’t seen a son for three years and I love seeing those patients. It’s really hard to give up. But I think the further along you go in the journey, I’m going to have to give up at some point. I just don’t know when.

[00:28:18] What about clinically? What kind of work do you like the most?

[00:28:24] I like the variety. I genuinely like the variety. I consider myself a true gdb. I’m quite happy with a hand scaler doing Perrier. Equally, I’d rather do surgical Perrier. I love doing a bit of Indo. I like doing some orthodontics. I like doing some straightening. I like. I love putting implants in. I like, I like doing whitening. I genuinely like it. Or I think I’d get bored doing one thing. I like seeing a patient and being able to deliver everything. Obviously there are some cases where I can’t and I have to refer out, but I would consider myself a true GP in that I genuinely like everything. The only thing I don’t really like to do myself is is paediatric dentistry. It’s just I’ve never liked it. It’s never been my forte. I’ve always felt like I can’t deliver high quality care with children, but that’s just me. But everything else I love doing.

[00:29:21] I’m in the in the practise.

[00:29:23] You’re sort of.

[00:29:25] Clinical lead, is that.

[00:29:27] Right? Yeah, I would say so. I mean, we’ve got some really strong dentists and I mean, some really.

[00:29:34] Strong you have specialists as well.

[00:29:36] We don’t at the moment, but with our new venture, I think we’re going to look that way to.

[00:29:42] 15 chairs that all.

[00:29:43] Generalists. All generalists. Yeah.

[00:29:47] And maybe private.

[00:29:49] Yeah. Well, between the 14 chairs, we’ll have 7000 users. So effectively, we’re all private. Yeah, we’re all generalists. And we. We we have waiting lists that are, you know, an arm, you know, six months down the line at the moment. So it’s a very, very busy place.

[00:30:07] So what’s the secret, bud? What’s the secret? You’ve you’ve grown this thing so quickly. Is it the very basics of treating people well? Word of mouth?

[00:30:16] Yeah.

[00:30:18] Do you have a marketing machine behind it?

[00:30:20] No, I. I don’t understand marketing. It’s. Perhaps you can have to help me at some point. I genuinely don’t understand it. My wife actually, believe it or not, as a degree in marketing, and she she doesn’t.

[00:30:33] Understand it either.

[00:30:36] Dentistry. But she works for a massive company. She works for Diageo, which is huge as a one under a company. But I personally, you know, I’ve I don’t I don’t understand. Definitely not external marketing anyway. I’m quite happy to ask patients to write a Google review and things like that. My sister’s way better than I am. She’s far more personable than I am. But yeah, no, this is it’s always been word of mouth for us. I know it’s still old fashioned, I suppose, but we’ve always managed to, you know, we see one patient, we get two back, and it’s always been that way. I don’t know why I actually.

[00:31:14] In some ways do you system either systemise the wow moments or do you just you’re just nice people.

[00:31:23] I would personally. I’d love to be able to systemise it. I just I don’t know what it is, in all honesty. It would be nice to know, because then I can box it and repeat it. Yeah.

[00:31:34] Do you know what? You’re doing? Something right? Right. You see one patient, you get two back, right? And this takes me back to yesterday evening. I was out for dinner and I spoke to Payman about this great customer service is so frickin rare that when it happens.

[00:31:55] You want tell everyone you.

[00:31:56] Fucking rave about it. Right. So true. So I went out for dinner yesterday to a place I’ve never been before. Right. And. My usual thing is, first of all, I never, ever order anything off the menu. I’m just twisted like that, right? So I always want a bit of extra chilli garlic. The first thing I do want to walk into an Indian restaurant. Do you do masala chai knowing very well it’s not on the frickin menu? Of course they don’t do it right. And the guy goes, We don’t do it. I’m going to ask the chef to put a couple of pots on for you that’ll keep you going. So it’s like, Boom, he’s got me once. Second thing is, I don’t know if you’ve got young kids ready, but when you take them to a restaurant, right, you want to feed them and get them out of the way first so you can enjoy your meal. Right. And for us, when we feed the girls, we get them plain rice and we ask them to put loads of veg in and not too much spice. Right. So that fills them up. But the guy goes to me, Yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll throw some egg fried rice together, I’ll put loads of virgin. And we didn’t ask for this because and I’ll bring that first so your girls can get sorted. Yeah, he’s just like, shit. Wow. Then I was like, Can I have my tandoori roti rodley? Just just just thin. Really, really butterly and thin. Yeah, it goes thin and crispy. I’m like, bang on, mate, boom. That’s the next thing that comes a little bit later as he’s bringing the starters out. Bring some extra starters out, right, some alley tricky and some Raj Kutcher. And he goes, Try this, try this. This one’s on me, buddy. This one’s on me. Just try it. I want your feedback on this dish at this point. May I’m getting quite emotional. Right? I’m overwhelmed with the surge.

[00:33:33] Yeah.

[00:33:35] Seriously, seriously, buddy, I’ve got a.

[00:33:37] Tear in my to Buddy.

[00:33:38] Yeah. And then and then, you.

[00:33:41] Know, I always speak to my eldest daughter about what great services. She’s smiling at me, beaming and giving me that look like this guy’s got his shit together. Yeah. And then comes along and goes. Just before you leave. Just before you leave. I’ve got Indian afternoon tea. I’m launching that soon. Yeah. And then says to me I’m right in my mobile number on a card for you. You take that away. Yeah. What the actual fuck. Yeah. Like amazing customer service as I’m walking out. There’s a couple stood there studying the menu here. Bloke says to me, food any good, mate? I said to him, Fucking amazing, mate. And the service even better. Get in there. Yeah. Give him a fist pump, smile it and look at it and he walks in. So word of mouth translated instantly at that point. Then I proceeded to write a Facebook and Instagram post about it. Right. Because that was because I was so blown away. Reggie. You’re probably doing that every day. You don’t fill 14 surgeries by accident, mate.

[00:34:47] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Maybe you say that. I’m not sure I am, but I honestly. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m not sure I am. I think I like to use the Tibbs analogy since we’re talking about Indian restaurants. Yeah. You know, Tibbs doesn’t have amazing customer service, though. That’s the thing. But yet on a Friday night, well, pretty much every night they’ve got a queue of, you know, 200 metres down the road.

[00:35:14] Because lamb chops.

[00:35:16] For the lamb chops because that product is just absolutely amazing. So as I said, I don’t really understand marketing, but I understand what a good product is, and I really do. And I think for what we offer, our value of the care for the price and for what we do is that I think is unbelievable. So I think of it more that way. Yes. Obviously, you get amazing customer service on top of that and it accelerates even more. So, you know, as I said, I don’t really understand marketing, but my wife has kind of taught me a few things and she taught me about the the five P’s of of of marketing, of which the most important thing is product. And if you can get your product right, I think that that’s the most important thing. Yeah, customer service makes a massive difference and you’re absolutely right. And it’s definitely something we need to improve on. And I believe that. But I think our strength lies in the fact that we can deliver great industry efficiently, well, in a really beautiful environment, at a cost that I think and this what makes me feel comfortable when I do a crown, I get I deliver that. I look at my patient and I genuinely believe they’ve got a bargain. I genuinely believe they’ve got a bargain. I think, God, I’ve I’ve you’ve got a bargain here. And I think if I can do that and obviously it has to be profitable and it is. Yeah, but if we can do that efficiently and beautifully, then I think that’s for us that’s really important and that’s what our practise is about. We want to give people great dentistry at a bargain and make money at the same time.

[00:37:00] So is that is that the positioning of it? One of the other piece. So are you not the most expensive practise? No.

[00:37:07] Not not by not by a long way. We we’re not we’re not the cheapest. We’re not the most expensive. We’re you know, if we were a supermarket, we’d be we’d probably be somewhere between Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. You know, we’re not like a Whole Foods, we’re not an Iceland. We’re kind of that’s our position and that’s a position we’re very comfortable with.

[00:37:33] And all three clinics of the same positioning. Is that is that.

[00:37:36] Yes. On new clinic, we’re trolley probably. We’re trying to position it slightly higher. But as I said, the way we try to deliver it is we might be priced like a Waitrose. But, you know, we’re we’re we we try and give a product that’s even better.

[00:38:00] Do you know? Do you know that, Rajiv, that value piece that you’re talking about there? Like some people say, hey, you know, what’s the magic formula to sales in dentistry or whatever? Right. I really believe truly it’s about value in what you do, because if you think you’re providing exceptional value, you ain’t got to try to sell because it’s coming from the horror. You’ve the passion that you’re showing now is that it’s a bloody bargain what you’re giving, right?

[00:38:27] I genuinely believe it. I genuinely believe it’s an absolute bargain.

[00:38:31] So you don’t get a struggle.

[00:38:32] But you say you know nothing about marketing. Marketing is is communicating your value.

[00:38:37] Yeah.

[00:38:38] Yeah, that’s it. That is marketing. Communicating your value.

[00:38:42] Yeah you say that, but I’ve never done anything on marketing. I don’t understand.

[00:38:47] I’m doing it right.

[00:38:48] You’re doing it.

[00:38:49] Coming out of your mouth.

[00:38:53] So I might be saying things that I don’t know, but it works. It works for.

[00:38:58] Us. Do not fill 14 chairs by accident.

[00:39:02] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:39:04] Have you done anything like influencer work? Have you treated a particular patient who went and told 100 other people like nothing? It still seems amazing in that time frame.

[00:39:15] I’ve had patients that I’ve told 100 people, I haven’t paid them for it and I’ve never.

[00:39:19] Been paying for them. But but you know, what I’m saying is inflexion points.

[00:39:23] Yeah. There are a few patients who who who generate more leads than others. To be fair, I found that’s more with businesses. Yeah, there’s a couple of local businesses where I think I treat everyone.

[00:39:36] Because people talk in the business that the talking shop the good news and the bad news, by the way. Yeah, of course. Quickly.

[00:39:42] Yeah, well, our new practise is next to one of these businesses, so as soon as we got the lease, I popped in next door and said, Oh, by the way, we’re opening next door. And that’s actually helped us a lot.

[00:39:54] But have you have you have you gone to other businesses and introduced yourself?

[00:39:58] No, not not, not not.

[00:40:00] Not.

[00:40:01] Consciously. Not consciously. I have spoken to other people and owners, but very, very you know, I’ll see them in the street and I’ll say hello and have a little chat, but I won’t specifically go anywhere to speak to anyone. But yeah, I found it’s happened with businesses. It feels like I’ve treat every teacher in South London at the moment for some reason, which is quite nice. When you’ve got two young children, you get to hear the ins and outs of every school is quite nice. Yeah. So it seems to me, you know, there have been spheres of influences rather than specific individuals.

[00:40:44] What you would you explained to me of of Mike what your plans were for the new place. And as you said it to me, I thought I thought to myself, what a confident guy, man. You know, like it takes a degree of I want you to outline.

[00:41:02] It for delusional.

[00:41:06] I want you to outline it for whoever listens to this so that they can get a feel for what you explain to me. But now that I’ve got the context of of what you did before, it seems to me mean if it really is like this, that, you know, you just this successful thing happened and you don’t know how it happened. You know, it’s it’s it’s an interesting sort of situation. Situation, but I’m feeling like either either like you lucked out big time or you’re just being really humble because, you know, like, go on. Let’s start. Let’s start with what are your plans? What are your plans?

[00:41:44] So, I mean, at the moment we’ve got I’ve already mentioned it seven surgery practise in Crayford Green Dental and we’re opening another squat just down the road and it’s a two or three minute walk down the road. And the idea of that was to effectively double our size. So that’s another seven surgeries. And within that, we’ve I’ve we’ve built the seven surgeries. We’ve built a lecture theatre, we’ve been the dedicated admin area. We’ve got a photography studio built in there that we kind of lucked out because we managed to get a lease during the middle of COVID where everything was nosediving in prices. So we managed to get that ridiculously cheap rate for 20 years. Was it before it was, believe it or not, a hairdresser? I have no idea how a hairdresser occupied a three and a half thousand square foot place, but.

[00:42:40] Three and a half thousand square.

[00:42:41] Feet. Yeah, it’s a pretty big.

[00:42:43] The size of enlightened the three floors of enlightened.

[00:42:46] Yeah, it’s a big place. It’s a big place all on one floor. So when we were looking at it the all on one floor. Yeah. All on one floor or ground floor. Bloody hell. Yeah. The frontage of this place is huge and it’s next to a Nando’s and opposite a pure gyms. That’s right on the high street.

[00:43:07] How far are you with it now?

[00:43:10] We’re probably going to be opening in the next two months. Two and a half months.

[00:43:13] Oh, wow. You you’re in the middle of it. You’re like you’re you’re doing stuff right now. Today, builders.

[00:43:19] I told you, the builders are always on on speed dial. Always on speed dial.

[00:43:26] Do you enjoy project managing. Oh, I love it.

[00:43:29] Property stuff. Yeah. I don’t like I mean, I don’t want to be in the rental game ever. I became an accidental landlord when I got married and I had a flat that and I hate that I hate being an accidental landlords are just I’ve given that to somebody else to manage now but I like it on the business level. I don’t know why I like making I just, you know, the way I see it is I spend 50% of my time at work and 50% of my time at home. So I should feel comfortable in both places. And I see one as the extension of the other, you know, and I would, you know, you invest into a business and you get money back from it. You don’t do that at home, but you do that for comfort. And I feel that they should feel the same. I like to feel comfortable in both.

[00:44:21] Yeah, I agree with that.

[00:44:22] And I want my patients to I don’t know if it’s a very Indian thing where you feel like you welcome someone into your house. I feel the same way at work. I feel like I want to welcome them in freaky.

[00:44:34] Tells us he knows nothing about marketing, right?

[00:44:37] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I don’t know. Is that marketing or is that.

[00:44:44] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:44:45] Yeah, yeah.

[00:44:45] Yeah. I mean, I think I think like Lexus. Lexus tell all their employees that whenever you speak to anyone, imagine they’re in your house for the first time and you treat them like that. So if you’re spreading that message that this is what we are with your team and all that and and, you know, running. How many people are you now? Like 100?

[00:45:07] Yeah. About that.

[00:45:08] You’re running a hundred people.

[00:45:10] On.

[00:45:10] Message and on on culture, having the keeping the culture. It’s not easy, man.

[00:45:16] It’s not. No, it really isn’t. I think that’s the biggest learning curve I’ve had is trying to keep. And we’ve been hiring a lot recently. So trying to hire people and make them understand or get them to understand what we value and what we expect. That is definitely been the hardest part for us.

[00:45:38] So take us take us through the steps on this new one, the squat. Is it also going to be called to green?

[00:45:45] It’s called to green dental as well, but boutique to dental boutique. So it’s it’s just a slightly elevated version.

[00:45:53] Of Giorgio Armani of the Emporio. Armani. No, not.

[00:45:56] The whitening brand.

[00:45:58] No.

[00:45:59] I got a little jitter in.

[00:46:01] Your face then. Yes, definitely not.

[00:46:06] So go on. You now near the end of it? Yeah. Yes. But for someone. For someone who’s never done a squat before, go through it. Go through some of the processes. You know, like I want to really about decision making is a big one, right? To decide to do a squat. It’s a big thing to decide, isn’t it? The risks are high.

[00:46:25] You say the risks are high? I don’t know if they are. I really don’t. I think if people are going to open a squat, now is the time and the place, because the price of buying at the moment is is too high. Yeah, I think that’s I personally I think that’s a higher risk. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, I was talking to a colleague yesterday. I won’t mention who they are, but I think they’ve regretted borrowing the amount that they’ve borrowed because they can’t not make ends meet, but they can’t forge themselves the lifestyle initially just because of what they’ve bought. It’s really it’s really difficult, the pricing. So and I don’t see ours as a risk because of the proximity and the brand that we have. You know, that’s like saying McDonald’s opening a new chain down the road is a risk. It’s not that if you understand the product, you go in, you’re going to buy a Big Mac, you know you’re going to get a Big Mac. I don’t see that as a risk. And I think because we’ve we’re opening a squat within the geographical location or the influence of our existing practise. I don’t see that as a risk. I just think of it as a adding another seven surgeries to the to the existing practise just happens to be a bit further down the road. So I don’t know, I personally, I don’t think.

[00:47:47] You made the decision to go ahead thinking it’s not such a big risk. I like that. Then find the property.

[00:47:53] So we found the property which actually kind of fell in our laps. It was literally the first thing I looked at. As I said, we kind of decided to do this in the middle of the COVID period. There was an abundance of property at that point where lots of businesses had gone under. It was in the right geographical location. The price, the rent for it was very, very low.

[00:48:14] Had we already had the COVID bump in dentistry, like where we’d come back and we were busy as hell that one was. It was at the time.

[00:48:21] No, it’s just it was actually we started looking whilst I was sitting at home doing nothing.

[00:48:26] But when you scared like what if patients weren’t going to come back to practises or or you you were cool with it.

[00:48:31] No, no, I didn’t think that at all.

[00:48:33] You were right. I was wrong. I was thinking no one’s going to come. They’re going to think they’re going to get infected by viruses in the air. If you remember.

[00:48:40] I remember you were shitting yourself, mate.

[00:48:43] I think we both were, to be honest. I don’t know. I just never thought of it that way. You know, even with the house prices, my wife was like, the prices are going to drop. And I said to her, I don’t think they are. I think they’re going to rock it up because people are going to move away from London and go into suburbs. And I think I mean, I was proven right, which was a bit crazy because in the middle of COVID, we sold our house and we’ve just put another one. So we I went against my own advice and bought an A in a when the price of going up but that’s another story. But yeah, I didn’t see it as a risk. So we got the practise. You know, we’ve spent effectively a third of what we would have bought if we had to buy it outright straight away with, with a patient base luckily is that we’ve got the patient base already, so we didn’t have to buy that. So for me this is a no brainer. I think we can we’ve got waiting lists of people who are trying to access treatment. So this for me is an extension. The biggest thing is, is staffing. And in getting more people, getting people to buy into what we’re doing, getting the right people to be able to deliver that sort of work where, you know, we see as good quality, highly valued with patients who already value us and more importantly, that they can progress into something.

[00:50:08] Is it easier to hire when you’re offering shift work like because you probably meet certain people’s, I guess, patterns because obviously there might be somebody who wants to do the schoolrooms in the morning or whatever and they want to stop. Does that make it easier to hire or.

[00:50:26] I’m not sure. I think it’s a bit of both. You know, when we first moved our existing staff to shift system, we were met with some heavy opposition. Now we’ve started most of them. In fact, I think virtually all of them have said, I don’t think I could go back to the other system. I think people value having that extra time every day, whether it be in the morning, whether it be in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter so much whether they’ve had kids or not. I think makes it does it make a difference either? Because what we found is that the ones who do have kids either drop them to school or pick them up rather than both. There’s a there’s a variation. Some people have obviously some preferences. Some people are naturally one, either morning people or night night people. I’m a night person. I think Payman yours are the same. You tend to message each other at two in the morning. Yeah. Whereas I think probably you’re probably just about to get up at two the morning. Yeah.

[00:51:33] So yeah, yeah I’m on the opposite. So I went through a phase of being a night person and me and Payman had a lot of evening calls and then and then Payman started eating this one meal a day. I don’t know if he’s still on it now, whether he’s telling me lies, but he messages me at 11 p.m. at night, which tells me he’s probably eating at that time now. But yeah, I’m definitely morning and trying to be unusually in bed for ten.

[00:52:01] Usually what I get from you like talking to you now, this sort of.

[00:52:06] Calm.

[00:52:08] Person who if I if I didn’t if I didn’t know the story, I’d say, this cat, this cat. He’s just he he doesn’t like things to change very much. But looking at the story like you are continuously pushing.

[00:52:24] Yeah, I’m not changing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:52:28] It’s strange. It’s almost like that sort of.

[00:52:29] Calm top.

[00:52:31] Of the water and. And underneath it, like. Like a swan or something like the bottom, the paddling away. But, you know, the just the fact that you’ve done this thing up to now is super impressive, number one. But but, you know someone who just wants to keep on doing things. Yeah. And now 14 years later, you’re like, oh, well, let’s do a new squat and the double up again. Yeah. Would you have plans to keep going? Like, are you thinking possibly 100 practises? What are you thinking? What’s yours? Are you staying regional or do you think you’ll go national with it or are you thinking about all this?

[00:53:12] I would like to expand. I mean, if if it if it keeps going and we keep being successful, why not? I don’t see why not. I’ve never had plans to be a mini corporate or anything like that. I just like to do what the business wants to do. So if it feels natural to expand and it’s the right time and the right place, we’ll expand. If there’s appetite for it, we’ll expand. We’d like to deliver. If patients keep asking, When can I get in? How can I make this appointment? Are you going to be closer to me? You know, then yeah, we’ll expand and you know, as long as we can keep the quality and the people happy, there’s no there’s no reason why we can’t. It’s never really been about that. It’s never been a significant part of the thinking. Yeah, expansion is important and I do want to expand and you know, but more for as I said, I’d like to do what the business is trying to do. I think a lot of people try and make the business work for them, whereas I like to I like to work for the business. If the business is saying to me that more people want to access this service, then yeah, we’ll expand.

[00:54:22] Yeah. But where I’m going, where I’m going is I mean, we’re going into kind of a different era now. But, you know, just a few months back, right, there was loads of cash available for businesses. And you could have done it like a Series A and say, hey, look, look at my track record. I want to put one of these in every city. Yes, you could you could get together with some sharp talking Eton boy or some lawyer or somebody who put the thing together for you. And it would be a credible story. Yeah, but the headaches would go through the roof, of course. But you seem like you’re kind of up for headaches.

[00:55:07] You know, I think I think I take very calculated risks. I don’t like to take crazy risks, even though they may feel crazy or to the outside like they’re crazy.

[00:55:17] Not just about the risk, the headaches, you know, like that one guy would say, look, if I’ve got seven shares, I’m doing well, I’m going on three holidays.

[00:55:25] I’m good.

[00:55:27] Another guy says, Well, why not make it 14 or 21? Another guy?

[00:55:32] I have an answer that for that. So you say that’s a headache? I would say that is a headache as well. But you can plan for that headache. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You can you can line up the paracetamol before it happens. What I would say is that yes, if we’re going to expand, I would like to get the system in place before we expand. And then yeah. Rather than expand and then try and deal with the problems as and when they come. So that’s what I mean by calculated risk. If, if I, if we’re planning to expand, which we will. That’s why I want to build up that the administrative part now with three surgeries effectively most people who run three surgeries do not have they have a PM in each surgery, three people, whereas I want to build it into a 20 person, behemoth, administrative, effectively a business in its own right, and then I’ll use that power to expand. So yeah.

[00:56:34] By the way, let’s not forget 21 chairs, as you know, in its own way, it’s like seven practises or something.

[00:56:40] It is. It is. But you know, there’s a big difference between having seven in one building and to to sell for it actually is a huge difference. It’s a lot easier to control.

[00:56:53] You’re right.

[00:56:54] His seven chairs is 14 chairs, remember.

[00:56:57] Because that’s double shift. Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. It’s no bloody joke.

[00:57:07] It’s interesting. And it could be someone else’s faulty.

[00:57:10] Practises.

[00:57:11] If they weren’t fully optimised, you know.

[00:57:14] Yeah.

[00:57:14] So interesting, interesting way of looking at it.

[00:57:17] So that’s, that’s my expansion. That’s, that’s the risk we’re taking. You’re absolutely right. If that’s the way we’ve seen it, if we run a shift system, we can literally double up. Yeah. And which patient doesn’t want to have access between seven in the morning and at night.

[00:57:36] I’ll tell you what’s really interesting, Rajiv, is, you know, we operate our practise like 9 to 5 or whatever. We do the odd one late evening. Right. And, you know, I have my team members who I call lead ninjas. Right. Who deal with our, shall we say, inbound marketing, which which you know nothing about Rajiv, because you’ve just got you’ve just got 28 chairs filled at the moment. Right. So you can’t do anything about marketing. Let’s put that to one side. And we find that the best time to get hold of patients if you want to book appointments. Right. Or get through to them or follow them up. Right. Is after hours or on a Saturday and you’re open all that time, do you find that your reception team are more optimal around that time in terms of success? Have you not analysed that? We’ve not looked at that. I’m just curious about it.

[00:58:26] Analysed it.

[00:58:27] He’s not looked at it, man. He’s just just a winner. Some people are just winners, dude.

[00:58:31] But you’re right. I mean, naturally what you’re saying is absolutely correct. People, we do get more phone calls outside of ours. And at lunchtime, that is definitely a massive benefit. And when I tell people that we’re open from 730 to 8, they’re like, Oh, okay, you know, that that really suits me. And in the area we’re in, we’re actually in quite a big commuter area. A lot of people travel into the city. And I think since going doing these hours, we’ve hoovered up a lot of that clientele. I bet just just because we’re the only practise in the area that that kind of does that.

[00:59:11] But does the name come from Buddy?

[00:59:14] It’s not original. We’re on to Green Walk. But we didn’t like the name because, you know, we try and do things sustainably. We try and do things naturally, and we like the nature representation. If you look at our logo, it’s it’s a bit different. It’s a it’s like it looks like a shell. And that for us represents. You guys know what the Fibonacci sequence is? Yeah. Naturally occurring number. And so we like that. We like the name and we kept it because of the the, you know, we like the we like to blend in with our background. We like we like to be natural. We’re we’re, we’re never going to paint our practise bright orange or do anything crazy like that to stand out. We’re not peacocking. But what we are trying to do is we’re trying to ingrain ourselves with whatever feels right in the right area and do what patients want and do things correctly. Mm hmm.

[01:00:19] What’s your what’s your bugbear with associates?

[01:00:23] With associates?

[01:00:24] What bothers you about an associate?

[01:00:27] I mean, luckily we’ve had pretty good associates. And, you know, what tends to happen if if we get associates that don’t get along? And actually, now I think about it, I think it’s what I came back to earlier is people trying to do the same thing. So associates who.

[01:00:43] The same treatment.

[01:00:45] Yeah, not necessarily the same treatment but.

[01:00:47] Oh is it not progressing.

[01:00:48] Well progressing. You know, it does it really does bother me when I see a dentist who’s stuck. He’s really stuck. More importantly, they’re not willing to try and change that. I don’t mind if they’re stuck, but they’re trying things that that’s quite nice. The ones that are stuck and don’t listen in terms of of improvement, that’s that’s the thing that bothers me. You know, I’ve I’ve asked many dentists, what where do you see yourself in five years time? I’m sure you guys are asked that as well. To many of the people on this podcast, and no one says doing exactly the same thing I’m doing right now. No one says that. Do they know so? So what bothers me is if that’s what you are feeling and that’s the way we want you to go. You’ve got to you’ve got to challenge yourself. And I think the biggest bugbear I have is is dentists who don’t challenge themselves. And as I said, it doesn’t necessarily have to be going on courses. It could be any sort of thing. But I want them to improve.

[01:01:52] The thing is, dentistry don’t challenge themselves. But by the way, I’ve I’ve been through parts of my career, I think from from around 2012 to 2015. I feel like it didn’t go anywhere. It didn’t progress.

[01:02:05] Yeah. But was that was that a period of a consolidation as opposed to progression? Because you still need periods of consolidation.

[01:02:13] I don’t think it was I don’t think it was. I just I just don’t feel like I progressed whatever. I didn’t analyse myself enough to figure out why I didn’t progress. But what I’m saying is a lot of times people who don’t move forward are uncomfortable being uncomfortable. Right. That that and you’re clearly the opposite. You’re you like being outside your comfort zone and learning and you know, the kind of person that led the first three day a week NHS practise must have evolved into a whole different person who was on a four day a week for four surgery, private practise and then a different person now and a different person going forward. Yes. And you know, you’re comfortable being uncomfortable.

[01:03:01] Why? I don’t know. You’re right. I just. I don’t like staying still. I mean, I just feel like. I don’t know, I just. I just feel like I need to do something. I need to. I feel that’s. Maybe that’s what I feel. Success is is growth is the growth is actually the success.

[01:03:26] A lot of like. Another person could be sitting here saying, look, I too, think the success is about that.

[01:03:31] But I’m I’m scared of.

[01:03:33] Trying that thing that’s going to going to going to make you like, I don’t know, taking on some new bit of digital workflow. There’s loads of dentists, you know, really good dentists who haven’t made that leap into digital. But I’m sure you have. Have you?

[01:03:48] Of course.

[01:03:48] Yeah. Yeah, of course. Yeah.

[01:03:49] Yeah.

[01:03:51] And you can understand how you’re scared of. What I’m saying is that other person could be sitting here saying, yeah, exactly what you said. You know, progress is like that. And yet being so uncomfortable doing it that they don’t make the jump. But you happily make the jump. Where’s it come from?

[01:04:12] Um.

[01:04:14] It’s useful. It’s useful to, to, to know that, dude. Yeah. Because if people could get over that then and by the way, it sounds like you’ve instilled it in your teams. 100 people are thinking like this. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve got something to do.

[01:04:28] I’ve never even thought about it. I mean, I think I’ve always been like this. I think maybe it’s just my nature, you know? I’ve never been scared of doing things. I’ve always felt, in fact, I always feel like I think differently from everyone else. And in a way I have in my my thoughts. I know I think differently from other people. My thoughts are often like an outsider’s point of view from whenever whenever I talked to anyone, you know, we said at the beginning, you know, I put my opinion on Facebook sometimes.

[01:05:01] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:05:02] And I find often my opinion is vastly different from anyone else’s. Not to say mine is right. It’s just I sometimes feel my viewpoint is completely different. I’ve got where I was going with this, but I’ve always felt that way. I’ve never really been scared of the unknown because I feel that maybe I am the unknown.

[01:05:25] Maybe what about as a kid or something?

[01:05:29] Perhaps. I mean, sometimes you look back at your life and, you know, you look back and say, I wish that other people had done things. You know, I look at my mum’s career and my mum was a very and is a very successful pharmacist. And she retired a few years ago. And sometimes I feel that she got stuck running one practise and she loved it. Don’t get me wrong, she was very successful at it, but I felt that she didn’t progress because my father was very much different that way. He wanted to do new things. He’d take a little bit of a gamble. And, you know, he passed away when I was about 18. But I still that’s one thing I really remember about him and that he always wanted to do new things. And I remember him always. I actually remember him doing stuff that excited him. And I think I think I’ve taken that mantle off him and that doing something new is exciting. And I look back and I think perhaps everyone else, you know, if if you’re not being challenged, it’s not exciting, you know, for me, it’s just boring, actually.

[01:06:40] You know that Payman mentioned the fact that, you know you’re comfortable being uncomfortable. Are you uncomfortable? Like Payman said, making that jump to digital? Did you think about making the jump to digital and think that that makes me uncomfortable? Or do you just think I need to go digital? Let’s just get the shit and buy it.

[01:06:59] Pretty much. I mean, going digital is like a drop in the ocean for me. That’s not even a thing. You know, when I talk to other people about what I’m doing, even even right now, they’re like your mental. So at the moment, we’re expanding this practise. Yeah. So we renovated the existing degree in dental. We’re buying this new practise. As I said, I sold my home, I bought a new home. I’m renovating that as well. So I’ve got building work going on there. I’ve got a I’ve got a 12 day old son.

[01:07:31] Congratulations, man. Thank you very much.

[01:07:34] Yeah, he’s he’s he’s keeping me awake at night and my wife, but he’s absolutely amazing. Even at 12 days, they have such a personality is amazing. I’ve taken a roll with Smile Faster, which is great teaching, learning. I’m doing a diploma with implants at the moment. I’ve also taken a role with Invisalign speaking for them. So all of that in the one year I think I’ve looked back at this year and I thought actually maybe I’ve taken on a little bit too much, but I’m still happy doing it and I really enjoy it and I don’t like to stay still. I like to do new things. So it’s all been like, what’s life without a bit of risk and a bit of adventure? That’s what I think. You’ve got to make it interesting. You’ve got to make it fun. When we’re not on the on this for too long. You’ve you can’t stay still. You just can’t. Patrick.

[01:08:31] How would you how would you define success? What does it mean to you?

[01:08:36] Success. You know, I feel it’s it’s for me, I would say it’s doing. You know, that’s a really tough question. Success for me is, you know, multifactorial. For me, it’s you know, it is getting up in the morning and wanting to do what you’re going to do that day. For me, that’s what it is. It’s about progressing as a person, whether that’s clinically, whether that’s emotionally, whether that’s, you know, with family life, it’s about helping others along the way. You know, I’m always the other thing I really like is collaboration. You know, if somebody phones me up and ask for help, even if I’ve never met this person before, I will help them. And I like that. I like helping other people. I like I like working with other people. My sister sometimes thinks it’s at my detriment that I give too much time to other people just to help them out without without expecting anything in return. But, you know, I believe that you reap what you sow eventually. But success success is moving forward. That’s what it is. It’s just moving forward. And if you back it up, it doesn’t matter as long you know, you can you can move forward even if you have to take a step back.

[01:10:05] Let’s talk about some of the mess ups along the way.

[01:10:08] The many, many mess ups, yes.

[01:10:10] Take me take me through some of the errors you think you’ve made.

[01:10:15] You know, actually, at the beginning of the practise, I actually didn’t move that that far forward for maybe maybe for four years. And I think a lot of it was was down to us not understanding the business properly. So I think I think the first thing that that helped is actually understanding what the business is trying to do. You know, I talked about trying to make a practise fit, a lifestyle, and I feel that doesn’t work. We tried to do that. So we you know, when you when you buy a practise young, you go, well, if only I make 100,000 a year, and once I’m £100,000 a year, I’ll be happy. And so what ends up you try and make that business fit £100,000 a year goal, even though it’s trying to do something completely different. And what ends up you never achieve that 100,000? You always get 70% of what you’re trying to do. So I think the first thing we actually made a big difference is we understand, we understood that we’re a lot of patients were trying to access care, so we expanded. We understand that a hygienist is invaluable in that they help us deliver the care that we’re trying to deliver. So doing that made a big difference.

[01:11:32] And I talked about Assef before when we’re talking about talking to patients, but he also helped us form a really amazing business plan. And we continue to talk every three months about our business and how it can develop. And he’s really helped me out. And my sister, incredibly, he’s got a real keen understanding of what what’s the next good step, even if we disagree, is a great sounding board. And, you know, everyone needs a mentor, however it is, whether it’s through clinical business, business personal. So that’s made a big difference business wise. You know, we’ve we’ve made errors in God. You know, how we’ve talked to staff before. I’ve, you know, sometimes you get snappy and don’t mean to be like that. And I think every owner has done that. They’ve said something to a member of staff that they deeply regret, and that’s happened to me many times. And sometimes it’s not even what you say, it’s how you say it. Sometimes you try and get a message, of course, quickly, and you send something on WhatsApp and you go, Actually, I should have said that WhatsApp told you in person, you know, the human side of things. There are so many mistakes we had.

[01:12:51] We had Zeba Shaikh from Rue Dental and she was talking about what she learnt from her dad and her uncle. They owned this gigantic business like care home is the biggest care home business in Europe or something. And she was saying about body language. And ever since I had that podcast, I’ve been paying attention to that myself, you know, and, you know, it’s a growing number of of staff, this new people just.

[01:13:23] A.

[01:13:23] Nod and a wave from the boss makes you realise I wasn’t paying attention to this fact until I spoke to Zeba on the podcast. And everyone’s looking at the boss’s every move.

[01:13:37] Yes.

[01:13:37] Yeah, I was just walking in like one or the others, you know, like not not thinking that anyone’s paying attention to me. And ever since she said that.

[01:13:46] The just just a.

[01:13:48] Small body language thing of of of acknowledging people from a distance.

[01:13:53] Yes. Makes a.

[01:13:54] Massive difference. A massive.

[01:13:56] Difference. And it’s definitely something I’m not naturally good at either.

[01:14:00] Me either. I’m shy.

[01:14:01] So, yeah, you know, sometimes I feel like you, you know, you’re part of the team and you just want to act like the rest of the team. But in reality, you can’t be that person. You have to you have to step up. And it is small things. It often is small things. I wouldn’t claim to be the best boss in the world by any stretch of imagination. In fact, sometimes I think I’m an arse.

[01:14:22] What’s your biggest weakness, do you think?

[01:14:25] Oh, God. Many. I think my. My personal weakness is probably people management. Actually, I have to work on that really hard. I have to be very careful what I say, because what what I you know, I think I was born with that. You know what? You think it just comes out your mouth.

[01:14:52] No filter.

[01:14:52] No filter. That’s the one. And and I’ve been told I can be really abrupt sometimes. And I think with time and actually if you if anyone has been looking. What I see on Facebook over ten years, I think I’ve filtered it down to be less and less and less confrontational. Not because I don’t feel the same way, but more, you know, it doesn’t it doesn’t actually help anyone to be confrontational, you know. And what I’ve found is that is less important to be right. Yeah. So sometimes I know I’m right and I can argue a point and actually upset a lot of people knowing I’m right. I think what I’ve worked out is it’s not important to be right. Actually, when you’re running a business, it’s more important to be fair. If you can be seen to be doing the right thing for the right and being fair, I think that’s more important. For example, you know, if a patient doesn’t turn up twice on the NHS, know you have every right to not see them. Whereas if you speak to them and they realise that one of them was a funeral and the second one they, you know, their diabetic mother went into a coma or whatever it is, I don’t know. You know, it would only be fair to give them another chance. So you’d be right in saying, no, you can’t be seen again, but it would be fair to let them back. And I think it’s more important now, more than ever, to be fair than right. And I think that’s one thing that I’ve learnt and I’ve had to work on because my natural instinct is to argue about being right, whereas actually it’s not important anymore. Yeah.

[01:16:35] And what about clinically errors, patient management, things that stick in your mind?

[01:16:42] You know what? Luckily I’ve been quite good. I’ve always been naturally quite gifted with dentistry, you know, I was the person at university that it was quite happily doing molar endo and now as a student and not really having to need any help. Luckily I’ve been quite gifted. I think the errors I’ve made is being overconfident that something would work when it won’t.

[01:17:05] So when someone comes to you and says with the classic one with I don’t know that six sets of dentures and you’re thinking in your head, I can get this right.

[01:17:14] Yeah, yeah, I’ve had one.

[01:17:17] Or two with that sort of thing.

[01:17:20] You know, there’s always a little bit of overconfidence. Sometimes it’s it’s not overconfidence. I just, you know, sometimes you look at something as textbook correct, but somebody doesn’t get along with it and you fail to see the patient side of things. You know, clinically, it might be textbook perfect, but, you know, if you haven’t communicated with the patient, the patient, the patient’s adaptability is something that is untestable. And if it’s you know, it gets harder and harder to do things like that.

[01:17:52] Have you got an example?

[01:17:54] Yeah, 100%. You know, sometimes, you know, let’s use the classic doing a crown and it’s five microns off and you get one patient who’s absolutely an agonising, uncomfortable pain from it, and then you leave someone who’s three millimetres high and they don’t care. I’ve had a patient where I’ve seen a crown put in three millimetres high from another practise. I’m like, you know, you can only bite on this one back tooth. Yeah, I know. But I’m happy with that. They’re comfortable. They adapted to it. And, you know, the more and more I think about it, the more talking to the patient and then getting them on your side is more important than the actual dentistry in itself anyway. And luckily I haven’t actually had that many clinical errors, but some errors I have had of when I’ve slightly overpromised something and haven’t delivered to that exacting standard that I do have. But again, most of the time I can get the patient on my side and apologise and say, Look, yeah, I did that, overstate that. And then, you know, in the interest of fairness and value, I would say, look, I’ll just do it for you for free. Don’t worry about it. Just replace it. Luckily, it’s only been one or two patients here or there with the bits that it’s, you know, clinically I’ve been okay and I’ve been lucky. I think it will come and bite me in the arse one day. That’s probably the day I decide that clinically I actually have to do something else. I’ll probably end up giving it up at that point. But luckily I’ve what I’ve tended to do has worked really nicely.

[01:19:33] Nice to hear all this bloody. And you know I’m in touch with you and oh yeah who works at yours and.

[01:19:40] Phenomenon she is she will become incredibly successful.

[01:19:45] Very strong on the content side if that’s what you’ve read out of it.

[01:19:48] But she she’s really she’s really humble so.

[01:19:54] Your lovely girl.

[01:19:55] Lovely, lovely. She she knows her weaknesses. And you know, one thing I love about Q&A, she thinks she’s annoying me. She messages me almost on a daily basis on every other day. And she says, what about this case? How is this going to work? I don’t know how to do this. Can you come in and help me? And I love doing it. I actually love helping her. She as she keeps thinking she’s annoying me. She thinks she’s a nuisance. But what I love about her is she’s trying new things, she’s progressing. She’s going to go somewhere, whether, as I said, whether as a as an associate with us in the long run, I’d love it to be. I really would. But as long as she comes out of it, the other end better, which I.

[01:20:39] Believe.

[01:20:39] She already is, I’m cool with that. You know, you wonder is one of these people that is destined for great things. In fact, a lot of associates are, whether they do it so publicly as you end, day is very different. But many of them are destined for great, great things.

[01:20:56] What I was going to say was she really values you as the boss. You know, she she she vouches for you as a boss talking to. And that goes a long way, man. When you’ve got that many dentists and stuff to look out for, it goes a long, long way that you’re giving your time like that sometimes.

[01:21:13] As I said, I think she feels she’s pestering me and actually sometimes I feel like I want my associates to pass through room more that way. So I’d love to help them, but I think a lot of people are scared to ask for help.

[01:21:26] But that said dude, I’ve worked in practises where the me and the principal would, even though we work in the same building, wouldn’t say a word to each other for days on end. So the guy was trying to get out of my pulpit the whole time. I wasn’t pestering him at all, but. But he just didn’t want to because he was a hands off guy, you know?

[01:21:48] Yeah, I find that insane. I mean, if if that hands off, how can you explain what we’re trying to do? That’s I suppose that’s why culture comes in. You know, it comes from the top down. It never comes from the bottom up. So you have to get involved. You can’t be a practise owner, not get involved.

[01:22:09] Have you had this situation that I’ve had at some points where it’s grown in terms of numbers of people and then you spot you see something that doesn’t feel like it’s too green.

[01:22:20] Oh, yeah.

[01:22:22] I wanted to go and snuff it out. Or would you do that? Because I find it very upsetting if someone does something that I would consider not an enlightened thing to do. And it happens more as a team grows.

[01:22:34] Of course.

[01:22:35] Yeah. What would you do about it?

[01:22:39] I mean, it depends on what it is. If it needs to be snuffed out there and then it needs to be snuffed out there, and then yeah, sometimes it’s an individual issue. So somebody has done something that is already outside of the existing set culture. Sometimes it’s it’s an inherent problem within, within the organisation itself. So for example, let’s take another bugbear of everyone, which is stock, you know, one day you’ll end up. Getting a patient in the sitting in the chair before you realise you haven’t got the materials to do the work. Now thankfully that doesn’t happen that often. It happens in every practise, sometimes at some point. But then you have to go, Well, that’s not kind of what we’re about. We, we, you know, I ethos is that we have to be prepared before the patient comes in. So before the patient’s in, the dentist and the nurse has to go look at what’s out and make sure that’s correct for that treatment. You know, that doesn’t always happen. And sometimes if there’s a stock issue and it keeps happening over and over again, one thing you need, what we have to do or what we do is we look back at the system and say, where’s the system gone wrong? So sometimes you have to talk to the person. Sometimes you have to look at the system, and more often not. I think as we get bigger and bigger, the systems fail more and more.

[01:23:59] Yeah. You know, before you can rely on a, you know, saying to your nurse, can you just order that for me? I mean, you got 200 people. You can’t have 200 people say to their nurse, Can you just order that for me? It has to be a proper system in place. And I think sometimes actually, if things go wrong, it’s an opportunity to to improve. And this opportunity to find out what is, what is, what is wrong. But sometimes you have to snuff out at source if it is somebody going against the grain at the beginning in the first place. You know, and I said, my my gut instinct is to WhatsApp them. If I’m not there, it’s like, what have you done to shake them by the head? But you have to be able to take a breath, sit back, and actually it’s really important you actually speak to that person in person. It has to be done in the correct way in building culture. It’s not always easy, and I think a lot of people think practise ownership is easy when you haven’t done it, when you when you’ve done it, you know how mad it is. You know, in fact, I’ll tell you what, that’s one of my biggest bugbears of being associates. They don’t know what it’s like on the other side. Yeah.

[01:25:17] Us and them sort of culture. Prav have you seen that? You must have seen that in the number of practises you’ve been in.

[01:25:23] I have. And you know what’s really interesting is something that Cal once said to me, which was when Barbara. Right, who’s my business partner in the dental suite clinics. And one of the things that he said to me was that when he became a practise owner, he went back to his principal and apologised. Because he he realised how much of a pain in the arse he was as an associate only when he became a practise owner and figured it all out.

[01:25:59] It’s that famous thing is, you know, you’ve got to walk a mile in somebody’s shoes before you understand what they’re doing. Yeah, in that way, you’re a mile away and you’ve got their shoes. Yeah, but yeah, yeah, it’s. I think associates don’t realise how difficult it is on the other side. No, it’s a completely different kettle of fish. It’s not a simple case of we’re taking 50% of your money and pocketing it. Usually it’s a lot less than that. In fact, most associates make a loss for the business and a lot of people don’t realise that. When I when I tell people, when I tell the associates, I look, I said when you when they joined us, I said to her, you’re going to make me a loss. I don’t care that you make me a loss, because I’m hoping that we can develop you into something that won’t make loss and you can be an asset for the practise in the future. But at the beginning you’re going to make a loss and a loss for about two years.

[01:27:01] Have you got that number of like what what an associate needs to turn over before they’re making a profit in your place?

[01:27:08] Our practise is about £1,200 gross a day.

[01:27:13] If they gross 1100. You’ve made a loss on that associate.

[01:27:16] Yes. Yes. It’s about 1200 at the moment.

[01:27:22] Jesus, is that Prav? Would you say that that’s standard?

[01:27:27] Is that is that a half day shift or a.

[01:27:30] Seven hour day? An average seven hour day? Yeah.

[01:27:33] Okay. Okay. Okay.

[01:27:34] Not. Not on the not on the whole day. On the on the seven hour day. But there’s even more. All our KPIs are done on seven hour days. Seven hour days? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s high. But as I said.

[01:27:47] Is the team aware of that number? Everyone knows that number.

[01:27:51] I’m not sure they do, actually. I think the dentists are more aware of it than the dentists. Yeah.

[01:27:58] Do you publish your daily or your weekly sales or your monthly or any of that?

[01:28:03] No, no. I mean, we the one thing we definitely do do is we do we have a dentist meeting every like every quarter without fail quarter. Yeah. Every quarter. Every three months. And it’s, but, but when we meet, we, we, we meet for 3 hours.

[01:28:22] It’s not like does that end up being what kind of meeting does that end up being where everyone’s just shouting. Would you go with like an agenda and.

[01:28:29] Oh god, no, no, no, no. It’s not a shouty meeting at all. Look, the part of the culture is I mean, we really believe that the practise can only move forward if everyone’s pulling in the same direction. Yeah. So, so the whole idea of that meeting is we, we ask what’s going on, where the issues are like on individual level. And then the bigger picture, which is, which comes from me and my sister, we have to explain what we’re doing, practise and the bigger picture. Well, actually, we’re trying to move in this direction and the next thing we see, the big thing is to do this. Whether we have to develop the reception team, we have to develop nursing team, whether you have to develop yourselves, whether we need to start focussing on one treatment over the other. That’s, you know, the the key thing is, is that we all agree to pull in that direction. And I say to them, if you don’t agree, you either have to we either do nothing. Which I don’t want because our practises are about progression or you leave. Basically, if you’re never going to agree, then our practise isn’t right for you. You know, I’ve never been in this situation where somebody disagreed to that extent. Thankfully, I think most people understand you have to do something to move forward. So we do dentist meetings regularly and once every three months. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but every 12 weeks. 13 weeks. It comes around quick and I think if you’ve got three months, that’s a good amount of time for us to see whether that what we did last time actually made any difference. You know, it’s really easy to fall off the wagon after three days. But, you know, we want to meet up every three months. You want to see what we did last time actually made a difference. And we want to see what the next thing is to make the next difference. So, you know, it’s all about progress.

[01:30:27] Effortless, man. You make it look effortless. Make it.

[01:30:31] Easy. You know, if you’ve got a good system, it makes it look effortless. The way Liverpool or Man City play football. It looks effortless sometimes, but that’s because they got the system. They work together. They they all know their roles. They’re all pulling in the same direction.

[01:30:47] I’m going to meet Bob. Bob is going to call this episode The Swan, because I just see you as the swan man. Beautiful and calm at the top and working hard underneath.

[01:31:02] Working holidays? Yeah.

[01:31:06] It’s going quick. It’s gone quick, man. We’ve talked for an hour and 40 minutes.

[01:31:11] I can’t believe that.

[01:31:12] Let’s, let’s let’s wrap it up, dude, because I think perhaps.

[01:31:14] Could pass Proust bedtime.

[01:31:18] And eat a man.

[01:31:21] What was the name of that Indian restaurant? We’ll go there. Yeah. What was it, by the way?

[01:31:26] Doom down in Didsbury.

[01:31:28] Okay, it’s. Yeah, the.

[01:31:31] Pictures look nice, too, but the pictures of the food looked nice, too.

[01:31:34] But it was that, you know, the food was great. Yeah, the food was great. Not the best food I’ve ever had. The food was just great. But the service was just.

[01:31:43] Emotional emotion making you emotional?

[01:31:47] It was emotional, man.

[01:31:49] Let’s move on to let’s move on to the final questions, man. It’s been it’s been brilliant, but it’s been a real education to to listen to you talk about this behemoth man.

[01:32:02] Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to delve too much into family life or childhood or anything like that. Right. But, Rajeev, I’m assuming assuming you’ve got all your shit going on at home as well and you know, you, you make time for for that as well. You were talking about 50% of your time at home and at work and stuff. But yeah.

[01:32:26] I do try to stay at home quite a lot. You know, my daughter is absolutely a joy. She’s unbelievable. And obviously my.

[01:32:36] Other kids as.

[01:32:36] Well, not just the two, the 12 day old and my four year old daughter who’s the happiest girl I’ve ever met and just such, such fun. And she constant keeps me laughing. Yeah. You know, it’s amazing to spend some time with that. And I like to dedicate at least one day with her completely when I can. So. Well.

[01:33:02] Sir Rajiv, imagine it’s your it’s your last day on the planet. And, you know, you’ve got, you’ve got your kiddies next to you and you had to pass them three pieces of wisdom. What would they be?

[01:33:17] That’s a good question. Number one is, if you if you think it’s right, do that. Don’t do what other people expect you to do if you feel that’s the way to do it and you feel. That’s right, definitely do that. Don’t care so much what other people think about what you’re doing. And that’s definitely number two. And probably the third thing I think is, as I said, as we talked about it.

[01:33:43] Early progress is get out of your comfort zone.

[01:33:47] Get out your comfort zone, progress your comfort zone. But don’t expect you can do some things perfectly the first time round because you can’t. Progress is more important than perfection. And in fact, like my four year old daughter’s very much like that. She, you know, she tries something once and when she can’t do it perfectly the first time and she throws a strop. And then you have to I have to say that you can’t do it yet. You just got to keep trying to do it. And yet it’s really important for her. And I keep saying it to her, don’t, you can’t do it yet. You’ve got to keep trying. You can’t do it yet. But the progress thing is more important than being perfect. So definitely those three bits of advice just to I think that that makes you that makes me happy. I think that’s what I would say makes other people happy.

[01:34:35] Rajiv, what about legacy? So if you if you were to. Read this on on the equivalent of a tombstone or whatever. Right. Rajiv was. Dot, dot, dot. What would you like that to say?

[01:34:49] Um. Yeah, I would probably say it should it should say Rajiv was somebody who wanted change and instigator change. I think I think in the long run. Nice. You know, I’d like to change the profession at some point, you know, the. The whole thing. I don’t know whether it’ll happen or not. You know, the politics, the GDC, the the way the profession is seen, the you know, I’d love to be able to change all that at some point, but I would say that’s what it should be. I’m the instigator of change.

[01:35:29] It’s interesting, but because, you know, you need an opinion on what’s the best lever you can pull to make that change. You know, for instance, you would classically you’d say, oh, go stand for some media post, but that in your opinion, that might not be the right vertical. It’s an interesting question.

[01:35:48] Even if it is, you know, there are lots of people who are in the BDA who are great. But, you know, the BDA has been around for a long time. And there’s a lot of criticism that the media in that it doesn’t actually make anything different. Yeah, the way I see it is, you know how I talked about lining up the paracetamol before the headache? Yeah. The way I see it is if you’re going to make change, you’re going to need to. You’re going to have to have people behind you. You know, I’ve got 200 staff members in the dental profession behind me already or going to be 200 staff. So that will help instigate change. You know, I don’t they know what I’m about. They can spread the story of what we’re trying to do. So if I do end up the BDA, I don’t think I wanted it tomorrow. I want to do it when I’ve got real influence or, you know, lot of people who know what I’m about and people know what I’m trying to do, whether they’re with us now or not, you know, so there’s 200 maybe current members, but maybe 100 other people that I’ve improved or the organisation has improved going forward. And if they can vouch for me going forward then actually I might be able to make some change. I’ve got it. You’ve got to line it up. You can’t just join the BDA and agreed.

[01:37:02] Agreed. But, but you know, it’s like here we are. I don’t know, a good 6000 people may listen to this episode on today’s figures, but who knows? Maybe. Maybe this this episode is going to be here for for forever.

[01:37:18] Yeah.

[01:37:19] So hit us with with your your key idea on how the profession needs to change.

[01:37:27] Mostly it’s about respect. You know that the GDC need to respect the profession more. The profession needs to respect patients more. The key thing for me is, you know, obviously there’s over litigation and stuff like that, transparency with the NHS.

[01:37:45] So it is.

[01:37:47] Yeah, transparency. You know, the funny thing is the GDC say you’ve got to be upfront and honest with your patients. That’s one of the key things they say. Yet they say, you know, a lot of people have taken that to be you can’t say what you’re trying to tell them. You know, if you want to tell them that they they really should pay this for that sort of crown to get the best value of money, whether it’s on the private NHS, because that’s how you feel. You know, there are rules and regulations sometimes, so you can’t say that. It’s like, hold on a minute, I can’t be on. You’ve got to be honest or not. It’s got to be one or the other. There’s got to be some sort of transparency there. And I think the lack of transparency actually makes such a difference. You know, with all this litigation that’s going on, the work force morale, which is probably at an all time low, might have picked up a little bit after COVID, but there’s some major things going on. So, you know, I think respect and transparency is major for me.

[01:38:48] For sure. But, you know.

[01:38:51] Your final question.

[01:38:52] Final question. Fancy dinner party. Three guests. Dead or alive. Who would you have?

[01:39:03] My dad. Definitely back. I’d love to be able to speak to him again and see what he thinks.

[01:39:08] Would it be proud of you, dude?

[01:39:10] Yeah, I hope so. You know, it’s really strange because, as I said, he passed around when I was 18, and I think I was changing quite a lot. You know, it’s when you become from a dependent to an independent effectively. And he never really saw me as an independent. I’d love to see what he thought of me as an independent adult as opposed to a dependent teenager.

[01:39:35] I don’t know what kind of a guy he was, but, you know, Asian parents famously don’t tell their kids they’re proud of them until until, you know, it’s well, well, years and years later when. And so but Buddy, I’m sure he was proud of you when you were 18, but I’m sure he would have been, well, proud of you now, too.

[01:39:57] So definitely my father. Who else? Dead or alive? You know what? I still say my wife. My wife? Yeah. You know, we have such a great time. You know, she’s. She’s so interesting. We keep each other on our toes and definitely, you know, any dinner parties, she’s got to be there. And I like.

[01:40:26] That. It’s a family affair. So you got to throw in Mahatma Gandhi in there, so.

[01:40:32] Yeah, she would just say. And my.

[01:40:34] Cousin.

[01:40:38] One last person. No, that’s a bit of pressure. You know what? Actually, I call it on a business point of view. Someone who I find really fascinating is is Richard Branson. I probably get him in there because I think he’s quite famous in that. I think he said once about improving his own staff and somebody asked him, well, why? What if they leave after you spent £30,000 training them and go, well, he said, Well, what’s better that we let them rot? I’m paraphrasing massively. Or do I train them and improve them? And that resonated with me. That really does in that. Richard Branson I’d love to pick his brains about many things. So yeah, that would be my, my three.

[01:41:30] You should listen to the episode with Andy much more.

[01:41:34] Okay. Yes.

[01:41:35] She hangs with him all the time.

[01:41:37] Okay.

[01:41:38] He’s like. It’s like episode seven or something. It’s in the single. It’s in less than 20. Only one of the early episodes.

[01:41:47] He’s he’s Richard Branson’s buddy. But he happens to be a practise owner as well. And I remember Andy saying to me, the one piece of advice Richard gave him was that spend the majority of your time recruiting.

[01:42:00] Hmm. Yeah. I mean, I would agree with that. Recruitment is important. People make a business. Yeah.

[01:42:07] But he’s been an absolute pleasure. Absolute pleasure. And really good luck with the new venture. I’m sure it’s going to be super duper.

[01:42:15] Thanks, Rajeev. No, no problem. It’s been fun. It’s, you know.

[01:42:18] It’s flown by.

[01:42:20] Really? It really has. And I got a good Indian restaurant tip out of it as well. Yeah, but, man, just. Yeah, well, you know what I meant all the time, so. And I’m up there.

[01:42:32] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:42:48] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:43:02] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening.

[01:43:12] Thanks. And don’t forget our.

[01:43:14] Six star rating.

Listeners who heard Dominic O’Hooley’s last appearance on the podcast may remember that Dominic doesn’t do small talk.

And he didn’t break the habit when sitting down to chat with Prav at the Association of Dental Implantology Congress in Manchester.

In what turned out to be one of the most candid and searching episodes yet, the pair talk about Dominic’s difficult upbringing, his fraught relationship with his father and the challenges of caring for a son with non-verbal autism.

Dominic also discusses his own autism diagnosis and talks about the near-fatal cycling accident that almost ended his career.

A full video of Prav and Dominic’s conversation is available on Prav’s website.

Enjoy!  

 

In This Episode

00.24 – Who is Dominic O’Hooley?

03.16 – The rise and fall of Boots dentists

16.24 – A place for reflection

18.28 – Childhood

22.18 – After mum

31.28 – After dad

35.33 – Family life

51.59 – Protection, healing and autism

01.03.25 – The state of the world

01.07.12 – Lump-in-the-throat moments

01.10.54 – The bike accident

01.24.19 – Second wind and teaching

01.32.52 – Life advice

 

About Dominic O’ Hooley

Dominic O’Hooley is an implant dentist with over fourteen years of experience in implant placement and restoration and also carries out bone grafting, sinus surgery and bone regeneration.

Dominic is an international lecturer for Southern Implants and Ethoss bone regeneration. He is also a regular contributor to the dental press and journals. 

Transcript available here.

Payman takes a trip across the pond this week to chat with UK-born Upen Patel, who practices in Sacramento, California.

They explore the differences between UK and US healthcare, education and culture, and Upen chats about his experiences at some of the US’ top training academies.

Payman and Upen also talk about the challenges of funding dental school, Upen’s love of squash, and much more.

Enjoy!  

 

In This Episode

01.24 – Moving to the US

05.58 – UK Vs US schooling

08.39 – Funds and finance

17.59 – Next steps

21.23 – US associates

24.38 – Coping with COVID

28.42 – Safety nets

31.34 – Practice purchase

33.12 – Specialisms

36.33 – The team and US models

44.08 – Postgraduate training

56.01 – Fees, pricing and positioning

01.05.43 – Black box thinking

01.19.19 – Missing the UK

01.21.33 – Squash

01.23.41 – Fantasy dinner party

01.24.27 – Last days and legacy 

 

About Upen Patel

Upen gained his DDS from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco, US, in 2005.

As one of the course’s youngest ever graduates, Upen earned the Outstanding Achievement Award from the university’s Academy of Restorative Dentistry.

Depen then completed a residency in advanced education in general dentistry at PACIFIC University, where he graduated as valedictorian with the highest honour in his class. He is now a member of the university’s faculty.

He is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry and a fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. 

[00:00:00] Yeah. I mean, I’d say more competition, but to be honest, I’ve never been worried about competition. I think there’s enough patience for everyone. It’s just what kind of patient you want to treat and also personality wise, who get along with as many patients I wouldn’t get along with. And that’s fine. They don’t see me, but there’s a certain demographic I really get along with and I know what my niche niches. But yes, I would say I would say fair market value around average for the whole country at the highest percentile, let’s call 1800 for a crown.

[00:00:32] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:00:49] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr. Patel onto the podcast opens. Dentists who qualified in the US but grew up in the UK a bit different to what some people want to do than where they qualify in the UK and then want to move over to the US. And actually did his A-levels in the UK and then and then moved and then started his undergrad training in in the US in Europe, in San Francisco.

[00:01:16] That’s correct. A specific San Francisco.

[00:01:19] Yeah. Lovely to have you with.

[00:01:22] Pleasure’s mine.

[00:01:24] So open. You know, the reason I wanted to do this podcast was to get for people kind of a contrast on the American system compared to the UK system. I know you’ve never worked in the UK system, but just, you know, your your answers to questions will enlighten people. But just tell me about the move itself. What what happened that made you move?

[00:01:46] Absolutely. So back in 1997, I just finished my GCSEs and every year my mom’s side of the family live in California. Every year we would go for summer holidays to the US. And, you know, I thought nothing of it. I was just I’m just visiting my cousins and but you know, they were probably always talking about my uncles or my mom. You know, you should move out here and move out here when when you’re ready. And then eventually they got a green card and they decided to wait till I finished. I was secondary school in England, so I finished A-levels. I did the usual stuff, you know, it was a pure maths, mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, all the usual stuff. Back then I didn’t know anything. I was so young. Knowing now the difference between the UK and the US, I had no idea what I wanted to do and when I was 18 I just thought, Oh, I’m supposed to be a doctor or a pharmacist or something. So I just took those subjects and then I applied to pharmacy schools in England at King’s College. Queen Mary Westfield, I think was called in and some random place. I think it was Bristol. I don’t remember anymore. I just knew I wanted to live in London and that was that. And then my mum was like, You know, we’re going to move to America. I’m like, Oh, okay, so how do I do that? Suppose you have to take SATs, you go do these exams. I’m like, I just finished all this stuff. I don’t want to do any more. And then then I basically went through the American application process to become a pharmacist in America. I did all that and I got in.

[00:03:10] From.

[00:03:10] Here. Yeah, yeah. You just it just like UCAS form kind of stuff. But they have America similar things. So I did all that and then to basically I got into the universities in England, but I had to decide. So then basically I went, I came to America and when I, when I landed in America, I thought I was going to be a pharmacist. Day one is different here. You do for you as undergrad, pre pharmacy, pre dental or and then you go to professional school. So that was the best thing that ever happened because when I came here, apart from the cost of education is completely different. And that was a big shock to I did not understand that, which is fine. I mean, there’s a difference in the way things are done in the education system versus us versus England. But yeah, I came to school, I mean college, and they’re like, Yeah, you’re taking chemistry in biology. I’m like, I did all this, but what? What do you mean? So I first two years, I was so easy in college, I had a good time. I literally took A-levels again. And then you take organic chemistry, physiology, all this stuff. So you can take all the prerequisites to to go to pre-med pre pre farm. So what happened was I was taking all these classes. I was like top of the class. It was like everyone was like, Oh, the British student, you know, can you, can you talk like the way you talk and all this kind of stuff, you know? And it was easy to make friends and it was easy. It’s like but it was just I wasn’t used to the culture either. I missed all the sports in England. I missed just the places I used to hang out. And it was a big culture shock coming here because I wasn’t in New York City. I was in a small town in California for the university. So it was very hot too, like 110 degrees and all the time.

[00:04:51] Where did you go? Where did you go for the pre-med bit?

[00:04:54] So I went to Europe, also University Pacific, but they undergrad in Stockton. So it’s it’s inland from San Francisco about 2 hours, like not 120 miles. And so I thought I was going to be in like a New York kind of thing and all that kind of stuff. No, but it was a good thing because I studied I didn’t wasn’t distracted. I made lifelong friends. They still my friends. But what happened was all my friends were present and I was like, wait a minute, I’m getting better grades at the same grades as you guys, you know, nothing against pharmacy. But I just by the time I did some, what they call it, work experience and pharmacy dental stuff, I had time to do it. And also I think I had become a dentist. You know, all my friends are doing it. And plus, the dental school was in San Francisco. It wasn’t in Stockton. So I was like, I want to live in a big city. I want to become a dentist. And that’s how it happened. It was just stumbled upon it because my friends. They are doing it and none of my friends are preform. And I was like, I don’t want to be stuck here and get bored, you know? So that’s how it happened. And then if I stayed in London, I would have probably been a pharmacist, but maybe I would have changed mid-career. I mean, undergrad or university? I don’t know.

[00:05:58] You must have had buddies who did A-levels with you and then went to university here. What’s your impression of the difference between uni here and college there?

[00:06:09] So, you know, I don’t know if you went to a private school in England or public sight. My whole I was always in the private school, you know. So coming here was a big difference to always all boys, you know, in England, here, suddenly I’m in college. Oh, this is great. You know, everyone is like there’s a lot more girls.

[00:06:27] Did you go berserk?

[00:06:28] Well, it was it was fun. You know, I didn’t have to I didn’t have to worry about work so much. I mean I mean, studying so much because I kind of was repetition the first year or two, but then it got hard. But so British, I think three years, right? I think it’s three years and then you’re done and then you pretty much off in the workforce. I found that some of them, they went to Oxford, Cambridge, some of them went to UCL Kings. I found I found that they had a good time but it was over in a flash and of them had a hard time with that adapting straight away and then just being a professional and that’s it. You’re like here. I mean, technically you can be in college like eight years, nine years. And if you really do like undergrad masters, professional, you know, I mean, it’s just the cost of this stuff. You know, I did it a little bit different. You can go as fast as you want. So I finished undergrad in three years, you know, because I had all those UK classes, so I got credit for it and then I finished dental school in three years.

[00:07:20] Normally dental school’s for, but I went to Europe which has there’s no summer vacation. So I just kept going and that gave me an extra year. I did a residency like an advanced education, dental dentistry. So I was done in six years. I was done as a dentist, maybe similar to a UK dentist around 23, 24. So I had had a lot of time to process everything, but I had no guidance. None of my family members are doctors or dentists, so that was the first one. So in hindsight, if I could go back 20 years, it’s so much more I would have paid attention to and done, but I’ve done my own path and I’m happy with it. But I think I think UK again, I don’t know too much about what training is involved and an undergrad in dental school, but I find that we had all multiple choice in all our examinations. Any examination for anything is always multiple choice. I think UK is more essay based. From what I understood from when I was in A-levels, it was handwritten answers and maybe that’s the same way in professional school. I don’t know.

[00:08:19] We had some multiple choice, but the multiple choice was negative marking. Did you have that where if you get it wrong, you get a minus one?

[00:08:27] No, no, it’s just.

[00:08:29] It’s just multiple choice. It was like I’m not sure if they still do it, but there was a question of do I even answer the question? Because if you don’t answer the question, you got zero.

[00:08:38] You kind of guess it.

[00:08:39] If you get it wrong, you get minus one. I’m not sure if they still do that now. I know. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. So give me an idea of the costs. What are the kind of costs you’re looking at for undergrad and then professional school?

[00:08:52] So this is 20 years ago, so I’ll give you 20 years ago costs and I’ll give you 20, 22 costs because I do know those numbers. Yeah. So if you go and these are no I mean, no, no scholarship, nothing straight like full fee undergrad if you go to somewhere like maybe a state school but like a like a like UCLA or UC, that would be it’s not a private institution. It’s still not cheap, you know, versus a private school. Could be USC, Europe, NYU undergrad for you. I mean, you could be looking at almost 103 and 1000 just undergrad, you know, nowadays.

[00:09:27] Now pre-med bit.

[00:09:28] Yeah, yeah. Nowadays yeah. I mean, back then maybe, I don’t know, 100,000 just for undergrad. I mean, that’s maybe 150, but I’m gonna say 100 and then dental school, medical, dental school is more expensive than medical. More expensive than pharmacy. I think veterinary school is more than dental because I think that’s the only other one that could be similar. But dental school back then was 250,000. Now I know it’s pushing FI 400 to 500 just for dental school. And then if you have residency, some of them, some residencies, you’re paid a stipend, some you’re not. So if you go to Endo, Ortho and or Ortho Perio, some of those could be 250 or so now. So you could be $1,000,000 for 8 to 10 years of school age, $30 million of debt, you know, and oh, man, that’s that’s a it’s a big deal. Then you’re trying to buy a practise for 500,000 or a million with building. I mean, it adds up quick. If you don’t understand finance, I mean, you could easily take 500,000 and invest in a couple of real estate and you don’t have to go to school technically, you know, I mean, it depends. It depends, you know, what location you’re at. So you really have to like this profession in this country if you’re going to spend this kind of money. And most people still don’t know that. That’s what I mean. I’ve noticed some people, they think, oh, it’s easy money, you know, just got a. In a bunch of offices and just get going. And there’s plenty of people that are very good at business. That’s fine. They’re good at that. But you know, I don’t know what it’s like in London if there’s a tuition. I mean, England’s sorry, or Great Britain. If there’s tuition, there is tuition.

[00:10:54] But it’s it’s it’s capped. I think it’s capped at nine, £10,000 a year. Okay. And that’s kind of that’s kind of new. When I went through dental school, it was free and there was even there was even money they used to pay people. If I mean, it was means tested. Yeah, it was. It wasn’t even a loan. It was actually it was it was a grant. It was called. And it was means means tested. So I don’t know. I didn’t get it. I don’t know how much you had to earn to get it, how little you had to learn to get it. But but the government would not only give you pay you your your university, but would also give you money to live as well. And, you know and you know that that that wonderful notion that that where you come from shouldn’t affect your your opportunity for for education. That used to be a thing over here. And I bet you think it still is a thing with the cost compared to yours. Yeah. So what do you do about getting that cash? Did you did your parents pay? Did you get a loan?

[00:11:52] What happened? No, you just get a loan. They have federal grants, private loans. So. And then that includes money for living costs and things of that. But if you live in a city like San Francisco, in New York or L.A., I think your rent is going to be you might and you start going out a lot and stuff like that. You probably gonna go a little over, but you know, it was 100% loan. But if I ran out of money, you know, my parents, it didn’t come from medical or any like professional background. They similar to, I think a lot of my age group in England. They, they grew up in Zambia and Kenya. They moved to London in the seventies and they had a shop, you know, newsagent. So they worked like 24 hours. I mean, sorry, seven days a week, almost like 12, 13, 14 hours a day. I think it’s similar to Proud Dad from what I understand from the Cos. But yeah, so they gave me extra money if I ran out because I needed it for food or just rent but I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t like extravagantly spend it. No. Because I know I had to pay it back. So I mean the loan money. So back then though it wasn’t nowadays it’s very bad interest rates for loans. It could be like five, six, seven, 8%. Right back then I think it was like you could get 1 to 3% for a for a government loan and private loans might have been 5 to 6% if you don’t if they don’t cover enough.

[00:13:06] So two questions. Number one, what was your parent’s plan regarding work? Were they planning to open a shop in America as well?

[00:13:16] No, I think when they came here, my uncles, they had some history with some business here and some real estate and hotel or motel. So I think a lot of Indians say either go into that category or the agent versus us versus England. But yeah, they got a motel area. It wasn’t the best location, to be honest. They did their best. They got quite badly hurt in the recession in 28, 2008. But you know, they don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, so they’re fine. I’m around. So if they need anything, I got them. You know, I’m fine as a dentist now. So they came here and they they gave me the opportunity.

[00:13:59] Yeah.

[00:14:00] The opportunity to to do whatever I wanted.

[00:14:03] We were at a conference in San Diego, the OECD, last year.

[00:14:08] Oh, yeah.

[00:14:09] In, in the same conference hall was a it was I think, I can’t remember the exact name but it was like a it was kind of the Asian Hotel Owners Association.

[00:14:18] Okay. Yeah, yeah.

[00:14:20] And there was a bunch of happy guys walking around and we bumped into some of them in a bar afterwards. And one of them was, there was a couple who they were dentists, but they’d bought a bunch of motels as well. And they were telling us about the business model and how there’s a couple of guys who own hundreds of motels and. Oh, yeah, like any other business. Right. There’s no, there’s always a couple of guys.

[00:14:44] Yeah, it’s real estate basically. And they got in early and you know, and they have a big connexion. So my parents, a small time they had one and just to pay the bills and get by and you know, they’re content. But yeah, you can it’s just like opening multiple dental offices and selling it for multiple of them and stuff like that. That’s what it is. Or just hang on to more and more and more. Then a big marriott will come over and take everything from you if you really want to. But this, this is never ending. So why would you sell it? You would just keep growing, you know, and then sell it, maybe a portion of it. If you don’t want to deal with a headache.

[00:15:15] I don’t mean to pry, but just give me this. Like, what was when you qualified? What was your monthly payment for your loans that you had? Like, how did that what kind of amounts are we talking?

[00:15:25] So they’re like 25 year loans. So yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I forget now. I mean, I.

[00:15:32] I’m like $1,000 or was it like 5000?

[00:15:35] There’s a minimum payment. But I didn’t I didn’t want to keep I wanted to get rid of these loans. So I try to pay them off in like. I don’t know, like four or five years, I try to pay them all off. I just work like crazy. Yeah, I was done. I think I was done by, like, 31, 32. I paid it all off, but I didn’t. But there’s a difference, right? So now I look back, I would tell my 24 year old self, just make minimum payment, all that money, buy a bunch of properties. And then all those properties would be millions right now. Right. But I didn’t know because I’m very debt averse because just think on my upbringing. My parents always like don’t take risks. Look, you know, like we did this and we lost this. Like, just be be conservative and this and that. So until like I started like establishing myself, I wouldn’t really I would have given me more stress. So I just knew one thing I can earn. I’ll pay off these debts. At least that’s gone. But what I realise is once the debt’s gone, I felt good for a little bit. And then what’s the next thing you know? So the real thing about money and finance is how to leverage things. And some debts are good debts, some are not good, you know.

[00:16:43] Well, you know, hindsight is 2020, right? I mean, if you if you qualified in 2007 and given yourself that advice, that would have been really bad advice. Right? Right. So there is risk in in everything. You’re right. If your number.

[00:16:56] One thing was 1000 a month, I don’t know, three or four if I was I had to dig in. Right. I mean, otherwise, no, in most payments might be 2500 a month and you’re paying many interest. Here’s the other problem in America. If you make, I think, over 100,000 or whatever or something like that, you can’t write off the interest. You cannot so it’s it’s that’s why right now certain with Biden and what he’s said I think a lot of because of all the political things I think right now people have student loans he’s put a hold on interest payments. So they they’re not paying anything right now. They just it’s good. And he may forgive it. He may forgive some of those debts. But I’m guessing people who make a lot that he’s not going to do that. You know, so it’s all just they move the money around.

[00:17:38] You know, that debate, that debate is going on. Isn’t it about non-professional degrees and whether the amount of money they cost has been worth it to all these people? You know, people have been sold this idea of get an education and then at the end of it, not getting jobs that pay. But I think dentistry where we’re, you know, bit better on that front. So then tell me you qualified. What was the next thing you did?

[00:18:04] So I finished in 2005 and to be honest, I didn’t know what to do. I was like, Oh, I don’t know where I’m supposed to go back. Then I remember I was following Rosenthal like just a little bit on on back then there was no Instagram, no Facebook just started. So I was.

[00:18:21] I was just doing.

[00:18:22] Magazines and stuff. I was I was looking at magazines. I would I would like read about stuff. I would fly out to some small courses, but I was I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. So then I was, you know what? I know how to do some things, but I’m unconsciously incompetent. I was at that level, I didn’t know I was doing things wrong. So then I was like, I need to get to consciously incompetent, then I need to get to consciously competent, and my ultimate level is unconsciously competent. I knew that. So then I was like, Dude, right, I’m going to take a residency, I’m going to do a one year here. We have, we don’t have VTE here. So I learnt about that a little bit because I’m going to actually what happened was I did the one year it was, it’s called Advanced Education, Dental Dentistry. Another programme is called General Practise Residency. They’re very similar, but one is more hospital based. I’m one of the more private practise space, so in that one year I got about five years of private practise experience. I did. I did a lot of fixed price, a lot of removable, a lot of endo implants, just everything I wanted to do as a private doctor, dentist. And so that was great. When I finished that, that’s when I entered the workforce. And then I was like, Oh, okay, let me try to live in LA.

[00:19:29] I want to I want to work on Rodeo Drive. What’s that like? So I drove down. I drove like 600 miles down from Norco. So Cal and the jobs were I mean, I don’t know, they were kind of shit, to be honest, you know, they were like, here’s, here’s a base pay of X amount and you do all this kind of stuff. I can’t even cover rent, let alone my payment for loans, right? So I said, You know what? I don’t think I can do this right now. I think I’m going to have to live in Northern California. The jobs are better, and maybe I’ll just find something more corporate, which I didn’t want to do. But there was a new company back then that initially they were good. So I got a job, I got a job and it gave me a good start and I learnt a lot of things, but then a lot of things changed and it became very production based and and just no time and patience. And I had to do hygiene. I started going down this spiral. I was like, This is not what I want to do. Then my mind started thinking about different things. I was like, Don’t want to go to school, don’t want to go to school, then want to go to a surgery school because a lot of my friends were in residency and from a US was still although I was like, maybe they’re doing something right, I should look into this.

[00:20:31] And then I started thinking, I think I want to come to England to do a residency. So I googled all that stuff. So what’s it like to go to England? You know, because I’ve kind of missed I felt like I missed out on on my time in England at that time. I was like 25, I was 24, was like, what if I did a year or two in England? I know it must be cheaper out there and maybe I can learn something different and come back. So I started researching some programmes and then I got more in-depth emails. It’s not cheap actually, and then I’ll say, Wait, I got payments, I got to do this stuff. And so then I scrapped that idea and I realised you have to have a licence to work there. I can’t just even though I’m a citizen of us and Great Britain, I don’t have a British licence and so I seemed like a bit more complicated, take exams and all this kind of stuff. So no, I just, I just started focussing on SEO side of really taking whatever I could at wherever it was in America and just started building on that.

[00:21:23] To just explain to us as an associate what’s the what’s the sort of standard percentage that associates get paid?

[00:21:32] So it depends where you are. So there’s a there’s a great dentist and you probably heard of him. Howard and I took all his 30 day MBA classes and all this kind of stuff on online. And he was saying, you know, most associates, when they get out, they want to live and practise in New York City, L.A., Chicago, right where there’s so many dentists and the kind of job you’re going to get there, you might get a base pay of me for 5500 back then, maybe like a hygienist kind of pay. And well, the best thing to do is go more in a rural area or maybe a city that’s not so large. You’re going to get more opportunities. You have potential to have unlimited income. You could make base pay, but then a percentage of collection of production, maybe 25 to 30 or 35%. So if you’re a specialist, you could make 40 to 50%. As a general dentist, I would be very happy with 30% adjusted production or 35% collections. At the beginning I was getting around 25 to 30. I was happy with that, you know. I mean, I was more interested in just learning my skills. I, I never really I could have made a lot, a lot more money as an associate, but I didn’t want to put myself in risk situations and then deal with problems when I left the practise, because litigation, I thought litigation was bad in the US, but I found out that UK is.

[00:22:43] Quite.

[00:22:44] Yeah, I did not know that and I started hearing about it and I was like, Oh, that’s not not good. What’s going on over there? So something changed so that.

[00:22:54] Yeah, yeah. Basically we’ve got one law firm who changed the whole picture. They, they basically lobbied government. They buy dental cases, they advertised ambulance chasers. Has the dentist hurt you? And then they they they really push hard. And they literally it’s it’s sad to say, our profession has been I mean, society as a whole has become more litigious here with our profession basically in the UK has been turned over by one law firm which which by the way, a couple of dentists set up, you know, like really qualified dentists and lawyers here. It’s awful. It’s awful that we haven’t managed.

[00:23:38] Yes. Together. Yeah.

[00:23:39] Well, you know, they became dentists first, I guess, and then I then did LLP or something. So but this 25% that you just mentioned for the associates is is that is that around the number you’re paying your associate right now? Is that is that the kind of thing is that normal?

[00:23:55] Yeah, I would say, like I said, I pay based on what they do. So there’s no adjustment unless there was like, you know, maybe the patient paid $100 and there was a 5% discount. So they’re going to get 95 rate of 95. I’m not going to. Yeah, that’s what it just means. But yeah, 30%. That’s very fair. I’m covering all that bill. I’m covering you pay the bill anything you want. Yeah, I’ll take care of everything.

[00:24:20] Okay. So I was a slightly different. The associate shares the lab bill 5050, but then a standard kind of percentage here is 40 or 45% now. But that’s recently changed. I mean, it used to be 50% for years and years and years and the last sort of five years it started moving. And then since COVID, which we should we should talk about COVID. Tell me about COVID. Did they force you to close? How long did you close for?

[00:24:47] In this country. I was closed for three months because I felt it was the right thing to do, but there were offices that were open. They can’t force you to close. There was a guideline and then there were some practises that I know of and dear friends, they were open and obviously nothing happened. But to be honest, personally for me, I bought my first practise in 2014 and it’s a large dental complex, so there’s other practises in it. So slowly over the years I’ve been buying out all the practises in this building and I keep merging them into mind. So then right before COVID, I was talking to one of my mentors in the building and he’s, he’s. To be honest, I feel like he’s his level of education and training is in there time and age. But he was close spirit kind of level. And I don’t know in England who are the guys or women that are that kind of level? To have someone like that help me and train me is priceless. He’s like, You know, I want you to buy my practise. I approached him. I was like, You know, I’ll be interested in buying your practise when you retire. He’s like, You know, I really like that. I really like you. And I’ll be honoured if, if we could merge together. So we started doing that and then COVID happened and I’ll say, Oh, is this going to happen now? You know, and then best thing ever happened. I mean, I don’t like that could happen, but it was a good thing because it gave me three months off to merge my practises with him, to merge all our systems. I’ve never in my career had time to strip the whole practise down, go fully childless, go fully everything I ever wanted. I systemise from from A to Z and it’s increased. Like my happiness here is increased obviously the efficiency and profitability. But main thing is, is that I, I’ve just kind of set it up the way I like it now. And he finally retired a few months ago. And it’s been a very good transition, a very smooth transition.

[00:26:33] So did you not have that oh shit moment where you know you’re not going to get any income?

[00:26:38] Oh, I did not. I did. But then we got in this country, we got what’s called a p p p e loan or something. So the government gave up some money, you know, to all businesses. If without that, I was in trouble. Yeah, I had, I had one day I came to the office and I was like, you know, what the hell am I going to do? You know, because I got payroll, you know, the whole country was like that, though, like all the staff, you know, how are they going to pay their bills? But then the government came up and we got these business loans and they were forgiven. So that was good. So we basically injected cash. Yeah, they injected cash in our practise. They go off they go off your monthly payroll and they’ll times that by X amount and say That’s how much you get. So you have to give all your tax returns, all your pals, all that stuff, and then they gave some grants out. This is all this money they were just pushing out there. You know, we got to pay it back in different ways now, probably very different tax rates and all that kind of stuff, but it helped help stabilise the economy and it was necessary. Without that there’d be a lot of practises.

[00:27:38] Yeah, we had this similar, we had a similar scheme.

[00:27:41] Yeah. But with that.

[00:27:43] Also what they did is they paid 80. Oh. On top. Yeah.

[00:27:48] No. Yeah. Because I bought the practise. I got a loan for that.

[00:27:50] Um, ha ha ha ha. I get it with as they paid 80% of the salaries of all the staff. For that three month period, actually a bit longer than that if you wanted to. But when you brought people back to work, then, then they stopped paying them. But you’re right, there would have been carnage. And you’re right that we will all be paying for it some other way.

[00:28:11] Yeah, I mean, it’s fine without that, even our patients wouldn’t able to come see us say everyone needed it. Right. Because they all have businesses they all employed somewhere. It would just be a complete disaster. I mean, I can’t imagine what would have happened. I mean, there would have been criminal activity, looting. I mean, it was a little bit of that was happening, right? People were just smashing downtowns. And it was there was many, many things that were going out of control. I’ve never seen it as, like, a movie, you know, like, just. There was just so many people were getting really messed up and.

[00:28:42] Tell me this. Yeah, my, my. I’ve come. I’ve been to America a lot because all our suppliers are American. I’ve got family there and so on. My, my feeling about America. And one of the dangers of America is that if you fall, you can you can fall a long way down. You know, the safety net, you know, just from the from the health care perspective, we’ve got the NHS, you know. You know if you, if you get ill you’ll be kind of alright. People can argue about the standard of care in the NHS or how long it takes to get the care. But, but tell me that I mean maybe, maybe, maybe that’s the reason why suddenly violence or criminality and so on. But they were desperate people.

[00:29:23] Yes, I would say that the one the one thing about Great Britain is the access to health care is very important. Yeah. If you if you’re if you don’t have a stable income or just someone to or it depends where you live, too, but that is taken away. You live in paycheque to paycheque, you know, and with health care costs, I mean, you can get treatment done, but that there’s going to be a bill that’s coming and then you’re going to be credit lines gone, this and that. So it’s just a cycle. So in America, there’s no limit to how far you can go if you want to pursue whatever you want to pursue. But if you fall a slip up or you get ill and you don’t have the money to cover your health expenses, you could get in a lot of trouble. I mean, you’ll still be taken care of, but your financial distress is going to be quite severe, you know, but that’s the one thing about Great Britain that I do think is very good and even I don’t know much about dentistry with my own experience was I went a few times as a kid and I absolutely didn’t want to go, but I think I never like going to a dentist as a kid. I didn’t know anything about it. And I remember I had a shop, we had a shop in Wandsworth and Vauxhall area, and the dentist was right next door to the shop and it always smell of mercury. Now I know is mercury or amalgam, but I didn’t understand back then. I just didn’t like going there. But yeah, I think I don’t know much. I feel like if you live in London, it’s not easy either. I mean, it must be very expensive to even afford to live there more than it was before. So I don’t know how people and.

[00:30:51] It’s tough also, you’re right because, you know, we’ve got 40 people work for us and, you know, some of them travel used to anyway. Now, now there’s a lot of working from home going on. Yeah, some of them used to travel an hour and a half to get to the office. And I know in America that’s not a big deal. But here you remember, that is a big deal here. And we all drive here.

[00:31:11] There’s no public.

[00:31:12] Bus. Yeah, yeah. But but as I say, working from home has been a big difference for us in our business. Obviously, our business isn’t a dentistry business. We we supply dentists with stuff. So it’s actually rather than expanding our buildings, we’ve just now got people working from home more and more and more and more, and we’re sharing the same buildings, basically. Tell me this, but when you buy someone else’s practise, are you literally only talking about buying their patients?

[00:31:41] No. There’s two ways to buy a practise.

[00:31:45] In that building. In that building.

[00:31:47] Right, right, right. No. So no. I bought it’s practise. So I bought. Yeah. Because a patients alone, the only reason you would buy a patient base is if that lease is up and the equipment is up for sale and it’s like it’s like a fire sale, like they’re just trying to get rid of charts. This is a practise you’re buying the staff. But in this situation is unique because I own the building. So I if I didn’t own the building, oh no. Then I got a I got to pay. That’s different. Then I would I would probably be like, you know, I don’t need your what I do with the space. I need to do a different deal here where I just want the patient base. But he may not have sold it to me that way. So what I did is I bought the practise. I move all his stuff to my practise because my practise is twice the size, so I have plenty of chairs. And then his suite, I had another guy come in and we have an oral, one of my good friends, he’s an oral surgeon, so we do all implants there, so he pays me rent. So it’s worked out really nice to have a dental building, which is a dental implant centre, restorative centre or whatever, but they’re separate entities and I like it’s worked out nice for me but yes, normally, yes, you’re going to have to negotiate the. Or you have to buy the condo suite if that’s available. But typically, most people, they’re going to set up a four, 5 to 7 year lease with options to renew. And you’re buying the practise and that’s that’s what it is.

[00:33:10] But so for our listeners up and Patel dot com that’s your main place where you work are there are others. Are there other practises that are different websites.

[00:33:19] Yeah, they’re all separate entities. So it’s just yeah, it’s just, it’s just like if you had an office building and there’s six other dentists in that building, we all have our own practises.

[00:33:27] They’re paying you rent, basically.

[00:33:28] Mostly, yeah. I’m the landlord. Yeah, I’m the landlord. But eventually, you know, you never know. Maybe the guy next to me, he’s a periodontist, he’s married. He’s going to retire one of these days, if, you know, I don’t know what’s going to happen five, ten years from now, but it’d be great if another guy boys practise or woman and the periodontist is there. But maybe in the future, as many things I want to do if it gets going with all the digital, all on X and all this kind of stuff, maybe I can, I can have a lab, you know, that is in that in my building. Maybe they can pay me rent, but I have it in house lab. That might be cool. Or maybe a paediatric practise because we have a orthodontics in the building also. So there’s many options I think. But it’s always nice to have the cash flow to have option, I guess.

[00:34:12] So tell me this. But as far as the choice between specialising or not, which specialism is the one that is thought of as the most sort of high level or the most prestigious? Is that all surgery in America?

[00:34:28] I would say it depends on the person. So I would say just historically or my office, because you can get a six year programme. We have MD and then there’s four year programmes. Yeah. You’re saying oral surgery for a four year programme is the same exact thing, except you haven’t done those two years of medical school. So it’s nice to have MD because then you can get some hospital privileges and billing codes that help out. So I have a number of friends that are and even from my from me personally, yeah, I always feel like they like the oral surgery, you know, like got to respect a little bit more or whatever it is. It’s just there’s an aura about it. But looking back, to be honest, like.

[00:35:04] Do those guys earn a lot more as well?

[00:35:07] Yes. I mean, if you just took everyone baseline like an average general, dentists, average, endo average, I would say all surgery owns the most. But as you know, exceptional general dentist can earn more than anyone, right? Sure. An exceptional paediatric dentist can earn more than anyone. So I think it’s more about.

[00:35:28] Well, well, not here, not here, not here, not exceptional paediatric dental. Unless you’re talking about ortho. Yeah.

[00:35:34] No, no, just Peter.

[00:35:35] Not. Not, not here. Not here.

[00:35:37] No.

[00:35:38] It’s just I mean, there are there’s the odd, you know, kids only practise. Oh, okay. But they’re not they’re not making loads of money and people expect their kids to be treated for free. And there isn’t the culture of saving money for your kids teeth. I mean, there is the cultural thing.

[00:35:54] Too. You know, I figured a lot of paediatrics would be seen by. Yes, you’re right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah.

[00:36:00] It’s a different culture, you know, it’s like we’re just getting around to the point of people spending money on their own teeth. You know, that’s a big deal here. Things like cosmetic dentistry have changed that a little bit. So you might have heard we were talking on the podcast, you know, when we talk about, you know, the bartenders having Invisalign. Yeah. And it wouldn’t, it wouldn’t have been the case 20 years ago.

[00:36:21] No, I never saw that when I was there. You’re right. I just even here when I go from England, doesn’t everyone have bad teeth? I’m like, I mean, not really anymore. I think people are really want want my teeth.

[00:36:33] Yeah. Things are changing. Things are changing. So tell me about your team and you know, how many people are you responsible for?

[00:36:42] So I have a seven operator practise. So I have a three dental hygienist. I have two dental registered dental assistants, I have one associate doctor and I have one office manager, one patient coordinator and one benefit coordinator. So three front desk. So it’s nice because ideally as I have my associate pick up more days with me right now she’s part time. So the ultimate I work four days a week and she works. She used to work too, but then she took time off to start a family. So I’m trying to bring her back two days and then by next year I’m hoping to bring a three. And my long term goal is for me to work three days in her to work three or four. I mean, it’d be nicer to have like one more assistant as a floater, but I don’t need it right now and and the way I practise. And if you want, I can go into more detail about the different. It’s like three different American models.

[00:37:36] Yeah. Are you jumping between chairs?

[00:37:38] No. No. So when I first started as an associate, I worked pretty much what most practises are in the US. There’s in every insurance driven. So one method is called an HMO. That’s health management organisation where you’re the practise signs up with basically insurance company and. I send you a capitation check per month? Whether you see the patient or not, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to get checked, but you’re going to get a lot of patients. But they may not show up. They may not listen. That when they show up, a lot of stuff’s covered. It’s free. But when you need to do a crown, you’re going to upgrade them. Maybe instead of a metal crown, you might want to do a zirconia crown. They’re going to pay full price cash for that. So it’s more about numbers with that. And I never liked that and that’s what I had to do when I first started because I needed a job.

[00:38:22] And in hygienists it’s more like our NHS.

[00:38:26] But the thing with these models is if you’re in business, you can own multiple of these practises and have multiple chairs and you can make a lot of money, but that’s not clinical based. The second model is PPO, so preferred provider organisation where you can be in-network. So you sign up with insurance company and they say, okay, your crowns, are you going to cost $600 and your family is going to be X amount of dollars and you’re cleaning $50. But when the patient looks up your name on our website, you’ll be a provider, so they’ll pick you. Now they’re this one. You don’t get a monthly check. But what’s happening is, is that your marketing budget? Maybe it’s ten, 15,000 a month. Just making a big number right here. Instead of paying marketing, you’re getting those patients. Right. But what happens is, is that you still got to see multiple chairs, because how can you spend 2 hours with someone doing, you know, a number 2/2 molar crown and and you’re doing it for like half your fee, right? And then you’ve got to go do a hygiene check, which is half your fee, and then you got to do a cement. So you have to run multiple shows.

[00:39:29] That’s why they’re running multiple chairs.

[00:39:31] Yeah. And then you have a but then also that’s very profitable. If you have assistants that are trained in this our country, you can have them trained to take impression to symptom. Yeah. So that’s the second model. Again, very profitable if you want large scale.

[00:39:47] Is that is that the model that how the foreign runs in his Arizona.

[00:39:51] He may he may be out of network too. I’m not I’m not sure I think that is at his peak it might have been in a network but but and it works just fine. You don’t have to see multiple chairs. But I’m saying you’re going to get a lot of patients and and you can have multiple doctors work for you and it’s great. And the final model is more like what you what you kind of have, which is cash, but you’re out of network. So that’s purely relationship based and it takes a long time for someone to say, I’m going to come see you. Let’s just say I’ll make an example. Let’s say your your filling is $400. If you were in network, the filling would have been $95. That’s all you would have got for the occlusal in on number 30, I can set my fee to whatever I want. So if I say it’s 400, I know the insurance is going to pay 100. The patient owes me 300, so I’m going to use your insurance as a limitation benefit. You get something out of it. It’s like a gift card, maybe 2000 a year you get for that. But you come in to see me because I’m going to spend as much time as I can with you and do the best that I can.

[00:40:46] And you come in and see me because you want to see me, not because I’m on the list. So there’s a lot of practises in this country, especially after COVID, that are going at a network of fee for service. That’s what it’s called. And what that does is it opens up your whole like rest of practise career. You don’t have to kill yourself, break your back, you know, see multiple patients with a I might see and I see one patient at a time. So my typical day is I’ll see two procedures in the morning, two in the afternoon, maybe one or two cements. I’m done. And then I have hygiene checks, but I’m only doing hygiene checks once a year and that’s just an emergency, etc.. So it’s given me a lot more longevity to my career. And you can attract better associates because they where else they’re going to get a job like this. No one’s going to give them a job that it’s almost like they have all the perks of being an owner where they get good income and also getting good quality patients, you know, in terms of they pay the bill on time. Also, they want the best level of care and they’re loyal. So they will hopefully refer other friends and family that are similar in that mindset.

[00:41:46] But but you’ve got inverted com. I’m holding my fingers up marketing costs now right.

[00:41:53] Yeah someone get to that. So right now I mean all my growth since I’ve started my career has always been organic. What does that mean like that? I mean, that means word of mouth. Yeah, word of mouth. And it’s just been internal referral and I’m happy with I can go like that probably the rest of my career. It’s fine, but I have to work, right. I want to now start looking into how can I do some type of digital marketing and maybe some personal marketing I have to do in the community, perhaps outreach somehow so that I can start selecting the cases that I want to do, which is primarily hopefully more orthodontics and implant restorative revision dentistry. And that’s the next level I’m trying to look at, which I haven’t spent any time or money on yet, but that would make sense so that.

[00:42:39] You’ve got an Instagram page and there’s a lot of I mean, there’s hundreds and hundreds of cases on that Instagram.

[00:42:46] I mean, these are 20 years I’ve done 20 years worth of cases. You know, that’s my and then also I bring it that’s my catalogue that I show patients in the office. Right like this I’m gonna do this I don’t use Instagram for. I use it mainly to so I can look up tennis and squash and fun stuff and like restaurants I want to go to. I look at some dentists and I’m like, Yeah, that’s cool. I like that. And I pick and I also learn about people like, Oh, that’s a good course to go to. Or He or she is really cool. Okay, I never thought of that, but I noticed Instagram is good if you already have a very good baseline and good knowledge of what dentistry is and you can pick up some tips and tricks, but if you’re if your training is very novice level, you can get quite overwhelmed and thinking you have to be that straight away. And I can see if I was a dental student at 24, 25 and an Instagram was around, I might have I might have gone nuts, like just thinking, I’ve got to be this like within a few years, like, how can I do this? It takes a long time to become like that. It takes at least ten years to get to an excellent level of dentistry where you you feel like you made enough mistakes and you know how to fix a problem. And it’s great that it’s out there because back then I didn’t have people unless it was local, to see what kind of dentistry they do. I had to fly to a course or something like that, you know?

[00:44:03] Look at it, looking at your work. It’s definitely sort of restorative implant based.

[00:44:07] Yes.

[00:44:08] Where did you get the education? Was it Khoisan Spear? Have you done both of those?

[00:44:13] Yeah. I mean, I think when I finished my first level of training was that one year residency I did. And oh yeah, that was that was all hands on and it was all clinical and it gave me about 4 to 5 year head start. But to be honest, the best thing you can do is document your cases from day one. In this country, I notice in England that you have a lot of different qualifications and I don’t know much about it. It’s something to do with Royal College of Surgeons and MD, JD and all this stuff and stuff is but it sounds cool, but here we have, you know, there’s many organisations, a AICD is a AGD or Academy of General Dentistry, so that organisation does have a very significant pathway for comprehensive training in all 16 levels of disciplines of dentistry. So I first did like a fellowship that was like 5 to 600 hours of C and you know, taking classes and an exam. And then I did a monster ship course that was like four or five years took me. So I did like three, 4000 hours worth of C over like ten years, you know. And so that’s what my DDS says, Magdy F du f ICU or whatever it is. And then, you know, all college of ontologies, they have fellowship programmes.

[00:45:20] So initially I just kept doing all this stuff. I found it just more and more like minded people that I would learn from. But then at some point I was like, You know, I’m just I need like a real course. And the course was that course. Ever since I’ve taken course, it just changed the whole way of practise dentistry. And in my opinion, he’s one of the best educators on the planet, period. And then I also did Spear, I did a lot of spear study club in this country. We have it’s called Spear Study Club where local dentists, we all get together and once a month as a club and we go over cases. But Spears provides the case presentations, things like that. So you have a periodontist, orthodontist or oral surgeon in general. Then as we all get together and just kind of dissect the case and then one of the best courses I took last year and it really was more of a tips and tricks kind of course, strop and drum in. He came out to San Diego, but they have it online now too. I really put a lot of stuff together, but I wouldn’t have understood that course to the full extent if I didn’t take course first.

[00:46:17] So what’s that course called again? Say that course again.

[00:46:20] Strop and drum.

[00:46:22] Strop and drum.

[00:46:23] Yeah, they have an excellent Facebook group. So just add join that Facebook group. Excellent cases in there. And they’re there in Clearwater, Florida.

[00:46:30] I believe. Yeah, I know. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:46:35] He is excellent. And his and his new. Yeah, but.

[00:46:39] For someone who’s not fully familiar with voice or spear or voice and spear, I mean, for someone it’s rare to come across people here who go to both of those because it’s you know, it’s such a expensive travel nightmare and all that. And the courses themselves are very expensive. What would you say is the difference between those two schools of thought and, you know, should you do both or should you do one or the other, or should you go right to the top of one or do what are what are your thoughts?

[00:47:07] So there are I’m going to talk about maybe four or five of them. There’s Dawson, Pankey, Spear, Kois and La, and they’re all great. I would say Spear is in I think it’s in Arizona and I don’t think Frank Spear talks personally anymore. I think he’s retired, but and it’s a larger group. It’s an excellent course. I think either one pick one. Personally, I like the personal hands on approach of John Cox, and he’s always up to date with all evidence based scientific data. And the thing about course is you kind of meet people who are only interested in a similar thing that you’re trying to do there, and you learn from them actually, because they’re also starting their journey or they’re they’re interested on us, they’re periodontist, they’re lab technicians. They’re it’s almost like the top 1% of dentists that want to be the best. They go to these courses. So you not only learn from John Kois or Frank Spiro, you know, the Pankey course of Dawson, but you’re learning from your peers and you’re a mentor to people maybe younger than you and then someone older than you. You’re learning. You’re learning from them. And then you make friends. And then when you leave, you keep in contact with people. So it’s more about network. But but the context.

[00:48:17] What does it mean? Yeah. What does it mean to you as a dentist? Are you now looking at full mouth?

[00:48:22] Yes. So before I think the best thing would be like I didn’t know some of the stuff I was missing. Like I didn’t understand why there was tremendous in a case how to how to predict, predictably, why there was constriction in the case, why there’s dysfunction, why there’s attrition, why these things happen in with biology, how to break down a case into gum and bone, how to break down a case and care and caries or biomechanical or functional or aesthetics. You want to break a case down in four parts, but a systemised way and spear does the exact same things to a different verbiage. And once you break down a case like that in your treatment plan, start to finish and how your whole office is aligned. That way, it’s very easy to communicate. For patient, whether it’s in hygiene, whether it’s with associate, whether it’s front office. And also when you refer to specialists, they also appreciate that you’ve taken the time to figure out why we’re doing this. And it just it just makes everything more it’s almost like a manual. It gives you a guidebook to kind of help you dissect something, because the key to any part of dentistry is not how good your hands are. It’s diagnosis. If you’re excellent, if you’re the best diagnostician, that’s when the best, probably the best dentist or doctor, because you can be excellent in radiology.

[00:49:34] But if you don’t know how to like if you don’t understand the dynamics of your CBC or your pano or your or your bite wings or pars, and you’re missing some education level there. You’re going to miss things all the time if you don’t understand how to use the correct burr or the finishing systems or why certain segments are better than others. Not just what some rep tells you. Because what typically happens is that you buy a product, you buy equipment, and the least qualified person, which is the dental rep, is going to train you on it and then you’re training the same stuff through your systems. But if you have someone who has gone through all this data and done the evidence based analysis, you know what you’re going to put in someone’s mouth, I think, and also that there’s studies to show that. So I think it’s for me personally, I’m more technical based. I want to know why I’m doing something and how to do it versus just randomly get into the endpoint. So it’s a good it’s almost like a not a cookbook but a like it’s it’s a manual that you can refer back to.

[00:50:29] And I’m going to have to defend dental reps now because dental reps have a real tough, tough time even getting in front of you. And I get I get your point. I get your I get your point, I get your point, I get your point. I get your point, I get your point. You want to be trained by John Kois, not by, you know, the three MB rep. I get it, I get it. I get that. But but the one thing that dentists should, should pay more attention to is that dental reps have a wealth of knowledge about what’s going on out there.

[00:50:58] Right.

[00:50:58] And you’re right. It’s the wrong place to get your knowledge. Yeah, but you know, what a lot of dentists do is, is train their team to keep reps out completely. And, you know, and it’s an error. It’s an error because you can learn a lot from a rep. I wouldn’t trust the rep on, you know what he’s talking about his own product over another one necessarily. Necessarily. But there’s a lot of great reps out there. Now, let’s talk.

[00:51:23] I agree. I agree with you.

[00:51:24] I know you do. I need you to let’s talk about how far you went in voice and how long it took, how much it cost. What did it return?

[00:51:33] Yeah, let me when did I start? So I think the last couple of years. What I’ve noticed to be all these continuum, they’ve rapidly expanded. A lot of younger professionals are really taking them straight away. And in the old days they wouldn’t. It was a lot of older doctors because it was Instagram. It’s just given in Facebook, especially. Instagram is just throwing the light what’s possible out there. And people are thirsty for this knowledge and and they’re okay take spending their money on dentistry instead of buying a fancy car or going on a holiday because they’re getting the return out of it, too, you know. So I think I forget I took me two years, though, because you can probably do it in one year, but only one person I know has done that. It’s one of my close friends who actually is a mentor that he just went back to back to back to back. And but most of the courses sold out. So you want to book your your courses. I think there’s like seven, eight, 7 to 8 continuous. You’re there for like a week or something like that. Total cost, I think 50,000. That’s just for the course fees. And you can pay for flight time, hotel time and then also that amount of money away from the practise.

[00:52:36] If you’re gone for a week, I mean, let’s just say on the low end, 10 to 20 to 30 to 40000 is gone. Depend on what you do. Right. But that doesn’t matter because when you come back, it’s not like I’m treatment planning for mountain people. It means now I know even if it’s single tooth, I feel very confident in telling the patient why I’m doing something, what’s going to happen, predictability, why it fails, why it doesn’t fail. And also, if I have a full mouth case, I’m more they can see. I’m more confident in explaining why it would help them. So if they have questions, I can answer them very easily now versus before I kind of make up some stuff in my head, which was correct, but I didn’t have like it was just kind of like my experience. But now I know it’s evidence based, it’s in literature and and it’s always evolving. So if I want to access stuff from then I can just log on and see what’s up to date and they have a yearly symposium to. So I’m not just plugging, I’m going to say SPEAR Thank you. Dawson They’re all great. Whatever, whatever system, whatever.

[00:53:31] Programme finished the whole thing.

[00:53:33] Yeah, of course.

[00:53:34] Yeah. Amazing, amazing. And I mean, I guess the reason why younger and younger dentists are going into it and by the way, we run courses over here and younger and younger dentists are going to courses here as well is they’re trying to get out of that HMO, PPO system. And if you want to give someone an associate job and they tell you, I’ll finish Coinbase, you’re more likely to to consider them for your kind of practise, right?

[00:53:58] That’s true. You know, a lot of times associates don’t know. Maybe what the best path is. And it’s nice. I’ve had a lot of mentors and they gave a lot of free advice and if I need anything that always there, I can call them. And, and also I mentored a lot of other people too, but for my own associate to help get started and part of its own initiative too, I paid for some of the initial course costs. Just the first one. Yeah, because I want I don’t want if someone’s going to work for me, it makes sense for me to get them aligned if, if they’re loyal and they’re going to be with me a long time. I don’t want to just throw money and then you’re gone in a month or two, right? So I know that my associate, my team members, unless something drastic happens, they’re going to stay with me. And so I’ll invest in them because these are not liabilities. Any employee, any person in your practise, they’re all assets. They’re not liabilities. So in the old days, I think I’m thinking, oh, what’s your overhead? Well, payroll is 25%. It’s a liability. It’s it’s not I mean, you’ve got to be careful how much you’re paying within reason. But but if you invest in your team, you’re going to get exponential return over all, not just financial, but a good camaraderie. And also patients notice this. They’re like, oh, the same person is here all the time. It must be something good. You guys get, get, get along well. You work well and patients do say that. They’re like, you guys are like seamless. You guys know what you’re thinking each other thinking without even talking, that kind of stuff. It’s nice to hear that, you know?

[00:55:21] Yeah. I mean, you know, to ask your patients to make your ask your staff, your team, to make your patients delighted. Yeah, you’re going to have to delight your staff a little bit. Yeah. You can’t you can’t whip people into delighting people, right? No. Absolutely right. Let’s go through some fees, because it’d be interesting for people over here to, first of all, caveat that with the £1 million it costs to qualify $1.

[00:55:50] Million, that’s an extreme example. If you did if you went full. I mean, I’m I’m going to say nowadays undergrad and dental school, eight years, let’s just call it 300 and to 400,000. That’s to say.

[00:56:01] That’s correct. 400,000. What are you charging what do you what do you charge for a standard, let’s say just crown.

[00:56:09] About 1600, but would build 1800 1800 is a fee and that that that is again you might go to New York and some might charge 3000 or 5000. So so yeah. But I think fair market value where I’m at 1802 thousand makes sense that.

[00:56:29] The positioning of the practise I mean are you positioned at the higher I know you’re at the higher end because you’re not doing those models, those PPO, HMO models. But but when it comes to this sort of non non insured. Yeah.

[00:56:41] Yeah. 99% on. Oh really. Yeah. In this where I practise. Yeah. Now if I was in San Francisco.

[00:56:49] I know. Few competition.

[00:56:50] More. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’d say more competition, but to be honest, I’ve never been worried about competition. I think there’s enough patience for everyone. It’s just it’s kind of patient you want to treat and also, personality wise, who get along with as many patients I wouldn’t get along with. And that’s fine. They don’t see me, but there’s a certain demographic I really get along with and I know what my niche niches. But yes, I would say I would say fair market value around average for the whole country. At the highest percentile. Let’s call 1800 for a crown.

[00:57:19] Yeah. What about like an mod competition?

[00:57:23] Like for 95?

[00:57:24] For 95, that’s higher than we get in general. In general, what about, let’s just say skin polish, cleaning, hygiene.

[00:57:35] Like a trophy? Yeah. 150.

[00:57:40] 150 an examination. Just like a six month examination.

[00:57:45] $75.

[00:57:47] What about implant?

[00:57:50] Start to finish or just the fixture.

[00:57:52] Start to finish.

[00:57:53] 5000. No bone graft though. So it would be like, you know, 2000 for the crown, maybe 2500 for the implant plus some tissue stuff. So 5000.

[00:58:03] Now.

[00:58:03] Yeah, sinus lift. If you hadn’t a sinus to add another 2000. If you add in GBR and Ridge augmentation, add another 1200.

[00:58:11] So how about you know, because you’ve been trained. So I bet you’re doing some big, big cases. What’s what’s been your biggest case?

[00:58:19] I mean, to be honest, I’m very different in terms of. I don’t do a lot of stuff anymore. Like when I first qualified, I did everything I did endo. I did all surgery. I did p do. I did. I never did really a lot. Although, to be honest, I never trained in all of those. But like, I mean, biggest case, I mean, it’s full mouth, full mouth all on X or full mouth crown and bridge like 28 teeth. So you can add that up, you know, 28 tooth times, 1500, whatever that is. But because I needed it, so my kind of practise, the kind of patients that I see, I don’t have full mouth every day. I might I’ll be very happy if I got one once a month. That’d be great. But my favourite case is seven through ten. No occlusion changes seven through ten composite seven through ten veneers seven through ten crown with some cor bleaching. I think you have enlightened, is that correct. Yeah. With the white whitening product. And then I finish a case with a pair of attacked or something like that and just good hygiene protocol.

[00:59:17] What’s Perrier protect.

[00:59:19] It’s, it’s basically a tray that’s kind of like a mouth guard kind of material tray, and it’s scalloped to your gum measurements and you load it with 1.2% peroxide with xylitol and and they wear it for about 10 minutes once a day. I’ve noticed significant decrease in bleeding points and plaque build up plaque build-up is much less so. But yeah.

[00:59:41] I looked at that. I looked at that. But the, the resistance from periodontitis on that product. Yeah, it’s gigantic. I mean, like over here I just, I didn’t have the stomach to, to, to, to argue with Periodontist about it. But, but you’re right. Just just by looking at bleaching patients, you can see their gums getting so much better.

[01:00:00] I mean, you don’t want to like I have a team, right? So I have three or four periodontist that I refer to, three or four ended on as I referred to. I have a network so they know what I like to do. I’m referring patients to them so they don’t want to piss me off. So we have a I’m the lifeline for their practise and then I’m they’re helping me with cases that I can’t do. But in order to answer to your question, I predominantly do revision dentistry. My main patient base is 55 plus. I have no kids in my practise. Maybe I have like a handful, like five or six young professionals a little bit, but my predominant patient base is retirees and 55 plus baby boomers. And I love treating them because the best. Yeah, you know, they want the best work done there. Most dentistry is root decay, zero stoma implant work and they’re not in aesthetics. It’s much easier on them. It’s either I do the whole mouth or I just fix the quadrant of the front tooth and they’re happy. They don’t complain too much. You know, some of the middle high maintenance is true, but they just afraid and things like.

[01:00:56] That in general, they’re respectful as well. Right. They’ve got the old school feeling about the doctor.

[01:01:02] Yeah. And then they stick with you unless they’re going to move, you know. And yeah, I’m happy with that. And they actually happy coming to the dentist because it’s, it’s almost like it’s their routine. They go in the dentist, they go in the grocery store now they’re going to the MD and they’re going and then they love a hygienist because they’ve been seen the hygienist for like last ten, 15, 20 years or whatever it is. So I like that. Then that’s what I’m going to try to market more now, and that’s kind of the cases I’m looking for anyway, where patients want locate a denture or they want a little bit Invisalign. But what I’m hoping is the younger professionals would come and see my associate and then she can focus on Invisalign and some cosmetics and I can.

[01:01:37] I think that that demo you’re going to find on Facebook, right?

[01:01:41] Yeah. So that so my cousin actually works at Facebook in the marketing division. So I’ve been talking about this. I’m like, Hey, I need to get involved with some type of Facebook ads at some point and maybe I should look into how to do that because I haven’t done it before.

[01:01:52] But very different, right? The kind of you know that now we’re talking about a lead, the kind of lead that comes from Facebook ad is very, very different to patient who comes from word of mouth. And to start off with, that’s going to annoy the hell out of you.

[01:02:06] Yeah, yeah. Word of mouth. They don’t. They don’t. They tend to show up. They don’t.

[01:02:09] Like. Well, they show up. They show up. Sold.

[01:02:12] Yeah. They’re like so-and-so referred me, you know, I’m like, oh, great. Say hi to.

[01:02:17] There is such a thing as digital word of mouth that exists, right? And so it’s kind of a hybrid between between normal word of mouth and the digital marketing thing. I forgot to ask you, Invisalign, what do you charge for that?

[01:02:31] Oh, I think full cases like $6,000.

[01:02:35] That’s similar. That’s similar.

[01:02:36] But then I have my okay, so I have friends in Orange County that are fee for service. I mean, I’ll give you a difference in price right now so you can see the difference. His whole office, he’s he’s fully digital. So he has his own lab. He’s got every single implant lab system you can think of. He he hasn’t used a lab in the last ten years. He’s amazing and he’s a voice instructor and those kind of stuff. So his fee for an anterior crown would be 2500, his fee for all in upper and lower. All next, you might be looking at 80,000, right? But he does all the surgery himself. I don’t do any implant surgery anymore. I kind of just focus on restorative. That’s my I like doing that. And I have a surgeon like 20 seconds for me that we get along great together and I supply him with all the patients. But the thing is our case acceptance is exceptional because I say something, it’s a complimentary consult with the surgeon. He doesn’t charge a console or CBT, and then he agrees. And then they come back to me and there’s no pressure to do anything. I’m just here, no agenda, just to advise them on what I see. And they like that they get a second opinion or that we’re in a team together and it’s just no stress and no pressure. That’s how I kind of like to come off. And I’ve noticed, like, they do accept the treatment unless it’s financial or they just have a stigma about, well, my cousin or so-and-so had a bad experience with implants. I’m like, Whenever you’re ready, we’ll wait. We’ll wait for you and you let me know when you want to start and I’ll help you. That’s all you can do.

[01:04:00] It makes a lot of sense to stick to the bit of it that you enjoy and your most predictable on. Yeah, because what you said before about the confidence in your voice. Yeah, just comes through. It just comes through. And then you don’t, you don’t feel like you’re selling anything. You’re just you’re just telling them you’re, you know, what you know in your head. And people are saying, yes, you know, and you forget sometimes the how tiring it is to have to worry about people saying, yes, it’s tiring. And mainly it’s tiring when it’s an area you’re not 100% comfortable in. That is when you’re comfortable when it’s your area, you know. And for you, it’s this this sort of implant restorative mix or you said revision work, then it doesn’t feel like selling, it feels like educating.

[01:04:48] And I mean, it’s not easy. I mean, of course the case is not easy, but I’m not like I don’t act like, hey, you got to start today. When I worked when I worked in these corporate offices, the whole model was get the patients start right now. Otherwise you’re going lose the case. So patients can tell like you’re like hungry, you know, like it’s not right, you know? And I remember I mean, you can ask me later if I had some bad experiences and I’ll go into them and they were all pretty much is associate. But if you don’t have proper roadmap in the case you can get lost real quick, you know, and you can’t fix me can fix it kind of, you know, what you’re doing. But if you don’t like I think people sue you when they don’t like you, they don’t trust you and you feel like they’ll be taking advantage of their your friend or, you know, you’re looking out for the best for them. Even if something goes wrong, they’ll be like, okay, doctor, I come here because I know that you take care of me. You’re going to you’re going to handle it or whatever it is, you know. Yeah, that’s really it.

[01:05:43] So tell me tell me what was let’s, let’s get on to the darker side then what? But let’s start with what was the best move you’ve made professionally. And then and then let’s move on to mistakes, errors. The worst move you.

[01:05:54] Make like my clinical or just dental?

[01:05:58] Anything hit me.

[01:05:58] Just hit me. Okay? It comes to me. So like I said, I’m not graduating in 2005. I thought I wanted to be a Rodeo Drive or New York City dentist because I wanted that London feeling. I used to draw. I used to go to work in a three piece suit like Dolce and Gabbana, all that kind of stuff, right? I thought, This is me because I’m a London boy. You know, I’m from Wimbledon. I’m like, I’m going to I’m going to.

[01:06:18] That was that was going to be your brand.

[01:06:20] Whatever. I’m going to be like that aesthetic, whatever. And I didn’t know the whole world was kind of thinking like that initially anyway. You know, everyone wants to be that kind of thing. And then I realised these patients are not cool. They’re like really demanding. They don’t, they don’t care about who I am and stuff like that and what I can do for them. They just actually not as nice. The nicest patients are the ones that actually aren’t as wealthy and they’re they just have a problem. You’ve got to help them get out of pain, you know. But yeah, basically initially I tried all that and I came back to Sacramento. Sacramento maybe like kind of like maybe it’s a city, it’s a capital of California, but I don’t want to disrespect any London, U.K. cities. But maybe Leicester’s a big city. But it is kind of like that. It’s not.

[01:07:00] Like that. Been there. I’ve been there. Yeah, yeah. It’s nice.

[01:07:03] Yeah. So it’s very hot. But so I did a jobs there and then. Then I try to go to San Francisco in the bay. Same thing. I couldn’t. I couldn’t find anything I liked. It was just underpay. Patient quality was poor. And I was like, you know, I’m in Sacramento. It’s right here in front of me. It’s right here. Let me just start looking for something here. I found something straight away in 2014, I found an old guy. He was an ex lab tech and. And the dentist too, and, you know, Caucasian. Practise in a friendly neighbour. And yeah, I bought his practise and that was the best thing I ever did because it was a gold mine. So much amalgam. No digital X-rays like Handbook of Charts. Nothing. So I could just went in there, took my time. I remodelled the whole place. I made it my own over time. Of course, there’s a lot of turnover with old staff and this and that because they don’t like change, you know? But I had so much experience by then. I was an associate for like eight years by then.

[01:07:58] And to be honest, in retrospect, I wish I had become an owner much sooner. But if I had, I wouldn’t have got this practise. So I bought the first one and then I was still a tenant then. And then I the office next door to me, she would have it. She was having a hard time. She just bought the practise and there was a war between us and at the beginning like one year. And she said, Can you buy my practise? I’m like, I don’t, I can’t buy this. I just started looking back. I should have, but then I bought it later from her. But by that time, most of the patients had gone. But I got some patients, so then I had a bigger space. And then I approached the landlord, who is my friend and mentors like, Hey, whenever you want to retire I’ll, I’ll buy your building. And it came up. So I bought the building and then eventually he’s like, I want to sell you the practise. I bought his practise, so I.

[01:08:41] Used it to get the finance. And when you tell a bank you’re a dentist, does it help a lot?

[01:08:46] Yeah, yes. I don’t know how it is in England, but here you can put a00 down.

[01:08:51] Oh, really?

[01:08:52] Yeah. Zero down. So you can get 100% finance. And it could be a five, ten, 15, 15 year loan. You’re looking at 3 to 4%. And then that includes working capital equipment loan plus the practise. So average practise, let’s say practises is producing 700,000, right? Maybe you’re going to pay 475 for that and maybe 60%, 65%. And maybe you need a working capital of 50,000 equipment loan at 100,000. So now, you know your loan is like five 5600.

[01:09:20] When you say when you say produce, do you mean producers in income or do you mean.

[01:09:24] Oh, no, no, I’m sorry. Just collection. Collection per year. Collection not not vacant. Yeah.

[01:09:30] Oh so that’s, that’s actually quite low that our practises are valued much higher than that.

[01:09:35] So it depends where you are though, right. If you’re like I’m going to, I’m going to say average practise. Like if you’re in like San Francisco, Sacramento, L.A., New York, it really depends what kind of practise you have to. If I saw my practise today, I probably want up to 90 200% of my practise, like what I produce because it’s a big value to what I’m bringing. My the practise is very unique. If you have average PPO in-network practise in an average community, it could be 65 to 70% of collection if it’s doing average.

[01:10:07] Still low, though, still low compared to what’s happened here is the I guess it’s the corporates here. I know you have corporates too, but but the prices have there used to be like this, what you’re explaining. But now it’s like I don’t know eight times take home.

[01:10:23] Oh wow. That’s yeah. I mean that’s that’s if you’re buying I mean I have a number of friends now in our age group now like, you know, in their forties where they’ve, they’ve started like selling all the practises to the, to the corporate rate. And so they’re getting a payout initially maybe 70% payout and then 30% reinvest in with them and then maybe five, six, ten years from now they’ll do it. So they’re going to get a big, big payout. It’s great, but they’re going to have become employee four or five, six years. I don’t know what it is.

[01:10:49] Yeah, we have that too. We have that too. Yeah. So let’s quickly jump into before we go on to your biggest errors, let’s quickly jump into corporates there. Are there corporates in all of these different levels of you said the HMO, the PPO, do you have corporates doing high quality fee per item as well or no.

[01:11:07] I wouldn’t say corporate in fee for service. I would say you got guys like just make an example like you got Appa. You know, he’s got multiple offices around the world. You have many clients. Yeah, they’re not. Not this a brand, right? Yeah. And you got like people are very low key, but they have many, many offices and you don’t even know about them. But they’re all fee for service. I mean, they just don’t hear about it, that’s all. But they just one owner or there’s a bunch of partners, but they haven’t sold out anyone. They may as their final cash out, I don’t know. But in general, no. There’s a lot of people who are non dentists, MBAs or whatever it is and they’ve got together with dentists. And yeah, the new model is to buy a lot of offices and, and just grow them and then sell to venture capital and cash out and people do. That’s fine, you know, that’s a way to retire at 50 or 45 or whatever it is. And it’s excellent. And if you can still keep the quality of dentistry, you just have to find the right model and stuff like that. Yeah.

[01:12:09] Let’s, let’s get to the things. What was your biggest mistake that you’ve made now? Now I do want both business and clinical. Does that make the biggest some some mistakes? I mean.

[01:12:21] It’s not a mistake, obviously. I wish I became an owner sooner. That would have been the best thing I ever did. But there was an opportunity but to do that mistake wise when I was an associate, like I said. Back then they would just say like some treatment coordinator does, they start the case straightaway. So a couple of times this happened and I would get random like message from office manager, especially one case in particular. I did a full upper arch decay everywhere and I finished it. But the patient at the end, there was a lot of recession in the case after a while and so she started seeing it was a Coptic case, I believe back then I was using Coptic.

[01:12:55] And.

[01:12:56] She started seeing this gold and black hue around the gum line or whatever. It wasn’t my fault. Patient didn’t care. Take care of the teeth. But you know, I started getting letter from the board for case review and this and that was like, you know, I need to handle this. I haven’t done anything wrong, but I don’t care about the money, you know, like, let me let me have her sign a non-disclosure or whatever, and just give her back the money, whatever it was. I don’t care. But make sure she signed this paperwork and she did, luckily. And I just refunded everything. And she, you know, she probably did it on purpose. In my case was fine. It wasn’t a big deal, but I didn’t want to deal with that as an associate. What I realised as I work more and more, the patient is unhappy. I can’t make them happy unless it’s something for something psychological. You know, I might have missed it that beginning and sometimes a certain case you shouldn’t take on, even if especially when they say to other dentists through other dentists they can’t help me. And, and those are the cases I’m talking about. And when I was young, oh I can do it, I’ll do it. Yeah. You know, and then and then you’re stuck with them, especially like denture cases or like no one wants to pay the teeth out. And I did it and oh, I’m in so much pain now. I need all these drugs. I’m like, I just took out your teeth and your denture is going to be sore. It looks fine, but now you’re the one that they’re blaming, you know? So I would say mainly I haven’t gotten a lot of trouble, but there are some instances cosmetically as an associate where, yes, it could have it could have become something more like, okay, we want to actually go further by just refunded them, you know.

[01:14:21] Other than this sort of spidey sense that you’re sort of talking about of I guess I guess we call that experience one.

[01:14:26] There’s one thing.

[01:14:27] Yeah. Yeah.

[01:14:28] But I mean, obviously, back as an associate, I had to rely on assistants to do some of the auxiliary work, which nowadays I do everything myself. She took off a temporary on number 31, the second molar, and she tried in the gold crown to take a bite. And I was in the other room. And the next thing I know is there was a crown. I always followed it. I’m like, Oh, okay. The guy said, Yeah, I swallowed it. I’m like, No, man, you have to go to the hospital right now. You know, it’s not it’s not coming out. There’s a possibility it could be stuck somewhere in your lung or whatever it was. So but they didn’t go all the way in. And so I didn’t have to do surgery. But luckily I told office manager, hey, whatever it is, I’ll pay for it. I don’t care. They were kind of blowing it off. I was like, No, they need to go now and I’ll take care of whatever it is. And they were able to get it out without anything invasive, but that could have become something. So what I notice is when you’re an associate, sometimes the manager, the doctor’s not on site, you have to just kind of make the call. But ultimately it’s your licence on the line. End of the day, your assistant, your front office, whatever.

[01:15:31] Nothing’s going to happen to them. You know nothing. You are still the one that’s liable. So you have to make sure that you really. That’s why I don’t see multiple chairs anyway. But I make all my own temporaries. I spend the time and do all this kind of stuff. I want to make sure that patient knows that I they’re paying me for a premium like I’m going to take care of, start to finish everything that you need. And if there’s a mistake, it’s my fault. No one else’s. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, the docs. The darkest day, though, was nothing to do dentistry in terms of clinical. When I was an associate, I used to work six, seven days a week initially to pay off these loans, and I was working in random places. I didn’t want to work, but I had to. And one day I was doing a little hygiene. I woke up and I couldn’t move my neck. I couldn’t move my arm. Oh yeah. I had severe impingement of C five, six or whatever it was. I had brachial plexus pain. I went to neurologist, chiropractor. It was a bad idea. It was a chiropractor and I was out for that year. I was out six, seven months. I really thought I couldn’t work. No. I was like, I’ve got to figure out something.

[01:16:31] I had loans. I just bought a brand new car. Was like the first car I ever bought back in zero eight. And I was like, Crap, what do I do? Do I go to auto school because I don’t know if I can pick up a handpiece? I was literally I couldn’t move anything and I was under a lot of stress back then too from other things. What happened was I took time to take that year off in a way that that year I saved by finishing dental school, one year, early undergrad one year. I kind of lost it there, but it doesn’t matter. And then I found a practise that I liked. It was slow practise, it was a private practise. And that’s where I met my office manager that she works for me now. Eventually, you know, he sold that practise and it gave me time to work in a real practise on my own. I was the only doctor there, so it felt like I owned it, but I was just the associate. But I didn’t make that much money. But I was able to take the class that I wanted and rehabilitate myself. And that was a turning point where I was like, Crap, I could be disabled. Like, what does that feel like? I can’t do anything.

[01:17:27] And, you know, interestingly, often the worst moment in your life actually brings out something, you know, you wouldn’t have met that office manager. There’s many things you might not have done. Yeah, no, no.

[01:17:37] But now, looking back, yeah, it happened the way it happened because that’s what I needed.

[01:17:41] You know? But. But, but I can understand. I mean, I’ve woken up with a bad nick.

[01:17:47] Sometimes it’s bad, but.

[01:17:49] Six months, a year of it.

[01:17:50] I mean, I couldn’t because I try to work and it just bend in my neck. I could I couldn’t see anything.

[01:17:55] How did you fix it? Did you have to have an operation or something?

[01:17:57] No, I went I went to the the I went to all these different doctors and there’s a family friend, neurologist I finally went to. And by that time it was like four or five months I was going to a chiropractor. And there’s different levels of chiropractor. This one was maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was like going to a very bad dentist, like they actually made it worse. And now I don’t go to chiropractors now, but if I really needed to, there’s one person I found is physical therapy, is what is needed in conjunction with a chiropractor and a good one. But just like a bad dentist can perforate a canal, you can not have bandanas. But. But if they’re really doing it all the time, right, like that, they can have certain chiropractors that just doing stuff and collecting money. They’re not really helping you. And I notice I was feeling worse. But anyway, no, I went to everyone and then I just found a good physical therapist. I it’s because of dentistry. I was hunched over a lot, even with loops. I’m very tall. I’m like six two, six three. I was working in clinics that weren’t fit to me. So my office now every single chair and item is built to me like special, like certain chairs that I like, certain ergonomics that I like. And when you work for someone else, you can’t do that. So I was it wasn’t my it’s almost like when you’re a dentist, it’s your operating room, you know, it’s your it’s your canvas. And you should be able to paint and, and work how you see fit. But you really can’t do that unless it’s your own. So that, that realised like I need to get my own thing, you know, this is, this is not good. So.

[01:19:19] So you’ve got, you’ve got. I see behind you the London Underground and the map, and you’ve got the Wimbledon Championships logo and thing. What do you miss about the UK?

[01:19:33] I get that question a lot. I think it’s my childhood, really, because when I when I go, I go back every 4 to 5 years and I notice when I go back now I feel like a tourist, you know? But I just miss I think I miss my memories of growing up. And I think I was mentioning earlier, I just watched Doctor Strange recently the multiverse. And sometimes I think like what if I actually didn’t come to America when I was 18 and I actually went to university in London, what would I become? Would I become a pharmacist or a dentist? And if I did, where would I have lived? I know where I would have been and where I always envisioned I always envisioned myself having a nice house in Wimbledon Village next to the championships, up off the road, you know, having if I had, you know, having friends and family around that area, my friends I grew up with, that’s what I envisioned when I was younger. But, you know, it might still happen in the future if I decide as possible one day.

[01:20:25] But no, but but as a comparison of of life, life there and life here, what is it about here that’s better than there?

[01:20:32] I think socially it’s nicer in England because people aren’t so far away here. I have a lot of friends from undergrad and dental school, no high school friends obviously, because they’re all in England, but people live far away. And when you go to university here, people could be from New York, but they come to new university in LA, people, you know. So I might talk to them on the phone, but like I’m going to New York end of this month for a week. I haven’t seen my old college roommates for about 15 years together as one, so we’re all going to be there for a week, but it doesn’t really happen. You know, everyone’s in their own lives. So I would say socially I miss like just and also the city of London. I love London. I love New York. I’m a city person.

[01:21:09] City guy.

[01:21:10] I am. But you have to make sacrifice career wise. I’m very happy with my career in Sacramento. Like I love my patient base here. I wouldn’t I probably wouldn’t function as well in a in a city practise the way I like to work in the clientele I want to see. But it doesn’t mean I can’t get on a plane and go somewhere, which I used to do that quite a bit. But because of COVID, I can’t stop doing all that. But yeah.

[01:21:33] And and I noticed you said you mentioned squash. Yeah. You played a really high level, right?

[01:21:38] Yeah. So, you know, back when I was younger, I don’t know what it’s what was it like in your cultural, cultural family? But it was always like, come studies come first and all this kind of stuff. And my parents had a shop. They always say, you know, this is just for fun. Like if you don’t study, you’re going to end up in a shop. You don’t want to do that or whatever it is. We’re doing all this work so you can go to the best school and you can become something because we ain’t doing this for nothing, you know? So I felt this pressure. I’m the oldest in the family. I always felt this pressure I’ve got. I’ve got to do something. I mean, obviously, in hindsight, I wish I had opportunity to to at least take a year or two out and try to play on the professional circuit and then go to dental school or university. But that’s not what happened, which is fine. But yeah, I love squash. I played it for Surrey, you know. And then when I came to America, I thought it was done. I didn’t think they had squash shoe in the first in two years, three years. I didn’t play anything because I was in Stockton once I moved to dental school in San Francisco. They actually have a very big squash community in the Bay Area. So I got back involved and yeah, I do play regularly. I actually got injured last year, so I’ve been dealing with that.

[01:22:41] But you talk about sliding doors, right? And if let’s imagine if your parents had moved or got their green card three years earlier and you’d moved when you were 15. Yeah. And you could have maybe got a scholarship into dental school, you know, and actually and actually done squash, you know, like squash to a higher level. I mean, life is so strange like that. It’s all the water. Yeah, we have amazing.

[01:23:08] I mean, it’s fine. You know, I got to play like now as I became a dentist, I got to on my own terms, you know, I played like a little bit satellite professional tournament. So local amateur tournament is fine. It’s just it’s nice when you’re younger to have the energy, right? That’s all, of course.

[01:23:24] How old are you now? 42. 43, 41, 41.

[01:23:26] Sorry. Yeah.

[01:23:31] That was close.

[01:23:32] In my head. And I was, I was like 39 and then suddenly I turned 40. So it’s cool right now. I don’t like the sporty sound, but it’s okay now.

[01:23:41] We’ve come, we’ve come to the end of our time. So I’m going to finish it with our usual questions. Let’s let’s start with the fantasy dinner party.

[01:23:50] Three guests, dead or.

[01:23:52] Alive, who do you have?

[01:23:54] So I’m a I’m a big fan of Roger Federer. I would love to have Roger Federer one on one. I really feel like I get along quite well with him. Dennis Bergkamp I’m a big Arsenal fan, but from the old days, like Bergkamp these both these guys are professional, but also they seem like a lot of fun. And I’m going to I’m going to say Michael Schumacher, but if not him, this is more of a spiritual thing. Now, I’m Hindu, so I would I would like to meet Lord SAMINI and or Lord Krishna in person, but that’s more of a spiritual thing. But yeah, that would be good.

[01:24:27] You can have that dinner party if you want that dinner party ready. Yeah. And what about. Perhaps. Final question. I know he’s not here, but that’s bad. I’m sorry to. To bring you down. Your nearest and dearest around you. Three pieces of advice for them. For the world.

[01:24:47] I say. If you wait until later. You’re going to be waiting forever. Take risks and follow all your dreams, especially when you’re younger. You have so much time to to make mistakes. And also mistakes on mistakes that you learn from those experiences are actually, you know, good, good things within reason. I think happiness comes from what. You do so living and making memories of people that you love leave a legacy based on relationships, not just wealth, and be present. I think especially during COVID, I realise like I can’t see people, this is I mean, all this stuff you can do on your own, there’s nothing you can really do that much you and you need people to, to share things with, you know. And then the main one for me personally, this is more like what I’m really like the power of discipline, work ethic and consistency. I think the ingredients of success and luck is when preparation meets opportunity. That’s why I really like Federer and Bergkamp and Schumacher. I really feel like, you know, they really embody these things. And and that’s why I would say.

[01:25:53] Like there are like all three of those very much alike. All three of those very much. But yeah, to younger colleagues, it’s amazing the number of younger people who listen to this show. I keep getting, getting, getting told. Dental students and other younger colleagues take risks early, for sure. For sure. You know, you’re absolutely right about about that. And the other two things, very, very nice.

[01:26:16] Let me ask you a question. Yeah. If you could go back in time to any period, where would you like to go?

[01:26:22] I got asked this question, like if it’s a fly on the wall story. Yeah, I would. I wouldn’t mind being there when whoever decided to. To assassinate.

[01:26:31] Kennedy. Oh, really?

[01:26:34] But. But. But if it’s not a war, then dinosaur, you know that that moment when. When the dinosaurs became extinct.

[01:26:45] On.

[01:26:45] The earth and and and, you know, you know what? Not all animals became extinct. The dinosaurs did. I’d love to see that moment. What about you?

[01:26:56] I’d like to go to the Egyptian era. I want to know how the pyramids were built, you know.

[01:27:01] Have you seen the pyramids?

[01:27:02] Yes.

[01:27:03] I’m going to sound like a Philistine now, dude. When. When I. When I went to see the pyramids in Cairo. But, like, you know, they’re not that great.

[01:27:10] In all their glory. It seems like it’s just the architectural or even Roman time, one or the other. I just. Gladiator. It’s gladiatorial. Just that. The whole civilisation either or. I just like architecture, you know, and.

[01:27:23] Just.

[01:27:24] The different time periods. I mean, it’s just something where you, you study a lot of it. I mean, especially in England, you know, I had to learn Latin and all that kind of stuff. So I don’t remember any of it anymore, but be nice to actually live it at school. I went to Hampton School in New Hampshire. Hampton Court Palace.

[01:27:40] Oh, nice.

[01:27:41] Took the I took the Southwest train pass Kingston and they took the 111 bus. I mean.

[01:27:49] It’s a massive pleasure to have you, buddy. I really, really enjoyed that. Thank you so much for being so open and giving us an insight into your life over there. And please stay in touch.

[01:27:59] But I will. Thank you.

[01:28:00] Thank you. Amazing.

[01:28:04] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

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