This week’s episode starts with a content warning: When brewing tea, Tej Mell pours the milk first.  

It’s just one of many tidbits the Yorkshire-based dentist lets us in on in a wide-ranging conversation covering everything from managing and motivating teams to the appreciation of clockwork and watches.

Tej tells us about starting his journey into implant treatment and why the third time was a charm when it came to finding success as a practice owner.

He also lifts the lid on his decision to stand in the upcoming BDA elections.



“Why dentistry? I’ll be honest with you 


In This Episode

02.27 – Backstory

05.48 – Superpowers

07.01 – First job, first boss, first practice

09.25 – Selling up

17.20 – Lessons learned

19.12 – Practice number two

23.35 – Third time lucky

26.51 – Time, peace and limitations

27.46 – Starting with implants

35.39 – Advice for new practice owners

41.41 – Firing

45.32 – Career progression, bonuses and motivation

53.28 – BDA elections and the future of NHS dentistry

01.04.20 – Watches

01.11.18 – Tea

01.12.30 – Last days, legacy and dinner guests


About Tej Mellachervu

Dr Tej Mellachervu (Mell) graduated from Leeds University in 2001 and went into practice around Yorkshire before purchasing and selling two practices. He is now the principal dentist and owner of Crigglestone Dental Care in Wakefield, Yorkshire.

[00:00:00] And the one thing I do with my team is you’ve got to find out what motivates each person. For some people, it’s money, it’s overtime. They like a bit of overtime. Some people like a bit of a night owl, the like a night owl to meal a day. So foster the culture, foster a bit of everything in your team.

[00:00:15] You know, try and sort

[00:00:16] Of get everything that people like, try and touch upon a little bit of everything. That’s what I try and do. I try to keep happy, so stand back from it because working with the same people every day can get quite sickening and start to you start to despise the people you work with. It’s part of a burnout process. You go in every day to the same small surgery and you see the same people. But look at look at the overall good. Are they working hard? Are they coming on time? Are they working? Are they working for the practise? You know, trying to do what’s best for the practise? If you see these things in your staff, give them a little bit of leeway. Yeah, if they’re sick one day just off six, I’ve got a nurse who’s in every single day she’s in no matter what. She’s the one I rely on. She’s a pair of hands. She’s in every single day. If she’s off sick one day, I’m not going to because I don’t pay sick days. I paid her. I’m not. I’m not going to not pay her. I paid her. You know, it’s not a big deal.

[00:01:06] 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 gives me great pleasure to welcome TJ Mel onto the podcast. I’ve come across a on the Dental scene a few times in real life, but where I come across in the most is somehow on the Dental boards, where he’s a regular contributor and I’ve always liked his his angle on the things that go on in general. Practise is super experienced. General Practise Guy said three practises NHS private and mixed right now, practising out of Wakefield. And the reason I wanted him on is because he’s put himself forward for election at the BDA, at the IPC level, which I’ll get him to explain what that means to everyone. And you know, for me, people who put themselves up to get involved, they deserve a platform. And I know there are many others who have put themselves up. But since I know tech, I’m going to encourage people to put themselves up and get a platform to talk about. But you know, this podcast, which I hope you lovely to have you.

[00:02:26] Yeah, thank you. Thank you for having me on.

[00:02:27] Yeah, it’s a real pleasure. It’s a real pleasure. We’re just going to try and get to the sort of the person behind the persona, really. So just to tell us a little bit about where you grew up, how you grew up, why you became a dentist,

[00:02:40] Why we did this. Well, I grew up in basically all my life in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. I haven’t really moved out, had some great vision of going to London. Never really happened. Kind of settled here. Qualified from

[00:02:53] Leeds Dental interview

[00:02:55] 2001. I kind of like Derek. I like West Yorkshire. It’s nice. You know, it’s people are friendly, all that kind of thing. Why are they going to dentistry? I mean, I’ll be

[00:03:03] Honest with you, I was

[00:03:04] Thinking two planks of wood. I had no idea what I want to do. I was 16, 17, 18. My father was a doctor

[00:03:12] And he was like, Ted, you know, you

[00:03:14] Want to do something and do a profession come from an Indian background. It’s very much a case of, you know, it could be a be a doctor or whatever, and you go do something. I had no great passion for anything. I was not very good at a lot of things. So, you know, my father, just like getting something that’ll get you a job at the end of the day, which which is fair enough because I think it’s an honest answer. Nobody, nobody grows up wanting to, you know, liking teeth, you know, so it’s one of these things you just end up being. And as an eighteen year old, you just get into dentistry. No, you have to get through it. And that’s it. So you end up there and that’s it’s actually after you qualify it, when you start to like it, hopefully for a lot of people is when they develop plans and start to enjoy the job, enjoy the profession.

[00:03:57] Did you not enjoy Leeds studying in Leeds?

[00:04:00] I love Leeds is a place. I hated the course. I hated dentistry. Of course, I was not very good at it. I was always at the bottom. I was not. It was not very good. Like I said, I was very thick. I couldn’t really process things very well. Even now, I’m a slow learner. So as of now, I’m in my 40s. I often, you know, you know, yourself a lot better. You know what your limitations are. So I often tell people, I’m a slow learner. I need to work on things. I need to spend a lot more time like mentoring. So I’m just doing implants and a lot more mentoring and a bit more time than some of the people. So they’re always in our professions are always high flyers, always people who pick up things early and one way or another. I knew my limitations. I work with them to my advantage, I think to an extent. So, yeah, that’s where I’m now.

[00:04:40] Really, I love that. I love that. I love that because, you know, self-awareness, right? Is maybe the biggest skill you can have. The biggest talent you can have is absolutely, absolutely where you stand in the world. And you know, I’m disorganised. Yeah, yeah. And I had a thing in my head saying, you know, a disorganised person will never do anything really amazing. Yeah, yeah. And then and because I’m disorganised, I sort of surround myself with organised people. And I was I was at an event a couple of weeks ago and I met a guy. He said, Yeah, I make rockets.

[00:05:18] I was like, Yeah, I was like, I was like, What rackets?

[00:05:21] And he was like, he was the rockets. And he was he was telling me he’s disorganised and it was so empowering. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:05:30] I love this. I think we all have our own limitations, and I think it’s recognising them. So through schooling, through school, Dental school, I was I was slow. I was a slow learner. I was never a high flyer academically, so it was working with limitations. Even now, it takes me a long time to grasp concepts, but that’s fine. I work with it and you.

[00:05:48] What would you say? You’re your sort of superpower is, though was you good with your hands or you could be people or what’s your I think the people.

[00:05:55] I think it was the people thing. I think that’s what I picked up was good with people. You know, all the practises I initially worked in earlier is a very sort of typical NHS practises around Yorkshire. These mining towns I like the sleeves of have a good banter with the patient and I could really sort of gel with the patients really well, and that’s sort of worked in my favour. You know, and that’s what I enjoy doing, to be honest with you. I mean, I’m never going to be one of these guys. High end Dental Spa. It’s just not me. I almost Leaders I would like to

[00:06:22] Get on with it. I like to do all

[00:06:23] Different aspects of

[00:06:24] Industry. Yeah, I beg.

[00:06:25] I beg to differ, Matt, because the main skill you need to be in a high end Dental spa is the communication skill.

[00:06:31] Yeah, yeah, probably. Well, it may be. It might be. It may be a little different. Yeah. I said, if you know, I like the Yorkshire folk, I’m a Yorkshire bloke. I like to talk, you know, with Yorkshire guerilla sleeves that we get on with, they have good banter. Talk about the football sport, whatever you wanna talk about. We we just have a laugh and that’s me and the whole team as well. We all get on and that’s the way I do my practises and it seems to work for me to an extent. So yeah, that’s that’s a nutshell what I am really like being. I’m down to earth.

[00:07:01] Yeah, go on. Take me back to your first job, first job.

[00:07:05] If it velvety, I guess it’s current county, all vocational training that was in, that was in Grimsby. Yeah, because the

[00:07:13] First boss really, I’m looking for.

[00:07:15] Who was that person? My first boss was a great guy. A trader called Nick Samson in Grimsby. Greg, I can make Samson. He had his moments, but he was a he was sort of so ethical. It used to stress him out almost, I think, to be honest. But he really instilled me, instilled in me a few few of the ethics along the way of what to do, what not to do, blah blah blah. We’ve got to say and how to get out of situations and all that, which helped me a lot in my early years, a lot. Then second job, I’d say, sort of, you know what I mean? But then second job, I started working for John Milne in Normanton on a part time basis, who was a bit of a mentor really as well at the time. So, you know, got a lot of, you know, a lot of experience working with him in his team. I was only doing two days a week there, but whenever I bump into him, I always used to sort of pick his brains on there on what’s going on.

[00:08:08] First, couple of bosses are so influential, I find.

[00:08:11] Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. The first first few shape shape your career going forward and you, you know, you pick bits. You sort of see how they’re dealing with their team and how they deal with their patients and what to say. And oh, I can get away with this and you can’t do this and you can’t say this, and it’s just fantastic. Yeah, absolutely. I think you kind of sets you up.

[00:08:31] So then your first practise at NHS one, you said yes. Yeah, yeah, back

[00:08:37] When two thousand five, I believe

[00:08:41] 2005. Yeah, I was working there part time. I knew the gentleman wanted to sell it and I thought, Look, you know, I was getting fed up of sort of being told was surgery to work in which the nurse you get. And I will sort of wanting my own place really with my name on the door and and thinking. So it was a case

[00:08:58] Of, yep, we did a deal.

[00:09:00] It was up for sale. It was a deprived practise in one of the poorest areas of Bradford. Looking back, was it the right practise for me? Probably not. I’ll come onto that later.

[00:09:09] But at the

[00:09:10] Time it seems to work, you know, seemed to work. I knew the team. It just seemed to work. I could just get on with it. I was already there, working there a couple of years. So yeah, all fitted in. I took over and I had that place about seven years before I sold it.

[00:09:25] What was the main driver to sell it? That you just felt like it wasn’t you?

[00:09:28] It wasn’t me. There was, uh, there was a big a bit of a story behind it, which is interesting, which I’m happy to just sort of go over it. It was. He was all going well. It was all going well. 2005 2011 is all going really well hunky-dory. We used to go out with the staff, have a good laugh. Everything was fine. And then August the 19th 2011 Friday evening, I get a letter from the PCT asking for about 20 record cards. So I get this record asking me for 20 record cards. So I said, Right, OK, I know. In fact, sorry, it was earlier in August, it was August, around August, the 8th August the 6th asking for 20 record cards. So the Dental advisor came in, took 20 record cards the following week and went away with them. I said, fine, no big deal. I might just get a little bit of advisory. No, to what? You know what it should be writing. My notes, blah blah blah didn’t hear anything. Friday, the 19th of August. This is the evening I received a letter and it went to my old old address, my old home address, actually. So I had to go there and get it. I get a letter saying that we are calling you for a meet for a hearing on the following Wednesday. So I had

[00:10:41] Basically for Friday

[00:10:43] Evening already. So I had three working days, two working days, Monday Tuesday to prepare. We’re calling you for a hearing to decide whether we’re going to suspend you from front of the performers list. Wow. I don’t the blues

[00:10:54] Out of the blue.

[00:10:54] So I was like, Where did this come from? They felt my, you know, my notes. I was working very hard to get. My notes weren’t good enough. I was seeing a lot of urgent cases. It was, it was. It was pretty much overkill. So anyway, this this this is a turning point in my career because up until that point, I had been pretty much self-reliant, said nothing will really. Happened to me because I’m pretty good with my patients, my dentistry is not bad, I’m pretty good, my patients who cannot touch me and I have my indemnity or who are with that ring of help and how wrong was I rang them up Friday evening. Someone on Cold Person Evening takes the phone call and says, Send everything through to us. We can’t sending anyone to the hearing with you. You have to go on your own. It’s too late right now. So you’re on your own. But basically send us everything through. We’ll try and defend. It will look through whatever’s what. So there was me on a Friday evening worried sick, not knowing what to do, who during. I rang one of my old bosses who said he wasn’t really experienced enough to come to the hearing with me. And then I remembered I spoke to one gentleman, and I probably probably shouldn’t name him right now. I probably shouldn’t name him, to be honest. But he was very high up in the media in the past, and I remember having a conversation with him over a pint at a CPD lecture once.

[00:12:15] So I just tried him and it’s 19th of August 2011 and everyone was usually on hold the day at that time of the year. So try it on his number because that’s still at his mobile number. And I pick it up and he says, and I said, It’s Ted, and he says, Ted, yeah, yeah. I remember. Yeah, blah blah blah, you know? And I said, Look, you know, I’ve got this letter calling me to hear hearing on the Wednesday blah. You know, I’m worried sick. What do we do? And he said, Ted, you were going to get these guys. He said, that is absolutely out of order. We’ve got an action plan. He goes Saturday morning, we’re going to sit down. He goes, We’re going to go through it all by email. Let’s prepare an action plan. Let’s get this sorted. And by the Sunday, I was getting a little bit confident I could fight this. By the Monday, I was collecting record cards. I was collecting testimonials from patients I treated and everything. And on the Wednesday morning, me and this gentleman walked into the hearing. This was 24th of August 2011, so well over ten years ago. Now we walked into this hearing and as soon as this gentleman came to the hearing with me, the medical director, the Dental advisor

[00:13:21] Sort of just

[00:13:22] Smiled and said, Oh, hi, yeah, we know you. He was that revered in the profession. So the way he did it with me and sat down, we asked each of the questions and he asked me what my area was like, and it was a deprived area in. Most of the patients don’t come back for exams, they come for urgent treatment and disappear and et cetera, et cetera. So I didn’t get suspended, they gave me an oxygen plum for a year, which was pretty much hellish anyway because it involves sort of going back

[00:13:48] To like

[00:13:49] A Dental school way of working on haze in a deprived area, which was putting me more and more behind. So that led to be, I mean, to sell the practise, which is the best thing I ever did. Moving on from the practise. So I work there as part of the year as an associate, you know, under the new owner. But that was a turning point, really, which sort of got me into mentoring and helping the dentists. And the fact is that, you know, there’s the help out there, and I’m glad now we’re in 2021. There’s a few organisations out there that you can speak to. It’s not just you on your own and your indemnity. It’s there’s other organisations like Confidential. I became a mentor for the Yorkshire Deanery at the time, and they’ve just set up a pass through the LDC, the set of Practitioner Advice and Support Service Scheme, which I’m also one of the members of.

[00:14:36] It occurs to me that, you know, if you hadn’t have had made that call. Yeah, things might have turned out very differently.

[00:14:44] This this was the thing. This was the real key turning point. It was about nine thirty. I remember I was absolutely, you know, I mean, this is the dangers out there that probably this position with GDC hearings or whatever, but when they get a letter. But I was turning, I was just ripping my hair out, just absolutely thinking, This is it. Everything’s coming down to me now. It’s a 20 page letter saying, you’re going to call for a hearing because you’re a safety problem to a patient. You’re it’s a safety issue. So I made this one phone call to this one gentleman and the confidence he instilled in me and the action plan. He said that you have to do defy these guys looking at the demographics of the population and going through it all in detail, getting testimonials and all this. And we went in there and we did it or we did the job and I showed them that, look, I’m a safe dentist. My patients liked to see me. I’ve made some mistakes in the notes. Admittedly, I admitted where I went wrong. And you know it one of those things, and it’s fine, they said. I find it’s an action plan given and they said, Just do this action plan you fine.

[00:15:45] So why don’t you want to name the guy?

[00:15:48] Uh, I don’t know if I should put him in it, really. I mean, I can’t do it, actually. I mean, I mean, I don’t know if I should do. I don’t know if it’s my if I should do, whether he is in that role anymore or not. I’m not sure, but

[00:16:02] It sounds like a great guy

[00:16:04] Is very well revered. He’s very well revered, very well known in that industry. So that was really a turning point, to be honest with you. It ended me selling the practise, paying the PCT back in the realm of a barrel. They find me through thirty two thousand pounds anyway for inappropriate claims. And then I will seventy thousand pound behind on OODA. So I think I paid back about a hundred on ground in the end. By the time I sold the practise just to the PCT just a day ago, go take the money.

[00:16:30] You didn’t know you were doing anything wrong. Is that right?

[00:16:32] I was just working very, very fast on a lot of patients seeing a lot of virgin patients. I didn’t realise that you needed to do all these exams on everyone as well. And I was a bit of an outlier in certain areas. I didn’t realise all this, but I was doing what I thought was in the best interest of the patients. The patients were very happy. There was no issue, so I thought that was eight. I didn’t realise you had to work within parameters of being your averages. This was something because it comes on to something else. I was doing at the time managing the practise. I was doing everything myself. I was doing all the management myself, all the audits, everything myself to the point where I took my eye off this one area, which was keeping an eye on on the parameters of what we were doing. You know, we were doing too many of these, too many that too many agents, et cetera. So that was a steep learning curve.

[00:17:20] That’s what the biggest, the biggest thing you learnt about that dude was it like, you know, to not do everything yourself

[00:17:25] Going, not do everything yourself. Yeah, there are some things you can let go. I was I became OCD almost about like having every policy underwritten and signed by everybody, and everything had to be right, the policies and they all to be filed correctly. And everything that took my eye off the actual fact that I was building up all these so-called inappropriate claims that would trigger and go red flags to the PCT.

[00:17:47] So then so then going forward, did you learn that lesson or did you put it into action?

[00:17:51] I mean, I think actually we we thought the claims out. I delegated a lot more to practise, man. No, no.

[00:17:56] But I mean, I mean, the next next practise along. Yeah, you moved on. Yeah. Did you stop trusting people? You know, in a way, it’s a bit of a control freak way of doing it. It is.

[00:18:05] It is. It’s a lot of what it’s what a lot of dentists suffer from. And I basically now I’ve started focussing more on the claiming the clinical aspects of the practise. I’m saying to my manager, Look, you know, you’re dealing with this bit, I’m not doing it. This policy, this is not for me to do. You know, you’re doing the wages, you’re doing the policies. I’m going to look at them, that’s fine. But I’m working on the clinical aspects. That’s what I’m focussing on now. So, yeah, I think it’s down to delegation. I know it’s probably suffering at the time in Bradford as well, something that a lot of us suffer from it. We’d always know it at the time, so was probably suffering from burnout as well. And I didn’t even realise it. I was doing far too many udas. I didn’t even realise it.

[00:18:44] Yeah, you get on the treadmill, don’t you?

[00:18:46] You get the treadmill, you get the treadmill. It produces endorphins. You think, Oh, I need to do this Friday evening, do a Saturday and you do this and they do that and there’s a gap. Get the gap filled and you do this and you don’t really switch off.

[00:18:57] So and it’s burnout

[00:18:58] Without realising burnout creeps up on you very slowly and it and you start faltering in other areas. And I think that was my problem at the time, to be honest, trying to do too much.

[00:19:08] So then the second, the second practise, what was that? Where was that?

[00:19:12] The second one was actually I had it the same time as I had the Bradford one. Towards the end, I bought a small

[00:19:17] Private one

[00:19:18] Again, again, a mistake thinking that I need a second practise because this is what you meant to do. Yeah. Hmm. Oliver made such second practises. I was meant to have a second practise, so I went and bought one forty miles away in a partnership, which is a very small practise. I need a building up. So I was losing money of the Bradford practise, travelling 40 miles to this smaller private one, trying to make money off that one and sort of tearing my hair out again. Another lesson I learnt was don’t buy something because it’s cheap. It is very cheap. So I think it yeah, it’s really cheap. Let’s buy it. It was cheap for a reason. Took a lot of work and I lost money. I was losing Udas at the breakfast practise. Yeah. And so I was working between the two, so I didn’t get the management rights again. Second mistake. It was very far away from home. Cheap practise. Just, you know, for me personally, I’m not saying

[00:20:14] This would be perfect this way.

[00:20:16] It has a small contract. About 3000 Udas wasn’t much, but it wasn’t really worth buying and leaving the Bradford one. You know, it wasn’t really didn’t really make sense. But somehow I felt at the time I needed, I know the practise. I think it was a bit of an ego thing because I had this Bradford one, which is a very deprived, poor area. I felt I needed a bit of a higher end sort of private kind of practise. And again, it comes down to this reason of why you want to buy a practise. You need to have a compelling reason to buy a practise. And I tell a lot of young dentists this. Don’t just buy one because your mates are buying one or whatever, you know, I need to buy a practise, need to buy a practise. What are your specific reasons for buying a practise? And if they don’t really have a specific reason, I’ll say, just wait. Wait for the right one. I just just don’t buy one. You know, carry on an associate. This is the problem. It’s when I bought the first practise Bradford one. The thing was the difference then was I was very clear why I wanted to buy it. I wanted my name on the door. I wanted. I wanted the change, the wallpaper. You know, I wanted to do my way. I want to control. I wanted. I wanted that aspect with a private wall and it was an ego one. He was an ego trip. I want a second practise. Yeah, yeah, I want to. I’ve got two practises. Second one as well. It’s a private one. Yeah, no real reason for buying. It didn’t really look at the figures. Didn’t really think what I’ve been losing in UDS is this practise by going and working for lower private fees and the other practise.

[00:21:39] And you know, it’s quite difficult. It’s quite difficult, isn’t it? I mean, we’re not trained to read balance sheets and, you know, properly understand profit and loss and all that. I don’t know whether you did or you didn’t, but but there is that aspect of it. And yeah, running, running, running a very high needs NHS place and then a private place, two totally different skill sets, two

[00:22:01] Totally different skill sets. So I’m going across similar power to the private one. Yeah, do some nice private work. Do Masaryk, whatever they’re doing, all that kind of stuff, then you’re coming back the next day and it’s just practise with 10 toothaches. Book 10 and, you know, until a totally different mindset. I think I think I think the key factor with the private one was it was too far away if it was close, so we could have made it work. But the fact it was 40 miles away were just ridiculous. You know, we could have turned it around a bit more, but it’s one of those life lessons. It didn’t work for me, so we sold out after four years and I went back to being an associate.

[00:22:35] Wow, what a it is. What a big change. And did you lose money on on the private one?

[00:22:42] I did it well. If you look at the fact that I lost money on the Bradford one because of the private one, yes, I did. I think I made about 3000 pounds in the private one in the end when we sold it.

[00:22:54] You know, we bought it for

[00:22:56] 20k and I made about 20. I mean, it was it was ridiculous. I paid for my service when he came. I don’t mind talking figures. I paid about £20000 for it and my partner paid of 20k. And in the end, I think I made about 3000 by the time I’d take the money out. But in fact, I’d lost more because I was losing money money that Bradford practise. It was falling more and more behind.

[00:23:14] Yeah, yeah, opportunity cost, right? And all that headache, the headache of buying and selling a practise, right?

[00:23:20] Yeah, exactly. It was a buying and selling it all that. So.

[00:23:23] So then when you got an associate job, did you resent that fact or was did you do this sort of thing? Nice to have a breather. Nice not to have the responsibility for a while.

[00:23:35] Yeah, it was nice. It was a nice break, actually. I worked for I worked for a decent guy, to be honest. The guy who bought my Bradford one, actually. I said to him, Look, I can’t work in Bradford anymore. I want to work in one of the two practises. He gave me a job. One of his other practises. And you know, he was he was a fair guy, actually, to be honest with him, still in touch with him now and again. He gave me a job in his hotels, full of practise. I worked there for about a year or so, but there was there was that deep down saying, Oh, you know, I was getting moved surgeries and come in the morning and suddenly say, Look, you know, you’re giving a trainee nurse going to move to the surgery. And I was getting over the trauma of the whole events of 2011. Yeah, I was just getting over them slightly and I thought, Look, you, you know, that’s in the past. Now it’s time to move on. Don’t dwell on the past. And you know, I was only 36, 37. I said, it’s time to buy into the practise and learn from your mistakes.

[00:24:26] So I put

[00:24:27] Feelers out there and all that. And then this practise close to me 20 minutes away came up and it was just it was just bang on. I mean, he couldn’t have come at a better time, the perfect number of Udas 8000 Udas. I don’t want a single mall. I’ve got some therapists in there now and we’re doing a bit of private, which is good. So yeah, it kind of works. You know, it’s it’s a nice area. It’s all fee paying patients, lovely patients. And I actually like doing this like a second home. I love going there every day.

[00:24:54] That’s always a nice sign, man. It’s always a nice sign. I mean, it’s it’s never going to be like this in dentistry, exactly right. But you know when for me, when when you don’t really know whether it’s a weekday or a weekend for me, then I know I’m enjoying my life. I’m enjoying my job. Yeah, yeah, I’m looking at, Oh, it’s Thursday. Tomorrow will be Friday. Then I’ll be the weekend that I can relax.

[00:25:20] Yeah, yeah, yep. Yep, yeah.

[00:25:22] When the job’s not right, the weekend becomes this gold and it becomes the gold.

[00:25:27] Absolutely. When the

[00:25:29] Job is right, the weekends, just the weekends, just another

[00:25:31] Day. I think it’s great. I don’t mind doing the old Saturday morning. I was in there today doing some paperwork because it’s near my house. It’s like a second home to me. Yeah, yeah, you know, I’ve got it set up in the way I like my house. It’s like, I’m not saying it’s a well decorated, but it’s nice. It’s nice inside. I go in there. If you referral letters, as soon as I’ll have a Monday morning off, so I don’t get the Monday morning blues every Monday afternoon, short week, Wednesday half day, short week, it’s nice. You know you can put these for these little things in there to give you a nice working life. And like you said, you know you’re not looking for the Friday, you’re not looking for this thing. And I think a lot of people, they’re looking for peace and industry. They’re looking for peace. You know, you come in at eight, you do your Dental, you know, you do your five years, you come out in a job and they’re looking for peace. And the moment they get a complaint to get this ticket that it just rattles them. A registry is not a peaceful profession. It’s an adrenaline pumping profession. You know you’re on this, you’re on this treadmill from the word go, whether you like it or not, whether it’s NHS, whether it’s private, you’re on this, you’re on this sort of treadmill rollercoaster where anything can happen any time. Yeah, yeah. And there’s no peace. You know, you’re not going to any peace in the industry. It’s not it’s not getting all that kind of job. So I realise that I realised that I stood up for 2011. I realised it very well in a very harsh way. I realised it. And since then I’ve been I’ve been trying to sort of work within that, knowing that things can come up.

[00:26:51] So it looks, it sounds. It sounds like you’re kind of at peace now, don’t it?

[00:26:55] Yeah, I’m at Peace Now and a Peace Now. I like I said, going back to being a slow learner, slow thing. I am working at probably 70 to 80 percent of my capacity now. Yeah, yeah. I’m like, I’m like, I’m not. I’m like a boxer with his guard up with his back leg, ready to move back because I know things can happen any time. So I’m not pushing the envelope like you used to do before I used to try things. Oh, we’ll try this. We’ll try that. Do some crazy wisdom surgical. We’ll do that. Nope, I’m I’m defensive now a lot more and working, you know, probably 80 percent of what I should be working at. So I’ve just started doing implants. Now I’m making sure I’m getting the right mentors in something very slow. You know, single implants, blah blah blah. I’m not going crazy. I’m gonna take my time. You know, if I don’t know something, I can’t stand it. I’ll ask again. I’ll ask again, make sure I know

[00:27:40] It because I know

[00:27:41] My limitations. And that’s not to say it. So yeah, yeah, I’m a piece of myself now. It’s good.

[00:27:46] I’m a big step going into implants. Are you that it is vertically minded kind of dentist? Yeah, I mean,

[00:27:54] The thing is, I always enjoy certain surgical aspects. I was always taking teeth, doing surgical, raising pull ups, bone removal. But somehow there was a mental block of doing implants is high risk demanding patients blah blah blah. Again, it put me off. I was, Oh, I shouldn’t do it, but I’ve got to a stage now where, you know, forty four, I’m thinking looking at it. Just get on with it. Just do some simple implants. Even if you’re just doing singles and just doing a couple of areas, they need to get into it. So, you know, I did the PG Cert and again I did the Tipton Training PG Cert. Oh, the Tipton training, which is quite good. So I did that. And then actually, interestingly, exactly with Facebook again, you come across a lot of nonsense on Facebook, but also you come across some real gems, some real people that reach out. Yeah, and a guy called Amit Patel, Specialist Periodontist and Birmingham. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He reached out just on social media through my watch group and all these other things to do. And it’s a message and I say, Yeah, you know, I made him doing this and that, and we’ve been talking for two years and he said, Look, I’m going to help you with your implants.

[00:28:54] And I was like, OK, really? And he’s like, Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t worry, I’m going to help you. I’m going to come up and all this. And I was like, OK, I was a bit dubious and we got chatting a lot more messaging, and it seemed like a really nice guy. So funnily enough, two weeks ago, I went down to meet him for the first time. It’s practise nice, you know, lovely guy. Lovely making these connexions and I made so many of the connexions through Facebook. I met people in real life and for me, he’s been a positive, to be honest. It’s been. It’s been great. Yeah, so he’s coming up to my practise December 3rd and 4th and we’re replacing about sort of ten 15 implants of the two days, which can be fantastic. So looking forward to that. What more can I say? Yeah, I’m sort of, you know, pushing myself. I should have got involved in the implant industry a lot earlier with the experience I’ve had in surgical dentistry. But however, it’s still happening. I’m doing it now, so it’s fine. Everyone’s journey is their journey, right?

[00:29:44] Of course. And so tell me from the moment you decide. I’ve never done it right. The moment you decide, I want to do some implants to the moment you place your first without someone looking over your shoulder. How long? What is that timeframe or how old is it for you? Well, a few.

[00:30:02] I haven’t placed any on my own without someone looking over my shoulder yet. I’m moving to that. I’m going to that. Yeah.

[00:30:08] How many? How many are you going to do with someone looking over your shoulder before you do your first one?

[00:30:12] I’m going to do with our mate. I’m going to do about 10 to 12 implants. Mm hmm. And then I’ve got a very.

[00:30:19] Did you do any on any patients on Tipton?

[00:30:21] Yeah, I did about eight implants on the Tipton course. I placed about eight implants and then COVID struck.

[00:30:27] Yeah.

[00:30:28] And then I went back to my kind of registered negative way of thinking, Yeah, when the clinics open back up, I thought, Oh, you know what? I’ve lost touch with this. I’ll just finish off those patients that I had in. I just restored them. I won’t place any more implants. I became quite negative for a while. Yeah. Ahmed said, look, get a move on, let’s get going with this, yeah. You’ve done the calls, you’ve placed implants. It’s easy. Let’s do it. So he’s got me really fired up again. So so I’ve got all these patients

[00:30:56] Booked and we’re going to do it.

[00:30:58] Yeah. I mean, from your experience, obviously, you know where you’re at at the moment. What’s one thing about implant ology that you’d like people who are not in it to know, like one thing that you now know that you didn’t know before something surprising, something, whatever.

[00:31:12] I would say it is. There’s quite a few elements to it, which I thought it was pretty much you drilling putting an implant

[00:31:20] Into a Jawbone. As long as

[00:31:21] You’re not hitting anything, you fine. It was the software learning a software to plan. The implants took some time for me to understand because again, I’m a slow learner. I don’t get it very well. So learning this software, learning the implants and then looking at the implants in a three dimensional view on different scans was something new to me, and I was like, Wow, this is not really dentistry. This is different to what I know. Yeah, you know, you’re looking at a sagittal plane. You’re looking at looking at sideways, looking at this, looking at that and and then you’re thinking, Do I need to graph this or not? You’re looking a lot of things at the same time and then you have to sort of put all that clinically onto a page into a patient. And I kind of had a little bit of a mind blog doing all that. And that was my mental mind block stopping me from going ahead with implants for a long time. So even after even after placing the calls in January and February 2020 and after lockdown, I sit in it all. I’ll just get somebody in to do with them because I had somebody prior in the practise placing them.

[00:32:17] And it’s so much easier just getting them to do it or you just take a cut. Yeah. The problem came when the people leave those implants and eventually leave or whatever they do, they go on to do their own thing and you’re stuck with these implant patients. And now we’ve got vicarious liability as well. I don’t know what I’m doing. And inevitably, issues do arise. I don’t know what I’m doing with implants, and they come in and say, Oh, this, something’s loose here. The screw is loose or whatever. I’m thinking we don’t know what to do. Go back to the dentist and they’re saying, Well, I paid your practise. Can you sort it out? So I thought to myself, at least I need to know how to restore implants. I need to know something about them. So hence, I enrolled in the course and sort of learnt about, there’s a lot to it. And I think it’s one of those cases again, where you know you walk before you don’t run, you do your single implants with lots

[00:33:00] Of bone, lots of space. You know, if there’s anything else

[00:33:03] Sure about after somebody get a good mentor on board, ask them so willing to help you. You know what I mean? Not someone who’s going to put you down as someone to help you and take you through it.

[00:33:11] I mean, I know nothing about it, but but I do know that the soft tissue side of it is really complicated.

[00:33:17] Another aspect? Absolutely, really complicated. Yeah. You can see you can see how many, right? I’ve seen some cases I thought, Yeah, let’s do go for this. And then suddenly it’s a thin bio type, higher lip line and you think,

[00:33:32] I need I

[00:33:32] Need someone for this. And I mean, so it’s like you start learning more and more, I think, and you have very good patients. The first few patients you work on, make sure they are your best patients. They are the ones that will really, you know, worst case, you can just give the money back and say, Hey, it’s sorry about that. Let’s get it done. You don’t. You don’t want to have difficult patients. I mean, it’s like that with anything. But, you know, it’s a funny thing because in restorative dentistry, et cetera, we don’t really have the mentoring as much. But with implant dentistry, it’s very much mentor based with restorative. You just expected to get on with it. But I think the implant industry, there’s so many components to it, the soft tissues that it’s it’s it’s quite different. And again, some people might hear this podcast later and just be laughing, saying, Ted, you just you just be thick.

[00:34:14] But there’s a lot of people out

[00:34:16] There like me. There’s a reason. There’s a reason why a lot of people do implant courses and don’t go on to place implants. There’s a there’s a reason why because the cost, the start-up costs are expensive. You get a mentor on board. They’re expensive. You need to get the patients and it could all be very off-putting. And end of the day, there’s no the general dentistry out there that can get you the same kind of money, to be fair. So, you know, this is the reason you could have a specific reason why you want to do implants.

[00:34:42] Yeah, I mean, it’s a massive like a barrier, isn’t it? A lot of people never crossed that barrier.

[00:34:49] That’s something. Yeah.

[00:34:50] But I’m impressed that you’ve done it and you’ve and you’ve pushed through, you know, for instance, I would I would never, ever look at implants. I mean, I was just never that. That didn’t inspire.

[00:35:02] Yeah, no.

[00:35:04] It’s one of those things. It was it was never me. But end of the day, you know, I’m taking teeth out left, right and centre, my my Folmer PhDs or vets who I taught them surgical dentistry to the surgical zone and now doing implants on their own and doing much better than me. And I’m thinking, I’m going. I was teaching you guys how to dress flaps, divide routes, you know, doing all this and I’m now scared of implants. What’s going on, Ted? You know, get a grip. You can do

[00:35:27] This, you know?

[00:35:29] So it was almost I meet Ahmed Patel. We fail. I give him a shout out. He’s giving me a real kick of the backside to get on with it. I’ll be honest.

[00:35:37] So yeah.

[00:35:39] Well, Ted, you’ve now had three practises. You’ve had a bunch of staff. I noticed your. The wife is involved in the current one. Is that right? Yeah. Running a practise has a whole lot of, you know, sort of issues around hiring and firing staff, keeping keeping people happy working.

[00:35:58] Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

[00:36:00] You know, give us a couple of nuggets of things you’ve learnt. Maybe someone’s thinking of going into buying their first practise now. And and yeah, it’s something that you could someone could learn from a little hack. Yeah.

[00:36:14] Is a quite a few. I’ll tell you one thing is you take over an existing team and you try and as as a young, as a new or young practise owner, you try and impress them to keep them happy. Yeah, they’re looking at you. And even if you’re treating them better than the last guy, they’re looking at you with suspicion. Yeah. On the always ends up, it’s the same story over and over again. That team will end up leaving major. Not all of them, but the majority will end up leaving. And you will have to recruit your own team that are aligned, that are aligned with your values and your ethos and the way you do things.

[00:36:52] How interesting. So you say you’re saying if I if I, if I’m a young associate and I buy a practise with 12 people, it’s likely as the years go on, the incumbent ones will filter out. And new people that are more like your way of thinking will start to come in

[00:37:08] That there will be sabotage in that team that will make life very difficult for you. Yeah, cause problems were not exist to create, create problems and you’ll be trying to initially, as a young practitioner, you’ll be trying to think, Oh, there is a problem, I need to put a fire out here. I’ll put a fire out here. As you go by, you realise that actually there’s nothing going on. It’s actually these people are just trying to cause problems and not the right people. Now this applies equally to. If you take on new members, staff and this member of staff is causing problems, say the day you’re off on holiday or the afternoon you’re off, everything is wrong with the practise. A member of staff, for example, a new member of staff article and the one half day I was off. Yeah, the one half day the one, Wednesday I was off. Everything will be wrong with the practise. I would get reams of text messages in capital letters. This is not right. This is not right. This is not right. And walk in the next day and ask my existing staff what was going on and say everything was fine. That’s really the goal. Yeah, yeah. She just had a bit of a bit of a wobble. You know, she, he or she just had a bit of a wobble. I’d be like, OK. And then again, the next day, I’ll be off again. Something else again. Then I realise it’s not actually what she’s talking about.

[00:38:19] She’s just creating an issue because you have this two year thing now where you can get rid of people within two years, as long as you don’t discriminate against the protected characteristics which are sex, race, religion, blah blah, blah gender. You can just say sorry. See you later. You know you suitable. So that’s that’s the new members coming in yet. With with with, like you said, going back to what you’re saying about taking over a practise with staff. Yeah, inevitably they will leave and it always happens. I hear it time and time again on Facebook. They will cause problems. They will leave, they’ll kick up a full or whatever because they don’t like the new owner. They don’t like change. People don’t like change. Yeah. Yeah. So just as patients leave, stuff will leave and you will have to recruit your own team and get them on board. And the one thing I do on my team is you’ve got to find out what what motivates each person. Yeah, yeah. But some people, it’s money. It’s overtime. They like a bit of overtime. Yeah, a bit of overtime. Some people like a bit of a night owl, the like a night owl to meal a day. So foster that culture, foster bit of everything in your team, you know, try and try and sort of get everything that people like, try and touch upon a little bit of everything. That’s what I try and do. I try to keep happy, so stand back from it because working with the same people every day can get quite sickening and start to you start to despise the people you work with.

[00:39:34] It’s part of a burnout process. You go in every day to the same small surgery and you see the same people. But look at look at the overall good. Are they working hard? Are they coming on time? Are they working? Are they are they? Are they doing? Are they working for the practise? You know, trying to do what’s best for the practise? If you see these things you know in your staff, give them a little bit of leeway. Yeah. If if they if they’re all sick one day, just off sick, I’ve got a nurse who’s in every single day she’s in. She is in every single day, no matter what. She’s the one I rely on. She’s a pair of hands. She’s in every single day. If she’s off sick one day, I’m not going to because I don’t pay sick days. I paid her. I’m not. I’m not going to not pay her. I paid her, you know, it’s not a big deal. You know, she had one day she had to. She had a hospital of Payman. She works five days a week. She had to come in late, you know, just pay it. It doesn’t matter. You know, it’s two hours. Don’t penny pinch, you know, almost two hours. Look at the big picture.

[00:40:26] Yeah, I like I like that. But then, you know, someone else will say, if you do, if you do that for that person, you have to do that for the other person who’s not pulling their weight in the same way. Otherwise, it’s going to be seen as unfair. You know, like these things happen as teams grow, isn’t it?

[00:40:41] There are. I mean, this is purposeful. I’ve got a small team. This is this is this is the reasonable application. Yeah, yeah. This is why I’m a very small team person. It’s like a family to me now. This will not resonate with a lot of people because all of our bigger, better growing and all this, you know, for me, when I see these 20 staff, I just see problems, you know, when I see these dentistry awards and I’m not looking at dentistry was, I think they’re fantastic. I just don’t go to them. I think they’re fantastic. I think they’re great. But I see these 20, you know, big, massive teams. I just think I just see problems everywhere. Personally, for me, that’s what I see. Again, it’s a negative attitude, you know, maybe and maybe a practise on who’s got more stuff can maybe fill me in. Maybe, you know, give me some insights on how to deal with it. But for me, it’s a small team. We all work together. There’s there’s no there’s no fallouts we saw to issues out in house.

[00:41:27] It goes back to self-awareness, isn’t it? It goes back to that self-awareness.

[00:41:33] Yeah, yeah. I know you like anyone who’s a bad apples. I like it.

[00:41:36] Small. Keep it small.

[00:41:37] Anyone who’s a bad apple, I get rid of them. I hire an attitude, not competence.

[00:41:41] Yeah. Are you good at firing people? I don’t mean the act of firing because the act of firing no one’s good at. It’s it’s a nightmare, right? But I’m saying, are you good at saying this person’s wrong and we don’t need her anymore and getting that person out quickly? You get it done.

[00:41:56] Yes. Yes, I was rubbish at it, but I had to learn to be good at it very quickly because I was. I once kept a person on thinking she will change and every meeting should be, yep, yep, edge. I’m going to change. I’m going to do better. I’m going to do that for you. She’d have a written warning and then she would work well until the really warning lapsed and then go back to her old ways again. Yeah, sorry. Her verbal warning. She’s got a verbal warning. She knew exactly the time scales work really well and then go back to her old self again. And then the the verbal warning starts again, and she made sure she went over the two year period, and it’s very difficult to get rid of it. You know, I won’t say what a date, I won’t say what I did in the end, but that’s for another time, but I wouldn’t say how we managed to.

[00:42:43] Somebody tells me you took care of business.

[00:42:45] I took care of business in a way that is not a conventional conventional, but is a way that I will tell people quietly, there is a way and you have to have everybody else on board and there is a way. But I can’t say that on a podcast. There is a way. There is a way, and it’s risky. It’s risky, but

[00:43:06] There is a way. The funny thing is, but everyone listening to this is now thinking of all sorts of things which are much more crazy than what actually happened.

[00:43:14] It’s not. It’s using a legal process. Oh. But but it’s it’s it’s a bit convoluted and it’s very risky. If it goes wrong, but it’s not as risky as doing a bad firing. That’s the difference.

[00:43:28] Yeah, I’ve done it before, but I’ve made excuses for for the member of staff. I’ve had them linger for much longer than they should. I’m trying to get Sanjay my partner to to have a look at an idea of we. If we if we want to fire someone, we’ve got it now in our business. We’ve got a one month notice period. Yeah, yeah. And I’m telling Sanjay turned that into a we’ll pay you three months of salary. Yeah, just go. Yeah. Because if you do that first, it makes it easier to say it and fire people, right? Because you’re giving them three months, right? And they’re not going to not be able to feed their kids and all that. But secondly, most of the time, whenever we’ve wanted to fire someone, we’ve procrastinated for at least three months before doing it. So we’ve paid that money anyway. Yeah. For for an ineffective person. Yeah, yeah. And he he does not want to do that. I get it too, by the way. I get it too. Yeah.

[00:44:24] Yeah, no, no. It’s it’s very difficult.

[00:44:27] The problem is

[00:44:28] Is, you know, once you’ve got a good team, yeah, you’ve got a good team and you get this bad apple in there. And again, it’s usual you’ll get the red flags. As usual, there’ll be issues constantly cropping up when there weren’t before the issues. And sometimes these people will make out that they’ve got higher standards than everybody else, you know, Oh, this isn’t clean and this is not right. You need to be doing this, need to be doing that, creating little little things here and there, and disharmony mosques are whispering and you’ll see the red flags and you just cry. Rather than trying to put out each little fire here and there, you realise at the end this person just needs to go. Yeah, because there are sabotage. That’s just their personality. That’s the way they are. And you need to get rid of them. And I say this, a lot of people, I’d say, just get rid of the message me or people message me on Facebook Messenger and saying, I’ve got this member. She’s doing this, she’s doing that. And I say, how long you had to say three months to just get rid. So, oh, but then I go to the disciplinary. I see. No, you don’t need to go through the disciplinary. Just been there three months as long as you don’t, as long as you don’t discriminate against especially, you know, against the protected characteristics you’ll find. Just get

[00:45:32] Rid. It sounds like you’ve got that side fixed. What about the other side? If someone’s doing really well, do you? How do you manage in a Dental practise environment to provide them fulfilment? You know, like job satisfaction, people. What I found very difficult in dentistry, not that I spent much time in practise, but at the time the idea that someone can progress in their career is quite hard in dentistry and especially in this very practise, right?

[00:45:57] Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it’s very it is very, very difficult. It’s a tough answer. This one in my in a way, in my practise. And I shouldn’t say this, I suppose, in the small practise that I’ve had, if I had somebody too ambitious, they would probably believe, yeah, if that makes sense because there wasn’t much of a great career progression. So I’ve just got my two nurses on the implant training course to be Dental, you know, implant nurses. Yeah, which has helped them. But I can’t give them the whole wow factor of the radiographs putting fluoride varnish on doing this, doing that, we’re too small, you know, we can’t afford it. So in a way, you kind of want people who are sort of happy to come in, enjoy repetitive work, know where they’re getting each month to live nearby. They’re comfortable. You need, you need to give that kind of security. Of course, you know, do all the bonuses and all that, that’s all fine. So part of it, but when it comes to career progression, it is very difficult and don’t have an answer for that necessarily.

[00:46:52] Tell me about the bonus structure.

[00:46:54] I don’t have a structure. I don’t have a structure. I give a great Christmas bonus. I will. I’ll give a great Christmas bonus. I will give bonuses as I go along if someone’s doing well. I give bonuses for recruiting implant patients. You know, they’ll get five pounds to implant patient. I’m trying to give them something. I’m trying to work on something I’ve been quite model as well. But for my receptionists who

[00:47:17] Who keep those

[00:47:18] Dental patients on the plan by ringing them up regularly and saying, How are you doing anything we can do for you? Blah blah blah. I’m always giving them their own list of implant patients. I said, These yours, you have to manage these, make sure they’re on the system paying every month. I’m trying to remunerate them something for each having each patient on, rather than just forgetting a new patient on. I’m trying to give them. I’m trying to work out a system of a monetary system of somehow, you know, giving them something for keeping that list of patients going active, saying it’s your responsibility as well as well as mine. Keeping them on so they don’t fall off. They don’t fall off a list and say, Oh, I’ve not heard from that practise for a while, I’ll just cancel my membership. You know, what can you do extra?

[00:47:59] My feeling talking to them is there isn’t enough performance related incentive in Dental practises. There is. There is a reason there is a but but from from from someone who does a lot of it in our business. One thing I’ve noticed is that even when, like you’re saying, you’re trying to come up with something for your receptionist, right, even when you come up with something that you think is perfect. Yeah, there’s always you’ve got to look out for. There’s always going to be an unwanted side effect of that of that scheme. Yeah. Like whatever it is, I can’t tell you how it can end up in your practise, but you know, they’ll sign up these patients who are not big spenders or whatever. Well, we found we found when we were doing monthly targets for sales, we were comparing to the same month the year before to January. So what ended up happening was they would just switch and, you know, they would take their foot off the pedal in February. Next February, put their foot on the pedal, you know, and it’s not their fault. You can’t you can’t blame them for it because you set up the system. There it is.

[00:49:02] Yes, there it is. That’s right.

[00:49:04] And and then you go and change the system and then you get another unwanted side of it. But having said all of that, I do think there’s not enough of it in dentistry, you know, because there’s not because there’s not career progression in the normal way that people would expect it in careers in a lot of dental practises. I think at least if the practise is doing well, the staff should do better. You know, if the banks are doing better, the staff should do better, more than happens at the.

[00:49:30] Yes, I agree. I think I think you’re absolutely right. I think the same has got this really well. I haven’t. I’m a little really poor of this because I’m I’m I don’t like to share the figures with my staff why I don’t think my staff. Again, it’s confidential. I don’t think that they’re ready for it. I think they can digest the figures and understand the profit or loss because I don’t want them thinking, Ooh, teachers make it take X amount or this is what we make.

[00:50:00] You don’t need to discuss profit and loss, but no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It should be, I think, dervish be like generators.

[00:50:08] Yeah, turnover is a skill centre skills ghost. I’ve talked about why profit is why we need to be getting money ahead. I’ve talked about why we need to have a profit so I can invest back in the practise, which is what I have to do. I said if we’re only looking backwards, then I’ll be saving on, Oh, we can’t buy fax paper this month or we can’t buy, you know, we can’t buy printer ink this month. I said, that’s the negative backward attitude. I need to be looking at why we can buy this, why we can hire more staff, why we can do this, invest in the practise. We can have a better, better Christmas. Do we can do a better events. We can, you know, the bigger,

[00:50:36] Well, go thing that you should pay attention to. This is that I’m not saying open up all the numbers because as a business owner, that doesn’t make massive sense, right? But but in general, I’d say in general, your nurse or receptionist who doesn’t know how much money you earn? Yeah, thinks generally you’re earning a lot more than you’re earning. Would you say to that? I don’t know, really, you know what, I don’t know.

[00:51:04] I I try, I see. I’m very much low key with it, with him, with my staff, you know? Yeah, I’m very low key and we’re not a high turnover practise. Anyway, I never have been. I’m not that kind of dentist, so we’re very much low key. You know, I drive a 10 year old car and this and that, and I like watches, but that’s fine. Okay, it’s one of those things, but I’m lucky I eat in the same places they eat, go to the same places they go to. So I’m hoping they don’t think I’m sort of, you know, making a ton of money. But I hope there is. It’s it’s it’s hard to explain. I don’t want them thinking I’m ripping off patients and have a negative thing because, you know, I want them to sort of think that I’m giving your patients a fair deal, that I’m worth my weight.

[00:51:45] I get it, but I get it. Listen, what you’re saying is the norm. Yeah, but I’m saying that.

[00:51:51] Yes. Yes. No. You’re absolutely right. I want to. I would like to have that business manager who says, Ted, you know, we’ve we’ve only made we’ve only we’re really turning over 300k this year when we only get to 400 by next year. I want to get you to five hundred and I want to make sure we’re doing this as this. Yes, I like that kind of

[00:52:07] Person, but

[00:52:09] I can’t pay that kind of person who has those qualifications to understand that. So actually, my wife understands that. So the other so it’s a small practise. So I’m just saying I’ve got a solution to everything and I appreciate your advice as well.

[00:52:20] And oh, dentists have

[00:52:22] Messaged me and giving me advice on how to sort this issue out and things, and I’m constantly learning. This whole thing about me is being a slow learner and having my experience. I’m constantly learning from other people, people younger than me who set up, you know, got five or six practises and said, Ted, you think you look like a shopkeeper?

[00:52:36] Yeah, yeah.

[00:52:37] I’m thinking like a corner shop guy. You know, just standing, standing there, counting my pennies. Think of the bigger picture. Start bonus. Start giving these people bonuses. Start incentivising them. Save yourselves. But then you’ve got the staff who are not financially motivated. That’s the problem. So I mentioned this thing about this five pound butt implant patient, and one of the receptionists said, I’m not interested one bit in that. She’s a great, she’s a great receptionist. She’s fantastic, but she’s not interested in any bonuses to whatsoever. She wants to do a work, get paid and go home. That’s it.

[00:53:04] So there are people like that. There are people, you know,

[00:53:07] And they’re and they are what I classed as a pair of hands. You need them. They’re very reliable, very reliable. They’re in every day on time. They like coming to work as close to work, and they’re a pair of hands and you need a pair of hands as well. Yeah, yeah. And you need more ambitious people. But then ambitious people can leave because they outgrow your practise. That’s the problem,

[00:53:28] Because let’s get to this PDA thing that you’ve put yourself up for.

[00:53:32] Yeah, the PDA. Yes.

[00:53:34] And I take my hat off to you. I do. Yeah, anyone who puts himself up for anything like this, you know, I’m not yet cynical enough to think that, you know, it’s a power trip or whatever. No, no. In the real world, I think that, but not in Dental politics, it’s such an unsexy thing to go into. But I always give the benefit of the doubt to the person doing it. Why don’t you just just tell us, explain what is the committee? What does it do? Why are you thinking about?

[00:54:01] Well, I’m actually I’m actually fairly inexperienced. So for me, I’ll give you a bit of my story in the background is I’ve been on Bradford LDC Local Dental committee. Yeah, I’m now in Wakefield Local Dental Committee. Now, obviously, you know me on social media. We’ll all have a rant. Every now and again. There’ll be this big thing. Everybody sort of pulls the big thing. We’re going to do this, we’re going to do this, and let’s set up this union. Let’s do this. And half of them don’t go anywhere.

[00:54:27] Yeah. And then I thought, Well,

[00:54:29] Where does where does the real work happen? Who’s really negotiating with the government NHS and who? It’s a it’s a GDP arm of the BDA. Yeah, the General Dental Practise Committee. This is where the action happens. And I thought, You know what? I need to put myself up because I’m kind of shy or reticent guy and I’m pretty much like, always want somebody else to do it. You, if somebody else does it and the outcome is not in my favour, then I’m, as you know, I should be the one that should be going out there. Yeah, if I want to change things, you’ve got to put yourself out there, you know, go outside your comfort zone. So, you know, there’s a lot at the moment and at the moment, a lot of older, experienced dentists on these committees and they come in to the end of their tenure and stepping down. So I think we need some fresh blood in there to take take things forward. So I would say just just to anyone who wants to make a difference at the very minimum, you know, you have a rant on Facebook, everybody has a rant on Facebook, but go to your local Dental committee meetings. Anybody is welcome to them. It’s not daunting. It’s not. It’s not a it’s not a members, only club or some boys club go along. They sit there, see what’s talked about. Yeah, it’s a bit dull. It’s in the evening, but this is where the action happens. You’ll find out what’s going on. So I’ve always been interested in finding what’s going on. Yeah, there are seven pm on an evening, go along to them, sit around, meet at the dentist in your area network. So I’ve been doing that for years, but I’ve always been at a very low level. I’ve always been ranting on social media and just blah blah blah and giving advice and now involved the past scheme, the Practitioner Advice Service Scheme.

[00:55:55] So, so you know, trying to make a difference. Where do you? Nhs dentistry going

[00:56:01] Wait was initially dentistry going interesting question, actually, it’s well, what’s happening right now right now and it’s just dentistry is in freefall. There is no NHS access anywhere

[00:56:14] For most

[00:56:14] Practises is struggling to even hit the 65 percent target we’ve been given and morale of staff is at the lowest point ever. The dentists, I think that was sitting on the fence previously about whether to go private and whether that’s a full private practise conversion or a principle only conversion, I think are now making them move to private practise. I think the trust or relief we all had last year during the start of the pandemic, when the NHS announced full support to providers, has now mostly evaporated. It is a difficult period right now, but I think things will stabilise. I think things will stabilise in NHS. And the one thing I found personally, it’s my personal opinion. This is that whenever, whenever the government have been embarrassed by NHS dentistry as they are now and going back to sort of early 2000s when you had the oldest photographs of the queues outside practises people waiting outside the whole of Lincolnshire, massive queues, outside practises and all that kind of thing. A bit of money was pumped in and access was improved. I’ll be in the short term. Access was improved, so where it’s heading right now don’t really know. I think they’re talking about a call service coming in. But does a call service mean core funding? That’s the issue because the government, the NHS right now thinks this funding is providing a fully comprehensive service. When we all know it isn’t, it’s only providing it can probably only service 50 percent of the population at best. So will the NHS have to accept mixed practise? And finally, will they have to let us know what is and is not available on the NHS rather than than this current situation of where we’re meant to provide whatever is clinically necessary, which leaves us dentists in a trap, really, you know, just waiting to be tripped up. So, yeah, I think things will stabilise.

[00:57:58] But OK, but in the role, let’s say you get elected in the role, you’re going to be actually one of the people having these discussions with government, right?

[00:58:06] Is that is that right? Well, I be feeding in. It will be the chair of the GPC. It’ll usually be the chair and vice chair of the GPC who might have these direct negotiations. We’ll certainly be feeding in much more, so I’ll be a much more higher level if I get on. I built a feeding and feeding the thoughts of associates and other dentists and sort of what’s happening on the ground really and will to effect change. So I’m hoping I can, you know, I can make some difference. Collectively, the GDP scheme can make some difference. I mean, the wheels that there’s a lot, this is the thing that a lot of people don’t understand is one change very quickly. There’s the wheels of motion, a very slow with the government. You know, there’s a lot happening in industry, but the way the government act and they come back is very, very slow. So you get you get a little bit of change now and again here and there, and that takes a lot of time so people don’t fully appreciate. But the work the GPC did in securing the funding during the lockdown, pernicious practises. People don’t really appreciate how much work went into that. So it’s things like this that are often ignored.

[00:59:05] Yeah. A PDA gets a kind of a mixed bag of sort of rep, doesn’t it, from people? I mean, they

[00:59:12] They’ve got a very, very hard job. You can think about it. Payman Yeah. Bda represent. They’ve got to represent. Yeah. And dentistry is so fragmented. We’ve got purely private practises. We’ve got mixed practises. Yeah, we’ve got pure NHS practises and then we’ve got associates in the middle of all this who are having their own hard time of it all. So they’ve got to represent three different types of practise owners.

[00:59:38] But I think a lot of people have thought that, you know, they’ve been really representing one of those three more than anyone else.

[00:59:46] Possibly, possibly, possibly because there’s just more of those to represent.

[00:59:50] Well, there’s more to it than anything else, right? If you want to

[00:59:53] The more associates as well as those the

[00:59:56] Problems?

[00:59:57] No, no. Yeah, I think the problem is. I mean, I’m not experienced enough to answer this. And guys, Eddie Crouch probably are. They’re the top level. The problem is, I think, is the way the contracts of the NHS are done with the provider. I think that legality is that the divide, a contract subcontracts to the associates. That’s right. So I think that is the key element, which is the GDS contract, which I think is hard to bypass. So any any sort of Payman disputes than that really will have to go legally. That’s the problem you’ve got.

[01:00:32] I think that’s been this.

[01:00:32] I think that’s been the tricky part for for the media to resolve the country’s resolve disputes themselves directly without involving legal teams

[01:00:40] And who can vote. Is it like Luke or you can only people local to you?

[01:00:45] I think I think it’s only my local. I think at this particular election, it’s so the local guys that can vote in West Yorkshire.

[01:00:51] Yeah, yeah,

[01:00:53] I try to canvass everyone. I think I’ve realised lately in the local people I can vote. But yeah, I tried. I think I tried to get on JTBC four years ago when I was a relatively unknown. I wasn’t even on the LDC, so I didn’t get on. And I’ve got tough competition to Wakefield. And to be fair, the competition is excellent. Whoever whoever gets on to West Yorkshire, you know, Joe Henderson or somebody else, someone like that is absolutely brilliant. So I’ve got no issues. I really hope I get voted on. But if I don’t, then I know it’s in safe hands anyway.

[01:01:19] That’s nice to hear that. It’s nice to hear that. Yeah, you. I mean, you would come back to this self-awareness question what makes you be the kind of cat who wants to put yourself up for election? I mean, it’s like life, I would never, ever try that.

[01:01:38] Yeah, I think I represent a fair few general Dental practitioners who are a little bit negative, a little bit reticent, a bit shy to get out there. Yeah, possibly slow learners as well. We’re not all high flyers, we’re not all Instagram stars. And they want change. They don’t have to go about it. They feel a bit, you know, when you go to the local Dental committee meetings and you’ve got three or four senior dentists on there who are already on GSPC C or Dental practise advisors for the NHS. You feel a bit, you feel a bit sort of, you know, it’s quite sort of intimidating. And this was me earlier on, and like I said, I think they just need some fresh blood and I think people like John Milne, certainly it was now the national secrecy at Dental advisories, as always, encouraged me to get involved, which, you know, I don’t think you need to be clever. You need to be a you need to be a high flyer. And I never was. I was like, I said, to slow learner self awareness and all that. And I think you just put yourself out there and have a go at it. I can’t even I mean, public speaking, this makes me anxious talking to you.

[01:02:36] Like this is like public speaking. It makes me nervous. I’m awful at public speaking. You know, I did that. I’ve got a stammer. I had a stutter. I had speech therapy as a young kid, you know, for about two years, I had speech therapy. I sang my old name. The word ts. Very difficult to say. Tej doesn’t always come out, so I can’t speak. I can’t stand up and speak. So, you know, but these are all things that other people have had. And another thing, another point which which was very, very interesting to me. It was going back to my events in 2011 when I was involved with the PCC hearing and all that. The Path Advisor at the time, the Practitioner Advice Support Service Advisor at the time, told me 20 years prior he had a performance issue and he said Everyone’s got a story. She said, Don’t worry about it. Everyone has a story. And I was like, Oh, wow, you’re the LDC chair and adviser, and you had a performance issue 20 years prior. And then the workforce Deanery adviser told me about GDC referral he had, which was thrown out. But somebody referred to the GDC and I said, Oh, wow, OK, so these things happen,

[01:03:41] You know, I mean, some really, really good people have had these

[01:03:44] Problems. So I thought I thought maybe going in was

[01:03:47] That if you are crap,

[01:03:49] You got these issues. If you’re crap, you into confident the high flyers are just fly through the career and they don’t get any issues. It’s not true. Everyone’s had a story. Every sort of complaint, everyone’s been rattled. Everyone’s been rattled in some way or another. So they just don’t say it doesn’t get spoken about enough. So I’m happy to say it. And other people now come out with their things and I’m happy and you know, it’s fine. You’ve had issues. You learn from them. You, you move on from them. And like we say, it’s not. It’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how you get up, right? You’ve got to get back up and get on with it. You know, so

[01:04:20] A couple of other things I want to talk to you about. Yeah, the watch thing. Oh yeah. So number one, I don’t get it right. I don’t get watches. No, no, no. You know, you don’t have to. You don’t have to know. My friends have tried. No.

[01:04:35] Yeah, absolutely.

[01:04:36] But tell me what it is about, which is for you. I mean, you’ve got this watch Dental group. Is it the collection side of it? Like, what is it?

[01:04:45] It’s it’s the number of things for me. Ok, I’ve been into watches since I was five years old. My dad used to collect Seiko watches. He had about five or six. He was a South Indian doctor. He was never going to spend big money on big watches, conservative guy, you know, but fo four or five Seiko watches and every day I’d see him and he’d have he’d get his watch on. He’d rattle his wrist and it would be part of his day getting ready. So I was I’ve been watching this five years old. I had the little Transformers Watch and the Casio game watches. So now I mean, you know, since I’ve sort of qualified since I been able to buy some nice

[01:05:19] Watches, it’s the mechanics.

[01:05:21] It’s it’s having this thing ticking on your wrist made from cogs and gears. Yeah, that just is ticking away all the time. A glance to the wrist and it’s the only jewellery a man can really wear, you know? I mean, it’s something you wear.

[01:05:33] The reason I hate it, right? Because, yeah, yeah, that’s really.

[01:05:37] Yeah, yeah, it’s fine. I love a watch. I mean, I like the watch. I get up every day, but look at the look of the watch and I just think, yeah, that is a nice watch.

[01:05:43] So I was really keen to ask you this question. Yeah, I can see you love your watches.

[01:05:49] Absolutely. Yeah.

[01:05:50] But do you know about NFD watches?

[01:05:53] Nft watches. Yeah.

[01:05:57] Tornado watches, no watches, no so no Rolex, Rolex. Have have just come out with something that they reckon they’ll be selling more virtual watches, more money in virtual watches than actual watches in five years time.

[01:06:14] Ok, so this is where I’m a really thick guy. Tell me what a virtual watch is,

[01:06:18] Solanki we’re doing this over Zoom or whatever. You know, this platform that we’re doing it on, right? Yeah, it’s called Riverside, but this is the platform we’re doing. Pretty soon, we’re all going to be wearing glasses. You know, virtual reality meetings will be like that. When we go to the meeting, it’s going to be in a really, let’s face it, really cool room because it’s going to be it’s a graphic, right? You’re going to just the metaverse.

[01:06:39] Is this the metaverse thing?

[01:06:40] Yeah, you’re going to be sitting there. Ted is going to be sitting there. I’m going to be sitting here. When I see you, I’m going to see a graphic of you.

[01:06:47] Yeah, right.

[01:06:49] That graphic can be wearing a Rolex. Yeah, right. Rolex are saying they’ll charge the same amount for the virtual watch as they do for the Watch Watch.

[01:07:00] Are you having me on here? Payman No,

[01:07:01] No. Because what is it do? It’s not a

[01:07:03] Watch. It’s a lot of watches.

[01:07:04] It doesn’t tell the time. It’s not about telling time.

[01:07:07] It is the other side chuckling to himself if he Tetris buying Tetris buying this. But this is true to just buy this nonsense. Literally. Is it really? Is it true?

[01:07:16] It’s true. What’s the Chanel bag? It’s not a bag, is it? It’s not a bag carry. A bag is a bag. Yeah, it’s it’s nothing to do with being a bag. It’s a status symbol. It’s design, it’s art. Whatever you want to call it, call it.

[01:07:28] Ok, so so OK. So the thing is, OK, the part of the watch thing is, is the feel winding and winding? The thing I’d say I’ve been I’ve been to watch, for example. Yeah, OK. You don’t you don’t know, but you don’t know much about watches yet. I mean, what the one thing for me, what I don’t like about the watch thing is when someone just shows it with a time only watch and I don’t mean to blast Rolex. I love Rolex. I think they’re a great brand, and I’ve always said this. I respect what they do. The brand just shows up with a brown watch that shows the time. And you’re a layperson. It’s Oh, you got a Rolex. Yeah. Two hands shows the time Oh, it’s a Rolex for me. I love. I like the complications. I’ll say, Well, you know what watches can do and the like? Yeah, the tell the time go. Yeah, but I’ve got to watch, for example, shows the day, day, month, full year moon phase and count leap year as well, so it never needs a date changing. It counts leap year automatically and we’ll flick through Leap Year, so it gets to January 31st because it’s February 1st, February

[01:08:24] 28th, goes to March the

[01:08:26] 1st blah blah blah. It’ll keep doing that. Yeah, yeah. Tells me the same year because it’s got the full year and at twenty twenty one it December 31st, 2022. The mechanics involved in that is what I like, and if I want to show somebody else, look, this is proper watchmaking.

[01:08:39] Yeah, that’s what it’s going.

[01:08:41] That gets that’s what gets me got the complication,

[01:08:44] Making it more complicated than it has to be.

[01:08:46] Yeah, yeah. I look the fact gears and cogs. So so it’s like it’s like the old Sinbad movies gold of Zimbabwe with the bird. Was it the bird or was it there? It was like the carpet. Plush, plush, the tightest clash of the Titans, the with the mechanical bird and the wind up things and all the cogs and gears. All that used to fascinate me as a kid and the watches I get, I get it. I can look at what’s your favourite watch brand?

[01:09:08] What’s your favourite watch brand?

[01:09:10] I would have to say this to probably IWC in Audemars Piguet.

[01:09:14] Yeah, so so that’s the thing. Do you do you like if you love that brand? Yeah. When we meet in the Metaverse, you might pay IWC money to have an IOC on your hand when we meet in the Metaverse.

[01:09:30] Why? Why can I have a reader? I see my hand instead for the same price. Did you? Why wouldn’t

[01:09:36] I? You can’t put how many people are going to see that.

[01:09:38] I see. I’m not bothered by who sees it.

[01:09:40] Yeah, yeah.

[01:09:41] Yeah, it’s sort of a status symbol. My my watch. I’ve never owned a Rolex. I’ve never owned a Rolex. Yeah, I’ve never owned a Rolex. My watch is a bizarre watches. I’ve got one that looks like a spaceship. I’ve seen that. Yeah, yeah, I see that on the hour. The hour jumps along mechanically like a typewriter. You know the old typewriters. It’s got to lever. The hour jumps along to the end and then flicks back to one. That’s the mechanics I like. Nobody else knows about it.

[01:10:08] Tell me, tell me. Tell me, tell me there’s something called something something in friends. Which brand is that something? Something in friends? It’s like a famous

[01:10:15] And B and F

[01:10:15] And B and some of the stuff they come out with. Exactly. So that stuff, even like even I who don’t like watches like them, it’s it’s

[01:10:25] It’s it’s it’s kind of steampunk.

[01:10:28] Yeah.

[01:10:28] Yeah, yeah. Twenty thousand leagues under the Sea, Jules Verne weird kind of stuff. Yeah, it’s yeah. Yeah, yeah, crazy money. Crazy money. But it’s a whole different world. It’s it’s interesting, but like for me, I’m not. I’m not into cars anymore. I used to be into cars and I’m not into cars at all anymore. I’ve just gone off them. I bought a Renault twisty, a little twisty.

[01:10:47] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:10:49] That is giving me the best bit of fun ever. I’m so happy with it and I’m so comfortable at my age and I twist it to ask for. Ten years ago, I just said no way. Obviously they’re dead in the car, because

[01:10:58] Does that manage all the ups and downs of Yorkshire or the hills?

[01:11:01] It gets me to work at eight mile commute and is perfect. I love it. The summer is great. 52 mile an hour seems like I’m going in about 90 mile an hour. It’s great. I love it. I just I just I looked ridiculous in it, but I actually love that car. I think it’s fantastic. So I’m done with the cars. I got twisty. I’m happy with it.

[01:11:18] And I did want to bring up the subject of your tea making, but I don’t want to embarrass you, but I don’t embarrass.

[01:11:23] You can’t. You can’t actually make this.

[01:11:26] I don’t embarrass you, mate, because you I believe I get, but

[01:11:30] I am completely wrong. I almost feel like apologising. But but I will still say that’s how I make my tea and I love my tea that way. And that’s what makes it so different.

[01:11:41] So you like your tea? You thought your tea week is that? Is that?

[01:11:44] No, no, no, no. This is the really got it wrong. It kind of went off

[01:11:46] Tangent I put.

[01:11:48] I put two tea bags in. Yeah, and I put and I put a little bit of milk in a little bit of milk, maybe about, you know, I can’t I can’t describe milk, but maybe about half a centimetre of tea in a milk offset to me, the milk

[01:12:01] To tea back

[01:12:02] With two tea and then the tea bags around

[01:12:04] The OK, that’s different. That’s different, right? And they.

[01:12:07] No, no. And then I put a load of water in top.

[01:12:10] You didn’t explain it.

[01:12:11] Yeah, I just put a little bit tea I always showed with Rosie was that with a bit of milk. But then that itself, I think it kind of wrote, really, I lost a lot of votes on that, so I probably won’t get I probably won’t get elected on GDP c now because this big thing, this guy’s weird, you know, but I think it’s just you, I guess.

[01:12:30] Yeah, so Prav is not here. But Prav final questions about whether that if you know them, but they kind of all sort of end of life sort of legacy type questions. You’re on your deathbed, you’ve got your nearest and dearest people around you. What three pieces of advice would you leave to them and to the world?

[01:12:53] That’s really interesting, actually. I would say three pieces of advice say, I don’t have these massive things because I’ve done everything I want to do. I’m really happy as I am. I would say three devices, if you really if you’ve got to go to someplace you want a holiday, you need to go to someplace, just do it because you never know what you’re going. Get the chance to do that. That’s a massive life advice. If you really like something and you want to buy it and it’s not going to break the bank, but you have to get it even on a credit card. Go get it because if you really love it, go get it. Life’s too short not to get it here. Yeah, just go get it. And the other thing is is is free time. That’s the one thing you forget to have. You think you’ll get all this free time later on in life. You never get the free time. You got to make the free time now. So forget this free time at 60. My dad passed away very, very suddenly on a phone call from a massive heart attack at the age of 53. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So no, yeah, no, no. This happened in 99 was a 30 Dental school, so I know what it’s like because he planned to go to Dallas to see his sister. He planned to do these things, trying to get himself in a mega what she wanted to get a Merck because he had all his Volvos. He had a few plans because at 53, you still have a few plants left here to get a bit of indigestion one day, and he’s on his phone to his friend, and he just collapsed and died.

[01:14:06] So I had to give him mouth to mouth did happen. Obviously, that was that. So that really is a turning point. I mean, I’m nine years younger than my father was now. That’s scary because he looked to me like an old man back then when I was 21. He seemed like an old man, but I’m nine years off and, you know, fifty three is not very old at all. No. So the one thing is a free time. I mean, my dad was used to work like crazy, working hard. So the one thing is, you know, keep your expenses down. Enjoy the free time, you know, because you never know when it might be taken away from you. I don’t mean that in a negative, nasty way. But no, no, that’s free. Free, free times. It’s free time is the main thing. So you get to a certain age when there’s only so much industry can do. But my my last bit of dentistry I’m doing now is employers. That’s it. And then I’m done. I’m not going to. I’m going to keep going on because it’s sad, but I’m not doing any more year long, two year long courses that I sort of refine what I’ve got now. The skills, keep it going. Work a four day week, and that’s it. I’m done.

[01:14:59] I’ve been asking a new new question dinner party. Three people that are alive. Who would you invite?

[01:15:07] Oh, you know, that’s a tough one. That’s a tough one. I’m never very, very good at these. Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know why, but I like Tammy Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. I just think things, he said, sounded pretty cool. Wells, in the past, uh, Martin Luther King. Probably Mahatma Gandhi actually is well,

[01:15:29] Yeah, nice, nice.

[01:15:31] Yeah, I probably say them three. There there be cliched to an extent as well. But again, they are for a reason, cliched, you know, so there you go.

[01:15:40] You’ve come for serious, you know, political figures there, man.

[01:15:43] Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

[01:15:47] Well, it is. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you, but and

[01:15:51] Thank you for having a simpleton like me on because. No, no. Normally I see the stars on and I’m thinking, Oh, you know what? In fact, he invited me on. I appreciate it. So thank you for having me on.

[01:16:01] It’s been. It’s been a lovely conversation and you.

[01:16:04] It’s very nice. Thank you.

[01:16:05] As well as you’re pulling yourself up for election. You know you’re a general practise guy, proper general practise guy, right? And you’ve been through it with that story.

[01:16:15] And I’ve been through it. I’ve been through it. I still get the same stuff everybody else gets. I keep messaging people. They message me. I’m in touch with a lot of general Dental practitioners. We talk, we converse. It’s so much better now than it was when I had that all that issue years ago. There’s no communication. You’re on your own in practise. What dentistry is in a good place right now? In that sense, the communication between people is fantastic.

[01:16:37] I’m really, really, really happy that you shared the way you did, but you didn’t have to give.

[01:16:42] No, no. I told all the people about it.

[01:16:44] I said a lot of people about it. And you know, so many people will learn from from those stories that you share. If people want to vote, when is it? How is it? Is it by

[01:16:53] Starting on November twenty third to December 3rd? If you’re not a BDM member, you’ve got to request. I’ve got to request the ballot papers from them, so it’s a little bit of work involved. So unfortunately it is off putting. A lot of people probably won’t vote because of this reason. You got to request the ballot papers from them. But I would just say anyone, if you want to make some change, even if you don’t vote for me, don’t worry, the other guys are on in Berlin as well. They really are. Just get your vote on because that’s the only way change will happen. There is not much happening on Facebook. Just granting all day long on Facebook is not going to change things. It’s it’s getting out there and making make sure the right people who can do the change are voted on to the GDP. See, that’s how change will happen.

[01:17:32] What if you are a BDA member, how does it work?

[01:17:35] Well, you’ll get the ballot papers immediately. Oh, really, you get the ballot papers in an email, so it’ll be fine and you can vote.

[01:17:41] Fantastic. Yeah. Thank you so much for doing this. But.

[01:17:44] No, no, thank you for having me on, I really appreciate it, and it’s been it’s been a pleasure. Absolutely a pleasure being on and I hope some people are chuckling away. Some people might take something away from it. Yeah, it’s good. He’s been good. Thank you. Thanks again, Payman. Appreciate it.

[01:18:00] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry.

[01:18:11] Your hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[01:18:16] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, 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’ve 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.


Almost fresh from dental school, this week’s guests are already sharing their work to help others learn.

“We’re not teachers,” say Balraj (Bal) Sohal and Kris Vekaria, who set up the Kaizen learning resource to share what they love most.

Kris and Bal let us in on how Kaizen came about and their plans for its future. The pair also talk about failed extractions, the pros and cons of learning on social media, meeting Maradona and more.



“We’re not really experts or trying to teach. We’re just trying to share what we do on a daily basis, our mistakes and cases that go well…we don’t want to come across as teachers. It’s more just about providing free content and sharing the kind of the stuff we enjoy doing.” – Bal Sohal

In This Episode

02.26 – First meeting

06.21 – Kaizen, teaching and sharing

13.11 – Finding an audience and keeping it simple

17.11 – Research

21.22 – Current practice

21.55 – Background stories

27.39 – Learning on social media

28.14 – VT year and COVID

33.20 – Blackbox thinking

54.33 – The future of Kaizen

56.37 – Fantasy dinner parties

01.04.58 – Where to find Kaizen


About Bal Sohal and Kris Vekaria

Balraj Sohal and Kris Vekaria graduated from King’s College in 2019 and quickly went on to set up the Kaizen dental learning resource which shares bite-sized tips on treatment and techniques.


[00:00:00] Yeah, how actually it came about, it was on a flight on a lads holiday, actually to Valencia, and we just had that sort of two and a half hour flight, whatever it was. And that’s when we had the main discussion. We thought, how can we reach the most people in a platform that obviously there’s great Facebook groups, there’s great Instagram pages and stuff, but there’s not much interaction through a page. We thought, how can we just keep it as kind of direct content? No bureaucracy, no other stuff, just content. And the way we figured out would be the best way to do that would be by email mailing list. So we thought if we make a mailing list and just put out content and then eventually build a following, we can just sort of hopefully attract more people to help put together the content and just help as many people as possible, essentially.

[00:00:50] 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.

[00:01:07] People often say content is king, and personally, I’ve been looking forward to the moment where the digitally native Dental students and dentists come through. I’ve always thought there’s going to be an avalanche of content when when this particular generation come through and it’s exciting to see and it’s exciting to see if we’ve got some Dental students who’ve got their own podcasts and all of that. And for me, it’s really from a selfish perspective. It’s interesting because I like to know what our younger colleagues are thinking, but also the exchange of ideas. And it’s become very fashionable for older dentists to think that we know it all. But the exchange of ideas often sort of spurs a whole new way of looking at things. My guest today pleased to have both Zohar and Krista Vicario on the show. They’re responsible for something called Kaizen Dental, which we’ll get into. I’ll let them explain what that is, but essentially bite-sized learning that sort of content, both a couple of young dentists who I’ve been super impressed with when I’ve talked to them, and I thought that we should have them on show just just to get some more clarity about where everyone’s at. So great to have you, Chris and Bell.

[00:02:23] Thank you so much, Payman. Thanks for having us on.

[00:02:25] Yeah, thanks, Payman.

[00:02:26] So you guys met at Dental School?

[00:02:29] Yeah. So we’re good mates from probably from Freshers Week, to be honest. So there was five or six of us who are quite close. And yeah, just kind of sort of followed obviously a similar career path since since graduating and stuff like that. So a lot in common.

[00:02:44] Where do you study? You say kings, bacon, kings, OK? And Bell, what was the first time, the first time you saw Chris? What did you think of it? What was it? I know what he’s going to say. He’s going to say, What was it? What was he doing?

[00:02:57] This is a funny one because we still talk about to this day, right? So I was with another friend of mine manager, right? And we were kind of, you know, we knew each other from we kind of, I guess, you know, grew up in the same area. So we kind of knew each other when we went to, I guess, Freshers Week at Kings and we saw Chris there and Chris was like, you know, there’s kind of six foot guy wearing shorts and like, I think it was like September where it wasn’t even hot. And me and Anish, we jokingly said, What’s this clown doing,

[00:03:23] Like, you know, saying

[00:03:25] And. And that was kind of the first impression we had of him. And then as we got to speak to him, we realised that actually he did do a year in Spain because he actually, you know, before he went to kings, he was actually in Valencia studying dentistry and stuff. So it’s funny how that actually that comment just turned out to actually be true. So yeah, it was it was weird how that look, but that was the first time I actually saw Chris. And yeah, after that, we kind of, you know, kind of got on and, you know, it’s crazy to think so many years have passed. But yeah, we’re still really good, mate.

[00:03:53] And have you done, Chris, you’ve done a year in Valencia and then the rest here.

[00:03:56] Yes, I started again. So did a year at Valencia and then reapplied at the beginning of the second. Yet because all of my mates out there, she reapplied and got a place, I thought it’s worth a shot, just reapplied, and then obviously had to start to get a kings. But it was obviously a great experience and I think well worth it.

[00:04:14] So what was the biggest difference between year one and Valencia and Year One and Kings?

[00:04:20] To be honest, it’s quite in terms of the content. It’s all. There’s not much. There’s no dentistry, and I like first year kings or first year of Lance. I think we did a bit of tooth morph and first year after our finals in Kings, which was as close to dentistry as we actually got. But I’ll be honest, I was quite relaxed in and I wasn’t doing much studying. I was just playing. I wasn’t taking seriously either. I needed to come back and I needed to be in England.

[00:04:47] I think it’s a great town for partying. Our partner, our the person who distributes the composites that we distribute is from Valencia.

[00:04:55] Amazing cigar out there.

[00:04:56] Yeah, I’ve been there. I have been there. So tell me this when you met Belle for the first time.

[00:05:04] Well, my sorry. Yeah, I can’t even remember the first I’m sorry about

[00:05:10] The first time. You must have left my mark.

[00:05:14] Do you know what I remember the most about? Bowers in Farsi is big on his bangguo and his getting my shoulders and stuff at night, so

[00:05:22] I made it through the mini smile make over. Of course, when he won a prise to do because he had the best case, I think the best shot judged the case and and he came on to meet his FileMaker. Who was he? Do you remember him as always talented and Dental school as well, like one of those kids?

[00:05:41] Yeah, he to be honest about who he’s been, I’d say it’s kind of cringe. I want to say gifted. He’s he’s he was like your president. Obviously, his work speaks for itself. I think he’s he’s different to most people in that sense, and he is quite skilled. And I think he’s got a lot of attributes that you need to be a really good dentist. So we talk about this not to Bo that sometimes baffled me and other mates talk about how you’ve got the coms, the communication, obviously the clinical skills, you’ve got basically everything you need to be a good dentist.

[00:06:15] I think you guys are making

[00:06:16] Me believe

[00:06:19] I could go on

[00:06:21] To develop as a as a talented clinician. Did you? You know, this idea that you guys came up with doing this, Kaizen, was that the idea that you were going to provide the photos? And Chris, what you get at it or something this?

[00:06:37] Yes, it’s basically that’s a we used to send each other or we still do, but more so before we used that. We’re just starting off, just starting, taking photos and stuff. We’d send each other. I work for feedback or like critiquing, and then it got to the stage where bowels work would just overshadow it. Literally look like a textbook a little better than a textbook and one time actually sat down and say, Look, this is clearer than what we have in our textbooks. You need to just put this out to people. And because he takes photos of every step, which a lot of us have started doing now since seeing his work and people other people on Instagram. But honestly, I just thought the way that the pictures are so clear and so easily laid out, it’s so it just it’s so easy to learn from and it makes sense if he’s got this work to put it out there and obviously help other people like ourselves just starting out, and it could obviously learn from that.

[00:07:30] So which year did you guys quantify now?

[00:07:33] 2018 we are. Yeah, we qualified in 2018 now,

[00:07:36] And you have pandemic to keep you out of things for a long time. So yeah, yeah. So there’s there’s going to be people listening to this, you know, who think, well, you know, if you just qualified in twenty eighteen. What more, why don’t you want to teach anything now, I mean, it’s a bit early, isn’t it, for teaching? What would you say to that?

[00:07:59] That’s a good point. Payman, I think you know what, Chris and I kind of always try and push is that we’re not really, you know, experts or trying to teach. In a sense, we’re kind of just trying to share what we do on a daily basis and kind of our mistakes or some cases that go well, I’m just effectively have like a, you know, a platform where people can kind of learn from, you know, things that we’ve learnt through failures and kind of, you know, things that have gone well and looking at other kind of courses and stuff. So I think teach is a difficult one because we don’t want to come across as we’re teachers. It’s more just about providing free content and effectively just sharing kind of the stuff that we enjoy doing.

[00:08:40] And so you are teachers, I’d say you are teachers. I mean, looking at the content or you certainly will be teachers if you keep on going. But my question is, how come you’re thinking like this? And you know, I’m sure you have people in your year who aren’t thinking like this. I mean, were you think, were you talking about it as you were coming through Dental school or how? Why is it you guys? Why you?

[00:09:06] So, yeah, how actually all came about it was on a flight and a lads holiday to actually to Valencia, funnily enough, and we just had that sort of two and a half hour flight, whatever it was. And that’s when we had the main discussion. We thought, how can we reach the most people in a platform that obviously there’s great Facebook groups, there’s great Instagram pages and stuff, but there’s not much interaction through a page. We thought, how can we just keep it as kind of direct content? No bureaucracy, no no other stuff, just content. And the way we figured out would be the best way to do that would be via email mailing list. So we thought if we make a mailing list and just put out content and then eventually build a following, we can just sort of hopefully attract more people to help put together the content and just help as many people as possible, essentially.

[00:09:55] And I think one of the key things what Chris is kind of, I guess maybe going to mention a minute is about, like both of us, we do enjoy the clinical side of dentistry. So like, you know, when you say about like, why do we take so many photos or like, you know, we don’t just do before and afters of what cases we do and we kind of do step by steps. And a lot of that is kind of just because we actually enjoy doing that element of, I guess, you know, dentistry and and then we find that, yeah, there’s value in that in terms of sharing that information with others because people can actually, in a way, see how you might approach a case without actually being, you know, I guess, in the clinic or in the surgery watching you, but they can still have that same sort of value or benefit if you like.

[00:10:34] Yeah, I see that. I see that. And and I think, you know, for my older colleagues who probably thinking, you know what’s going on here, I think there is this difference. I mean, you’re right, there’s a difference between teaching and and sharing in a way. Yeah. But for me, you know, it’s an interesting thing because I talk to a lot of younger dentists who all want to teach. You know, it’s not it’s much, much more common than that in my day. I had the guys from deciduous on here as well. That’s probably going back. So it’ll be I’ll be at the end of the 40s you called. If you want to look up that episode, evergreen Hassan and syrup from from deciduous, which are reading that busy busy who? And they were saying the same thing. As soon as they came out, they did the PPG dip thing.

[00:11:26] The reason that we both did Chris and Chris was hired on course. Oh, so we sound like we just did just following each other in circles, but we did the same called same uni. Same everything.

[00:11:38] Yeah, yeah. Excellent. Yeah. And they were they were always thinking of doing something around teaching. And it’s just it’s just to me, it’s fascinating that it’s it’s actually a thing, you know, let’s go back. Let’s go back. Go, go. I’m sorry. But what do you say?

[00:11:55] I was going to say now, I think like, you know, it’s interesting what you said about like a lot of people now kind of are thinking about teaching or sharing content compared to maybe, you know, a few years ago, right? And I feel like maybe an element of that is kind of like, you know, typically when we go through Dental School, we’re not as prepped or as experience, you know, maybe people that graduated 10 or so years before us. Well, so in terms of like confidence wise, there’s probably there’s that element where we always feel like we need to do a course once we leave them to fall, a need to learn more, right? And I guess that’s always the case and always true, because, you know, that’s the nature of the game that you always want to further your skill set and whatnot. Yeah. But I feel as though there’s obviously that need now because clinically, you know, we’re graduating with doing a handful of ends or a handful extractions and all that sort of need. But I guess also the other thing is, is the way that people in terms of our sort of, I guess, cohort learnt, we’re very kind of like, you know, digital in terms of like, you know, we want to watch short videos or we want to, you know, I guess, have things like condensed and quite brief rather than going on these, you know, we still do, obviously, like Chris said, we do year long courses and whatnot, but there is that element, whereas two or multiple ways of learning. And I think that’s kind of why there’s a massive interest in sharing content or like you said, you know, teaching and kind of learning in that respect.

[00:13:11] You know, my my thing about about this is that, you know, as long as you produce good quality content, the content will find an audience for itself. And, you know, you do your best to produce good quality content, but when you started doing this, did you have in your head who was kind of your target audience? But was it Dental students as much as dentists?

[00:13:35] To be honest, both always had a really strong following on Instagram, and he’s got really good engagement and obviously his his work and his work speaks for something. People trust his content. And so by having him on board and obviously him making the majority of the content and the pictures, that obviously lends itself well to the majority of that audience following Kaizen, I think with Instagram now, probably more so. There are students that have started to follow Dental Instagram pages and stuff. When I was at uni, I don’t think many of us, my mates would follow Instagram Dental accounts. I thought generally it was kind of when you when you start beating, you start getting into actual clinical dentistry that you start sort of looking for tips and looking for ways to learn outside of conventional routes. And I think that that reflects quite sort of accurately in our audience. It’s probably 80 percent dentist, 20 percent Dental students.

[00:14:32] So give me give me an example of one of the bite sized bits that you might send to the mailing list.

[00:14:38] Yeah. So this is what we’re talking about. So it’s kind of like it’s not it’s not teaching anything super complex. It’s something like like how to how to cure through glycerine as a question that probably gets asked once a month, once a week, I don’t know. But it’s a really simple thing, and it’s not. It’s just something that’s really easy to document, really easy to explain, and you can just write two or three sentences on it, show people how to do it, and then they’ve got that in the bank. And ultimately, the goal would be to make a bunch of these different bite sized tips how to cure through glycerine, what a line angle is, how to move your line angles, things like this so that people have a kind of an encyclopaedia as to kind of the the practical aspects of procedure rather than the comprehensive treatment planning and all of that. That’s the really complex stuff, which we sort of don’t we don’t provide tips for, but it’s just more operative procedures and really simplifying each step.

[00:15:37] Yeah, but what does it look like when it arrives? Is it a one page thing or

[00:15:42] What is it? So the glycerine ones, like three sentences, I believe it’s it’s literally it’s literally just I can read out quickly for anybody, as this is when composites like the final layer is referred to as the oxygen inhibition there. This means oxygen interferes with the polymerisation of the composite, resulting in sticky uncured final layer. There are two main ways to overcome this and remove this final layer what method is to finish and polish the composite restoration? By doing this, you will essentially remove the outermost oxygen inhibition resin layer. However, by doing it this way, the dust from the finishing polishing can be difficult to remove from the restoration. Additionally, the fund raising particles collecting the bars and discs used during the finishing and policy stage rendering them useless. Alternatively, another method is to do the final like here through the glycerine gel. To do this, place the composite as you normally would like during incrementally as normal. Once you’ve placed the final composite layer right, like you’re the restoration, then place some glitter and gel over the cured restoration. And like you again, this is the final cure through glycerine. Now, rinse the glycerine off with water and finish and polish the restoration as normal. The result is a nice surface that’s easier to polish and harder. And then just the pictures that four pictures one pre-op, one prepped one after putting the composite in glycerine on and then the post-op. So it just follows really easily. And it just kind of you can just read it and then most people will understand it.

[00:17:01] And so about you wrote that.

[00:17:03] Well, I own a mixture, so he he took all the lovely pictures and then we both worked on the actual text and referencing it and stuff like that.

[00:17:11] So that was the question I was going to ask you then. What research do you do? It’s a very simple subject, right? The the oxygen division there. But you still got to get it right. Isn’t it because this is the big issue if you if you get it wrong? Loads of people get it wrong.

[00:17:27] That’s it. That’s the danger.

[00:17:29] So, yeah, so what do you do? What’s the due diligence process?

[00:17:33] So a lot of the like the tips or if it’s a simple tip, if it’s something practical, like a lean angle, it’s obviously harder to reference. You can just show with pictures what it is and how to do it. And there’s not much literature that’s that can probably probabilities, but it’s probably difficult to get the literature and condensed into a format that people will understand. So for that practical type stuff, we just sort of show the pictures say this is how we do it. This is what it is. Essentially, that’s it for things like oxygen inhibition. Now we use generally Google Scholar read a few articles and then find the the most relevant excerpts from that and then reference that. And it’s stuff that can’t really. It’s kind of objective, like with oxygen inhibition, it’s objective stuff. That’s that’s it’s just facts, essentially. So it’s quite easy to reference something like that. But the practical stuff is obviously a little bit more difficult.

[00:18:28] Well, yeah. But you know, at the same time, if if you only look in references when you’re talking about something like simple like that, if you only try and look it up on on Google Scholar, you’re not going to get what’s the current thinking? You know, and what I would do if I were you is I would I would have, you know, mentors, essentially, people are really good at this stuff on each subject and just run it by them to to make sure you’re not missing something. You know, it’s it’s an important thing. I’m not saying you’re missing anything.

[00:19:00] No, definitely. Definitely, definitely. I think I think was really well connected with obviously, it works with George and Erin, so anything we put out generally to build a symbol for them.

[00:19:13] Yeah, I feel like, you know what, you said, Payman is true. You know, it’s always good to have like mentors and people that guide you along the way. Yeah, you know, I’m privileged to work with some really, really good need and Dental to kind of help and teach me massive amounts. But I think with like mentoring and kind of me personally, I’ve I remember when I was at uni, I had a mentor essentially kind of, you know, let me kind of shadow him whilst I was a Dental student and took me under his wing. Let me know for him and stuff like that. Whilst, you know, being a student

[00:19:42] Shot about who was that

[00:19:44] Shout about from Burzynski, who was like, you know, very, very talented, well-known dentist, especially amongst kind of the the students now who are probably listening as well because he’s involved in a lot of kind of, you know, extracurricular Dental sci fi stuff and so on. But he really kind of, I guess, changed my trajectory, you know, whilst I was at uni because it was something like, you know, you know, when you’re, you know, you’re trying to find your what you enjoy trying to find your feet and stuff. And when you’re at uni, you’re kind of drowned in all the sort of information you don’t. You can’t really gauge what you like and what you don’t like. So I was really grateful to this day. I’m really grateful that, you know, he gave me that opportunity to come over to the practise and essentially, you know, once every few weeks just literally stand in awe, actually, you know, assist with certain treatments. And it kind of changed the way that I saw things like prepping or only prepping. Or he used to do some period stuff like in terms of prior surgery and prominent. And again, it’s crazy because, you know, a Dental student who especially like now when you think about like confidence, you know, like trying to obviously be confident to take on complex cases or take on things that you’ve not done before, even if it’s like an only prep when you’ve not done it before at uni, there’s that sort of confidence barrier there. So that’s for me change when I was obviously in third year, fourth or fifth year, just going in to watch him. And that’s how my confidence grew. So, you know, you know how you asked earlier about you graduating in 2018, but you know, things are moving quick. That was kind of why it happened or how it happened is that I was already three three years in to Dental going over there once every maybe month or so, you know? So it was a big change for me in terms of what I wanted to do and what I liked and stuff, so I’m massively grateful to him.

[00:21:22] And where are you both working now?

[00:21:24] I’m based on two practises, so ones in Essex and one’s in Wimbledon. So the one in Wimbledon’s with our has been George Cheatham, who you know is known as George. The dentist on Instagram is an insanely talented dentist and all-around great guy. Aaron’s not too bad. You know they’re really good guys.

[00:21:43] That was Bell and Chris. How about you?

[00:21:46] Yeah, I’m just working in near home. So five 10 minutes from home and like a Portland practise. Weston Bromley, South East London.

[00:21:55] Ok, so let’s let’s take it back to your childhood. Normally we start with that, but in your case, I want to avoid that kind of thing, we’ll get back to Class A.. Did you grow up in Bromley, Chris?

[00:22:08] Yeah, in and around Bromley. So I was born in Dartford, so just that’s just a bit further south, east and or east, and then moved to Bromley when I was about nine 10 and then been here since.

[00:22:19] And so you grew up in Bromley, studied in kings and went straight back to Bromley.

[00:22:24] Yeah. Yeah, it’s quite boring, isn’t it? I did one year in, did well, I did one year in Valencia and then one year, of course, of course, high Wickham. So, so and I went boarding school, I went boarding school as well for like four or five years. So I’ve been a bit out of only a couple of times.

[00:22:41] How did dentistry come up? Was it your parents or was it?

[00:22:45] I have a couple of family, friends who are dentists, and they were kind of the ones who after kind of shadowing them and just watching them. When I realised it was, it was a good career that you can kind of pick your hours quite if you’ve got good control of your books hours. And obviously it’s decent money and it’s sort of all around a decent job. I’m not somebody who’s always wanted to do dentistry. I just looked at it practically sort of added everything like it looks. For me, it looked like the career that fit me most suitably and probably would have done something more sort of, I guess, rather a bit more bizarre. Well, what about this, wasn’t it?

[00:23:35] What?

[00:23:36] I would love to do something just left field or just something completely random, but obviously you can’t make money from things that you can. But it’s not as predictable to just do a random, just a random career. If I could turn back the time, I would have just done something, I would have just started a YouTube channel young and just fill an audience that way and done some of that.

[00:23:58] Well, Chris, but you’re not disillusioned already, are you?

[00:24:01] A little bit. A little bit. It’s obviously a really good career. I can’t see myself doing dentistry five days a week until I’m 60. I’m definitely not. I think I want to cut down to ideally maybe two clinical days and find something that can support me three days outside of clinical dentistry. So that would be the goal. I think it’s too labour intensive. It’s a really mentally and physically exhausting job, in my opinion. Dentistry yeah, to be able to do it a couple of days a week recoup and sort of have something else that you can do three days, that would be an ideal situation for me.

[00:24:36] Yeah. Five days a week is a big mistake for everyone, I think. Yeah. You know, there are other combinations, too. Two days I’ve done two days a week. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant because you do need another side hustle. That’s it. What about you, Bill? Where did you grow

[00:24:53] Up in boxing? So you signed it? Uh huh..

[00:24:56] And dentistry was the first time dentistry came on your radar.

[00:25:02] And you know what, I think it’s probably, you know, when it’s that kind of, you know, applying to University Farm, you’re kind of just toying up with what you want to do and what not. So I was kind of always thinking between like medicine and dentistry, as probably most people are when obviously looking at health care profession, right? And I remember I just did like working in the hospital, and I just can’t do this. Like, you know, I was shadowing a doctor on a ward round, and it just was not kind of aligning with what I wanted to do. And I just simply, yeah, you went to practise Dental practise locally, you know, stood in for about a week and kind of liked it. And I was like, Yeah, this doesn’t seem too bad. And then I remember the the principal at the time, he was just like, Yeah, if you want to make a lot of money, do dentistry, and that was it. And I was like, Okay, cool. And it was literally just that. But yeah, I don’t know how much truth there was to that in terms of, you know, now because I guess obviously times have changed. Or, you know what, I’m really, you know, I’m really happy with what I do dentistry. I really enjoy it. You know, I feel like we’re in a very privileged and lucky position to be able to treat patients. And, you know, you can obviously find what you like even within the profession. Like, you know, if it’s not kind of clinical, you can do non-clinical stuff. Even when it’s clinical, you can obviously find your niche in terms of all the surgery, restorative and whatnot. So you’ve always got that sort of variety. So I’m, you know, I’m happy with what I chose and whatnot.

[00:26:16] Yeah, yeah. And Chris, you will be too. I mean, you know, people, people don’t do what you guys have done without a fair bit of energy and, you know, inspiration and perspiration. And that’s what it’s going to take doing whatever aspect of it, you know, look at me, I don’t practise anymore at all. Ten years I stopped practising, but I’m still in dentistry. And you’re right. Well, it’s a very flexible career, and I was very interested in what you said about your mentor because, you know, I had a very similar story from Dipesh about his mentor, Louis McKenzie in Birmingham University, who gave them, I think it was nine 10 days of hands on composite to the students to to to a group of students, to a small group of students. And when you think about that, which dentists, you know, who’s done 10 days of hands on composite, these guys were getting it in Dental school and then I’m very interested in the school of social media, you know, and how much you can do from social media. And a lot of people are really, you know, think it’s ridiculous and you can’t learn from it. But some of the quality of work that I’m seeing from younger dentists like yourself, Bell for me, must have been you must have been learning from other dentists on Facebook and Instagram. Am I right?

[00:27:39] Well, definitely, definitely. I think like, you know, like, you know, George’s account, like Georgia, the dentist, that’s like one that I think everybody would say like these kids go to. Oh, for sure. Like, you know, he breaks it down and he makes it as simple to kind of just digest like, you know, topics that maybe we wouldn’t have experienced or learn about at uni or whatnot. And yeah, massively. I feel like there’s there’s so much value in accounts like that, and there’s so many of them out there. But yeah, I completely agree with you. I feel like you can learn and take information away from these sort of these social media accounts, for sure.

[00:28:14] Tell me about how it felt. I mean, what are you one year in associates now or what is it

[00:28:21] Starting a third year? It makes us that old. Yeah, I’m not old, but I sound like.

[00:28:25] No, but you had you had COVID, you had vet so.

[00:28:28] Yes, a vet. Twenty eighteen to nineteen first year associate. Nineteen to twenty. But then that was disrupted.

[00:28:34] So this is twenty first year kind of.

[00:28:38] Yeah, kind of like a second, I guess if you do the maths, probably about a year starting the second.

[00:28:44] So I remember it was the same sort of story with the deciduous guy. I was talking to them about this. I remember at that point being super disillusioned with my life, not talking about work. I’m talking about life because one minute you’re a student, next, you’re a vet, and the next minute you’re actually a real person. Yeah. And the real, real person without your sort of social support around you that you had with Dental School and straight after I found that really like, I don’t know, man, I was like in that room with my nurse thinking, What is this? What it was all about? Like this? This really and and this group of patients, you know, was the only one and all that to you.

[00:29:32] I can definitely resonate with that completely. I think for me, vet and probably my first associate job, I would agree completely. I think it’s really easy to, especially with social media and seeing people doing all these amazing cases and stuff and then seeing that sort of where you are and where you want to be. I think that is is obviously disillusioning.

[00:29:55] And yeah, why don’t you go tell me, at least at least help the audience to say Yes, BAL is you.

[00:30:01] To definitely, you know, it’s it’s true because like, you know, nothing prepares you for that Payman like, you know, when you’re in Dental school, right, you don’t learn about like how dentistry is going to be outside of Dental school, right? So you’re kind of like in a bubble. You get into vet and you’re like, I’m doing endo on like somebody that I’ve only done it on a block or something on a plastic tooth or something like that. Yeah. So then there’s that kind of bit to it. So then you’re like, Okay, all the stuff that you’re, you know, you’re so unprepared for, you’re actually doing. And then you go to like social media and you see all these other people who might be a similar age or, you know, whatever to you doing this amazing work. And then you thought, Oh crap, you know, I’m doing this and they’re doing that. So there’s that element to it. And yeah, you know, then you then you go and become an associate where, you know, luckily in the practise I work, there’s that degree of mentorship there. But if you’re not, you can end up in a completely like disillusioned or like, you know, position or like a space where you just like, like you said, you’re just questioning like, is this? Is this it?

[00:31:04] How did you get the job with your dentist so quick? How did it happen? Did you know someone who knew someone?

[00:31:10] Yeah. So how did it happen? That was so. Oh yes. So I started posting some of the work that I was doing during vet. Right. So just simple kind of, you know, rubber dam and composites or whatnot. And I remember just kind of, you know, asking George questions here and there, as you know, time went on and whatnot. And then I saw him maybe a year later or six months later or something like that put up. Remember that he’s looking for an associate, the Wimbledon practise and then I, you know, sent him my CV and portfolio whatnot. And then he just had come down for a chat. A couple of months later, I went over to the practise and it was essentially just, you know, like, I guess, speaking about dentistry and it was very, you know, chilled out in terms of that, I guess, interview, if you like. And I just met George, Aaron and they had a look at my work and that was it, really. And then obviously a couple months later, we were actually in Valencia in that time and he messaged me, So yeah, we are. We are. It’d be good if you if you want to kind of, I guess, you know, join the team. And you know, I said it would be a second think. Second, guess it or whatnot, it’s just kind of like, Yeah, it’s good. I’m very fortunate, very lucky. And I was quite surprised. Like you said, I’ve got it quite early because that was a massive learning curve for me, you know, because when you’re in a I guess, just finished vet, right? Like it was January of 2019.

[00:32:22] No, yeah. January of 2020. So I just finished Vanderbilt a couple months into practise, and then I joined them like a few months later. So in March, just before the pandemic, right? And it was like going from like mixed practise where it’s high needs to going to, you know, in practise. So it was like one end of the scale all the way to the other. So that was a big learning curve for me. So like in terms of gauging expectations, working with patients in that respect, because a lot of it comes down to communication like, you know, obviously we post work of our clinical work, but we post photos of our clinical work. Sorry, but these patients, obviously, they just want what they consider a good dentist. Obviously, some degree of it is going to be how good you are clinically and is a pain free and so on. But a lot of it comes down to communication and how they so treat it. And in that sense, so there was a bit of a learning curve for me with that. And you know, again, like I said before, I was very lucky that George and Aaron helped me and took me under their wing and they’ve always made before like, I’ve got that you were mentioning in the practise, which I’m really, really grateful for.

[00:33:20] What do you think about when, if I say to you, what’s been your most difficult case? What would your most difficult patient that you’ve had to, you know, your worst clinical call it a mistake? It doesn’t have to call it a mistake, but we ask everyone this question Can you think of something that you know people can learn from your mistake?

[00:33:42] Um, you know, I’ve got I’ve had loads of experiences or like challenging like situations right where I look back and I’m like, Oh, I should not have done that or I should’ve done it differently or whatnot. Like kind of a couple that stand out. I remember there’s one like, you know, try to take a tooth out, right? Really simple look on the x ray is like a retained root for a three molar, and I’ll get you. I’ll take these last five minutes and it will, you know, it’ll be easy. Walking apart patient wasn’t in any pain or anything like that, so it was just kind of like a finding that we found, you know, instantly finding on the checklist or whatever. And I just remember I was like, You know, when you like your trigger happy like you just kind of think, I’m going to dive in, do it, and that’s fine. It’ll be done. And I didn’t realise until I was halfway through that I kept crumbling. It wasn’t happening. That was enclosed, another crack. And it was like such a small piece that I just couldn’t get to. I just kind of like, step back. And I remember, like, at that point, the patient knew that I kind of, you know, I kind of lost her confidence, if you like. At that point, I knew as I was like, You know what? Sometimes it’s just then it’s like, take two seconds to actually like, you know, basically just assess the x rays and just kind of assess the patient.

[00:34:49] She wasn’t in any pain or anything. She just wanted to out because again, she knew the risks of it being in or whatever. But it was just like simple, basic dentistry that sometimes like you, just you don’t even, you know, when you’re when you’re in the kind of the sort of speed of no associate dentistry in terms of patient after patient, you just get caught up in it. And that was kind of just one thing that I thought, You know what, sometimes I need to just take a breath, you know, and you don’t always have to like, you know, sometimes me and Chris are talking about as recently as well is that you always feel like you have to say yes to patients like patients ask you, Can you do this or can you help with issues like Yes, yes, and I don’t know why, but sometimes it’s okay. So now you know, somebody else can do it better than me. Or I can say this to my colleagues who make sure it’s unsafe or more comfortable for you and so on. And again, that’s something that I think I’m learning now with more experience, and it’s okay to say no, you know?

[00:35:39] Yeah, but what happened? Ok, you struggled with this tooth and then

[00:35:43] I couldn’t get out. I just I said to it now I can’t get this out. She was obviously quite unhappy with that fact because she knew that I was in no pain before I came in and I was like, Yeah, I’m so sorry. Obviously, you know, the situation is that I just physically can’t do it, but I could have probably done it now thinking about it if subject to the surgical and just removed a little bit of bonus stuff. But it got to that point where she lost confidence in me. I’ve kind of lost confidence in myself where I was like, No, you know what? I need to just stop because I should have probably not started. So now at least I can stop before it gets worse. That makes sense. But yeah, you know, and that was kind of a situation where she’s probably had, you know, a week or two weeks of pain because, you know, it’s actually what I referred to on, obviously. Yeah, I referred her on and so on. But it was just that sort of, you know, while she’s waiting for the referral, that one or two weeks or whatever it was, it probably wasn’t the most comfortable for her. So that’s just one example. There’s no you know what? Touch wood, she didn’t. And you know, she had every right to, I guess, isn’t it? But she actually she didn’t. I guess I followed a lot. You know, I obviously called her a day or so later and just touched. Basically, I feel like that’s obviously what I would have wanted if I was in that situation, right?

[00:36:54] Yeah, I mean, full of so important, you know, I don’t know if you guys maybe George probably does this in this practise, but you know you should have someone call three or four patients a day. All the extractions, all the Arctis, anyone who’s anything someone should always call me. Oh, for sure, really sensitive side. But by the way, for me, the nurse should call and say, You know, doctor, so I’ll ask me to see if you’re OK. You know, for me, I should leave. Leave it up to the nurses decide who to call, but she would know she would know the right people. Chris, what about you? What’s what’s your horror story that that’s not really good enough for me, man. I mean, you telling me that’s the best, best story you got. You think you keep thinking

[00:37:35] About that one? I probably had that on a on a least fortnightly basis during vet. I just I couldn’t get teeth out. Luckily, I had one of my using really good friend now, but he was my trainer at the time jabs and I used to call him in. If he was in two days a week, every Thursday and Friday, he would get a message on it. So he set the teeth up because at the time, I’ve been lucky in my last practise that the referral pathway. So my previous practise was NHS as obviously as well as my vet practise in some areas. Obviously, it’s quite difficult to send a referral and get a referral accepted. So the vet practise particularly, I felt pressured to take out a lot of difficulty that either either I leave the patient in pain or I send a referral, which is going to get rejected, or I try my best to take the teeth out. And I knew I had that support system. If anything did go on, if it was difficult, if the tooth broke, Japs would be there to kind of get me out of a bad situation. But that happened on it, honestly, or at least once a month where a tooth would break and I try to take it. I couldn’t get it out and cause upset. He would work his magic and take it out a little bit better extractions. Now, luckily. I know those awful.

[00:38:46] So what’s your story?

[00:38:48] I thought I was going to make most mistakes that you can make I’ve made I’ve puffed and puffed through the floor of the pulp chamber during. I think the biggest thing is like, Bull said, especially earlier on to like during my VTi-L and first year associate, I would always feel pressured to do treat if a patient came in, kicked up a fuss and said they wanted this treatment. I would always feel pressured to do it. So there was one case, for example, where a patient wanted me to add some composite over a veneer where it receded slightly back basically told it wasn’t the best idea. She said she’s had it before. She really wants it to be put back. And I thought, Okay, look, if she had it before, I can explain the risks is obviously likely to fail at some point. Let me just do it. And then I did. I plan to do it. Plan that phantom some cleaning and Aristide beforehand. But it sort of printed out the plan with the cleaning and Aristide first and then the composite afterwards. And then she kind of took the plan away. Cord into reception said that I made it quite clear that you need to do the period before we can do the composite. But she called into reception and said, Look, I just want the composite. I don’t want the cleaning. And then they mistakenly booked her in. So then I turned up. She turned up on the day and we didn’t have the type of composition.

[00:40:15] It was a special type of composite that there was a pink composite essentially to cover up the reception area, and she didn’t want that composite. So we didn’t have that composite in stock on the day, so I couldn’t do it. But she really, really reacted badly to not having the composite in stock. And at that point I told Reception, I don’t I don’t think I’m gonna be able to meet this patient’s expectations. I don’t think we should be Booker. But the reception came in. Patient was obviously kicking off. She was she was really upset and then reception went and sort of booked Trimble on my colleagues without confirming or asking him. He yeah. So, so then he explained the case to him, and he’s then in an awkward situation where he hasn’t seen the patient, but he’s kind of has to see her now. And then he got pressured into doing the treatment, and I think he did a really good job. I think he did a really good job. But the patient ended up just kicking up a fuss and complaining, essentially. So just dealing with that at the moment, which is the biggest kind of stress so far. It’s the first complaint I’ve had and kind of she’s put me in there and a bunch of stuff about the exam appointment, and it’s like a really, really difficult complaint to deal with.

[00:41:25] Complaints are difficult for stop, but I mean, you didn’t do you haven’t done anything on the patient, right? So it’s always a lot easier when you haven’t done anything on the patient. But let’s go to what can we learn from that?

[00:41:37] I think you just after this, I’ve just learnt to say no now. So this was a recent case. And since then I’ve realised that even if a patient wants it, even if patients had it before and they want something that they’ve had it and they just want it put back. I just. If if it’s not the best treatment and you don’t agree with it, just say no.

[00:41:56] Yeah, but there was a failure, right? There was a failure between the fact that they booked him in. But was it her book The Patient In? Yeah, without telling you that the patient was expecting that and then the composite not being available?

[00:42:10] Yeah, exactly.

[00:42:11] There’s a couple of failures there that were not to do with you saying guests in this treatment that yeah, and that needs reviewing, doesn’t it? Definitely. And a lot of times in these situations, you know, we we like you said bell communication ends up being the most important part of it. And if if reception had said, you know what was going to happen and it did happen and then you did your bit, you probably wouldn’t have ended up as a complain.

[00:42:38] That’s it. So you’re ultimately that’s the other thing that is ultimately it comes down to the dentist. So yeah, it’s all you’re a lot of your day to day responsibilities and your day to day your work is is very heavily reliant on the full team, as it should be as it should be. But if anything ever goes wrong, it’s 100 percent on the dentist.

[00:43:00] So, yeah, I mean, look, it is. It is pretty much medically legally, but it’s a lot easier anyway to take responsibility for this sort of thing in your own head. Because, you know, I’ve had situations where I don’t know how a member of staff who I feel like I’m doing everything for this member of staff. And still, you know, he’s not appreciating it and he’s not doing the thing that I want him to do. And if you if you don’t take responsibility for it yourself, then tomorrow your happiness is based on that person, what they’re going to be like. Whereas, you know, it’s my responsibility. If I don’t like the guy, I should fire the guy, you know? You know, I’ve hired the guy. He’s still there. I haven’t fired it. When you take responsibility, I’m talking about your own head, I’m not talking about out there in your own head. Suddenly your day just becomes a lot easier because it’s all it’s only you that you have to worry about and have to worry about other people so much. That’s it. I’ll tell me that ethical extraction can’t be. I mean,

[00:44:04] I lead a very, very unexciting life Payman. That’s that is probably one of the bad ones. You know, I know. Well, recently again, Chris, as we were chatting about this last week and it comes to running on a patient, right? It was low as lower teeth like incisors, which I think are super, super tough because they’re so small and kind of managing the shapes and all that sort of stuff. So we did it and there are so so in terms of kind of what happened right is that, you know, I went through the general sort of information that you have. You got a deadline on the treatment. You want to get this done by and and she was like, Yeah, and matter of fact, I do have a deadline. And she was like, Oh, I need it done by this date. And I normally don’t work Saturdays. But because the only day I can do, I’m booked Monday to Friday. I’ll come in on a Saturday. So it’s kind of, you know, trying to get my way, accommodate everything to make sure it was done for this patient. And we did it. I came in on a day off and everything we sorted out did the composite bonding, and it looked really good. I was actually really happy. Patient was, you know, I wouldn’t say as happy as I was, but she was like, Yeah, and they always are. So anyway, she was like, You know, there’s always that little bit of suspense when you give them

[00:45:13] The Murray like, you know, I’m just going to go. It could go

[00:45:16] Either way anyway. Yeah. So she she saw it. She’s like, Yeah, it looks alright. And I was thinking, I’m a nurse was like, You know, we were like, we were awful. We did a really good job. But she was like, Yeah, no, you know, she’s like, Yeah, it looks. It looks okay. That’s good. So at the end of the appointment, I said, Oh, by the way, good luck for on Saturday. The deadline was Monday. Obviously, the next week. So I was like, Good luck for your your photo shoot stuff. One of the Monday, which was the whole point of us doing this composite bonding by this time, like we really kind of expedited everything right? And she was, oh yeah, by the way, that got cancelled, that got pushed back like three months. And I was like, Oh, okay, cool. And I was like, Oh, fine, whatever. And I remember I changed my plans that day because I was supposed to be in Birmingham or somewhere else, right? I was just outside London, so I was like, Oh God, that’s annoying. Anyway, it’s fine. Obviously, I had a booking for a review a couple of weeks later, and then I realised that I’d cut the lip whilst I was doing the treatment. So the bonding for the lower lip got cut, right? And I obviously didn’t read up on the day and I didn’t have to rub it down. So, you know, I was thinking that the rubber down would have. I didn’t see any of that sort of stuff happen. So I was I was a bit confused. Anyway, it happened, right? And then what happens is, is that obviously see a full review and everything and see that there is still maybe four weeks or five weeks later, the review there is still a bit of a mark on the lip.

[00:46:28] And obviously, at this point, she’s not very happy, as obviously you can understand, right? Happy with the bonding now, but not happy with Mitt. So I’m like, Oh crap. Like, what do I do? Right? And I remember at this point I’d done like a few extra things for in terms of the appointment, like I’d done a three, you know, clean because it was just like we couldn’t get her in for the appointments clause of the deadline under the clean and a free six retainer after the bonding to make sure the people to move and so on. And then obviously, she wanted some additions to the incisal edges at the review appointments. I did those again free of charge. Everything was fine. But again, there’s a cut on the list and I’m really kind of like, you know, you have to deal with these things. Obviously, it’s a spa on our own indemnity. You’ve got to be quite careful because it is facial scarring, right? So you’ve got to deal with this and whatnot anyway. Reviewed her again. But then everything in the room was fine. So you know me, her and my nurse in the room, we discussed it. I apologised, told her it shouldn’t have happened and everything like that. And then I thought, OK, it’s dealt with. I’m going to review again in a couple of weeks to see how the scar seating right now. What happens is she goes to the reception and she says, Oh, is there going to be a compensation for this facial scarring? And I was like, Well, and then obviously, you know that that conversation never happened with me in the room.

[00:47:43] So it was kind of something that she just said to the reception. So again, there was that element of like stress or something. And oh, god, like now, like, I’ve done so many bits in terms of the retainer, the cleans and all this other stuff, but like us now also give our compensation and stuff. So there is that element to it. And thankfully, in the end, again, maybe I don’t know. This is like eight weeks later or something. Things have settled because that’s where the bonding the scar is no longer a concern. We did give us some compensation and kind of resolve the matter, right? But that kind of a nightmare period of like stress because it was stress, it was absolute stress man, because you feel as though like, we, you know, obviously it never should have happened. I said this to, you know, the dentist and the receptionist was like, It’s obviously my error. I’ve cut the lips. I’m out. I don’t know how, but it’s how you still don’t know. I hold my hands up. I thought, I know because I checked the photos of the work in terms of, you know, I’ve had some step by step, but it was as well. And I just never where it was cut. I just never. The rubber dam in the area, so it definitely didn’t happen during that phase of the treatment, and the only time the rubber dam was off was towards the end, which was maybe 10 minutes either. It was then I must have caught it without

[00:48:51] Realising I would a burn. You know, maybe it burn. I’ve seen you on the show. And she said she had a handpiece that was not aligned perfectly and she didn’t realise it, but it was getting hot.

[00:49:04] And yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that could be a thing, right? Yeah, like I always suspected, you know, we have these metallic. Yeah, we have these metal cheek retractions in the press. And when your lips dry out after a long period of treatment, right, you know, when you’re pulling them and when you’re doing the lows, it’s all like, I really pull them down to make sure there’s no, you know, you get complete exposure of the lows. And I think that that might have been a reason, but I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just speculating that, but thankfully touch with things of kind of, I guess, settled. But that phase of when you’ve got that looming over your head, man, it’s not. It’s not good. It’s a nightmare. It’s yeah, it’s not a good place to be in.

[00:49:39] Would you have handled it differently in retrospect?

[00:49:43] Yeah. Not lip. Yeah. You know what? You know what? That’s a good question, because I’m not really reflecting on it. It’s one of those like the back of my mind. So like, now you ask me, that is kind of making me reflect on it. Would I have handled it differently? I think I did all the stuff that maybe, you know, we’re advised to do about owning it in terms of apologising, accepting to it all. That sort of stuff was all done and it was done multiple times, you know? I don’t know what I would have done differently at this moment in time, to be honest. Maybe if you ask me that, you know, with more experience, I probably would say yes, because I’m sure there’s always going to be things like Dental do, right? But yeah, I don’t know, to be honest.

[00:50:21] And there are certain things I who knows. Who knows, right? Whether, you know, maybe, maybe she felt aggrieved and it didn’t matter how charming you were, she was going to, you know, get come for you. It’s possible. But you know, I was in a I was at a restaurant in summer and we were in Cyprus, and they were super strict on the whole vaccine thing. And we had none that we had a 14 year old with us and with 14 year olds, they had to test every three days. They looked at everyone’s thing and then they said, Oh, this 14 year old, he’s two hours late, so he needs another test and none of us can eat. There was a table for 14. No way no one could eat because because, you know, unless you want to leave the guy, leave the 14 or something, which I certainly thought about doing. I wanted to feel it looked like such a nice play anyway. So everyone’s everyone’s getting like, really bit het up, you know, God is 14. He had a test, but it’s just two hours later, you know, just give us a break. And you know, we’re in Cyprus. We were in Switzerland. But, you know, she was being quite strict about it and it thank God he found this piece of paper, whatever. But then she completely handled us. Here she went. It went from angry people to suddenly she went, Oh, where are you guys from? And then suddenly she was. She gave it a thorough compliment out to the women to, oh, the women from there, always so, so beautiful. And and just change the moment from the hell are you talking about to, Oh, let’s go and enjoy ourselves, you know? And I guess it comes that sort of thing comes with experience and it comes with, you know, some, some some people are good at that sort of thing and some people are now, would it would there have been something in a restaurant’s situation? It’s a lot easier to compliment the patient than when you’ve burnt their lip, right?

[00:52:18] Yeah, that’s true. And I think you know what it is Payman is all like when you when you have a complaint, right? You automatically lose like common sense and you just assume the worst like it all goes out the window. Yeah. And I think that’s like a big thing as well. Like, we just see, you know, red and just go completely like panic mode, which again, maybe it’s an experience thing. I’m sure there’s going to be people listening or dentists who aren’t like that. And that’s probably because they’ve got

[00:52:42] Everyone panics, but everyone panics when it happens, and sometimes you’ve got a lot more to lose. I know you feel like you’ve got it all to lose, but people start thinking, What if I, you know, I have to take my kids out of school and these can’t pay my mortgage, can’t pay my mortgage and have to take my kids out of school? You know what I mean for a dentist? You feel like that’s all you know how to do. So it can get super, super stressful, and we all know the stories of how stressful it can get. But what my advice to you both is that there’s going to be more and more complaints. Yeah, there is, you know, Bell, you’re such a brilliant dentist. First of all, people should follow your page. What is it, Dr. Bell?

[00:53:23] Dr. Bell, Sara,

[00:53:24] Thanks very much for the plug. Dr. Dorsey, I know the quality of the work really, really stunning for someone who’s two years out, three years out, whatever you want to call it, really, really stunning work.

[00:53:35] No, I appreciate that, right?

[00:53:36] But but but yeah, there’s loads of stuff you don’t know. You know, there’s loads of stuff you don’t know. You don’t know to quote the famous politician. And this there’s loads of bad luck in in in dentistry, you know, as well as good luck. Yeah, there’s going to be some people who are going to be unhappy and they’re going to complain. You have to think about complaints as part of the job. Yeah, for sure. These days. Particularly you can’t you can’t you can’t get yourself down over it. Easier said than done. They gave me, well, how do you guys feel about where this case education is going to go? Because, you know, the little conversation that I had with you guys was, for me, it seems obvious that, you know, email newsletter isn’t the way it should stay should. It should be more. Video And we were talking about technology. Yeah.

[00:54:33] But you’re going to be our pick up manager Payman.

[00:54:37] Yeah, I need to download TikTok. Actually, even after I forgotten to after our conversation, I need to get on that.

[00:54:43] Yeah, but you’re right. I think you know what we were talking about, obviously was kind of having more interactive, engaging content and video is obviously the key to that, right? And with what we do at the minute, like a big component of it is obviously bite size, you know, very small, digestible tips, right? And the video lends itself so nicely to that because, like we said before, it just kind of, you know, it makes it so much more engaging. So that is definitely on the cards in terms of we’ve got a lot of video content we’ve we’ve already pre-recorded, you know, a few months back and so on. So that is in the pipeline. Yeah, I feel like emailing is good. It kind of allows people to look at it at their own time and so on. And it obviously helps with other things that we do with Kazan. But the video is definitely where it’s going to probably lend itself nicely in the next couple of months.

[00:55:31] But, you know, with the email again, it’s arriving in their inbox with social and all that you’ve got to, you know, pick up loads of followers, right? That’s it. Yeah. Your page bill is aimed at Dental more than it’s aimed at patients, right?

[00:55:46] Yeah, for sure. That’s the payment thing is right. Yeah, you’re completely right because, you know, this was a Baptist and rubber dam and stuff that patients wouldn’t obviously engage with, right? Yeah. But the kind of I guess we’re not. When I started that whole Instagram page was, you know, like selling meat, and it was essentially to kind of move out of the NHS and more into a private setting. And that was kind of an obviously I like I said at the beginning, I enjoyed industry, enjoy doing, you know, taking photos of my work and so on and learning and reflecting. So that was kind of kind of a dual benefit that I wanted to also get a private job, but then also kind of just show my work and reflect on it myself and whatnot. But yeah, I feel as though, you know, potentially with time, maybe it will, or maybe it will change towards being more geared at patients. Yeah, you know, I guess it’s good to have a mixture.

[00:56:37] How about you, Chris? We we were experimenting with this question at Backhed, which was just last week when I was listening to this in three years time. And we were saying, if you can have three people at a dinner party

[00:56:52] That dentists or generally anyone

[00:56:54] Humans.

[00:56:55] Oh, OK, it’s a great question.

[00:56:58] Dead or alive?

[00:56:59] Oh, this is going to come back to that. I need to think about it for like five minutes, probably. I’ll just give you a rubbish answer. But have you got a of the stuff you want?

[00:57:09] And you know what, I’m.

[00:57:15] I’d say. This is one of these when you put on the spot, it’s so hard.

[00:57:20] No, I’d say, you know. You know, David Goggins. Yeah. Yeah, you guys are ahead of him and ready to look and whatnot. I’d probably say him. Yeah, for sure. I think that’s kind of like the never give up.

[00:57:31] You know that

[00:57:32] Guy? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly that. It’s like, you know, inspirational stuff when you kind of hack into that, that sort of mentality, right?

[00:57:39] Right. I gave up, I gave up reading the book halfway through. That’s the funny

[00:57:50] Thing.

[00:57:52] He’s a cool dude, though, because I heard him on Joe Rogan or something.

[00:57:57] Yeah, you bet you. You bet. I hope it doesn’t listen to you, your podcast mate.

[00:58:01] Yeah, I don’t think he will. But, you know, if he did, you internalise that question of once, once you’re completely, completely, you know, spent out, there’s still another 60 percent in you. And yeah, you do that for sure. Like I did that one, you know? Yes, I remember.

[00:58:24] It’s crazy because it is like, you know, my career in mind and obviously that mentality side of things, which, you know, you only think you have so much to give or to kind of handle, right? But like there are obviously layers to it, and I feel like it’s unlocking those layers and stuff. But I feel like that’s, you know, I follow them on Instagram and I always watch his videos and so on. Like, I just feel as though he’s super inspirational.

[00:58:46] Chris, you’ve got to have one is, do you know what it would be? Somebody like Jeff Bezos or somebody who’s just made it to the top, you know, somebody who’s just like, they’ve built an enterprise. And they just got so much knowledge that they can potentially share over a dinner, somebody that is probably quite a boring one. It’s not as exciting as David Goggins.

[00:59:05] So, OK, what’s been Typekit? No, it’s a business. You saying a business leader? Yeah, yeah. Get somebody to pick one that isn’t just the biggest business in the world. Yeah, because all right, we’re all going to have the biggest business in the world, but pick a pick and pick a business that you really admire in one way or the other. Like, for instance, I would have I don’t even know his name. The guy from Red Bull, whoever that is, you know that, dude?

[00:59:29] Well, why would

[00:59:30] You choose him from the marketing branding perspective? It’s just absolute genius company for me. I’m not talking about the product. I mean, I don’t. I have a Red Bull if I’ve had a super late night and I need to wake up the next day. But it’s not about the product, but it’s about the marketing. Once I was doing a lecture and I do not advise this man at midnight, I decided I was going to change the whole structure of the lecture. I was lecturing the next day and I went from midnight to four a.m., changing it all and I was speaking at nine a.m. and so I couldn’t sleep and I must have slept for like one hour, whatever it was. So I got to the lecture and I thought, I’m going to have a Red Bull. So I had had a Red Bull, and then I thought, I have another Red Bull. I had a second Red Bull and oh, my goodness me what I did. I was running so fast I could stop myself every time I started talking because I’d be so interested in. There must have been someone listening today as to who was in the audience that day because it was just obvious something was up, man. Okay. Oh yeah. So the product? Not really, but the brand gone.

[01:00:50] Chris, you know, I really about think about something. I want to say something really boring and save me here.

[01:00:58] So again, someone else?

[01:01:00] Someone else, what business wise you’re asking

[01:01:03] Whatever dinner party.

[01:01:06] And I’d say. You know what, I’m a big football fan, right? So I just kind of say as an idol like, you know, there’s just kind of somebody that you idolised would be Diego Maradona. So obviously, like if I could, I’m actually met Maradona, you know, once, right? And I’ve got I’ve got an Argentina top signed by him, right? It’s funny, actually. So I when I was in, yeah, when I was in my secondary school, I went to there, used to be this tournament. I think it still goes on, but I think they’ve changed the name, right? But at the time, it was the Barclays ATP Masters tournament over at the O2 Arena. Top eight players in the world, right? And I went watch my cousin and they had an advert on the screen, right? And they were like, Oh, we’re looking for this age range of, you know, kids to kind of be ball kids at the tournament. And I was like, I have paid no attention to them. My cousin was like, Look, you should really do this right? And I was like, No, I don’t want to be a ball kid like my mates can take the mix right? Anyway, I actually went to the trial, did it and everything like that, and I managed to get selected and I actually got into doing it for that top eight players in the world. So I met like Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, all these guys. And it was an amazing experience, right? One day, yeah, one day you know how you’ve got like courtside tickets and whatnot. We had like loads of people like, I think Kieran Read was there one day we had Kevin Spacey, one day we had it was the other one. So obviously Maradona was there, right? And when you have six people on the court at any one time, right, in terms of actually doing the ball, the ball kids sort of stuff, right? But you’ve got people that are in the same ball kids, but you’ve got a group of them who sit like in between the court and obviously the crowd.

[01:02:42] So like if the ball goes into the crowd or you retrieve the ball and stuff. So at one point I was like sat right in front of where Maradona was sat with his group, entourage, whatnot, and I turned around. I was like, Oh, my days, that is actually Diego Maradona, right? So I told my cousin, and obviously, you know, O2 Arena is not too far from us. So he was like, All right, he’s probably going to be there for the rest of the week or a couple of days. So he brought an Argentina top the next day and next day I was doing the same thing. I was sat literally where he was sat like just in front of him. So like, there’s this time where there’s like an interchange where you like to have a break and the other kids come on to like, roll on or whatnot. And at that point, I just literally pulled up the Argentina top and I just said to him, Can you sign this? And he was like, No. And then I just begged him and he was like, on it. So you signed it for me. And it was just madness is absolute madness. And obviously after that managed to see him one more time. But that was like surreal. Like, you know, when you actually see somebody that you completely idolise, especially as a big football fan. So that was that was super cool.

[01:03:40] I bet Maradona would be a fun guest at the party as well.

[01:03:43] Yeah, life of the party.

[01:03:46] How much he’s going to eat. But yeah, fungus party. Chris, I’ll give you one more chance, Chris.

[01:03:57] And I’m a leader with a similar story, but, you know, I’ve actually stayed in the same hotel is as messy and the whole of the blasted team in 2008. Yeah, if I could just sit down and communicate and have a conversation with him or Renaldo. It would be amazing. Somebody like that is obviously again just built different and made it to the top. And just obviously so dedicated and and motivated and inspiring lots of people. Well, even somebody like to be honest, somebody like like Federer or something with his branding and everything that he’s achieved outside of tennis is amazing how he’s built a whole brand. And I think he’s made something stupid, like 1.5 billion off the court, something silly like that outside of tennis and just learning how these people can can be at the top of the sport and also on the top of monetising the other aspects of it, the business side of things. It would be really cool to sit down with somebody like that and just find out how their mind works, how the brain works.

[01:04:58] I like that. But finally, we got something it something for me to do the party guys. Our time’s coming to an end. Just tell us the Kaizen Dental coordinates. But if I want to see what guys and Dental is about, what do I do?

[01:05:13] Is it on Instagram? Yeah. Instagram If you go on to the website closing Dental codec and on there you can sign up to the soon to be updated mailing list format. But for now, Instagram is obviously the main format and then soon tick. I think we’ve actually got a tick tock page, but we haven’t put anything out there, so you guys can call Payman to manage that.

[01:05:34] Yeah, yeah. I’ve got a guy managing and managing hours, and I’m still not happy. It’s interesting with Instagram. It’s obvious where Dental Instagram is, where TikTok is not yet obvious exactly what it should be. I find it super exciting because you can define what it is. You know, you can. You can play with different formats and things. So Kaizen Chi Z, I said, N, that’s it. Dental, guys. Have a look at that. It’s been a pleasure to have you. I’m not going to ask the usual Prav famous end of anything. Question puts you on your deathbed. You guys are way too young for that question. The one time I date would ask that question because usually I quite look forward to that question. But you know, the dinner party thing helped me because I know, I know you’re going to be making lots of waves in the future. And a lot of times, you know, it’s nice to when you get to that future. Yeah, I always try and help the ones below you as are. Yeah, you know, we’re professional. We were. In the end, you know, we used to be hairdressers and and what is it that apprentices and all that, but that that’s why they call it practising dentistry because we need to help each other. Isn’t it

[01:06:55] Something absolutely

[01:06:57] Lovely to have you guys on?

[01:06:59] Thanks to Payman,

[01:07:02] 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.

[01:07:18] 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

[01:07:28] Say and what our

[01:07:29] Guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you’ve 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.


In this week’s solo episode, Prav talks about one of his favourite topics: Context and congruency in marketing.

Using real-life examples from his open practices, he explains why establishing context and congruency matter throughout the patient journey should be a priority.

He also dispenses actionable advice on how teams can use this powerful marketing hack to improve conversions and enhance the patient experience.



“It’s all about communication that has context, and that is congruent with previous conversations.” – Prav Solanki

In This Episode

00.22  – An everyday example

04-56 – Stepping into patients’ shoes
14.57 – From online to real life
27.07 – Why it matters

Prav Solanki is a healthcare entrepreneur, marketer, dental practice owner and host of the Dental Leaders podcast. To ask Prav a question about context and congruency or other aspects of practice marketing growth, visit

[00:00:05] 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,

[00:00:22] Welcome to the Dental Leaders podcast, today is going to be a solo episode just myself talking about the topic of contextual, congruent see what it means, how it applies in everyday life business and why I truly believe is the is the essence of success in our businesses. It’s a topic that I’m passionate about. It’s a topic or a subject matter that I coach a lot of my clients of. It’s a subject matter that I seem to be having conversations with sales teams, my own sales teams and those that I’m working with every single day. And what does it mean? So contextual congruence? It’s all about communication that has context and that is congruent with previous conversations. So it’s about communication that’s easy to understand, and it’s the easiest way for me to describe it. And I’m going to follow it up with some examples and how it applies to sales and marketing in dentistry, but for just take everyday life. You know, I was sat here in my office where I’m recording this podcast now, and I was deep in some work. I was putting together a flowchart for the strategy of the exit of a dental practise. And as I was doing that, there was loads of things I was thinking about, which was finance, sales, marketing, you know, people hate chat, et cetera, et cetera. And my wife burst into the office and says to me, So what did she say? Noah painted the picture of where I am right now, and I’m definitely not in that conversation, so I look up, and the first thing that goes through to my mind is give us a clue.

[00:02:04] What did you say about what and when? Notice there was no context there, apart from the fact that she’s talking about a female and she’s asking about what she said. So I asked those questions What what? What are you talking about? Who are you talking about? Our daughter, of course, because earlier that day, my daughter had had a bike stolen at university. She was upset. She rang me. We had a conversation. We said we were going to sort it out and that was the end of that story. I haven’t spoken to my wife since then. She knew I was speaking to my daughter. So the context in her head was very much revolving around the conversation that I had with my daughter. I was in a different world. The had she walks into the office and said. Excuse me, Prav. She’s never going to say my wife’s never going to say, excuse me, Prav, who am I trying to kid? But if she walks into my office and just said, So what happened with Simone’s bike? Is she OK? Then I’ll be able to fulfil that conversation and to be congruent and context to it. Let’s say context in a different manner, we can say the same word in different ways, and it can mean completely different things.

[00:03:24] So let’s take bollocks, for example. I could be I could be referring to my anatomy. I could equally be saying, Oh dear, I’ve just messed up. I could be saying to somebody, You’re telling lies. Have you noticed all the context of just that? One word can mean several different things. And so why is it in our everyday communications with patients, with our team members when we’re talking about finance strategy, whatever that is, that, you know, the difference elements of running your business? Why is it that we don’t always communicate with context and we expect the people that we’re communicating with to be mind readers, we send emails with subject lines that are totally unrelated to the topic that you’re conversing with. You know, I always make a habit of if I’m sending an email to somebody, I always make sure it’s been a rule that I’ve set in place. Always make sure that the subject line is relevant to what I’m talking about, or I’ll change the subject line if I’m continuing a thread. Why is it that we burst into a middle of a conversation when we blurt out what’s going on in our head and expects that person to be in the zone and for that message to be totally congruent with what’s in your head? And I think a lot of this relates to sales and marketing. So let me paint a picture for you.

[00:04:56] Let’s imagine that I’m a patient and I’m going to I’m going to step into this patient shoes and describe the problem that they’re experienced and what I what I try and say to my clients or coach my clients around this whatever scenario you find yourself in. Step into that person’s shoes. So if you’ve got an issue that you want to discuss with a nurse, with an associate, with a team member, whether it’s a difficult conversation you want to have or whether it’s just a normal conversation, just take a step back step into that person’s shoes, map out the situation, and I promise you that the conversation that you have with them will be completely different to the reactive nature of what’s about to come out of your mouth. So I’m this patient, I digress, I’m this patient, I’m a prospective patient, I’m not a patient yet, right? So let’s just map this story about out about Prav, a 70 year old loose Dental euro. I’ve been wearing the same set of dentures for 15 years. Every morning, when I wake up, I whack some glue on them. I pop them in and I pray they’re going to stick in place. I hope that nobody notices my false or fake teeth, even though they look terrible. I walk around with my hand over my mouth. A dream about the possibility of tucking into. An apple. Also to food or a crusty bigot, and I know that’s not happened for a long time, and it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

[00:06:39] So I blend most of my food. I chop a lot of it up into small pieces, and I definitely turn down every single invite to a social event through fear of my Dental slipping out. I’ve got a tube of Dental glue that I carry with me wherever I go in my glove box, in my side compartment just in case of an emergency. And every time somebody is having a conversation with me, I’m talking to myself and I’m thinking, are they looking at my dentures? What do they think about my dentures? Are they turned off by my dentures? And it is a constant in every single thought process and it creates anxiety. I lack self-confidence, and I just become essentially a social recluse. I end up avoiding situations. I say no to family parties. Have you got the picture? Do you know where I am right now? So we’ve painted that picture and we’ve stepped into Prav shoes. The loose denture wearer who’s not got a great life and it’s consumed around these loose dentures that is fearful of slipping out and its impact in his self-image. And one day Prav is scrolling through Facebook and on this feed, there’s a ray of sunshine that pops out of there. And somehow, by magic, Facebook have figured out that I’m a loose denture wearer because they know more about me than everyone else, and they’ve been spying on my conversations and through their algorithm, they’ve figured out that I’m down on my luck with my loose dentures.

[00:08:22] And this advert pops up and it says attention. Denture wearers, the Dental Sweet are offering complimentary consultations with Dr. Bahagi. Implant surgeon with over twenty five years experience in helping loose denture wearers transform their smiles, giving them the ability to bite into an apple again, enjoy life to the full with confidence. In the space of a couple of appointments, Dr. Bihari. Complaisant implants in your mouth and secure a solid set of fixed teeth in place, you can throw the denture glue away and not have to worry about that and live your best life. Dr. Behera has got over three hundred positive five star Google reviews from denture patients whose lives he’s transformed and is healing, and he is incredibly. Gentle and an expert with phobic nervous patients. Book your complimentary consultation today by clicking the Apply Now button below. So you got the picture this Prav, he’s down on his look and look, I’m going to be repeating this process all the way through. I know it sounds obvious, but it will make sense when we get to the end. So this Prav, he’s down on his luck. Is this loose denture wearer with all these problems? And he’s just seen a ray of sunshine on his phone, so he clicks the apply now button. What happens next? He gets directed to the home page of a website, and that website says the Dental Suite, we transform Smales.

[00:10:11] Here are some testimonials. Here’s our mission statement and this is everything about us. There’s a phone number at the top and these testimonials from patients who’ve had Invisalign and cosmetic bonding and blah blah blah. What’s just happened? I’ll tell you what’s just happened. You’ve lost me. You’ve lost that patient because when I clicked on that button, I wanted to do a few things. The first thing that I wanted to do was claim my free consultation. The second thing I wanted to do is learn about how you can help me. Changed my life through implant dentistry. And the third thing I wanted to do is meet my hero, Dr. Bahari, who’s got 25 years of experience and 300 Google reviews, and he’s really good with general patients. But the message got lost because you sent me to a page about your clinic that is not congruent with the marketing message. So what’s the alternative that we click on the Apply Now button and you send me to a page and that page has a picture of my saviour there, Dr. Bahari. And it says twenty five plus years experience in transforming the lives of Dental wear loose denture wearers. Below, there’s a graphic that says 300 plus five star Google reviews, and there’s half a dozen of the positive Google reviews. And every single one of those Google reviews refers to something like denture glue ditching my old dentures.

[00:11:44] I’ve got a perfect new set of teeth now I can finally buy into an apple. After 20 years, Dr. Bajaria was so gentle. It was worth every penny. There’s a concept form at the top of that page that says, Meet Dr. Bahala today and claim your free consultation invited me to input my name, my email address, my mobile number, and maybe give them a little bit more information about what it is that I’m looking for. Can you say how just having that one step thought through in terms of context and congruence, we can have a massive impact on the success of your marketing campaigns. Now, often the marketing message that somebody clicks on and where they go to next are not 100 percent congruent. The match of that congruence makes a massive difference in me as a potential patient willing to hand over my personal details of my contact information. Seeing that social proof on that landing page that. Alludes to the fact that you’ve got the reviews and things like that photographs before enough, there’s video testimonials. Let’s go back to the story. So I click. I fill out the form, I hand over my personal details and I click send and automagically my personal details now end up in the inbox of your reception team sales team TKO, whoever’s going to get that next and we’re going to go and move over to that story in a second.

[00:13:30] But as I click that button, it takes me to a London a thank you page. And that thank you post says thank you for your enquiry, a member of our team will be in touch shortly. Perfectly normal. Absolutely fine. How could we elevate that experience for me to make sure that communication is contextually congruent? Well, we could show a message on that page that says thank you for your enquiry. You have now taken the first step to getting rid of your loose dentures and having a perfectly beautiful, solid set of teeth where you can finally eat the foods you once enjoyed. Instead of a member of our team will be in touch with, you know, the team member, Becky will call you shortly to book your complimentary consultation with Dr. Bihari. In the meantime, feel free to read. Some of our Google reviews and watch our testimonial videos below. Can you see what’s just happened there? The message on the landing page? The Thank You page, the advert are all completely congruent. You have kept me 100 percent engaged. So let’s take the next step of that journey. My contact details have landed in the inbox if your receptionist. So what happens next? Your receptionist says, Oh, it’s an implant enquiry. Ok, I’m going to send him an email. Fine, absolutely fine. So what is in that email? Well. It’s a template we send an implant template to our implant patients.

[00:15:24] We send an Invisalign template to our Invisalign patients and we treat everyone exactly the same. It’s a copy paste blind process where we send the same old stuff out to everyone. And the nature of that email is something like this. Hello. Thank you for enquiring about dental implants here at the Dental Suite. We offer many different types of dental implants and treatment starts from two thousand five hundred pounds. Dental implants are the perfect solution to replacing missing teeth. And if you’d like to book a free consultation, please call us back on this number and I’d be delighted to get you booked in. And it doesn’t matter whether, if got loose, dentures are missing a single tooth. I need a three to bridge or whatever it is, we’re all getting a stock answer. Guess what’s just happened? Then you’ve lost me. Because when I pressed that button, when I read that out, when I was on that landing page, when I read that thank you message, everything was about my loose dentures. Fixing that problem? Give me a solid set of implanted teeth. Having the ability to buy into and chew into that food for the first time and rejuvenating my confidence. So what do you think that email template should say? Well, first of all, I don’t think it should be a template. I think every single email should have a template basis, should be bespoke, be written for that patient.

[00:17:03] So here’s Prof. I’ve already alluded to the fact that I’ve not chewed into whatever food, I’m nervous. I’m looking forward to booking my free consultation, blah blah blah. And the email goes out and it says. Hi, Prof. Thank you so much for taking the first step towards getting rid of your loose dentures and having a permanent set of fixed teeth so that you can finally enjoy life, get your confidence back and eat the foods that you once loved. We’re really looking forward to meeting you, and Dr. Behera, who’s got over 25 years of experience, will be able to answer all your questions and give you an indication of the approximate costs investment involved at your appointment and in that email. Guess what else is in there before and after case study of a loose denture patient? Meet Sarah. Sarah suffered from loose dentures for over 15 years and after same day teeth treatment implant assisted denture treatment. Whatever it was, she’s now finally able to attend the parties that she wants avoid. She’s got a new lease of confidence, but most importantly, she can bite into crusty baguettes again. Wow. Louis just happened. The message was totally congruent, right from the ad that let a little reassurance sunshine into my life through to the landing page through so the thank you page through to the email I received. And guess what happens next? My sales team pick up the phone because they’ve got my mobile number.

[00:18:46] When they pick up that phone, it goes straight through to voicemail and they leave a message, something like this. Hi, Prav is Becky from the Dental. Sorry? I’m just calling with regards to your Dental implant enquiry. I’ll try you again in a few days time or feel free to call me back. Both phone goes down. Perfectly polite. Perfectly normal. Nothing wrong with that communication. But you’ve lost me again. There’s no congruence. See, there’s no context. In fact, the only congruence in context is your Dental implant enquiry. I’ve got loose dentures. I want to replace my loose dentures with a solid set of fixed teeth. I want to meet my hero. Dr. Behera, who has placed thousands of implants over twenty five years of experience, has got a truckload of positive Google reviews. So let’s change that conversation, and let’s make sure that we’ve got voicemail training in our practise so that every single voicemail that is left for that patient is congruent with every piece of communication they’ve had from our practise so far. So they pick up the phone and it goes a little something like this. Hi, Prav, is Becky from the Dental Suite. Thanks for enquiring about fixing your loose dentures with implanted teeth. I’ll put your name down for a free consultation with Dr. Bahari. We’ve got a limited number of slots, but I’ve reserved you one of them and I’m really looking forward to getting you booked in.

[00:20:23] I’m guessing you’re busy right now, but feel free to give me a call back on this number and we’ll get you booked in. By the way, don’t forget to visit our Facebook page where you’ll see loads of reviews or our Google go to our Google page. We see loads of reviews. Watch some of our video testimonials and take a look at the email I’ve just sent you. Speak to you soon. Bye. Ok. Context, loose dentures, the problem, the solution, the social proof has made its way from that advert to the landing page to the thank you page to the voicemail. Ok. What happens if they picked up the phone and spoke to me? Well, the concept of sales, trading and telephone training is it’s a whole nother topic in itself. But without going into the ins and outs of the questions that you ask the patients to build the rapport and what you should say on the phone and what you shouldn’t say on the phone, the conversation needs to go a little bit like the voicemail. Hi Prav, thank you for your enquiry regarding loose dentures. I can see that you’ve suffered with this problem for a long time, and I’m really sorry to hear about it. The great news is Dr. Bahari has treated hundreds of patients just like you, and I’m sure you’ve had the time to read through, you know, several of these hundreds of Google reviews from loose denture patients whose lives is transformed.

[00:21:53] We’re really looking forward to helping you like with help lots of others bite into an apple crusty bread for the first time, but more importantly, just having the confidence to live life like you deserve to. I’m going to book you in for that free consultation, so when you come and meet Dr. Bahari, you can ask him all the questions you want. You’ll get an indication of what your costs are, Payman plans and things like that. A mobile queue in the conversation was incredibly congruent. There was no beating around the we talked about the loose dentures, we talked about the social proof, we talked about Dr Behera. Yeah. And we sell in the US in every conversation that we’re having with patients or do we try and get the conversation out of the way where we pick up the phone and say, Hi, just ringing it, just ring in regards to your dental implant. All right. Ok. Just wanted a bit of information. There you go. Whoa. Where was the twenty five years experience? Where’s the conversation about Google reviews? Where’s the, you know, we are the most caring, gentle practise in the Wild West is gone. We’ve worked so hard to get there, but we don’t use it right. And so the conversation needs to be incredibly congruent. Imagine now province booked for that consultation. What happens next? I get an email in a text message saying Your appointment at the Dental Suite is on the 16th of November at 5pm.

[00:23:25] Boom, job done. Or do I get a customised email that says something along the lines of Hi Prav, we’re really looking forward to meeting you and helping you with your loose dentures? The number of solutions that Dr. Baha is going to talk to you about on the day, but here are just the main two implant assisted removal implanted dentures or fixed teeth, permanently fixed teeth. Both of them will give the ability to be able to chew into an apple bite into crusty bread and smile with unbelievably lifelike natural teeth again. If you’ve got any questions for Dr. Behera, write him down and we look forward to meeting you soon. P.s., Please watch Sara’s story before whose life was transformed with implant retained dentures and an embed of a video. The communications congruent the Martin message is congruent the conversation about the USPS are congruent. Yeah, and it’s all these little micro details and communication that make me more likely to transact with you because believe it or not. The day that Prav jumped on his phone and looked on Facebook and saw your advert, guess what Facebook did to me? They chucked me the adverts of another five clinics because had already transacted on that. Facebook knew what my behaviour was and what I was looking for. So they gave me choice and they gave me the practise next door and they gave me another press and they gave me another practise and I filled out all those forms.

[00:25:11] But their messages weren’t congruent, their voicemails weren’t congruent, their landing pages weren’t congruent. So I’m sticking with you. I turn up for my consultation. When I’m welcomed into the practise, the conversation I have with the person at front desk relates to Dental and my loose dentures and that ray of sunshine and dots of Buhari. Does the person who walks me? From the way in area or the lounge or whatever you like, which you want to give it and escorts me into the practise. Talk about Dr. Behera. Is the conversation something like this? How are you going to be in the best possible hands? Dr. Bahari is the best around here at helping patients with loose dentures. You’re really lucky that we’re looking forward. Oh, here he is now. Dr. Bauer, there you go. How am I going to feel at that point? Yeah, I’m going to feel in awe of this person. And then this person has a consultation with me that revolves around my key issues and key problems. Where is that information? As a surgeon or a dentist, isn’t it incredibly valuable when I look in the patient’s nose before that patient walks through the door, but I’ve got an indication of what’s been discussed with that patient. What were their key problems? In fact, a copy of their enquiry from the marketing details of costs that were discussed with that patient or the consultations that had what their idea of cheap and expensive this there were all these clues that patients give us during conversations with us that are so incredibly valuable to the dentist delivering the consultation.

[00:26:56] And most of the time they do not make their way through to the surgery for that, for that conversation to stay congruent. I hope by the end of this, you guys have got an idea of why congruence, the contextual congruence is so important just in this little story. But in everyday business, when you’re talking to your accountant, when you’re giving a team member a set of instructions, when you’re delegating to a team member, you can’t just say to somebody. Go and do this because when you’re delegating to somebody go and do this, and this means I want this, this, this and this by this time. And what successful looks like is this and how I want to report, how I want you to report back to me is to send me an email on Friday detailing this this and this, this context, this controversy, it comes back to you. And we went. Now, one of the biggest problems in executing successful marketing campaigns is the lack of this congruence. And I think through numerous conversations with clients that we either just simply consult with and provide marketing consultancy, but we don’t deliver the services.

[00:28:21] Our clients and teams that we work with on a regular basis is that sales and marketing are almost like two separate entities. I mean, I’ve worked with corporates and other bigger businesses where sales are marketing live in different buildings. Now they’re so interconnected that I think it’s a crime for sales and marketing, not to be one department. But how many of your receptionists, your CEOs and your sales team have read every single advert that is out there have looked and analysed every landing page, every thank you page have crafted the emails that sits alongside those to make sure everything is congruent because often when I’m training sales teams, why tend to see is that they don’t even know what adverts are out there. They don’t know what their employment offer is. And so to expect them to have a congruent sales conversation, they’re already handicapped. And so if there’s one piece of advice I can give to any practise stroke business owner is Murray, the sales and marketing team, so they amalgamate into one. And your success will go through the roof. And I think that’s it, really, if you’ve got any questions about sales and marketing, if you’ve got any questions that revolve around contextual congruence, more importantly and how that can impact your business, feel free to shoot me a question. You can visit my website Prav. Prav. Com And just submit a question through there, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you guys have got around that subject matter or topic.

[00:30:17] 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.

[00:30:33] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, 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’ve 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.


If you’ve been busy banking CPD hours, you may be familiar with this week’s guest. Jasmine Piran is a self-confessed course junkie who’s made a move from pupil to teacher.

She lets us in on life as a lecturer and provides insight into how a psychology degree and NLP training have helped her understand and connect with nervous patients.

Jasmine also lifts the lid on her time with celebrity dentist Uchenna Okoye, her interest in art and music, and more.


“Isn’t it a privilege that patients come and see us for elective treatment? The whole mood changes when someone comes in and you have to tell them they need a root canal treatment or an extraction, versus someone who comes to you and says: ‘please help me, I want you to help me improve my smile’. Already, that’s a great energy space to be in.” – Jasmine Piran

In This Episode

01.42 – Backstory
05.08 – Study at Guy’s
08.19 – Psychology, NLP and nervous patients
16.21 – Into practice
20.16 – Dental nursing
21.21 – Uchenna Okoye
24.41 – Trailblazing and work-life balance
25.59 – Principals Vs Associates
32.47 – Minimally invasive philosophy
36.03 – Learning and teaching
40.27 – Invisalign and orthodontics
43.53 – Blackbox thinking
51.06 – Ethics
52.51 – Perfection paralysis
55.27 – Teaching SmileFast
01.02.18 – Art, music and travel
01.05.11 – Last days and legacy

About Jasmine Piran

Jasmine Piran qualified from Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’ Dental Institute in 2001. She has since gained a Masters degree with distinction in restorative and aesthetic dentistry from the University of Manchester and also holds a degree in psychology.

She is an avid learner who has travelled to the US, Switzerland and Italy in pursuit of continuing professional development and has also studied extensively in the UK.

In addition to dental training, Jasmine has also gained NLP and hypnotherapy accreditation.

[00:00:00] The other thing is, I’m a complete course junkie, and I never stop going on courses, and I think people sometimes tell me off, we’re going on so many courses, but I genuinely think you’ll learn something new from every single course that you go on and you get to a point where you don’t come away. Having learnt massive things, you might just learn tiny things like I remember going on Andy McLean’s course and I was probably one of the oldest people there, like it was full of people who were two or three years out of uni. But I admire his clinical skills so much and the beautiful work that he’s been like creating for years. So I was like, I’m sure there’s I’m sure I’ll learn stuff and I did, and I came away having learnt, you know, two or three kind of titbits that I then use. I still use. Sometimes I’ll, you know, I’ll hold myself, let’s discus an ankle and be like, Oh, that was that was how Andy McLean said, You should hold yourself like this. So I think sometimes people get a bit too kind of proud to carry on learning. And certainly I found it quite interesting. Like, I still go on courses even though I’m now involved. I’m privileged. I’m really lucky that I’m involved in teaching on some courses, but that doesn’t stop me going on courses and sometimes I’ll go on a course. And the people teaching, of course, are a bit shocked that I’m there and they sort of almost feel like I’m their spying. And I’m not. I’m just eager to keep learning. So I think keep learning and never be too proud to keep learning, I think is a key point. 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.

[00:01:42] It’s my pleasure to welcome Jasmine Piran on to the podcast. Jasmine, sir, actually, I’ve known her for 10, 15 years now, probably came to my attention when she became one of my good friends associates. Uchenna Okoye is associate. But since then, she’s she’s moved on and got her own private practise in the West End and become a lecturer and so forth. So lot’s happened since I first met you, Jasmine. But lovely to have you on the show. Thank you. You usually start these things with the sort of the back story. You know, how did you grow up? What kind of a kid were you? Why did you become a dentist?

[00:02:20] Ok, so I grew up in London, west London, Ealing only child. So no siblings. People always think that means I must be spoilt. I just think I just had all the pressure on me. I don’t think I wasn’t spoilt. But yeah, as as an adult, I’ve definitely got much better at sharing. So as a child, probably being an only child, I wasn’t great with sharing, but I ended up going into dentistry because my father, who is Iranian, was very kind of academically focussed, I would say. And he felt in his great wisdom that it would be a great career choice for me because it combines science and art. So he kind of decided that that was where my strengths were. So that was kind of the path that I took, and I think I kind of got into I worked with in dentistry, even as a teenager. I was working as a dental nurse while I was doing my A-levels just to kind of get into the the kind of profession, and it was going to help me get into university and things like that. So I kind of had a bit of a head start in that sense and without really knowing it at the time. That work experience throughout my kind of A-levels and undergrad years helped to kind of shape my career, I guess, and I ended up moving into private practise quite quickly as a result. I think

[00:03:37] So that dentists

[00:03:38] Know people always ask me that, no, he wasn’t a dentist. He just decided it was a good career choice. And what did he do? He was an engineer, so he was in mechanical engineering, and then he worked in I.T. and he did some lecturing at Imperial College and things like that. So he was very academic.

[00:03:55] And, you know, was there a tension with regards to doing what your dad said? Or were you always going to do that?

[00:04:01] Probably as a teenager, you know, you like to be rebellious. I think this number of years on, I have to I have to bow to his wisdom and realise that he was right. He obviously knew me much better than I knew myself. So, yeah, I think he was absolutely right. The combination of kind of science and art that we are privileged enough to kind of combine within what we do, I think is is very unique. And yeah, we’re very lucky.

[00:04:28] So what would you have done if he hadn’t have said that? What was your goal?

[00:04:31] I think I used to say I really wanted to do languages or I really liked drama like all of these sorts of things. But he was very much of the opinion that it’s a good idea to have direction and focus, and we used to play squash. So we were at the squash club quite a lot and all of the chaps at the squash club who used to be at the bar at 4pm or 5pm on Friday. They were all dentists. So my dad back then came to the conclusion. Sadly, it doesn’t apply to us anymore. But he came to the conclusion that if you were a dentist, then you’re going to have great work life balance. You can be your own boss, you can work great hours, you can go and play golf on Fridays, things like that. So.

[00:05:08] So you studied the guys I read. Yes. Yes. What was that experience like? How do you tell me about the first day you arrived at Guy’s hospital? Were you disillusioned or were you? How are you feeling?

[00:05:23] I was absolutely petrified and I was in the first cohort that was merged with Kings, I remember. So it was all really, really strange. And, you know, there was a huge year group.

[00:05:33] Yeah, how many? How many were you?

[00:05:36] I think it was about one hundred and forty five. And it was just they weren’t used to it. So the previous years had been 80 or 90. And then suddenly there were that many of us. So there was a lot of kind of, I guess, frustration amongst older groups because they didn’t want the merger. And there was a lot of kind of chaos in our year group because a lot of the kind of academic side of things was just it was just set up for smaller year groups and they were trying to send us a different sites, obviously. So we went to the Denmark Hill campus. We weren’t the guys campus, but we’d all applied to individual schools. So some of us had applied to guys and some of us had applied to kings. So that was all a bit interesting at the beginning. And guys, I’d say it was a really interesting place to train because you’ve got a lot of clinical experience compared to many of the other schools. But I actually found it really unfriendly place, and it was quite a hard place to be an undergrad. I would say

[00:06:27] Unfriendly how I mean, my brother studied there and he’s a medick, though, and he was he was a bit sort of taken aback by the sort of the. Rugby culture and this sort of thing was, is that is that the kind of thing?

[00:06:40] So it’s a definitely for medicks. I think it was. What year was your brother there?

[00:06:44] My 88 to ninety three?

[00:06:48] Yes. So my understanding is that in that area, it was very much kind of there was a very strong rugby culture. So when I went, there was still that strong rugby culture, but also so I would say, certainly for the dentist, it was very cliquey and everyone was in their little cliques and it was often determined by. And this is going to sound really strange. But ethnicity? Yeah. So people hung around with each other kind of according to where they were from, kind of in terms of their family backgrounds. And so I didn’t I never really felt like I completely fitted in on either side.

[00:07:20] Yeah, I’m glad. I’m glad you brought that up because that’s real. That’s real. We’ve we’ve we’ve actually never talked about that on this podcast, but in Dental School. Well, back in our day, who knows now, but back in our day, certainly those were the way the cliques were set up. It was along ethnic lines. And so so you didn’t fit in with the Indians and you didn’t fit in with the British. Is that what you’re saying? Exactly. So what did you do? Did you navigate both or neither?

[00:07:48] I guess I try to navigate both. I ended up into collating actually. So in my third year, I left that year group and I did an escalated B.S. in psychology, which was fascinating and life changing for many reasons. And then I joined. So then I ended up joining a completely new year that was already established. They’d already spent the first two years of their degree together. Yeah. But there were lovely people. It’s just that. I think because it was such a big year group, you ended up feeling quite isolated if you weren’t already part of a big group, I would say.

[00:08:19] Yeah, of course. And how did the psychology work sort of give you sort of insight? Did is it, as you would imagine, from from an outsider?

[00:08:28] I did my research on dealing with nervous Dental patients and communication styles and things like that. Yeah. So it was kind of relevant. And then I would say I probably used a lot of that learning on a day to day basis in my practise. Now I do see a lot of nervous patients and a lot of nervous patients refer their nervous friends and family to me as well.

[00:08:48] So I would say it helps for me. You know, if you’re good with nervous patients, that’s for me more important than if you have an MSC in restorative dentistry, from the from the from the attracting patients perspective, and I really don’t think enough people realise it. How important a painless injection is. I think as a dentist, if you can give painless injections and you can talk to people, you’ll be OK. He really will. And although they emphasise how to handle nervous patients in uni, I don’t think enough people realise how important that aspect is until, you know, when it comes home to you, when you need something done yourself. I don’t know about other people, but I’m a little bit needle phobic. It turns out I’m very happy to give injections, but I don’t like getting them, and I remember my wife’s very good with nervous patients. People travel from distances to see her, and once she gave me this ID block that I did not feel at all, at all, and I’d be in a Dental at that point, I’d been a dentist for 15 years or something and it suddenly came home to me, right? All those times do I push that plunger in and the amount of damage psychologically I’ve done? And I was one of these dentists who wanted to give the very best service and and make sure people tell other people about me and all of this. And I hadn’t realised that all I had to do was figure out how to give a painless injection, and loads of people would have told other people about me. It’s not emphasised enough. Did you go on a call or you went to hypnotherapy? Course I.

[00:10:29] Yes. So OK. So so I did my psychology degree, and then I qualified from dental school and then I, you know, became a self-confessed Dental course post-grad junkie. But then I came across something called NLP, which is neuro linguistic programming. And I found that fascinating, and it kind of linked up really well with my psychology degree. And then I did NLP and hypnotherapy, and I did a separate course in it with hypnotherapy as well, which is again, it’s just another kind of string to your bow, really. It just helps. I think it helps with your communication style, even if you’re not using kind of actual hypnosis, which I don’t tend to in my Dental appointments. But I probably use hypnotic sort of speaking patterns in terms of making people feel or helping them to feel really kind of comfortable and at ease. I would say so. It’s about a communication style.

[00:11:20] If you’re not, you’re not. You’re not saying to someone, Oh, I’m now going to hypnotise you. It’s just it’s just the rhythm of your voice.

[00:11:27] Yeah, just because a lot of it, a lot of what you learn when you’re studying hypnotherapy is communication style. So it’s language patterns and sort of tonal patterns within your voice. So those sorts of things can have a huge impact on how the person is feeling when they’re in the chair. I find anyway, so it really helps.

[00:11:46] And look, I’m no expert, but from the NLP part of things, my understanding of NLP is that some people are auditory, some people are visual, some people are. Is it feeling kinaesthetic? So that’s one thing. And there was this sort of weird thing about mirroring each other. And if you lean forward or lean forward and yeah, and your eye movements, you know, up into the right, wow. So, you

[00:12:10] Know, loads Payman. Yeah.

[00:12:12] Oh yeah, that’s quite not that. That’s all I you. I’ve just told you everything I do.

[00:12:17] So it’s about so people take it to all sorts of lengths and they do all sorts of weird and wonderful things with it. And some people are a bit unethical with it. And some people become a little bit, I would say, over the top with it. But actually, if you just take the good little bits from it, it can really, really have a positive impact. So what you’re talking about mirroring, that’s about achieving rapport. Yeah. So it’s how you can help someone to feel completely comfortable and at ease very quickly is by getting into rapport with them. And one of the ways that you can get into report is by matching and mirroring. Maybe their stance, maybe their kind of their body language, things like that, understanding how people kind of receive information from the surroundings. That’s the other thing you mentioned. So in terms of do they receive things more visually? Do they receive things more by sound or they kinaesthetic, which is where they’re, you know, for example, if you give someone explanation about things like, for example, having a line of treatment, Invisalign, right? Do they need to see a photo of how it looks on a person to understand how it’s going to work? Or do you need to give them an eyeliner so they can actually physically hold it? And is that how they then kind of like get in touch with the process and kind of start imagining it in their own body? Does that make sense?

[00:13:29] So it makes sense. But how do you how can you tell what are the clues?

[00:13:33] Oh gosh, there’s so many clues, so words that the people use. So do you see what I mean? Yeah. Solanki says that would be quite visual. Does that sound quite logical? Yeah, they might be kind of more auditory. Do they ask, for example, is the first thing they asked me, How does it feel when you’re wearing the aligners? Does it hurt? They might be more kinaesthetic. Are they visible? Is it going to show or am I going to look like a schoolgirl wearing braces at the age of 40? They’re probably more visual. So all of those things, but also I think one thing that really, really is so important with these things is not to pigeonhole people, because so often when you have a psychology background, people kind of when they find out they just think that you’re constantly analysing them. And I think the key to these things is not to be that person, so not to be constantly trying to pigeonhole and analyse people, but just to have an understanding of the fact that everyone’s different. So if you only ever use your own preferred kind of communication style, you’re only really going to be speaking to about a third of the population. You have to mix it up a bit and appreciate that people receive messages on different levels, and then you have to kind of be able to, I guess, moderate how you communicate accordingly.

[00:14:48] Well, it’s interesting. I mean, some people take it to the next level of having the the team. The staff work out the answer to that question before you even meet the patient. And I think Barry often will say something about that, which is which sounds good. But but it does. It does ring true in a way, doesn’t it? For me? I mean, this has nothing to do with it. But you know, when you read a book twice or you watch a movie twice and on two different occasions, the same person, same content, but you take them totally differently based on what you’re where you’re at in your life at that particular moment. Yes. Yeah, I can see that that that can be a big factor. All right. So you’re good with nervous patients, you’re good with people. Yeah, I know.

[00:15:34] I like to think I’m good with people. I think it’s probably one of my strengths is that I’m relatively good with people. You mentioned Barry. Barry was my vet trainer. Yeah. So he had a he had a big impact on my, especially my early career. But I still I still consider him a really good friend and mentor. He’s my patient as well, so he comes to see me through treatment. But also, like I massively respect him both clinically. He’s a fantastic clinician, but also personally, I’d say he’s a really good guy and I love. We came across an op together at the same time, so we did our early NLP training with the same trainer over here. And then later we both ended up going to the states to do our later training with the same trainer there as well. So.

[00:16:21] Wow. Yeah. So I’ve always thought your first boss is such an important thing because it really puts you on a on a particular trajectory. We had my first boss on about four shows about a goat, Nick Mahindra. He’s a great friend and he really had a massive influence on the way I look at different things now. All right, so that was your vet. What was your first real job after that?

[00:16:44] So that was beat. I stayed on part time with Barry, even though it was miles. So the funny thing is, I’ve always been very London centric and everyone makes fun of me about the fact that I’m quite London centric.

[00:16:55] So I’m proper Iranian Iranian girl, isn’t it?

[00:16:57] That’s why I don’t. Maybe, yeah, I just I don’t get a very long contract. My So Barry’s clinic was in Hazel Meir, which was a whole like 50 miles out of London. So I used to live there like four days a week Monday to Thursday. And then by Thursday I just had to come back home. So I’d be back in London. But I stayed on like a couple of days a week just because it was such a lovely practise and he had such a great team and it was just amazing. So I stayed there and then I also got a job in Bayswater, so I was working a few days a week in Bayswater for a lovely guy called Ron Dunn. He’s retired now, but he’s such a nice man. I learnt so much from him. So, yeah, I worked for him and then within a year of finishing my vet. In fact, six months after finishing Beatty, I somehow landed an associate’s position with Uchenna.

[00:17:47] So how did it come about? Did you just apply it or did someone know someone or how it happen?

[00:17:52] So Barry, being this amazing, forward thinking person that he was, we were on a we used to do loads of courses. We did Chris Barrow. We did actually later. So we were on a course that was being run by an American guy called Bill Blatchford. And so our whole clinic was there. And then you channels clinic was there as well, and someone on my table from my clinic said to me, Oh, I think Uchenna was looking for an associate a few months ago. There was there was an advert within the Chris Barrow Group. So I just went up to her and said, Hi. I heard you were looking for an associate. I’m not sure if you still are. Can I send you my CV? And then I did. And it just it was just fluke. It was luck. She needed someone a day a week because she was taking like reducing hours for a couple of months. So I just started one day a week and then I stayed there for 13 years.

[00:18:37] Wow.

[00:18:39] Obviously, not one day a week. Yeah, full time. But yeah,

[00:18:42] I mean, look, one thing I never did when I was an associate was applied, you know, send us TV or a letter to someone who wasn’t looking. And I think now when I’ve been talking to loads of dentists about it, that seems like that’s quite a common sort of I wouldn’t say common, but for the for the high flyers, anyway, quite quite a common M.O. to just contact places where they want to work.

[00:19:05] So it’s funny you say this Payman because I had a really funny chat with someone on a on a case coffee session literally an hour before this call. So I remember when I was looking for Dental nursing jobs, I remember going through the Yellow Pages. I’m going to make myself sound so old, but the actual physical yellow pages and literally cold calling every single like dental practise that look nice on the yellow pages, especially the ones that had a big advert, you know, the ones who paid extra to have an actual kind of, you know, three line out. I remember cold calling all of them, and that was how I ended up with really good jobs. I was like in private, high end cosmetic dental practises way back, you know, in the late 90s, which was brilliant. So an hour ago, I was on a call with some dentists and this guy said he was looking for an associate position. And I said, Oh, right, how are you going about that then? And he said, I’m Googling and I’m looking up for I’m looking up local clinics that have got five star Google reviews, and that’s who I’m contacting. And I thought, Gosh, how times have changed. I went with yellow or yellow pages, and now they’re just looking for Google reviews. But yeah, it’s a good. It’s a good way of doing it. I guess it’s nothing to be lost there. I think you’ve got to there’s got to be a little bit of hustle factor.

[00:20:16] I think, yeah, you’re right, you’re right. And I guess, you know, working in Dental practises before even going to dentistry, you’ve got a good understanding of what’s a successful place, what’s what’s what are the things you should? I bet you learnt things that you shouldn’t do even before you became a dentist, right?

[00:20:35] Yeah, probably. I think I was probably a dreadful nurse. If I’m honest with you, Payman, I don’t think I was a very good dental nurse.

[00:20:41] But why? Why? Why? Why would you, sir?

[00:20:43] Well, because I never had back then you didn’t have to have formal training. Yeah, it wasn’t like now. So I just got dropped in at the deep end. So, yeah, I was probably the nurse that used to just leave the room at the most inopportune moment, exactly when you need that person to be there and things like that. But no, yeah, it was. It was a great it was a great learning curve. And I know certainly when we because it guys used to start seeing patients from the second year and none of us really felt ready to be actually seeing patients, it was all quite kind of scary. Yeah, but at least I’d been in that kind of chair side environment a lot already. So that helped, I guess.

[00:21:21] And then working with Uchenna, I mean, she’s she’s one of my favourite people I spend. We have a pre-lockdown menu changes to have dinner a couple of times a year just to just to catch up. I really like it, but we’re very, very different as employers. And actually, you know, it’s one of my favourite subjects. Talking to her is and if this situation came up with you, what would you have done about it? Because she’s quite a tough boss, right?

[00:21:49] I’d say she has high standards.

[00:21:52] And and so do you first call? Let me say she has astounded me

[00:21:58] And she always inspired me. She had a massively positive influence on my career and my career pathway and the things that she’s striving for are I agree with, you know, what she wants people to do. I completely agree with whether it’s always easy to find people who will hit those standards. Unfortunately, that’s another story. It feels like they manage it really well in the states, actually, when you go over and do courses in the states and speak to the clinicians over that. They seem to be they seem to manage it. But yeah, I think I always felt really lucky. I think I spent the first few years working there kind of pinching myself that I had that opportunity to be there and I was always waiting for something to happen. I had that real imposter syndrome or, yeah, yeah, she’s going to

[00:22:43] Realise I was she. Was she peaking when, you know, as far as her, her profile back then, there was a moment there where she was the most famous dentist in the country.

[00:22:54] Yeah. So I was there when ten years younger, the first time around when ten years younger was happening. Yeah, yeah. And actually, you know, watching her do that was really inspiring because, you know, people don’t often realise that she has a very, very soft heart and she’s very sensitive as well. So she’s very driven and very focussed, but she’s very, very human and kind of sensitive as well. So I think seeing that happen and watching her be, I think, very brave in putting herself out there to do that was, yeah, it was very inspiring.

[00:23:28] But it was a bit awkward. And every time I’ve been to one of her clinics to that idea of they call them guests, then they didn’t call them patients and the huddle and the way they talk about their patients not knowing so much about them. You know, it’s she was doing that before it was properly fashionable to do. Yeah. And there’s something about her which I don’t know whether you picked up from her or not, but she kind of wants to be different, you know, like her, her angle is if everyone is using these people for their website, I’m definitely not going to use those people. You know, I’m going to use someone from completely outside dentistry, and it’s actually a good way of making progress because, you know, if we just all do the same thing, we’ll end up the same way.

[00:24:14] Definitely. I think Newton is a trailblazer.

[00:24:16] Yeah, exactly what I was looking for.

[00:24:18] I’m not a trailblazer.

[00:24:20] What makes you say that?

[00:24:23] I just I play it safe a bit more, and I’m not quite. I’m not. I can honestly say I don’t think I’m as ambitious and I don’t. I’m not seeing that to put myself down. I’m really happy with where I’m at and what I look for, but I’m not in need of that level of of achievement or kind of constantly progressing. I’m happy, probably. I’m happy aiming for perfection with within my own little world, I think.

[00:24:50] Yeah, I guess it goes down to that sort of lift to work, work to live kind of breakdown.

[00:24:57] No, yes. No, you’re absolutely right. It should do. But if what I’ve said gives you the impression I have good work life balance, then I’m not representing myself well, because I have no work-life balance. So yes, I think you’re right, it does come down to work to what

[00:25:11] Do you mean? What do you mean? What do you mean you’ve got you work too much? Is that what you mean?

[00:25:14] Yeah, definitely. But I don’t know. I think we all do at the moment. I think especially since the pandemic. I think as a profession, we’ve just all entered this crazy world of just constantly working.

[00:25:27] And thank goodness for it, right? I mean, it’s

[00:25:32] Coming back to work and we just felt so lucky. I think it was a combination of we felt really lucky to be back at work. We felt kind of quite shocked. There was probably a bit of PTSD on a mild level of having been stopped from working because we could never have imagined a situation where that could happen. And it felt so precious that we and and we felt like any minute the rug could be pulled out from under our feet again. So make hay while you can. Yeah. So and I think, yeah, that’s probably how it’s happened.

[00:25:59] Going going back to that, your dad thing. So did you ever live in Iran or no? I visited, but I’ve never lived there. Yeah. So I remember when my parents kind of I don’t want I don’t want to sound bitter about it when they made me become a dentist. Yeah, they didn’t. It wasn’t. It wasn’t like that.

[00:26:17] But they have is, though, is it? But it is.

[00:26:19] But it is. Yeah. Well, you know, the argument they used was, look, if we were back home, then we wouldn’t be saying this because back home we were fully stable. We knew what we were about. We we were fine. But now that we’re here and I guess it goes down to the same immigrant sort of culture, the notion that people will always need a doctor or dentist or whatever it is. And it’s interesting because I always used to think that, OK, that that didn’t play out in my life until the pandemic when the pandemic happened. Then, 40 years after they. Suggests that it actually came home, that people do need a dentist more than they need a dry cleaner. Yeah, yeah. Or whatever else I would have become. But you know, it’s a funny thing because what you choose to do. What would you would you would you have any kids? But would you tell your kid to become a dentist?

[00:27:16] Oh, that’s a really tricky one, because I really want to say yes. I really want to say yes to that question, and I have to be honest, I think I would say no because I. Shame. I feel like and I hope it passes. I feel like we’re we’re going through a period in our profession, which in some ways is incredible. I think we’re so privileged to be in a situation where we’ve got great technology. You know, digital dentistry is phenomenal. We’ve got great material sciences. You know, the things we can do artistically, aesthetically for patients without, you know, very minimally invasively. I, you know, I get such a kick out of that side of things. I absolutely love it. So that side of things is amazing. But then you look at the kind of the litigious ness of the population that we’re living in. You look at the lack of support that we get, I believe from our regulators the way that that all plays out. I just think it’s become quite difficult. And certainly, I feel so lucky that I managed to kind of pave the way for myself within dentistry into the types of clinics that I worked at. Because, you know, I read on these forums that the kind of the situations that a lot of associates working in very busy NHS practises are going through, and I just think that must be so hard. And we we need that to be going on because we need the NHS Dental system to be working and we need patients to have access to that care. But working in that way within that system, I think, is really hard. And if somebody came into the profession now, they’d have to work through that first before they could get to a point where they’re not having to do that anymore. So that’s probably why I would have reservations, I think.

[00:29:00] I don’t know if you’ve seen that British Dental Action Group

[00:29:04] Have, and it’s it’s a little bit soul destroying. And I read the post and I sent this such a kind of there’s a bit of a seminar between associates and principals and. Both sides seem to just so often see the worst in each other, and I’m sure there’s reasons for that, but I find that really sort of disappointing because ideally if you’re in a situation where you’re either a principal or you’re an associate, it should be based on a place of trust for either your associate or your principal. And I think not being able to have that and feeling like. You’re kind of constantly being screwed over for want of a better word. It’s just really sad and it’s a horrible kind of environment. It’s a bad energy to be working in. I would say

[00:29:52] Stephanie got worse since the pandemic, for sure. But you know, the funny thing is, you know, it feels like now the balance of power has shifted towards principles. Well, I guess now there’s a shortage of associates, and so it might come back. But you know, if you could someone someone somewhere could make the argument for, listen, you’ve got to put in your years as an associate and eventually you’ll become a principal and your benefit from all of that. But it misses a whole massive group of the profession who don’t want to become principals. You know, they want to just be associates.

[00:30:27] So interesting. So I was an associate forever.

[00:30:31] Thirty years. Yeah.

[00:30:32] Well, I became a principal sort of by accident. When you’re an associate, you have your own set of kind of things that you’re aware of that feel quite full. You’re full up, you’re your day is full of the things that you are fully aware of. As an associate, you already feel like you’re having to take on quite a lot of responsibility and you know you’re having to do a lot. So it’s quite easy as an associate to completely miss an entire kind of dimension of stuff that you’re not even aware of that the principal is having to think about. And I think it’s that’s where the problem is. There’s that lack of understanding between the two sides, I think.

[00:31:11] Yeah, yeah. And look, we see it on the courses where it’s time, you know, obviously more associates come to the courses than principals. What’s the reason for that? But there is that when it comes to, OK, what are you going to buy? There are some people who will not buy anything because that’s the that’s the principal’s job. And although I even though I get that, you know, when I was an associate, I were buying whatever the hell I wanted. That was, it was. It was a one thing. I wanted a control camera when I bought it. You know, I was going to go ask the principal for it. That said, that said, when you’re getting screwed over, the last thing you want to do is put your hand in your pocket. And my advice to young dentists who are in this situation tends to be think of your associate years as education is not as business is. You know, of course, it’s your livelihood and you’re, you know, you could be paying for your kid’s school or whatever it is. But think of those years as education, but it still misses the point that there are plenty of people mothers who want to work part time, just people who don’t want to be business owners. You know, not everyone has to be a business owner. Plenty of people who will never be principals. And if we have it skewed too much against associate, you’re going to have some people whose their whole working lives will feel like they’re being screwed over. And that’s a real shame. Real, real shame. I agree with you.

[00:32:36] I think in reality, you said, you said you wonder why there’s more associates that come on the courses than principals. It’s because there are more associates than principals. That’s true in number. And I think you need both.

[00:32:47] There’s kind of a scramble for private jobs as well as in there. So there’s people going on courses to try and get the good jobs and so forth. So let’s move on and talk about some clinical bits. So you’re a great proponent of minimally invasive cosmetic dentistry as well as, I guess, eugenics practise was a lot to do with veneers for some veneers, right?

[00:33:14] So you tend to famously doesn’t like prepping tea, so she’s always been minimally invasive from that perspective. So we were never a heavy prep type clinic. I also worked at a clinic which ended up closing down, which is why I ended up starting my own clinic. But I worked at another clinic that did a lot of cosmetic dentistry, and it was all we did. So we did lots of veneer cases and lots of Invisalign and fixed race cases. So I would say that it’s about you can still be minimally invasive. It’s about how you plan your treatment. It’s about kind of designing the small addictively so that you can be minimally invasive in your approach. And it’s about doing pre restorative alignment wherever it’s necessary. Whenever you can kind of educate the patient to understand that that is a much better way of kind of moving forwards in that in that kind of treatment phase, if that makes sense. So yeah, I would say I’ve always been a fan of minimally invasive.

[00:34:13] Yeah. Although some people will argue that there’s a there’s a time for not being minimally invasive and, you know, prepping properly and all of that. But give me one or two tips one one one one tip from the sort of the patient management side when you’re treating cosmetic patients and then one sort of clinical, you know, Yasmin tip. Jasmine. So Jasmine gets hit on whatever aspect of clinical dentistry, something that you can sort of.

[00:34:42] Yeah, I think one thing I’ve learnt is that communication is so important when you’re dealing with patients who say, OK, so one thing is, isn’t it a privilege that patients come and see us for elective treatment? So the whole the whole kind of like mood changes when someone comes in and you have to tell them they need a root canal treatment or they need an extraction versus someone comes to you and says, Please help me. I want you to help me improve my smile. So already, that’s just such a great energy space to be in. It’s wonderful, and it gives you the opportunity to kind of achieve something wonderful for that person and actually really see how it’s going to change their life for the better. So I think it’s a huge honour that anyone that’s able to do that sort of work, I believe is very lucky. And I think one thing I’ve learnt over the years is all about communication because you have to understand what the patient wants and try and avoid yourself from kind of prescribing what you think they should want. Because when you look at their smile, that’s what you see and stay focussed on what they don’t like and what they’re trying to improve, because then you’re much less likely to end up over treating or overpaying or, you know, complicating things, I would say. So from that perspective, I think that has a huge impact. The other thing is, I’m a complete course junkie and I never stop going on courses, and I think people sometimes tell me off. We’re going on so many courses, but I genuinely think you’ll learn something new from every single course that you go on and you get to a point where you don’t come away having that massive things.

[00:36:18] You might just learn tiny things like I remember going on Andy McLean’s course and I was probably one of the oldest people there, like it was full of people who were two or three years out of uni. But I admire his clinical skills so much and the beautiful work that he’s been like creating for years. So I was like, I’m sure there’s I’m sure I’ll learn stuff and I did, and I came away having learnt, you know, two or three kind of titbits that I then use. I still use. Sometimes I’ll, you know, I’ll hold myself Lex disc at a certain angle and be like, Oh, that was that was how Andy McLean said, You should hold yourself like this. So I think sometimes people get a bit too kind of proud to carry on learning. And certainly I found it quite interesting. Like, I still go on courses even though I’m now involved. I’m privileged. I’m really lucky that I’m involved in teaching on some courses, but that doesn’t stop me going on courses and sometimes I’ll go on a course and the people teaching the course are a bit shocked that I’m there and they sort of almost feel like I’m their spying. And I’m not. I’m just eager to keep learning. So I think keep learning is and never be, never be too proud to keep learning. I think is is a key point.

[00:37:28] Sure, sure. And you know, I remember when you came on on ours as well and you’ve been on a cheese course, I think you said, was it? Yeah. And I would say to you, Well, OK, hopefully we’re going to make you happy.

[00:37:46] But Dipesh is a fantastic clinician and you guys won an amazing course, and I’m always advising people to come on your course. That doesn’t matter. I teach composite bonding courses. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that your course was phenomenal. And some of the things you know that you guys teach on that course are brilliant. And you know, the other thing is a lot of people will say the same thing, but it’s like you said about watching a film or reading a book for a second time. Like I’ve been on many of today’s courses, I’ve been on many of Newton Files courses. Sometimes you do the same course twice and you get different things out of that time. So I think there’s there’s no harm in in hearing something twice and hearing something twice from two different people just reinforces that it’s the right thing to do, right.

[00:38:31] So I think it’s a good point. You know, we encourage people to come back and observe on us for that very reason. You know, when you try and put it into action, then you’ve got totally different questions to before you’ve even properly tried to put it into action. Tell me about teaching. I mean, you teach on Invisalign and you line a line of consulting and you teach on the brilliant small parts of the programme. Give us some clues on Invisalign to start with. I mean, are you a super duper diamond plus plus whatever?

[00:39:05] No, I’m so, I’m not. So I work. I don’t. I’m not involved in anyone else’s account. I just take my own account. I’m a single handed practitioner, so I’m platinum elite. And for me, actually, I limit the number of cases I do because I don’t want to be overwhelmed with cases. I want to have complete control over my cases and my case planning. So I first started Invisalign back in sort of 2008, 2009, and back then it was a great idea, but it wasn’t anywhere near as phenomenal a system as it is now, and the teaching wasn’t as structured as it is now. I mean, the way that we teach the programmes now, it’s so kind of structured and methodical and. Safe as well. Rahman Rahman Olark is an incredible specialist, orthodontist. He’s amazing, so he’s incredible clinician and an incredible educator. So when I did his post-grad diploma programme on clearer line of therapy, that was where I kind of suddenly thought, Wow, this is amazing. This is an amazing system and you can use this within your kind of small design principles and your veneer cases or bonding cases to really get great results completely, minimally invasively. So I think it’s that’s another thing that we’re so lucky to have in our industry right now is these kind of systems that we can use and work with to achieve such great results for people, you know, without having to take a bar to their teeth. It’s brilliant. Yeah.

[00:40:27] Do you do you plan the Invisalign, the clinics yourself or do you

[00:40:31] 100 percent, 100 percent, I think. I think that’s really important. Yeah. I know lots of people outsource and you can outsource, but it’s half the fun for me. I actually love planning clinics. That’s what a lot of a lot of the time that I spent helping other dentists is, you know, doing case cafes and things like that, you know, helping to plan their cases. It’s great fun. You know, you’re looking at the smile within the face and then looking at how you want to move the teeth safely, you know, within the kind of the biological parameters that that individual has. It’s brilliant.

[00:41:03] But where did you learn that? I mean, was that on Roman’s course? Because.

[00:41:07] Yes. So yes, I learnt I probably felt way out of my depth for many years before I realised that there was a system to use. And then, yeah, I learnt it via the diploma, and then I just carried on learning after that. Really, that just kind of sparked a huge interest for me. It must just play into the way my brain works. I might. I think I have quite a mechanically minded brain. So the concept of the fintech and planning just sits quite easily within my mindset, I think.

[00:41:34] It sounds like you enjoy it. But but if it was me, if it was me and I haven’t got the skills you’ve got in orthodontics, but if it was me, I would think, well, I could outsource this to an orthodontist. And you know, that would be the safest thing would be a real proper orthodontist doing the the planning part.

[00:41:57] I think it’s about case selection, isn’t it? Because you’re absolutely right. You touched on a really interesting point there. So there is definitely a very important place and need for specialist orthodontics. And just because general dental practitioners can do alignment treatments doesn’t mean that orthodontists are obsolete. We have to know our place and we have to know our limitations and our safe parameters. That’s probably I think that’s why Invisalign developed the Invisalign go system, which is kind of more restrictive in the types of movements and the number of teeth that can be moving things like that. So that was all brought about, I think, as a result of, you know, wanting to kind of rein things in a bit and make things as safe as possible. But as long as you’re working within safe parameters, I think I don’t think it’s purely orthodontics because you’re doing small design, you’re looking at the full face and actually planning that person smile within that facial kind of set up. I think so.

[00:42:51] Is that orthodontic?

[00:42:54] I mean, it is orthodontics, but it’s also aesthetics and cosmetics, isn’t it?

[00:42:57] So everything. Well, what I meant was what I meant, though, was if I was a general dentist carrying out Invisalign, I would outsource the clean check to an orthodontist.

[00:43:07] I think I’m too much of a control freak Payman. I don’t think I could do that. I would want to know what’s happening in the city. Yeah, but the thing now is that there’s so much support available that anyone that needs that support or wants that guidance or wants to understand things, they can access that support quite easily. Yeah, there’s all sorts of forums and case cafe support that they can access. So I think the help is there. It’s just about making sure that I think people need to stay within their comfort zone and within their scope of practise. And things go wrong when people start stepping outside of that. I think, are you?

[00:43:42] Are you a control freak? Generally. Probably.

[00:43:48] And I think my my good friends and colleagues at small force would say, yes, definitely.

[00:43:53] Maybe. Yeah. Well, it took took it about talking about things that go wrong. We ask every guest this question. It’s a question around clinical errors. Can you think of clinical errors? You’ve made something something that the audience can learn from some people can learn from. Can you think of a situation?

[00:44:13] I think if I if you asked me for it to remember my most stressful ever clinical situation, it would be a case where the lady came in. She’d had veneers, so she had up to 44 veneers. She’d had them done by her previous dentist and she was in tears. So she was in tears on the phone before she even came in. She was in tears on the day that she came in. And, you know, she was in an absolute kind of state about these veneers that she’d had done, and she was literally begging me to help her, begging me to help her, begging me to change the veneers. And you get drawn in because there’s a human being in need crying and you look at the veneers and you think, I mean, they’re not awful, but they’re not great. And I think you just get dragged down this awful path where you’re kind of being dragged along by the patient and the patient’s putting all this pressure and demand on you to do things that you perhaps don’t necessarily think are right, or they might be putting time pressure on you to kind of get things done within certain time frames that aren’t relaxed enough or realistic enough to allow due diligence and due planning and everything. And. And so this particular patient managed to convince me that her veneers had to be changed and it was affecting her life. And she was in an absolute state and she’d got the previous dentist to give her a partial refund. So she was, you know, she was getting me to kind of supply the treatment plan so that she could get the other dentist to contribute. And all of these things, and

[00:45:47] You get

[00:45:48] This feeling like something doesn’t feel right from the absolute outset. It doesn’t quite feel right, but you get kind of railroaded into it and you get guilt tripped and emotionally blackmailed and you just get drawn in. And I think it turned out, you know, we gave her some veneers. She was absolutely adamant that she wanted a particular shade. We tried to talk her out of it because it was a ridiculous shade. We tried it. So we were like, Sure, this is too bright. You’re not going to like it. What about the lower teeth? It’s not going to match blah blah blah. No. Absolutely adamant. Signed off on the consent. Absolutely adamant. Explain to her at the time. Once you choose the shade, there’s no going back. You can’t suddenly change your mind. If you want your veneers, you’re going to have to pay again. So she picks that shade and then of course, she signs off on having them fitted before they’re fitted. She looks at them. Yes, I’m happy. And then of course, she comes back like three weeks later in tears, begging ask, No, they’re too bright. Everyone’s making fun of me. You’ve got to change them. For me, they’re affecting. When I’m having a nervous breakdown, you’ve got to help me, please. You’ve got to help me. So of course, what do you do? You change them again, even though you try and convince her not to? You tell her she has to wait a period of time because she’s going to potentially damage the nerves of her teeth, exposing them again. So this whole drama, this long, drawn out drama is like going on for about six months. Eventually, you replace the veneers again and you go for the shade that she should have gone for in the first place.

[00:47:05] Without without charging her more without you paid the whole second lab for yourself.

[00:47:11] Ok. And of course, I was working at the time from many corporates, so I paid that now and then, so we fitted them, she said. She loved

[00:47:19] Them. The second, the second one,

[00:47:21] The second time she gave me a bottle of Chanel perfume, she gave me a card saying, I’m finally happy. Thank you so much. And then a month later, I was actually at Leaders Clinic in Geneva when an email came through, and she said, I’m just not happy. I’m still not happy. I’ve been to another dentist and I want I want a partial refund from you so that I can get a couple of them replaced. I know you’re going to tell me to come and see you and you’ll do it for me, but it’s just too far for me because she lived like 100 hundred miles away. So she was like, I’m just going to go somewhere local. After all that,

[00:47:56] Well, do I have to stay for a full refund?

[00:47:58] I gave her a full refund and I said, Don’t don’t, don’t ever contact me again. I’d do anything to do it like the full refund. But my point is I knew that first, that first, that first phone contact with her was so erratic. And so, you know, extreme emotions that I had that gut feeling then. But I got drawn in and I think my biggest learning experience from that and the biggest take home and the biggest thing, I want to help other dentists avoid, especially younger dentists who were likely to get sort of taken on that sort of minefield is trust your gut. And when you when you see red flags at the very beginning, stop their red flags for a reason. Passed the person on, you know, refer on to someone who’s more experienced or somebody who, you know, maybe won’t get as emotionally drawn in as you might. But yeah, that would be that would be my biggest kind of learning point because that was so stressful and unnecessarily so.

[00:48:52] Yeah, I think you know what it is that some people have this natural ability to trust their instincts and they know something feels right or doesn’t, and they can’t even articulate why that is. But they trust their instincts for other people. People like me, I don’t know if people like you, but it takes some years of living and experience before it gets proved to you that you should trust your instincts. You know, I’ve had that situation as well with, you know, we used to do this thing. We were say, refer your very hardest whitening cases to me so that we can try, you know, the next version of Enlightened on them. And you know, there’ll be some really proper difficult cases of cases of patient would put the tray in the mouth without any gel and massive sensitivity, you know, patients with severe tetracycline staining, very thin enamel bruxism. And then there what they thought they could get out of it was totally unrealistic. And as a younger dentist, I’ve fallen to, I’ve fallen down that trap as well. But you know what interests me about that story that you just told is the psychology? What do you now think was going on? Do you think that she was putting, you know, like she had a psychological issue and she did. She’d given the name to her pain was her teeth.

[00:50:20] Yeah, I think I think she was unhappy and she felt like the teeth were going to be the secret to make everything better. And they weren’t. And she had other issues. And I think also I was at fault because I allowed her to kind of manipulate me. And I’m just sometimes I especially I used to be a little bit too soft hearted. So I would kind of, you know, feel really bad for this person. That’s crying. And I guess I used to feel bad for not helping people because I thought, you know, we have this, we have this skill and we’ve, you know, we we have an almost like a the Hippocratic kind of oath and, you know, a responsibility to help people. So I should be helping this person. And in reality, you’re probably helping them more by not getting involved, but you’re definitely helping yourself move on, for sure.

[00:51:06] I mean, out of your content, I’ve noticed over the years that there’s this sort of ethical dimension to what you say online and on the forums and all that. Am I right? Yeah. Well, I mean, look, I mean, so everyone says I’m ethical, but but I’ve noticed in your in your content there’s a there’s a focus on the ethics of kind of kind of the thing you just said that the the privilege of treating a patient and and helping people. Where do you think this comes from?

[00:51:38] It’s my upbringing. I think that I have a very strong sense of, I guess, right and wrong. Yeah. So I didn’t grow up with a religious kind of upbringing at all, but I think it was the obviously having a Middle Eastern father like the principles of his own kind of upbringing as well as very strong. So I think I have quite a strong sense of right and wrong, and my values probably are quite strong in that sense. So I probably from there, I think,

[00:52:03] Well, then you find yourself constantly judging people being disappointed by people. What’s the downside? What’s the downside of that?

[00:52:12] I don’t judge people at all. One of the things we say in NLP is that everybody’s doing their best. And honestly, that’s one of the core principles. And it really helps stop you from being frustrated by people or disappointed in people is that everyone’s doing the very best that they can with the resources they have available to. At any given point in time. So, yeah, if they’re not doing something well enough, they’re doing their best for whatever reason, they might have all sorts of limitations on them at that point in time that you’re completely unaware of. So they’re doing their best. So except that that’s their best, even if it’s not as good as you want it to be. Yeah. And then, you know, go on from there.

[00:52:51] What’s been your darkest day from a network perspective? Was it was it that patient

[00:52:58] That that period of time because I take everything so personally? That’s one of my downsizes. I take everything personally. So if something, if someone isn’t happy, I kind of tear myself up inside thinking, what could I have done differently? What should I have done differently? How could I fix it, which in some ways is constructive because it means you can move forwards and think, OK, how would I do that differently next time? But equally, you can kind of tear yourself up inside thinking, taking full ownership for things, I guess in that sense. So yeah,

[00:53:28] But this combination of high ethics? Control freak. It was. It must be a nightmare for you. You know, I noticed on my husband the book when I was going to say was, you know, like that perfection paralysis that some people sort of suffer with. I notice on your on your Instagram, which is a lovely kind of page. You’ve got, you know, before and after whatever. And then before and after somebody else. I up before and after there’s loads of cases on there. How how do you deal with worrying? You know what, you’re going to think about these cases?

[00:54:03] And so I have massive issues with that. And what I have to do is someone has to post it for me and sometimes. So I have a lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely colleague called Rachel. She’s actually Chris Burrows daughter, so she manages my social media for me. So I send her cases and sometimes she’ll post them and I have a complete freakout and I go on and delete it. And I’m like, Sorry, I just I can’t. So, yeah, it is an issue. I think the thing with Instagram is you have to decide if you’re patient focussed or dentist focussed, and mine’s always been more directed towards patients. I never intended to kind of end up being in the educational side of dentistry. I love it, but it was never my plan. So it wasn’t how I set my Instagram off or anything like that. So the thought that other dentists look at my case is actually fills me with dread if I’m honest with you. But my wonderful team and Rachel just kind of push me through and go, Nope, just post it, just post it. It’s fine. And to be honest, it’s it’s it’s kind of business, isn’t it like you get patients kind of contacting you via Instagram or because of what they see on your Instagram? So it kind of it’s practise building at the end of the day. So I have to it has to be about more than me or my kind of insecurities or my ego has to be about the the bigger picture, I think.

[00:55:18] So you’re saying because it’s a necessary evil, you just make sure it happens. You don’t enjoy doing it.

[00:55:25] No, and I don’t do it, she posts it for me.

[00:55:27] I mean, you said you said you had you were interested in things like arts and performance and all that. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

[00:55:37] I think I was an extrovert as a teenager, and then I became quite introverted. And now, since I’ve started teaching and stuff

[00:55:45] That sides come

[00:55:46] Back, I’m rediscovering that extrovert side.

[00:55:49] Tell me, tell me about teaching on the small first thing because you know the number of courses those guys are running. Yeah, it’s just insane, isn’t it?

[00:55:59] It’s been amazing. I feel so

[00:56:01] Lucky. Was it like they did 15 in a row or something? No more

[00:56:05] Than that. So in March? Yeah, March or April, from March to April, we had, I think, twenty eight days. I was at like 14 of them.

[00:56:16] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:56:19] Yeah, it’s been. It’s been amazing. It’s been an incredible journey.

[00:56:25] Yeah, they were a great team. I was going to say that, you know, Thomas Thomas, obviously clinically excellent. You know, I don’t know. He sees himself as me in the mini smile makeover scenario. I don’t know. I’m not sure what think. I don’t know. Is he the? Does he give clinical input or not? Or who is he

[00:56:46] An amazing clinician?

[00:56:47] I know he is, but in the teaching and the teaching of it?

[00:56:50] No. No. Massively. Yeah, he’s like, Yeah, he’s like clinical lead. He’s he’s very, very involved. Very, very much so. So we just launched the indirect course a couple of weeks ago. And yeah, we would we were doing, you know, lecture slides, obviously, Tom being the clinical wizard that he is massively involved. And then Mindy and I were kind of going over slides until one a.m. several nights over the last few weeks on Zoom. So no, he’s very, very much so. He’s they’re lovely, lovely people, actually. So the interesting thing is that I’ve always kind of used to drive you mad, but I just used to always kind of shy away from Dental circles. I never really mixed with dentists and I never put myself forward for things. I just kind of on purpose. Yeah, I just kept my head down. I used to find, you know, like the Facebook forums and things where people post things and then everyone kind of erupts. And there’s all this kind of, you know, not very nice behaviour, to be honest with you. I just used to stand back and just kind of avoid it all. I wasn’t even in a lot of the groups, to be fair. And so I’ve always kind of avoided mixing with other dentists and doing anything kind of with other dentists professional, really. So this kind of came as a surprise. But yeah, they’re such lovely people. The smart fast guys are just lovely. It’s a lovely, lovely team of people and it’s been a real privilege.

[00:58:04] Yeah, and are you wish? Which bit of it do you do? Do you actually stand up and be the lecturer or are you also? Yeah. So what piece do you teach?

[00:58:12] So the on a small, fast direct. Yeah, I teach on that and I’m not teaching on the indirect as well. So yeah, I’m one of the main speakers. Oh, nice.

[00:58:22] Yeah, it’s fun. And how often are you doing that now?

[00:58:26] So probably a few days a month, a few days each month, like weekends and stuff? Yeah.

[00:58:31] Would you say funny to me?

[00:58:32] Are the dentist as well? Yeah, it’s actually really fun meeting all the dentists and kind of sharing knowledge and sharing experiences you learn from each other. I would say I

[00:58:42] Enjoy it a lot. I enjoy it a lot. But there’s an aspect of I don’t get out enough with, you know, as a dentist, you don’t realise it. You meet loads of people as dentists. Okay. It doesn’t quite feel the same as meeting someone in a non-clinical environment. But you know, when we go on slameka or whatever. I love being out and meeting people because I don’t meet that many people because we’ve got the same 40 people in my office. You know, what do you prefer? Do you prefer a day of teaching or a day of clinical?

[00:59:15] I’d say I love both. You know, like in the second lockdown, like in January to March, April when everyone was locked out, yeah, I felt so lucky that I was seeing human beings every day at work and I was watching my patients come in and sort of especially like Invisalign people that you see once a month, I was kind of watching them kind of just disappear into themselves each month. So just that 10, 15 minute chat that we were having, I could really feel it was helping them. So I feel I love that. And then I love teaching. I don’t know. There’s there’s just something about the energy in the room that you get when you’re teaching and watching people learn, especially, you know, like you’re passionate about composite bonding, like, you know, when you watch people and you know, you’re looking at, I don’t know, we’re showing them how to do line angles, let’s say, and suddenly that light bulb moment when they get it and you’re like, Wow, you get it. Like, I remember how long it took me to grasp the concept of line angles and how many different people. Maybe I was just thick and slow on the uptake, but how many different people had to teach me that for me to finally grasp it and to be involved in that? I just, I don’t know. I just it’s the simple things. Maybe I’m a geek, but I really enjoy that.

[01:00:25] I think it’s fun. No, I think you’re right. I think you’re right. For me, it’s the key thing. And you know, I do this in my time of my training, which is, yeah, you did mine. I did. I did. Yeah. So yeah, I do that a lot. Yeah, I do that. I know sometimes three times a week, four times a week, sometimes depending on, you know, my my movements. And, you know, if we’re totally frank about it, if we’re really being honest about it, there’s an aspect of that which is sales. Yeah, but if it was sales and I thought it was sales, no way would I do that three times a week. I mean, I would spend my life being a salesman. I just, you know, I’ll hire salesmen salesman to do that job if you want.

[01:01:07] But it didn’t feel sales when you were doing it, if education.

[01:01:11] That’s what I mean. That’s what I mean, because it feels like education. I’m happy to do it again and again and again and again and and not get bored by it and be energised by it. And in a lot of ways, these sort of things end up being how you feel about them, don’t they? Because I was honest with my brother, he was having a rough week. He’s a he’s a hospital consultant radiologist. He was having a rough week and he was saying, Oh, I hate this hate that, you know, they have a lot of internal pressures amongst between doctors themselves, right? And and I said to him, Well, what if I told you you were being paid a million pounds to do this? And and he was like, Well, then if you write it, then it would be OK. And I was reflecting on the idea that it’s actually the same thing would have happened to him all week. No different. But now, because there’s this million pounds, suddenly, suddenly it’s all good and it’s understandable. I get it. But the way, the way you look at things, it really changes your experience of them. You know, that’s that’s the take-home message, I guess.

[01:02:13] Hundred percent. It’s about how you frame it. Yeah, yeah, definitely.

[01:02:18] What do you do outside of work? If Jasmine had a weekend to herself or whatever, what would be your

[01:02:24] What’s one of those Payman?

[01:02:26] Well, we were like, All right, good morning. Good morning to yourself. What would you? What would be? Yeah.

[01:02:32] Well, like one of my hobbies, I like art. So I was when I when I had more free time, before I started my clinic, when I when I had that, the work life balance, I would say I used to do painting classes. There’s a lovely guy that does. It’s called cheese in one painting club and you go along in the evenings and there’s a nice group of people and you he teaches you how to paint a painting so that I quite like painting. I used to do a lot of music, so I used to play the piano. Oh yeah, I know. And but classically so my my main thing I’m trying to learn is jazz piano now, because growing up I did classical, which is great. It’s lovely, but I’ve always envied the kind of the freedom and the creativity. I feel like I’m not creative enough. So I think if I was to learn jazz piano, that would open up that channel of creativity, maybe. So, yeah, I dabble in jazz piano, I would say.

[01:03:22] Have you got a piano at home? Yeah, yeah. It’s similar. I’m in a similar situation with piano. I never got very good at it, but my brother did get into jazz, piano and wow and the beautiful bit about just making it up on the spot. Yeah, and it’s actually all only about the scales. You know, it’s only about understanding which notes to avoid

[01:03:42] When you’re when you’re cleaning, when you’re classically trained. Yeah. So I did great. I did. I did all the grades. Did you? When you’re classically trained, you don’t think in chords.

[01:03:50] Yeah, yeah.

[01:03:51] So you think in kind of daunting chords and that’s what you need to be able to do is thinking chords to do jazz. So it’s a complete paradigm shift. It’s different.

[01:04:00] So, OK, art and jazz piano? Ok, what if? What if I said you could? You could go anywhere. Money’s not an object, and time is not a problem.

[01:04:12] I’d love to go to Cuba. I haven’t been to Cuba yet, and I’d love. You go to Cuba.

[01:04:15] Yeah, me too, me too, although I hear the food’s not great. I’d only go places where the food’s great. What’s the best place you’ve been to? What’s your favourite place you’ve been to? Some of them, some of them I’ve

[01:04:29] Been to, I really liked Mexico. Oh yeah. I enjoyed the Maldives, although I is going to sound sacrilegious. We went the Maldives for like four days and I felt like that was enough for me.

[01:04:44] People say that it quiet. People say I’ve never been there for

[01:04:48] Four or five days. I think with that five days. So yeah, they’re probably my two most favourite places. I used to love visiting Iran, actually, but I haven’t been for over 10 years.

[01:04:57] Me too. It’s a bit of a mission.

[01:05:00] It is. But then when you’re there, I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I’ve never lived there. I’m only half Iranian, but there’s something about like you just the air, something. It just feels like home. I can’t explain it.

[01:05:11] It’s strange. All right. Well, we tend to finish these things with the same questions, and I don’t know if you’ve heard them at Prav. Prav can’t be here today, but they called Prav final questions. And the first one is you on your deathbed? You’ve got your nearest and dearest with you. What are three pieces of advice you would leave for them

[01:05:37] And for the world?

[01:05:41] Um, I would say don’t stress about the small things.

[01:05:46] Even though retired, even though you do, even though you do know,

[01:05:50] I wish I didn’t. Yeah, there’s just about small things because they actually don’t matter. I would say always be honest. And always be kind.

[01:06:02] Yeah, very nice.

[01:06:04] I think if you can do those things, then you’ll have a an easier life.

[01:06:09] Very nice. Very nice.

[01:06:11] That’s what I would say.

[01:06:13] And what about the Prav next final question is how would you like to be remembered? Jasmine, was it doesn’t have to be one word doesn’t work well.

[01:06:24] Kind. I guess kind and honest. And kind, honest, strong. Capable. That’s probably a kind, honest, capable

[01:06:37] Are you to, for instance, what kind of a boss are you in this practise?

[01:06:43] Oh, I mean, I would hope I’m kind and fair.

[01:06:46] Yeah, yeah. But, you know. Yeah, I mean, I mean, you try, right, everyone tries to be kind of no

[01:06:52] Pushover like I want things done correctly. I want standards to be, you know, at a certain point. Yeah. But I’d like to think I’m fair and kind. So when I see the human being, you know, like I try and be really try and be reasonable and I try and put myself in their shoes.

[01:07:07] And how do you navigate the question of, you know, you want to be best friends with you, nurse, but you can’t be best friends with your employee? Well, can you?

[01:07:19] I don’t try and be best friends with my employee. I think the only time I almost got too close to my nurse was when I was a vet and I just had an amazing nurse. She was incredible and we were very close in age and we were just really good friends and I used to find it hard to ask her to do things because we’d become friends. So I think I think with experience and with age, you grow in confidence and you grow in your ability to be assertive without being bossy or mean or overly demanding, I think is the key. I think the thing with us is with dentists, we couldn’t do what we do to the best of our abilities without a really, really good nurse supporting you. And it’s, you know, there’s two people involved. And I think that’s the key is to always remember that fact and to never think that you’re better than the nurse because you can’t do what you need to do without them.

[01:08:12] Well, you lived all those years as a nurse yourself, right? You know, for me, I’ve never been a Dental nurse, but I feel like the Dental nurse is having a rougher day than the dentist on most days. Am I right or wrong on that?

[01:08:27] I don’t know. You know, Payman. I think we have a lot of pressure on us. I think when I was a nurse. The things that I thought were really difficult for me. It’s a bit like the associate and the principal discussion, isn’t it? Like you always think that you’re having the hardest time, but then the other person is having a hard time for their own reasons, I think, you know. Yeah, I wouldn’t say they’re having a harder time, necessarily. They shouldn’t be. And if they are, then something’s not going well, like you should be working. I think in such a way that they’re not having a harder time than you. You should be sharing the load, even though you can’t share it necessarily completely equally because you have different responsibilities. But I always think as well, especially with nurses like they’ll be one or two small things that if his dentist, we just did it slightly differently would make their lives so much easier.

[01:09:11] Like what? Simple things like make them a cup of coffee,

[01:09:14] Putting things down in a certain

[01:09:16] Way. Oac little thing making clear up easier.

[01:09:20] Yeah, but that’s such a simple thing. But when you’re rushing through the day, if you always make that effort and I’m not suggesting for a second that I always remember to do this, you know? In fact, I’m glad you asked me this question because from tomorrow again, I’ll remember this, that I’ve said it. So now I have to do it. But you know, I think it’s about making things simpler for each other.

[01:09:40] But yeah, I was always used to make make coffee and tea for my nurse because I always used to think that I had time to and they didn’t, you know, people used to get very surprised by it. Sometimes I couldn’t believe it. And then I say thank you to my nurse and the get surprised by that as well, like the number of dentists who don’t say thank you to their nurse. Amazingly, you know, I just couldn’t couldn’t understand, why would you not? At the end of the day, say thank you.

[01:10:13] I’m so lucky at the moment. I have such a lovely nurse. She’s wonderful, she’s amazing and I couldn’t do what I do that her. And yeah, I feel like I’m very lucky. But yeah, you’re absolutely right. You have to say thank you.

[01:10:26] I said, obviously, but but I do suffer with trying to be the best friend of all my people. And, you know, maybe it’s just sort of, you know, we’re all living out different sort of ideas of who we think we are, right, the lies. We’re telling each other ourselves, you know, Oh God, I want it to be like enlightened to be like a Google place where everyone’s having fun. And where’s the reality of it? Probably is that no, you know, people are working their butts off in Google. Yeah, that’s like, you know. But I’ve got it in my head that everyone’s playing ping pong and being creative. So, so I’ve always wanted that for for my office. Along with that goes. I sometimes do get too close to my team, you know, and then when there’s a disciplinary issue or something, it causes a problem. I’ve got I’ve got a partner who’s who’s very good at that sort of thing, but it must be lonely as a principal of a small practise, insomuch as you’ve got all the decisions on you and no one to, you know, talk to you. So have you got a group of people that you do talk to people like, you know, or.

[01:11:28] Yeah. So I talk to Janet. In fact, Barry’s great. I still hear Barry. Barry recently came as a patient, and then we ended up going for dinner offers, and I felt like it was a therapy session. It was brilliant. He just gave me a full on unscheduled coaching session in like 20 minutes, and I was like, Wow, this is what it’s like to kind of share things, but I probably share. I talked to my small force colleagues as well. Like, I talk to Mindy quite a lot about clinical staff and clinic stuff. We’ll we’ll share kind of experiences and kind of war wounds, I guess in that sense. So that’s quite nice because you’re white, you can get quite insular, but I’m in a building with other dentists. So there’s a there’s a partnership within my building that separates me, but they’re lovely.

[01:12:09] So I talk to them and they say, What’s that?

[01:12:11] Call and ploughman and partners are in my building.

[01:12:14] So whereas it now? Yeah.

[01:12:17] Yes. So that lovely. So, yeah, they use enlightened, I think.

[01:12:22] Ok, one final question. Dinner party. Three other guests. Dead or alive?

[01:12:35] Tony Benn,

[01:12:35] Tony Benn got a great answer.

[01:12:38] I treated him once. No. He’s the only famous person I’ve ever treated and I just couldn’t contain myself. I was like, Well, giggling. Yeah. So definitely Tony Benn.

[01:12:49] Have you got a left wing bone in you? Yeah, a big bone. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:12:55] It’s a bit challenging when you’re working in private practise.

[01:12:58] Well, Bollinger is right now.

[01:13:00] I don’t charge enough. That fee setting is an issue with me. Everyone always tells me off. But anyway, yeah, so Tony Benn. Chandler, as Chandler

[01:13:14] As Chandler, yeah, definitely,

[01:13:18] Chandler, who make me laugh, um, I’ve heard my third person be. I’m inspired by can I just have her to sing? Of course, Amy Winehouse.

[01:13:32] Oh, nice. Well, you don’t talk to her.

[01:13:36] Maybe, maybe if she’s like a bit older and yeah, maybe, maybe. But more to sing. Have you seen the movie? Amy? Yes. Yeah, multiple times. Yeah, I found

[01:13:47] I found it very interesting.

[01:13:49] She is. No, no, no. You’re absolutely right. She’s very interesting. I guess I would want her to talk. Ok, so it just not high on stuff like just her as her. I’d find her interesting. And as long as she could sing for us a bit as well, that would be good.

[01:14:02] What about if we had to throw in three dentists?

[01:14:06] Oh, three dentists for dinner, yeah.

[01:14:10] Dead or alive? Hmm.

[01:14:14] It’s hard to pick three Payman why? I don’t know so, but do I want to have dinner and talk about teeth?

[01:14:22] Not to, you know, so I’d have Larry just because he’s so much fun, not because I want to talk about teeth. Ok. I mean,

[01:14:30] I’ve never like. Present company excluded. I’ve never really thought of dentists as being like fun people to hang around with. It’s a recent thing for me that I’ve started having fun with other dentists.

[01:14:43] All right. Well, you know, give black. Professor Brennan, Britomart was incentives, was he? Well, you know what I mean? Doesn’t have to be.

[01:14:53] I’m drawing a blank. I’m actually thinking, Dipesh, because he seems like a really lovely guy.

[01:14:58] Tv black dipesh.

[01:15:01] No, I don’t give you black at my dinner table. Gary D-word is really lovely, and I haven’t seen him in ages. Gary DWORD from SPIR, he’s lovely. Excellent.

[01:15:12] Excellent. So the post, Gary didn’t do it and

[01:15:16] But they’re a random combination. I’m not sure they’d be great. I’m not sure. But yeah,

[01:15:21] I see your control freak this coming out in full effect right now. Right? Why? Because you just want to get this right? You don’t. Yeah, yeah.

[01:15:29] Because I love throwing a dinner party.

[01:15:31] I love cooking.

[01:15:32] I love. I love entertaining. We like we throw great parties. So I like having a good party. But you have to get the mix right. It’s got to be wine.

[01:15:40] Yeah.

[01:15:41] So I haven’t seen Gary do it for years. So maybe him and Diddy is very interesting, did you? She’s very interesting.

[01:15:49] Is he funny?

[01:15:50] He is on his partner’s lovely. So there are lovely. They’re a lovely pair. So yeah. Because I’m guessing they’re couples. They come as couples, right?

[01:15:57] No, I wasn’t thinking that. But you can have that if you want it.

[01:16:01] Because Gary David’s got a lovely wife as well. You see, this is what I’m thinking.

[01:16:04] So you can have it that way if you want. But I wasn’t. Ok, OK. I mean,

[01:16:08] I’m thinking about the table setting Payman and like, And

[01:16:11] What would you cook Iranian food? Oh, really, you could Iranian? Good on you. Yeah, like, that’s hard. It’s hard, isn’t it? No, it’s much

[01:16:20] Easier for a party because you can cook en masse. Oh, and then when you cook and then it just, you know, it works out easier, I think.

[01:16:26] Nice. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure to speak to you today. Likewise. Thank you so much for taking the time. And you’re going to be at backhed.

[01:16:36] I am. I will see you there.

[01:16:37] Oh, amazing. I’ll see you at my party Thursday night. Well done. Perfect.

[01:16:40] Looking forward to it.

[01:16:41] Thank you so much.

[01:16:42] Thank you, Payman, John. Thank you so much. 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.

[01:17:02] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and

[01:17:08] Pay for actually sticking through and listening

[01:17:11] To what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you’ve 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.


Here’s something you don’t find every day – a specialist orthodontist who’s still carrying out day-to-day cosmetic and restorative work.

This week’s guest, Josh Rowley, explains how and why the two go together hand-in-hand and tells how a once-in-lifetime alignment of the stars saw him take an unorthodox route to early specialist status.

Josh also lifts the lid on why he loves being an educator and lets us in on not one but two clinical errors that changed the way he does dentistry.  

“Teeth are stupid. If you push on them hard enough and long enough, they will move. They don’t know if they’re being moved by a bit of plastic or a bit of wire.” – Josh Rowley

In This Episode

01.00 – Backstory and parental influences
19.15 – Into dentistry and orthodontics
26.09 – Specialisms and marketing
31.49 – Josh’s practices
34.46 – Being an ortho-dentist
43.52 – Teaching and lecturing
54.49 – Blackbox thinking part one
59.11 – The patient journey
01.08.45 – Blackbox thinking part two
01.12.01 – Direct-to-consumer orthodontics
01.18.11 – Turkey teeth
01.24.49 – Last days and legacy

About Josh Rowley

Josh Rowley graduated from The University of Dundee in 2014. 

He was nominated for the Best Young Dentist award at Dentistry Scotland Awards in 2017 and 2018. He won the title in 2019 and was awarded Best Smile Makeover in 2020.

Josh is a member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh and The Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.

He is also a trainer with IAS Academy.

[00:00:00] And that’s the way I describe it, when patients come in and and request the treatment. I say to them, actually, what you’re paying for here isn’t the white braces, the aligners, it is the end result, the tools. The brace is just a tool that I use to get you there, you know, and and the pathway might not be straight. It might be a bit windy. We’re having difficulty moving teeth. We might have to go back to the drawing board and make more aligners. We might have to change things. It’s a learning curve. But the beauty of orthodontics is it allows you to navigate through that path. And if things don’t go the way you had initially planned, teeth might move differently. Then you can always move things back usually. So again, that’s I like to think that orthodontics is quite a safe profession.

[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] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Josh Rowlie onto the Dental Leaders podcast today. Somebody who’s recently burst onto the scene, certainly in the social media feeds doing a lot of teaching for various aligner companies. And more recently has joined the US Academy, heading up and spearheading our clear aligner programme. Josh is somebody who I define as an ortho dentist, although he’s a specialist orthodontist. His work sits in that meeting place between restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and specialist orthodontic treatment. Somebody who just recently burst onto the scene of orthodontic teaching. And certainly when I saw some stuff on Facebook, I thought, There’s no way he’s a specialist orthodontist. He looks far too young, but he is. And, you know, having spoken to people like TIFF and Ross who’ve seen and heard him teach. We’re all very impressed. And so, Josh, we usually start these interviews by just asking a little bit about your background, where you grew up, what your schooling was like and then how you finally got into dentistry.

[00:02:06] Yeah, yeah. I mean, grew up not far from where I’m living now in Perth, in Scotland and went to school in the same area. And then I went to high school in Dundee and we always get asked, you know, why did we get into dentistry? And it was actually through more personal experience. You know, I’ve got this spiel in my head from seeing it so often now. So it comes naturally in this situation. But it it comes because when I was younger, you know, I bumped my front teeth. It needed some work done Root Canal Crown, things like that. Well, H, was that Josh. So that would have been probably about 14, maybe 15. Of was, it was taking a bite of the school railings. You know, the the hands go through the railings, but the teeth don’t go on to the railing kind of situation. And I had a very good dentist at the time, Dr Adela Laverick. And I guess you can fix me up and I was a bit kind of like, Wow, that was just amazing. And I guess I must have shown some interest at the time because she invited me back in and to kind of shadow just the tree for an afternoon, a bit like work experience because I was kind of coming up to fourth, fifth year at school and I was already thinking, you know, jobs wise, we need to really think about what I want to do with my life.

[00:03:14] So very grateful for her, her reaching her hand out and kind of offering me a chance to kind of over what she was doing. And yeah, I guess it was like a natural progression that I really enjoyed it. I’m a very kind of manual person in the sense that if I wasn’t doing dentistry, I think I’d be like a mechanic or something like that. I would want to work with my hands in some way. And I guess dentistry for me, because it kind of bridges the gap between, you know, medicine and almost art in a way can be quite creative. And now with orthodontics engineering, you know, forces vectors, things like that. And also the materials. I mean, you know, Ross, he’s he’s a materials man. You know, he’s the scientist. Yeah, but you know, I like working with intricate things. And for me, that’s why I orthodontics as well. I went to university in Dundee, a five year course there. I then did, you know, as everyone does, you’re a vet quite close to home. Actually, I moved home for a year to do my bit and again it was. I kind of went to my family dentist at the time and worked there for a year. And then even from university, I got into the backhed. I was quite involved in a lot of post post-graduate kind of associations and things like that.

[00:04:25] So it was that whilst he was a student, Joshua, he

[00:04:28] Was a man of the when I was in my fourth year, I was the student representative for the BCD or kind of Dundee University. And again, you know, I owe a lot of thanks to the BCD as well from kind of offering me an opportunity to get involved with them at an early age. You know, it kind of set me apart from my peers when applying for VTT positions and jobs because of the BCD, I met Elaine Halley, who a lot of people know her industry. Yeah, yeah. When I finished my vet, you know, she knew that I wanted to do cosmetic work. She I had a good understanding of smell, design, getting an understanding of, you know, at the time, you know, one of the buzzwords was kind of minimally invasive dentistry. So she kind of knew what my ethics lay and she offered me a job. So she offered me a kind of a two day a week position in her private practise in Edinburgh. I took it on and was under her wing for a year and a half, and it was great. It taught me a lot. It kind of set my ethics and dentistry really well. You’re probably going to ask me this later, but I’ll probably jump in now. And it was predominantly because I’ve heard that I am doing what I’m doing now because of the fact that it was a very, like I said, minimally invasive ethical ethics.

[00:05:34] In that practise. They did a lot of Elaine bleaching and bonding, particularly with Invisalign. So I started my orthodontic career with Invisalign. And as you said before, it’s a bit like that kind of black box situation sometimes whereby I was doing a lot of cases and I was I had a basic understanding of what what was an. Involved with that, you know, you put you take your records, you do a treatment plan and you kind of you send it away and you get your aligners back. But there were still very much a black box. It was still very much this area of sometimes unknown. And I guess, you know, one of these people that if I want to do something, I want to do it properly when I understand it. And it got to the point where I was taking on some difficult cases and I thought, OK, so it seems to be working, but I don’t quite understand the full picture here, and that’s what led me to then want to do what it takes to go back and do a three year master’s course so I could actually understand what’s in the box. Yeah. So that’s a very quick kind of run through of my career so far. Kind of a couple of shout outs in there to those that have influenced me and kind of pushed me in the right direction.

[00:06:40] Absolutely. And as I’ve got so many questions based on what you’ve just said there, so well, I’ll just I’ll pepper my way through them. But one of the things is that as a young, newly qualified dentist, you’re getting the opportunity to work at Cherry Bank, which I assume where it was that you got you got the job is like a one in a million shot, right?

[00:07:02] It was, yeah, it was almost at the time. You know, I was so grateful for just being offered, even just a two day position. You know, all my friends were leaving VTE and they were getting, you know, five days a week, you know, sometimes 50 hours in an NHS mixed practise, you know, and here’s me just thinking, right, I’m going to just take a chance here and start with whatever patients. They give me just two days a week and actually within about four or five months, I was up to three days. I was getting busier. They were giving me new patients, which is fantastic. You know, I was getting good case acceptance, you know, because of the fact that I had more time, I could spend that time planning cases, really getting to know my patients well, and they were agreeing to some bigger plans not going to lie. It was at my depth in some cases, but that’s how you learn. I had good mentors, so although there might have been cases that I found difficult or, you know, there for someone young in their career, you think, OK, taking on some of that’s quite big. But when you’ve got someone there to guide you, it’s not as scary and you do have to go out with your comfort zone to develop in a great, you know, I say that to everyone. It’s important to understand what your limitations are by having good people around you is massive. You know, it’s the biggest thing for progressing your career.

[00:08:16] What advice would you give to a young UP-AND-COMING dentist who wants that one in a million job? You know, you obviously put yourself out there, you know, put yourself forward. As the representative for the BBC, was that the decision that you made that led to you get in that role there? Was there an interview process with Elaine?

[00:08:37] There would have been at the time, I seem to recall that I remember getting an email from the BBC. I’d sign up for the newsletter and they were they were just about to start doing student representatives. I think they might have actually been the first one and they were offering positions to students in their fourth or fifth year. I think it was to come on board whereby you’d have to be a member first and then they wanted to spread, you know, the mantra of the BCD within the Dental skills, which is still what they’re doing now, and I’m still involved in that. But it was that decision that me kind of applying for that, handing in a CV kind of telling them kind of what I want to get on my career. And I seemed to recall it was Richard Field who is also, I think or has been a mentor in the IRS. He interviewed me, actually. I remember kind of speaking to him on the phone and, you know, probably all credit to him as well for giving me that position. I never mentioned that up until that point. That’s it. Yeah. And and I met him at the BCD conference, which would have been in London. I think that year. I honestly don’t know what year that had been, maybe 2012.

[00:09:44] And so, yeah, that decision then led to me meeting the right people at the OECD, and it led to me then kind of knowing if I should actually point out bringing the story way back that I actually made my mum and myself and my brother. We went to Elaine’s practise in Perth, our hometown, when she opened it, and that was when her practise was. I think she lived above the practise. It was like a detached house and she built it and she lived above it. Now is the same practise, but she’s she’s moved out and it’s a bigger, more surgeries. And yeah, we used to go there. I used to go there as a child. I think she sent me, you know, to the orthodontist and she couldn’t do the work and things like that. So it was almost like full circle again when I met Alan again at the BCD conference in London. And that’s where it sparked that she was like, Oh, this guy, you know, I know of him, I know his family and and yeah, and just me being there. She was almost like a wow, you know, this guy is a bit switched on. He’s here already. He’s only in his fourth year. And then again, you know, yeah. So sorry, I’m going off topic.

[00:10:44] No, no, no. That’s cool. It’s my story. It’s like seven minutes, isn’t it? That’s getting it to you. Yeah, it’s like pure serendipity. Like. This is the I can’t remember the name of the movie now, but it’s it’s something that you do as a child or something you do earlier on in life that impacts what happens. The butterfly effect. I don’t know if you’ve seen that movie, it is.

[00:11:05] Absolutely. Yeah, no, it’s exactly that. Actually, it’s making me think about, yeah, this is like the way it works is so strange.

[00:11:12] Yeah. Yeah, so, so so just just going back to earlier life. And what was your childhood like growing up? Were you a geeky student kid? Were you excelling at school sports, that sort of thing? What memories have you got to be childhood

[00:11:27] Going deep here or going deep? The, you know, as a primary child, if you’re going that far back, you know, probably misbehaved on almost all of my school report. So it was, you know, needs to concentrate more and I could try harder. I think that every single plate on the fridge at home, you know, all my reports, they all said the same thing. Yeah, and I was quite young for my year. I was a January birthday and one of the youngest in my primary year, and actually I repeated primary seven in two schools. So my primary school and my hometown, I did seven eight and then I repeated P7 again when I went to Dundee High. They have a junior school in a high school, and actually that was probably one of the best decisions I think my parents ever made for me was that I was just too early. I hadn’t matured enough and if I had continued along that timeline, where if I hadn’t repeated a year earlier instead of my exams a year earlier, the I just feel like there became a point where I just knew that I needed to switch on. In my third fourth year, I was like, If I don’t buck up here, you know, I’m not going to lead to much. So, yeah, the extra year help, for sure. And you know, I had some great friends at school and actually some of my friends moved with me, and I think that was also part of the decision my parents made.

[00:12:38] They wanted me to be with people who I knew and I played tennis with, I don’t know, younger, so I was going into their year. So I had friends in a new school already and then high school thinking back, Hey, you remember like first, second, third year in high school. I remember the exam years, the kind of the crucial years. And but mostly I remember the sport, remember the rugby rugby at school. You know, that was that was the I enjoyed was going up to the games and playing on weekends and hockey and things as well. And then, yeah, I never did that well in the prelims as it were and leading up to Christmas, always, you know, got C’s B’s if I was lucky. And when it came to the exams at the end of that academic year, I guess I just kind of matured in that very short space of time and and I did well in exams. I don’t think that I had my eyes set on dentistry when I did my fourth year exams in terms of the standard grades, but certainly by my hires. I knew I was aiming for that position of needing five A’s at higher to go into the dentistry or medicine or potentially veterinary. I knew I want to do something like that. So. So that’s that’s my story in terms of kind of early to late teens.

[00:13:51] So growing up. Obviously, your inspiration for dentistry maybe started as early as, you know, being a patient at Cherry Bank right through to having the work experience as a 14 year old. Was there any other influence from your parents or did they come from a medical background or anything? What what, what? What was their profession?

[00:14:09] I mean, good question. You know, you find that in our industry, it does kind of stay in the family. But no, my my family or even extended family are not medical in the slightest. My mom worked in a solicitor’s office and my dad was a commercial diver, so he worked offshore. When you mentioned about my background and things. Yeah. And yeah, as when I was younger and my dad used to go away for a bit of time. You know, sometimes two or even three months at a time and came back, it was just fine. You know, my mom worked, you know, in a job that allowed us to do that. And I was we were at school. She could still take us dollar sports and things. So yeah, I mean, you know, big credit to to my parents for for for helping me in younger years and everything like that. But when a lot of people say, Oh, so your dad was away a lot when you’re younger, but actually when he was at home, you know, he was at home. So like summer holidays and things, he would try and work his shift patterns around holidays. And it’s, you know, he wasn’t nine to five. He was always there. When he’s at home, it’s like, that’s sometimes one thing I a bit jealous of is those that work offshore or have jobs where you’re on a shift pattern like that is that, you know, when you’re away, you’re you’re at work and things like that. But when you’re home, work is, you know, you don’t get contacted, you know what I mean? Whereas sometimes with dentistry, you can take a work home with you. And I do sometimes find it hard to switch off. And there are things that you know, sometimes are always in the back of your mind. But yeah, maybe that’s something I need to work on.

[00:15:29] You and me, both Josh, you and me both. You know, it’s it’s one of those challenges that you know when when you’re a somebody who works incredibly hard or, you know, takes your profession seriously that it ends up becoming consuming, right? And as you said, your dad was away a lot when you were younger, but when he was in the room, he was in the room and

[00:15:49] He told me so.

[00:15:50] Yeah, and and. When you know, when we’re at home with our kids and we’ve got social media on our phones or we’ve got all these other all these other distractions, we’re there, but we’re not really there.

[00:16:02] I was going to say, I remember because my dad used to being a diver, you’d be, you know, in the bell, you’d be in the chamber for that time that you’re working. He’s the phone home, you know, with a very squeaky voice, you know, the helium voice. And you know, he’d be on the phone for an hour, you know, every other night, you know, and he’d be trying to try to understand them. And it’s sometimes quite difficult. My mom is very good understanding what you’re seeing, but even as a child, I was, I was kind of my mother, would you see? But yeah, it’s funny, but it’s been. He’s been out of that for a while now. He retired a few years ago now. He never wanted me to do that career. He was in the Navy, and that’s how we kind of led to him to become a commercial diver. And he never wanted that for me and my brother. I’ve always, I’ve always said was like a bit of a joke if all else fails. And for any reason, I would get struck off or candy dentistry. I’ve always got. I’ve always got commercial diving. I could fall back on just riding my my dad’s coattails. Maybe it’s hard and very fickle industry that now, funnily enough, my brother is an engineer and he’s almost superseded my my father in the sense that he works for a company or not anymore, actually. But he used to work for a company robot called who design underwater equipment robots essentially to kind of do the job that my dad used to do. So there’s there’s less of a need for people to be at the bottom of the seabed now.

[00:17:16] We’re going to we’re going to start. We’re going to talk about that later in terms of robots that are taking over our orthodontist jobs as well later on, when we when we talk about direct to consumer orthodontics, but just just going back to where the inspiration from your father, which is, you know, he didn’t want you to do what he was doing because either it was a hard slog or he wanted a better life for his kids, right?

[00:17:36] I think I think I think it was just too dangerous, I think. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the BBC documentary. I think it’s called Last Breath worth a watch. Okay. You know, I think it’s an hour long and it just tells you the story of a commercial diver who was at the bottom of the sea bed, his umbilical, his lifeline got tethered and snaps, and he was at the bottom of the sea bed for about 20 minutes with no oxygen. And it just told the story of how it happened, how we survived and stuff. It’s amazing the story, but worth worth an hour.

[00:18:07] I’ll give. I’ll give that a shot. So moving on from there, Josh, were you inspired to do something different? Were you encouraged to go towards the medical sciences? And was education a big thing for your parents? Were you pushed in that direction at all?

[00:18:22] I mean, they obviously sent me to private school is a private school, and I think just being in that kind of environment environment. Yeah, I think that it was never a push to, you know, like you have to go into medicine. It was very much my choice, but I just feel like the way that the school was aiming and they have numbers and they have their things they have to reach. And, you know, a lot of people in my year, you know, they went on to do medicine, particularly a good education that people in my year went onto the medicine and there was two in my year. Funnily enough, it was my girlfriend at the time. We both got into dentistry at the same university and and lawyers and things like that. So I guess it’s just the funnel effect of kind of the education at private school education that they try and get you into these university programmes. Yeah, no. It was completely my choice. And you know, looking back, you know, so glad I did that, you know?

[00:19:15] Yeah, yeah. So fast forward in now back to where we left off, which was, you know, the black box trying to figure out the mechanics of these teeth shifting around and how they move. And almost like the engineering, you wanted to know the ins and outs of it, right? And so what was what was your next sort of Segway into? I’m now going to spend what is it, three years full time of your life chucking yourself back into education? Or is it for?

[00:19:44] It’s three years. Yeah. And a lot of people ask, You know how I did it and things. And it’s it’s a it’s a bit of a funny topic, actually. So let’s just call it the more traditional routes into orthodontics. So an orthodontic specialist would be to do your VTE. You probably work in practise or you do your core training. A lot of the time you would probably have to spend two or even three years in hospital rotations doing different clinics. You would maybe do core training one to maybe apply for orthodontics, maybe not get in that year and then you’d maybe do core training three and the need apply for a residency. And throughout that whole process, you are interviewing every stage. You are not really guaranteed where you going to go. You know, you apply to national recruitment and you might not interview well and you get ranked 30th of how many species there are. And you might be going down south or going up north to to do this. And I guess having and was working with Cherry Bank with Elaine at the time, you know, I just wanted to know how to do orthodontics. I never went on this master’s course knowing that I was going to get a speciality status afterwards.

[00:20:49] That’s not what I did it for. I did it because I just wanted the education I wanted to know. What I was doing, basically, and they even told me when I joined the chorus, you know, we can’t guarantee you will be on the specialist list, and I said that actually isn’t a big deal for me. So I didn’t do it, the traditional route I should point out. I didn’t want to go back to do clinics in oral surgery, in peace or even to a certain degree. I didn’t want to almost the skill I’d spent all this time with mentors learning how to do some work, learning how to to have the patient experience the patient journey. It wasn’t really the kind of dentistry I wanted to do. Hospital dentistry is very, very different from practise, especially private practise. And it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to take a step back in a way, both financially as well. And so it came about that I went into the Edinburgh University Dental School just to enquire about how I go about doing this, you know, and I got shown around and the consultant, Dr McGuinness at the time, he kind of talked me around and he said, Yeah, if you want to kind of apply for a post, it can be very difficult because of the nature of the fact that if you’re only applying for a master’s course university, you know they will favour overseas students because of the fact that they pay more.

[00:22:04] So it’s very unlikely that you will apply for this role and get in because the only UK positions are those that are taken up by the NHS pathway, those that are doing it, the more traditional route. And what happened was about two weeks after I’d gone in to enquire about it. They had someone pull out, so they had an overseas student, I believe, from Malaysia, who pulled up quite last minute. And this would have been in about kind of August time. And the course was due to start in September, and they had exhausted their lists of people who who were backups. And I was like the only one having never interviewed in the first place, but sure that I wanted to maybe interview next year for it, and they literally phoned me up and said, We’ve had this person drop out. Do you want an opportunity to do your three years training, you know, now? And it was like, you know, one in a million, you know, it’s like the scratchcard scenario.

[00:22:55] And then,

[00:22:57] Yeah, you know, they literally told them that. And they’re like, Absolutely. Even though I had so many unknowns in terms of money, in terms of finishing where I was at that time and yet and it was just one of these, you know, right place, right time situations like, you know, speaking to you today, Prav, I’m just realising, actually, I’ve been very lucky with citizens for a number

[00:23:15] Of years to connect the dots, Josh.

[00:23:18] I said, Yeah, and and yeah, and the first thing I did was obviously phoned home and from the bank can be like, Can I afford this? And then the next day, you know, I had I sat down with Elaine and I said, Look, I’ve been given this opportunity. You know that I enjoy my orthodontics. Can we work something out here? And she was very positive about the whole thing, which really kind of pushed me into doing it. And she was very, you know, very grateful for the fact that she almost let me terminate my associate contract a bit early to start this course. You know, usually you’d be tied in for, say, three months, which is understandable. But she said, right do a month or two and then maybe work the evening weekend just to finish off some of your bigger cases. And, you know, basically give me a phone when you’re finished, you know, and we’ll be back in the thing. Yeah, and and yeah, so that is how I got into the orthodontics, the master’s programme. I’m not going to lie. It did make waves. And in fact, that I do believe that the door for that entry is no clue. So I don’t think if you were to apply now for a master’s programme at universities and certainly in Scotland, I don’t can’t really say about England.

[00:24:22] You’d be you’d be looked at because they would just favour overseas students paying more and things like that. And and even to a certain degree, the GDC, you know, I feel like when I first went on that programme, I was a bit of a pariah. I was like that person that I who’s that guy doing that orthodontic? You know, I was a very standalone and it was a wee bit lonely at that time. I was thinking of why are people picking me out? I just want to know more. You know, I have not done anything wrong here, but it felt like I was doing something wrong actually at the time. And like I said, you know, I went to the whole programme, you know, did well. I think in my in my final year, I got like a distinction for my research and things. And and, you know, I really did enjoy my time, my three years in the hospital, some really nice staff there. We got we got to know each other really well and really nice patients.

[00:25:08] And unlike those that are doing the NHS pathway, whereby when they finished their specialist training, they automatically get put on the specialist register, I essentially had to apply for equivalence. So as if I was an overseas student applying for GDC less. No more specialism, no in the UK, I’d have to show off my work, show off my experience, and that’s what I did. I just made a portfolio of all the cases I did all the research, all the work that I’d done, literally a pile of paper about this big. It’s just such a such a fast. But you know, a sense it took a long time. Covid slowed it all down. But but yeah, eventually I think it was about a year and a half ago. Yeah, got got that magic letter and just said, Yep, you’re on the list. Thank you very much. And, you know, it’s good to open a bottle of champagne that you think it’s kind of it was almost like the final hurdle in a way, but I never intended to get on in the first place. But as I as I happened, you know, it became apparent that I could do that. And so why not?

[00:26:06] And you’d done the graft to get there, right? So well, that’s it.

[00:26:09] Yeah, yeah. It was never after the title or the names or the letters. It was more just the education. But having is a cherry on top and as as I was going to go. I know you’ve got lots of questions. I was going to kind of go into a little bit that from a patient’s perspective, I don’t honestly think that being having a title such as consultant specialist, even to a certain degree, you know, general dentists with an interest in I don’t know how much the general population really know or understand that, to be honest with you. And in some cases, if you call yourself an expert and something, someone who isn’t then orientated might think, Oh, they probably did almost rate that as higher than someone who would maybe call themself specialist or a consultant. Because in some industries, if consulting, you don’t really do anything, you just consult on work. So sometimes you can go too far. And from a marketing point of view, actually, patients might think, Oh, I’d rather go to that expert over there.

[00:27:00] So it

[00:27:00] Doesn’t really make a difference for them, actually, as what I’ve found, you know,

[00:27:03] You’ve hit the nail on the head. Josh, I was I was speaking to one of my one of my, shall we say, sales team or treatment coordinators in my own clinic last week and I overheard her on the phone. Now one of our clinicians, stroke co-owners of the practise is a clinical dental technician, right? And a clinical dental technician is somebody who can treat patients as well as manufacture the dentures, right as long as it’s affordable. So he was she was speaking to the patient and saying, Oh, well, you know, Mark, he’s he’s a clinical dental technician and, you know, he’ll make your dentures and this that you overheard the conversation. And I thought to myself, what will the patient derive from the fact that this person’s a clinical dental technician? So. So we sat down and said, OK, yes, Kerry, I think it would probably be better to say Mack is a denture expert. He’s got over 30 years of experience hand crafting these dentures, placing them in people’s mouths so they look unbelievably natural and fit perfectly. It’s just like, Yeah, you’re right. But sometimes we tend to use terminology lexicon that perhaps either confuses the patient or they don’t understand the importance of the specialist title. What that means, the work that’s gone into it, that you’ve just shared with me that, you know, going into that situation where you were the black sheep, so to speak. And you know, and then getting towards the end of it and then struggling to get the title and finally getting it there. So yeah, I truly believe that from a marketing point of view or even just basic patient communication, the words that we use or choose to use are so important. So just just on that topic, Josh, when you’re speaking to your own patients or having conversations with them, does the specialist title come into play and sort of how do you articulate that? Not at all.

[00:28:51] No, I mean, I generally patients, I mean, I I could do a lot more in terms of marketing myself, actually. Sure, we’re busy in practise and we get a lot of patient referrals, you know, self referrals they’ve had. I been doing a while now in the sense that the cases I’m finishing a lot of the time when the patient comes in or see on the screen. This is a word of mouth referral, which is great because building a clinic, that’s they’re the they’re the ones you want. Yeah, you want the ones that I’ve had a friend who’s had orthodontics and says, I want the same as my my friend that they look fantastic. Can I please have that? They’ve already sold it to themselves. They’re aware of the costs. They’re aware of what’s involved already. It’s a case of this is what we need to do. And you know, there’s not much sales involved in it, really. They’ve done it for you. But because I’m a bit more at the moment, I’m a bit of a one man band in the sense have therapists and nursing team and the staff surrounding me.

[00:29:43] But it is very much myself as the orthodontist and I see myself. Maybe in the future, when the clinic grows a bit more, I will need help to do marketing and it might be that I hire someone or, you know, work with people a couple of hours a week to do more of that. Sure, it’s I’m not a businessman. I am a wet fingered dentist slash orthodontist, and I enjoy what I do. I understand that nowadays you have to market yourselves and it is almost a job to do your social media, to do your website. And I’m not a jack of all trades. I’d rather, you know, the best person for that job should do that job. I’m not that person, but it’s time consuming. You know yourself, you know, having an active social media, it’s time. I don’t know how people do it. If I’m perfectly honest. Some of the, you know, the stars in our industry that would call themselves influencers. I hate that term. But yeah, but they call them this. Yeah, they must hire people to do some of that work.

[00:30:38] And it’s a whole it’s a whole conversation in itself, Josh, that yeah, I know we’ve had a few of these people on the show incredibly successful in marketing themselves. But you know, along with that comes things. Like, you know, trolling, you know, the constant distraction of dealing with messages and DMs and things like that and trying to emotionally detach yourself from that.

[00:31:02] I think that’s a big problem in our industry now. I try and stay clear of that, but I understand it’s a necessary evil. You have to do it the way now, and I’d be the first person to delete all my social media, you know, if I if I could, but it’s almost like, you can’t. Now that there’ll be Facebook money next, you know, and it will be you’ll be paying for things with your with your coins online and it will all become this big thing. I mean, again, I’m not going to go into too much about where the world is going, but yeah, it’s one of these things I like. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any, but there’s a Netflix series as it Black Mirror, and that kind of delves into the problems that kind of lie in what you’d think could be like a simple, a better technology, but it almost immediately goes into the dark side of it, which is fantastic to so true.

[00:31:49] Blows your mind. And so, Josh, you got the the badge and the letters after your name. What happened next? You fast forward to your in practise. Now, just tell us a little bit about where you practise in what you do in the.

[00:32:02] At the moment, I work in between two practises. I work in South Side Dental care, particularly the clinic that I run is the South Side Orthodontic Clinic, which is its own clinic within a practise. I worked for LeAnn Brunson, who is the practise owner. I did some part time work with her while I was doing my three years training just in the evenings, and it just led to me taking more hours as I got busy. So when I finished my my full time training, I took on more hours at that clinic. The other practise I work is bite dentistry. I work with Ima O’Connell, who’s an implant dentist. Some people would have heard her lecturing on implants and fine things. And again, you know, a lot of credit to demur. I worked with her both before and during my time training, and again it was a natural progression to take a more hours with her when I’d finished. So my working life is quite different in the two practises in the sense that I am not a traditional orthodontist. I still do a lot of restorative dentistry and and bites dentistry. You know, I I do orthodontic Dental, so it is actually slowly building up into almost a purely orthodontic clinic. But for instance, yesterday I had a gentleman come in and we prepared up two to two veneers. My background has always been in restorative dentistry. I went on Christopher Orr’s year long course when I worked, when I was just out of it, and then I enjoyed that so much and I gained so much from that.

[00:33:29] I then went on and did. His is kind of like a more advanced course in a way where it really delves into occlusion. And one thing that is not taught at any level in academia, you know, in the hospital situation is occlusion, really. And you’d think that as an orthodontist, you would be the one to know occlusion the most. But actually, I learnt occlusion from Chrysler, actually. And, you know, and feeding that into the orthodontics, it was just piecing all the pieces of the puzzle together, but going back so to to to my practise. So I work two days a week out, bites Monday and Friday, and I work two three days a week at South Side and at South Side as a fully orthodontic clinic, we accept NHS referrals and private referrals. I’m slowly gathering a good network of Dental dentists around Edinburgh who we work with and about dentistry. It is very much a very solid patient base that have been with the practise for a very long time, and I provide general dentistry and cosmetic and orthodontics for them. And it’s I enjoy working at both for both, for very different reasons. And I would say I enjoy the restorative part just as much as I enjoy the orthodontic part. And there’s probably very few orthodontists that do drilling and filling in on layers, veneers and things out there.

[00:34:46] It’s really, really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever come across an orthodontist who does the ortho, the whole ortho restorative piece, which now sort of make sense while your alignment with sort of teeth, creches philosophy with the whole AB minimally invasive. And you know, TIFF has said some quite bold statements in the past when, when, when I’ve spoken to him and one of them is if you’re a G.D.P. and you can’t do Ortho, I will not sit in your chair. Yes. Yeah. And it’s a pretty bold statement for him to make. But I understand why. And you know, if you’re doing it, if you’re the guy who is the reverse to you. So was that all the restorative training first and then doesn’t have a true understanding of the, you know, the continually shifting teeth over time, that teeth move? I know that from personal experience, I’ve developed a gap in my tooth that definitely wasn’t there four or five years ago, right? And I’ve never had Ortho as a kid. So there is that continual tooth movement, and if there’s a restorative dentist, you ignore Ortho. You’re doing your patients a disservice, I believe

[00:35:55] It’s it’s a topic I quite enjoyed talking about because of the fact that, you know, it’s more and more industry is going into like an amalgamation of everything in the sense that I’m the first to say you shouldn’t be a jack of all trades, but you should have a general view of all the specialities. That’s that’s my opinion. And when a patient comes in your chair, you definitely don’t ring fence them into a certain category or you in a way you don’t limit what they can have. So everything should be dealt with in the beginning when a patient, when the chair from a comprehensive point of view, you know, looking at where they’ve come from, how have they got into the situation that they’re in now? I think when when I was talking on the on the level to a line, of course, when you were there, I had a slide. It was like the what’s it called again, like the five W’s and an h like the where, how who kind of, you know, as a dentist, you have to be a bit of a detective in the beginning to understand where they’ve come from, because only once you know where they’ve come from, can you then work out where you want to get to in a way. And yeah, I understand what you’re saying about the fact that there was dentists that maybe don’t do orthodontics. It’s a whole different mindset. Then it’s an understanding that it’s very different from some general dentistry, drilling and filling. And yeah, if you’re not doing that kind of work, there is very much again like a limb missing in your, you know, your bag of tricks that actually, yeah, I get what you’re saying in terms of statement as a bold statement, for sure. But I do. I do agree, actually in the sense that everyone should have a good understanding of all the specialities, but not necessarily doing it. No, certainly be able to understand when it might be needed and then make the appropriate referral if they’re not comfortable doing it themselves.

[00:37:34] Absolutely. And so these two statements that work really well encompass all of that. And there’s this tiffs, which is, you know, if you don’t know how to or you can’t, you don’t have the knowledge to be able to sort of say, Look, this patient treatment plan should be a little bit of pre alignment before us stick some porcelain on there or Ross’s. You know, Ross’s saying there’s always coming out with which is you don’t know what you don’t know, right? And yeah, and so if you don’t know that orthodontic, you don’t know what’s best for that patient, right? And so you end up doing a disservice to your patients. But flipping that around, you know, it’s rare, that rare. I’ve never come across an orthodontist who will do also restorative dentist. You talk about sticking veneers on patients and stuff like that that you’ve got you’ve got you’re providing the complete treatment for the patient. So what proportion of your dentistry would you say is strictly ortho versus sort of restorative as well?

[00:38:35] I would say it’s probably 70 or 30 restorative prosthetic. Actually, almost all my adult cases have some form of research development in them, and I work a lot with my referring dentists in the sense that when they refer a patient to me, I don’t want to just be that person that takes the case and sends it back to see. Right. Thank you very much. That’s them done. You know, I sit down with a patient and I plan only for the orthodontics. I plan for the restorative the cosmetic part. And so I would I really enjoy sending almost work away if a patient has sent me a story of a dentist who sent me a patient and the patient has said, Oh, I want some my lower teeth straightens, you know, a very commonly seen, and then I sit down with them. I look at the models, the photographs, and we say, OK, so this is how your teeth will look when they’re straighter. But you’ve got some way around your teeth, you’ve got a, you know, some discolouration on some of the teeth like that crown up there. I take the time, even though I don’t have to, in a sense, to show the patient the complete overview of their case. And it means that I build a nice relationship with them. They’re, you know, confident in the work that I’m about to do. But also it means that when I’m finished the orthodontics, I put the teeth in the right place and I send the patient back to the dentist. And the patient has already agreed to some whitening, replacing a crown. They’re actually wanting some composite bonding, you know, have that back, you know, I’m making some money from this. You’re making some money, the patients happy. We have given the patient a complete plan.

[00:39:58] The dentists never sent the patient to me knowing that that was going to be done. But I like to give back and using the the way that I work is very much it’s a it’s a comprehensive view. We look at doing small designs for every patient, if not like a mock up in the mouth. I mean, a step too far for some patients, but certainly doing a 2D smile design when we’re just working with keynote or PowerPoint templates to work out where the smile should be. It’s a starting point in any and any treatment, orthodontic or restorative, and we we just take the time to just help the patient understand what they might need. And a lot of patients might not agree to the full plan, and that’s fine. But they are fully aware and they’re fully consented to what would be a gold standard plan. And we work backwards from that. And a lot of cases and a lot of adult cases, there are compromises, whether that be aesthetically inclusively, but they are well aware and it’s mic my working life so much less stressful. Because of the fact that there is less mistakes, there is less excuses because of the fact that we finished at the end of the treatment and the patient says, Oh, I didn’t realise this because they knew about it in the beginning. You know, it’s like if you tell them at the beginning, it’s starting excuse in the end, you know what I mean? So that’s the way that I like to work. It’s something I enjoy working with my colleagues and finding that when they realise that they’re getting work back and they’re enjoying sending patients to me and it keeps me busy as well, so.

[00:41:19] And then there’s your marketing strategy itself, Josh. You mentioned you need to work harder on your marketing, but I think you’re actually doing it. You know, the fact that you’re treating these patients comprehensively, if I was your referring dentist, if I was referring to you and I sent a patient over and said, Look, this patient wants to align their teeth, I know you’re the guy to do it. And then it comes back with a whole bunch of restorative stuff that you’ve treatment planned. You’ve pre-sold. And then that patient lands back in my chair and I get to do that work correctly. I’ll make sure I send you more patients, right? Well, that’s yeah.

[00:41:51] And it’s I mean, you might know of the digital small design. Sure, kind of. With Christian Coachman, you know, having having really got on board with that quite early doors, even when Elaine was teaching on it back in the day when I was still an undergraduate, you know, I was really kind of hammered into me that every patient should have this ideal plan and you work backwards from that. And you know, the way that I would really love to work in the future would be to have almost educate in a way by referring dentists to be the quarterback. So, as you said, they have an understanding of all the areas of dentistry and they know what the patient needs. They are the quarterback, kind of managing everything they say, OK, so you would need a bit of orthodontics. We need some. We need this implant. And they send out. If they can’t do that work, they would send the patient to me, perhaps with a wax up that I can kind of go by. I can move the teeth within that wax up. You know, I’m working for my prescription at the moment. I’m a little bit like quarterback in the sense that the patient comes to me not knowing I work out and I say, OK, so actually, I’m going to do this part and I’m going to send you back for this work with your own dentist again. So I would love for that rule to switch and almost have the, you know, I’m almost like a pawn in the the game. But at the moment, I’m finding that I do a lot, I do a lot and I’m not doing it for personal or financial gain. I’m doing because that’s the right thing to do, and it helps me to send, you know, some work back to my dentist.

[00:43:17] You can only do that, Josh, because of your education, your background. I don’t think there’s many orthodontist who’ve done the year long. Chris, of course, done the DSD stuff and you’ve you’ve you’ve engrossed yourself in all that education. And I think in a similar way, TIFF’s argument always revolves around as GDPs. We should be well-rounded, right? We should be engrossed in ourselves in education that revolves around at least being able to do G.D.P. also and understand where our limitations are. Yeah, yeah. Knowing what we can and can’t do. But moving on from there, Josh, obviously you found yourself now having, you know, working in these practises, you know, treating patients, doing a bit of ortho restorative dentistry as probably termit. And how did you break into the scene of teaching? Because for me, this young and you know, there was absolutely no way that I thought you were a specialist because you look far too young to be a specialist, right? And so all

[00:44:17] The degrees are showing what kind of haircut to kind of get rid of them.

[00:44:20] At least you’ve still got some hair, mate. But this young kid breaks onto the scene and you see him all over social media teaching, and you certainly caught our eye. How did you first get into teaching? Was it that influenced from back right at the beginning or yeah,

[00:44:38] I would say so. It was never something that’s come natural to me, and I still do get nervous when I’m talking. I would say that before lockdown, I did do a lot of work with the BCD on like a Saturday morning. If they had an event on a kind of a regional meeting, let’s just say or a study club, I’d be involved in that. I might speak at things like that. After and during lockdown. I got into webinars, as I’m sure we all know. I think we’re all webinar about. And and I guess my my main drive and I don’t know if it’s a selfish thing or not, but my main drive for lecturing isn’t so much, you know, from a financial point of view, it is very much that by lecturing and teaching, you know you do one, so you watch one, do one and teach one. It’s helping me understand. My case is more you spend the time kind of critiquing yourself more and you look and you see sometimes the mistakes that you wouldn’t have seen by looking back and kind of building your slides and things of that. So in a way, I kind of do it for myself in, you know, helping me kind of get better what I do. I also do it in a way, and lockdowns kind of put a bit of a halt on that. But you know, I I want to be able to see a bit of the world and lecturing it can be a very lonely.

[00:45:51] Place, you know, in your four walls and your surgery. I don’t want to just lock myself in my surgery, I want to get out and see the world and lecturing gives you an opportunity to do that as well. Going to conferences, meeting people as well. So in a way, from a selfish point of view, that that’s why I do lecturing for my own gain from that perspective. But I really do enjoy, you know, helping others. I mentor a lot of dentists, but only with a line of treatment and looking at their orthodontic setups, their clinics and just, I guess, in the position that I’m at being a dentist who receive referrals, you know, I help out my colleagues and doing and doing what they do. You know, I’m more than happy for for them to tackle difficult cases that they may have otherwise referred to myself to do. But with my help, they can do it themselves and their own practise because they have the reputation and they’ve got the relationship with that patient, you know? So yeah, I do a lot of mentoring. I get a lot from the fact that actually, you know, those that I teach, I like to think I inspire them and I’m making their lives better or easier. I should say I’m helping them not make the mistakes, perhaps that I made and everyone wins.

[00:46:59] So how did you break into it? Was it a conscious thing that I want to become a lecturer? You know, something that we asked people who sort of speak their, you know, how did that journey happen? You know, a bit like your journey into dentistry. The 14 year old kid who went for work experience and then was treated by Elaine Halley as a younger kid and all the rest of it, and then ended up, you know, connecting the dots. Was there any particular moments or events that triggered and inspired you to get into sharing your knowledge?

[00:47:27] Sure. If it was like a particular event which kind of kicked it off in the sense that, as you said, I have, I have invested a lot of time and money into training and early, and I kind of wanted to get under my belt and and I guess because of the fact I’ve done all this education, people wanted to know if people wanted to be like, you know, know, so what? What do you know? And so I guess I got invited to do smaller things, you know, just an hour here or there webinar. I, you know, I was very grateful for for TIFF and Rossin yourself kind of kind of opening the door within the Ice Academy. I mean, that’s almost like the biggest thing for me actually now. Up until that point where I came down and did the full days course on aligners, I had never really done a full day before, actually. All right. I had actually I’d done a deal with the Backhed actually once before, but mostly smaller power here and there, or or webinars. And it’s just kind of a bit snowballed quite quickly, actually. And thinking about it now, because I has really just been just before and during lockdown that I would call myself someone who does lecture. And yeah, I’m just kind of reminiscing here thinking it’s been quite fast.

[00:48:34] And there’s something really been about two years, and I’ve come a long way in that in that time where I think it will go. I mean, I’m quite comfortable with where I am now with it. I don’t know how much further I can take it, but certainly, I mean, I certainly with the Ice Academy, you know, it’s great to get the feedback from the delegates who’ve been on their early courses and are hoping to inspire, you know, those just like in practise, you know, patient self referrals, you know, Dental referrals say, I went on this course, I learnt a lot. And you know, when I get more people through the courses and help them kind of understand my way of, you know, tackling a minor cases, a slight change in mindset when it comes to orthodontics as well. So that’s where I kind of want to take it. I’ve got no aspirations of being a keynote speaker at, you know, the American Orthodontic Society Congress. I’m not that level and I probably will never be because I think the next thing I need to do is not so much CPD and Dental related things. It’s probably more about marketing and lecturing, actually. So that’s probably where my next videos will go.

[00:49:37] Funnily enough, Josh, you say you don’t want to be that guy and, you know, whatever. There’s so many barriers in the way, but it sounds like listening to your back story from, you know, these moments of, you know, connecting the dots with various people, mentored people who have inspired you. You’ve just you’ve just hopped from one to the other. And I think a little bit of work, but a little obviously a little bit of luck, but I think you create your own luck. Yeah, Josh, you really create your own look. And I think, you know, taking up opportunities like, you know, running this course and whatnot puts you in front of people, right? And, you know, meeting the right people, meeting the right people. And so with the next question I actually had for you was related to the clearer line, of course, or courses that you run in at the academy. And you know, I think I already know the answer to this question now because I know about your background. But what’s the difference between coming on a clearer line aligner course that say Josh teaches versus, you know, the standard, let’s say, Invisalign course or, you know, whatever all these on the clear line of courses are. And for me now, like my one, take away from this is you are a dentist and an. Orthodontist and everyone said that everyone is an orthodontist, is a dentist, but for me, you’re a practising dentist, and when you teach these GDPs, you do in the restorative stuff, you’re thinking about the occlusion and all of that, and

[00:51:05] You’re not just orthodontist second.

[00:51:08] Yeah. And it doesn’t seem like you just right. I’m just shifting these teeth from here to and I’ll show you how to do it and all the mechanics and whatnot behind it. So just talk me through your approach. I’m I’m a clear correct user, a sure smile user in Invisalign user, a smile and user. You know, I’ve used a whole range of clearer liners. And you know, the whole premise of your course is it’s purely Open-Source, right?

[00:51:30] So yeah, it does not understanding the tools, really. That’s what it is. Sorry to jump in there. Go for it. What is the difference? Yeah. And having having done initially the Invisalign course, see fast. A lot of these kind of bracket them as almost like weekend courses that you would do. It is very much to learn a system in the sense that there is a black box in the middle there that isn’t top because you cannot always teach someone how to get into C Invisalign or sure, smile in a day. And so it’s almost like this idea of, you know, teach people how to put the records in to get the aligners out and maybe go over a little bit more about the practicalities of things like fitting attachments, what IPR is, but you’re not really having spending the time to learn intricacies of how the mechanics work, how the teeth actually move. And you know, that’s that’s the biggest thing for me. And I guess I like to think that when going on a course with myself where I have that experience of using multiple different systems and knowing what I gathered from these courses before, yes, I learnt certain things, but I didn’t really understand what was underneath. And I guess with the certainly the clear aligner level courses run by the U.S. Academy, and I like to think that I just kind of delve deeper and I open that black box.

[00:52:47] I help people understand how the teeth actually move, what movements would work, what don’t. So it’s not just a case of get your set up back or you’re clench it back and saying, OK, the teeth have moved. I like that. Look, let’s go for this to prove it. And someone told me what it was like. 90 percent of all Invisalign cases get approved on their first clean check, but you’ve got to remember that the technicians on the other side, they’re not always dentists and orthodontists. They they are, you know, guys that are very good or girls that are very good at a computer game. In a sense, you know, yes, they have parameters to work from, and the artificial intelligence within their software works very well. Yeah, but it is not the be all and end all, you know, and there is there is mistakes that are made and it’s about understanding how to combat these difficulties and tooth movement with aligners having an understanding not just about aligners, but also just how teeth move in general with braces as well. It is all much of a muchness and you know, when I always say to people, you know, teeth are stupid, you know, if you pushed on them for hard enough and for long enough, they will move.

[00:53:49] They don’t know if they’re being moved by a bit of plastic or a bit of wire, you know, so it’s trying to just take away from this mindset of, you know, I’m only an Invisalign provider. That’s all I can provide. And a bit like the dentistry, you know, having an opening the floor to actually a greater depth of understanding. But what would be best? You know, what tool is best for the job here? And that’s the way you describe it. When patients come in and and request a treatment, I say to them, I you what you’re paying for here isn’t the white braces, the aligners. It is the end result, the tools, the brace. It’s just a tool that I use to get you there, you know, and and the pathway might not be straight. It might be a bit windy. We’re having difficulty moving teeth. We might have to go back to the drawing board and make more aligners. We might have to change things. It’s a learning curve, but the beauty of orthodontics is it allows you to navigate through that path. And if things don’t go the way you had initially planned, teeth might move differently. Then you can always move things back usually. So again, that’s I like to think that this is quite a safe profession.

[00:54:49] Go go. Going into that black box that you spoke about earlier, that opening that black box for four GDP’s and passing your knowledge on, you know, the whole concept of the black box thinking theory is that as health care professionals, we rarely share our mistakes with the community. But the airline industry by default has to go through that black box. Any mistakes that are made are shared industrywide, and that’s why it’s such a safe mode of transport because we’re all learning industry wide from the mistakes. So if you could share some mistakes that you’ve made either your biggest clinical mistake or just during your time of practise in what mistakes have you made that maybe our audience could learn from?

[00:55:31] Yeah, I mean, I know that before this, we had a bit of a brief chat, and I’m actually going to bring up two facts. Okay? One is very much clinical, which I’ll probably go into after. But the first one, I think probably the biggest mistake in my career was just about how I communicated, I think, with my patients. And, you know, I was young. I was eager I wanted to do the treatment, and I was going about my second consultation, sometimes all wrong, where I was very much using Dental lingo and I would talk to the patient as if they knew what I knew and it was and it was. Looking back, it was wrong, and it’s off-putting actually as a patient being almost talked to. And one of the biggest things that I’ve learnt in my career is, you know, just learning to listen to the patients and let them do the talking. A second consultation, I think, should be 80 percent them talking and 20 percent. You actually, you know, get them off and get them to understand what they want. Almost make let them have these light bulb moments. And then they say, Joshua, I want this, you know, before you’ve even talked about pricing and things.

[00:56:35] And so for me, one of the biggest mistakes in my career was just about how the patient journey went and how I communicated with the patients. You know, you’re, you know, more more than most how important that is. And so I probably did myself a disservice early on in my career where I could have had a much better case acceptance and done more dentistry when actually I might have sometimes been a bit off putting. And patients are a bit overwhelmed by some of the terminology and some of the things I’m presenting to them. So but it is a learning curve, and I suppose some people might see it as a mistake. Some people might see it as it was just your development. You know, everyone is never going to be the magical person in the very beginning. But but I look back on that and think, Yeah, you know, it wasn’t as good as I could have been. And then, but yes, so you can talk a bit about that if you want to.

[00:57:20] Was there was there a course that you went on or a light bulb moment or somebody that you shadowed at a certain point in time where it just clicked and thought, Crikey, this is how I should be speaking to patients? Well, did it just evolve?

[00:57:32] Yeah, I would say that actually going on the digital smile design courses where they they do focus a lot on the patient experience and the patient journey. They helped me, I suppose, understand a little bit more from the patient’s perspective because you’ve got to understand that they don’t know what you know. And I was too busy focussing on the the problems, I suppose, or the the facts when actually it’s what what patients want to hear is solutions and not sometimes the solutions to what they initially have in their mouth. But but then the benefits that it brings to them with the dentistry, you know, talking about more about the confidence that will bring, you know, because like, for instance, I had a patient last week who’s getting married in six months. And yes, you know, I talk about how the treatment will go through. I’ll talk about how the teeth will move, but then they’re not investing, that they’re not investing in, you know, just that treatment. They’re investing in the confidence that bring them in their wedding photographs, for example, there’s a there’s a deeper level of understanding in a way always is that that’s it. And it’s it’s about bringing it back to that root cause of why they want to have it done. It was almost a little bit of for myself how I got to that stage where I guess I’m more aware of that now. It was almost just threw a bit of trial and error mistakes. Kind of navigating through that consultation with the patients and getting to know them. I have done a lot of work in a way with kind of with Dental sales training and in a way in marketing to patients. And it’s just been an amalgamation of think of of all of that, can I come together that I guess it would have been a bit of a light bulb moment at some point? I don’t know when that was, but I do feel like what I’m doing now is working for me. But yeah,

[00:59:11] Before we go into your second mistake, Josh, take me through your your patient journey. Me as a patient comes in to see you with that problem. Let’s say this gap in my tooth that’s been that’s been getting bigger and bigger over the years. What’s the tell me about the journey I come in? I see you. What’s the investment to come and see you and have an assessment? All the rest? Just take me through that A2Z journey because I know it’s completely different for everyone, even though we sit in our isolated four walls and think everyone does it like this. So just share that with us, please.

[00:59:42] I mean, it all starts before the patient is really even coming to the practise. It starts by your presence online. It starts with the emails, the communication that you send to the patient and, you know, trying to make them feel while one confident and coming to see you like sharing with them, your experience, your reputation so that when they come in, they’re already that you’ve set the bar for success almost before they’ve come in. But certainly, you know, in terms of the in the practise, it’s they would use a patient would come in. It would usually be a 15 or 20 minute point with the treatment coordinator or myself to just get an understanding of what they’re wanting from the treatment. They would then come in to see myself again to just elaborate a bit more, you know, ever meet and greets to work out what their concerns are, what their expectations are in a way. You know, what is it they’re wanting from the treatment we run through our clinical exam, we gather the records sometimes when the first visit or if the actual discussion is taking a bit longer because it’s really important to sit down and chat with your patients and can’t emphasise that enough actually, to all younger dentists, just take the time to talk. Actually, we’re two to. Focussed on just rushing in there and having a look, you know, just chat to people. And if we can, we would take records at that first visit, which would usually be filled with records. It could be x rays might even be 3D x rays sometimes and orthodontics as well now. Scans of the patient’s teeth and photographs.

[01:01:06] We would then let the patients head off, and the investment for that first consultation is usually just £200. Mm hmm. Because I don’t want to make the finances become a barrier to, you know, allowing me to present a plan to a patient so I don’t charge the world to to for my time. My initial consultation and I would then gather the information and I would either lock in sometime during my clinical week where I would do treatment planning letter, writing things like that, or I would actually just do that work at home. Know, I’ve got some cases I’m going to be going through probably later on this afternoon and and I sit down behind the scenes and I and I plan what I’m going to do, how I’m going to present that to the patient. And I actually use almost like presenting a slideshow. I use keynote. I put the patient’s photographs on the presentation. I might annotate those photographs using my iPad. I draw a line. I arrow and I say the key here. Or, you know, there’s there’s a problem here. So it helps them visualise it because they look at an x ray and you point to something and they see a black and white mark. They sometimes know what that means, but if you cannot test it, then great. And then during a second consultation, I sit down and I book about half an hour for a second chat and we run through it. We might get up Invisalign or a smile tooth movement simulation as well, so they’re visually seeing what it is that people look like. I also have the ability to then take that and then do a bit of a restorative work.

[01:02:28] So I might say to the patient, after we’ve moved your teeth, you can see that actually, it is highlighted more where there’s it’s where before your teeth was rotated, when you turn it, you can actually see there’s a bit of a chip off that tooth you might not have been aware of. And then we can actually have those discussions at that second consultation about the restorative part to to follow the orthodontics, you know, almost that day one. And so the patient has a lot better understanding of what they might need. And, you know, hopefully, you know, because I’ve shared the time and you know, we’ve invested in them that they are more likely to see, you know, Josh. Let’s go for it or if now isn’t the time. And I very much I do highlight to the patient, actually, there is no rush. You know, we could wait some time. It has to be the right time for them. More often than not, they will come back because they will be confident and the work that you’ve done, and even if they do a bit of shopping around, there will be no experience, hopefully like the one that we’ve given them and they’ll say, Well, actually, you know, I want to go and see just because I, you know, I jelled with him. So and that’s how the patient experience goes and the journey through the clinics that I work in. And then after we do, we get the acceptance and the patient goes to the treatment just as anyone would so. So, yeah, that’s how we did it.

[01:03:36] It sounds like you’ve got that process buttoned down. So in summary, the patient will come in, maybe see the TCO for 10 15 minutes. They build up a bit of rapport with that with that patient. And I’d almost like to sell you right the concept of having that full assessment with you.

[01:03:52] It kind of makes me cringe a little bit.

[01:03:53] But you know, that’s what it is, right? They settle the concept of your expertise, the you’re the right man for the job. They come in and you spend a lot of time chatting to them, getting to know them, do a comprehensive assessment and then invite them back for a second consultation where you presenting almost like a keynote presentation with their photographs and stuff.

[01:04:14] Yeah, wow. Yeah. And I’ve got templates that I use, which makes that work a bit easier to drag and drop them. We have members of staff that we’ve trained to do things like that as well. So it’s a it took a while to get a nice, streamlined way of doing. It seems to be working quite well now. You know, everyone’s playing their part, which is great. And yet it is like presenting it every time a patient comes in. But the beauty about that is along with and I don’t usually write very long and drawn out treatment plan letters explaining all the risks and benefits. So so what we do is I then get that keynote put into a PDF and send up to the patient. They have their actuaries have their photographs annotated. They’ve given that all information. So actually they are they are much more aware than if I’ve just kind of talked them through it as if they’re just sitting in a chair and then said, here’s the bit of paper sign at the bottom. You know, I know that from a professional point of view, we do have to get the sign on the dotted line, which we still do. But realistically, no one reads the T’s and sees no no giving them the photographs. They’re going to go home, they’re going to look at it. They’re going to show their friends, look how much effort, you know, this dentist has made and to help me helping me understand what my smile can become. And yeah, it’s not the right time for them to start now. I can guarantee they’ll be back within the next year because they’ll they’ll have that on their phone and they’ll, you know, every time they think I’m a tooth and then they’ll look at their photographs and they’ll see the kind of smile design that we’ve done for them and think that does look good. So, yeah, it’s the way that I would want to be treated, you know, never, never treat someone like yourself.

[01:05:39] Yeah, it’s funny, Josh. Earlier on, you were talking about, you know, you need to help your sales and marketing game. I think I think we could all learn quite a lot from from just your process that you’ve shared there. Because you know what you’re sending them out there is with a full blown personalised brochure of them for them, right? Instead of handing over, well, this is what Invisalign does, but this is what your smile does are clear, correct or whatever.

[01:06:05] Yeah, it’s encompassed everything, really. And I don’t ring fence the patients in the beginning. I actually don’t give too much away in that first visit in the sense that I might give a bit of a hint to say, Have you like, have you considered moving your teeth or have you considered doing a bit of whitening or reshaping? I generally don’t really give away too much in the way of a price in the first visit either, because I say to the patient, if I was going to go for scans at at the hospital, you know, I wouldn’t expect to get a diagnosis that day one. And I do feel that as a as a dentist going through the educational pathway, you are kind of led into almost giving an answer immediately. You know, when the consultant comes around and they say, what’s going on here, what you’re doing and say, Oh, this patient has this, this, this, you know, they have a beeper of three here, you know, you know, you don’t you don’t need to to rush, you know, take your time. And it makes for a much more comfortable working environment, for sure.

[01:06:53] And you get them in to present your treatment plan to them, right? She got them back in.

[01:06:58] I do, yeah, I like that personal, and I know that with COVID and things at the moment, you know, people are doing things a lot more virtually. And yes, I have done second consultations virtually, usually for patients that are further away. They might not travel in for a chat and you can do that. And by getting the presentations ready like I would do anyway, it’s very easy to share. It was actually had dinner last night with a dentist to a group of dentists, ultimate implants or do a lot of implants. And they were saying that they do struggle to do zoom consultations because it’s very difficult to sell, but it’s quite an expensive treatment just by saying I can replace that tooth, you know, whereas you know, with orthodontics, you have the ability to show them a clincher. You have the ability to show them maybe before and after. It’s very difficult to do that with with implants. So. And so they’re finding they’re struggling a little bit with that, whereas I actually have embraced it and I quite like doing it. But I do like the personal touch. I like inviting people in and taking that time. But if they travel or they find it difficult, we will organise it and we’ll do it that way as well.

[01:07:56] Yeah, yeah, it’s surprising how many dentists and I’m sure a lot of listening to this they’ll may have. Maybe having a light bulb moment is they just email the treatment plan and then wait for the reply

[01:08:07] And you’ll be waiting a long time to be waiting. Personally, and I think I think you might have heard me say that, you know, as human beings, we never we never buy things rationally. We will never buy things emotionally. If you buy a new car, you’re not buying a car because you want to be going to work in this car. You foresee yourself sitting in the nice seats. You’re you’re envisaging what others see of you sitting in that car. It’s an emotional response. So you’re not buying it for the practicalities of getting from A to B because you could go and buy a scooter. You know, if you if that’s what you’re after. Yes. So you know, it’s a very, very not the best terminology in terms of describing that. But hopefully you understand what I mean.

[01:08:45] No, absolutely. So. Moving on to your second clinical mistake or mistake that you. What? What what’s that, Josh?

[01:08:53] I guess my mindset has slightly changed, actually, in terms of where the biological boundaries lie with orthodontics. So as an example, I had a case where and the patient came in. They were a Class two Division One Dental relationship, and the patient wasn’t interested in doing any surgery. So we knew that we were going down the road of camouflaging this, and so we decided to take out our proprie molars very commonly done. But my mindset has shifted now because in that case, we took out the teeth, we lined up the teeth and we thought, OK, so everything’s looking pretty nice and we’ve got quite nice occlusion. But I’ve got these huge spaces to try and close and it takes a long time, especially in an adult. So clinical mistake number two was that, you know, we we’ve taken our teeth in some patients that maybe ought to maybe not have teeth. You know, we could have treated this patient in a different way, and the patient’s treatment time could have been maybe half that could have taken maybe a year as opposed to two or longer. And yeah, and now I am more of the of the mindset that actually I would perhaps do a bit of alignment. First of all, for those that you know, I’m thinking in the beginning, well, we could be taking teeth out here.

[01:10:01] But if the biology allows for it and I’m not going to expand or I’m not going to cause any recession or distance from doing that, then I’d be much more inclined to actually line up teeth first, reassess after that alignment phase and then decide at that point, but the patient would be consented to the potential need for extractions later on. So sometimes, though, we’re just kind of saying no, now we need extractions. This it’s a case of, you know, we’ll let things work out a little bit first and then we’ll decide. But also actually and kind of just slightly branching off from that. The integration now with 3D rays or combine x rays with an orthodontics where you can visualise the roots within the bone and things like that. And you kind of it’s a bit of a mind shift from me actually understanding where the biology is and understanding how much we can expand, how much we can proclaim teeth. And so now I think compared to myself last year, we were always learning. I am more inclined now to maybe do extractions sometimes or doing a bit more IPR between the teeth because I look back to the case and I think, well, actually, I might have pushed some of those routes out of the bone and I might have cost them recession there.

[01:11:05] So as technology advances, as I had developed and as everyone develops as an individual, you’ll look back on case you did last year and think, what was I doing? Why did I do it that way? Yeah, your whole career, you’re evaluating things you’ve done. And so I guess that’s mistakes that I’ve made in the past where it might have been a bit gung ho with extractions and it’s almost come full circle again now where? And it’s like that in orthodontic as well. We were very pro extraction. We’re very not extraction and we’re kind of coming to terms with a bit more extraction now. It’s going round and round in circles. Same in my own short career so far. I’ve kind of gone both ways and and learning from the mistakes. So yeah, that would be my second mistake that for any individuals who are planning to do cases whereby they’re they’re thinking and they’re planning to decide to take teeth out. Think to yourself, can I maybe line this up? Does the biology allow for it? And if it does, then consider me, Blaine, first of all. It might save a lot of time later on. Yeah, in terms of, you know, maybe I didn’t have to do that.

[01:12:01] Yeah, yeah. And and then moving on, you talked about, you know, the technology in our game massively improved and given us access to see things visually do things visually, the whole clean check or the equivalent thereof of these two simulation movements. And along with that, you know, has come direct to consumer orthodontic. So you rock up in your local shopping centre, get scanned by a non Dental professional and pick up your reminders and do it yourself. Just give me your thoughts on a direct to consumer orthodontics and be have you had conversations with patients about direct to consumer orthodontics and what’s the narrative of that conversation that you have with them when they ask your opinion?

[01:12:50] So I mean, great. Great question, and I’m sure you get a lot of different responses from a lot of different dentists regarding that. My overall view is that it is and I know you might be a bit shocked by this, but it’s probably a little bit good for our industry, actually, that they’re there. And I do think that they have brought a lot of awareness within the general public about orthodontics and about aligners. I would actually argue that I’ve had more patients come through my door because of the adverts that people see on the TV. So I am not anti direct to consumer aligning because I think actually it does suit some patients. Actually, you know, for those patients that have had orthodontics as a child, they’ve lost their retainer. One tooth is a little bit out of alignment. They’re actually, you know, why sometimes are you paying for my services when sometimes actually it could be dealt with with a couple of aligners and and things? And so you can save money there if that’s what the patient wants. The bit that gets me really is the fact that there is no clinical exam sometimes, and there’s a risk it is very much a risk. And you mentioned about the question two there about, you know, have I had chats with patients and I’ve had patients that have had SmileDirectClub and then come to see me because they only got a little bit of the way there.

[01:14:08] So because you haven’t had an orthodontist riding on their back and because it is not as expensive, there may be a little bit less likely to wear them as well. And my experience of these liners is that no one ever gets to the end result that they want, but they may get 80 percent of the way there that might make them happy enough. So it serves a purpose, but it is not comprehensive treatment by any way. And I’ve seen patients that have had that, and they want that little bit more to come and see me, and I finished the job off, actually. But on the other end of that scale, I’ve also seen cases and one particularly brink comes to mind. A new patient consultation just found us through the website, essentially, sure, women with a bit of paper essentially wanting signed off for. And it was SmileDirectClub, and they came to me and I was a bit shocked. I was like, Well, we want to. I had never heard of them before, and the patient came in and I just sort of feel orthodontic exam. They were a class three, quite heavy crowding, very bad peril caries in the teeth and a and I thought to myself this this patient is borderline orthographic surgery patient. And at the very least, they need to be taken out to a line. They see there is no way that these teeth can be lined up.

[01:15:17] Now, I don’t know what the SmileDirectClub Plan would have been, but they wanted me to essentially sign off this patient as being fit for orthodontic. And I said, I cannot do this. And if I give you one take home message, here it is, you know, don’t do that. You know, I would happily give you this treatment at cost price because I worry for you. I don’t need to go down the road of doing this and please understand that you need teeth out. You know, you might actually consider doing jaw surgery to get your jaw in the right position and get your teeth straight here. And so that concerned me a little bit. While I say a little bit a lot actually, that I worry about patients that might have this kind of work done that have got active disease and it might be leading to problems. And we’ll never hear of these problems because it’ll probably get squashed a certain level in the legal term. They’re a big company. I’m sure they can squash these things by giving money back and giving away things. I’m sure they keep the patients happy in the end, but I think of an overall perspective. I think that direct to consumer lighting has a place, but the fact that there is not a clinical exam, sometimes it kind of worries me is the take home message from that.

[01:16:26] It’s an interesting take on it, Josh. And I think, you know, I can sit back now and just listen to your perspective and I can see I can see how it’s been beneficial to our industry because it’s created more awareness, right? And it ends up creating more work for us. And I think my concern around it just revolves around even if that patient just needs one. So we’ve shifted. Do they have the knowledge to make that decision that direct to consumer orthodontist is right for me? That’s my story.

[01:16:54] No, no, I agree. I. Surely it’s a very tough question, actually, isn’t it, because patients don’t know what they don’t know and they just assume teeth move and and things and and yet am, I’m sure, out there there’s a lot of patients that wish they hadn’t done it because they probably call themselves more harm than good. But it serves a place, but I think the overall it has not taken away patients from our chair. I do think it has actually put more bums on seats, actually. But yeah, there are patients that are being treated that that are entering into a risky situation. Yeah, absolutely. They don’t have all the information, they don’t have the X-rays. And sometimes what I worry and I’ve had to chat to patients before is that if they’ve had other people before, you know, we don’t always take X-rays because we wanted to see how this has any decay or how the gums are. But actually, orthodontics causes resorption. And if a patient has had two, sometimes three years of quite hefty orthodontics, their roots might be a bit shorter, and that can cause problems that they wouldn’t be aware of if they were to go down the road of orthodontics without having that information first. So again, there’s a lot of pitfalls with direct-to-consumer lining, and I wouldn’t say that I tell. I would never say to a patient, go and have accepted it, you know what I mean? I would go and do it, but I like to just educate people and patients on.

[01:18:11] So just on on another topic very similar to that, that we that we asked a lot of dentists. And I may not necessarily ask this question to a traditional orthodontist, but I’m going to ask you, OK, which is cosmetic dentistry abroad, which we often refer to as turkey teeth. What is your advice to someone that comes and asks you about that? And also, what’s your opinion on it?

[01:18:34] Yeah, I would say I’m quite liberal about it. As long as the patient understand what they’re what they’re getting into, it’s it’s OK. I like to. I think that I’m a minimally invasive dentist and the line bleach and bonds way of thinking that I try and conserve as much enamel infrastructure as I can. If I can move the teeth and just add to them, then that is better than drilling them down, for sure. But you have to remember that with orthodontics also comes a contract of lifetime retention as well. And some patients, they might not want to wear retainers. They, you know, they aren’t. They say to me, Well, actually, Josh, I don’t want to wear these retainers for life long. So actually, I might go down the route of veneers and and it’s easy to the room. And as long as the patient is educated that once you go veneers, you cannot go back. If they’re understanding that, then that is their decision to make. I would honestly say that my Dental hat on here that as my career has progressed and as I have done a lot more cases with porcelain and composite and understanding occlusion that actually I was maybe too minimal in the beginning, actually with a veneer prepped and things like that. Now I’m probably a little bit more. I wouldn’t say the word aggressive, but certainly I’m much more aware of, you know, sometimes veneers that need a little bit more a grip in a way, and that’s relying so much on the adhesion and the bonding, and more so that I actually want the veneers to just have a little bit more of a wraparound effect.

[01:19:58] So I would actually say in the last couple of years, my veneers prepping has become a bit heavier. Actually, I don’t know if many would agree with that, but but from that perspective, you know, that’s it’s my learning curve. But going back to your original question about the turkey teeth, my own barber, I just because I had a haircut yesterday it in from my mind, but he told me he had booked in to go to. I can’t remember the Seville Smile Club and it is in Turkey. I’m pretty sure to have his teeth then. And I said to him, You know, David, let me do it, please, you know, because if you’re going abroad, you have the risks of having it done all in one week and that something might go wrong. And and if everything goes wrong in your home, you’ve got to fly over there and have it fixed. And there can be a lot of pitfalls financially to having that done. But let me do it, and I even said to him, I will match their quote money wise. You know, I will. I will take the money perspective out of this and just let me do it for you, please, because you know, I wanted, you know, and I wanted to do it for him, actually. He still turned me down. Anyone over there had it done because actually people sometimes want the well they’ve been to Turkey as well. So for him, he wanted that look and it is a little bit of this awesome how he turned down the offer. And and funnily enough, I’m now fixing one of those videos for him, and

[01:21:08] He’s fully

[01:21:08] Paying. Funnily enough, he’s paying half the price that he paid before to have one or two repaired. But yeah, again, you’re asking some tough questions to do. I like it there. I imagine there are some very good dentists abroad that do this work, and if you pick the right clinic, then you’ll get very good work done, if not something better than some of the work that I’ve done here. But there are pitfalls like the travel, the expense, things like that if things go wrong.

[01:21:36] Really interesting perspective there, Josh. From your barber is that actually, you know, he had he had the possibility of and obviously having listened to about you, about all your training and education and all the rest of it out of reach, hand off rather than rather than flying over to Turkey. But I think

[01:21:52] People, people want

[01:21:53] The holiday, right?

[01:21:56] He wanted the holiday, actually. You’re right, you wanted the holiday. You got picked up in the hotel was part of his cost of his treatment of things. And some people want the fact that they’ve been abroad to have their teeth done. They want to be able to tell it to their friends. And and I know it’s a hole to our conversation in itself, but you know, the appearance, how appearances have changed without our awareness of celebrity social media and things. And I am well aware that people want the I wouldn’t the term by someone who uses the false look or the veneer. The look in a way. But a lot of the time when I when I sit down with patients, I say that that’s not what I go for. If you come to see me, I would much rather give you a natural aesthetic, one in which where if you’re having a bit of work done, I almost want it that when you go away, your friends, colleagues say, you know what’s different about you? Something something’s changed. Something’s improved. Something’s, you know, you look nicer. You look more confident. I don’t want them to be like, Oh, you better treat them, you know, because yeah, it’s almost a in my opinion, because I have made it too obvious. That’s the jargon that I use with my patients, and I let them sit there and they’re nodding like, Yeah, no, you’re the one for me because and people don’t want that. And I have turned down treatment in the past where someone has said, I want to come in and have veneers, and I said, I’m not prepping those teeth, actually. And I and I don’t know where they are now, but I don’t refused to do it because they were about 23 and I was like, You’ve got your whole life. You’re not going to have any teeth left by the time you’re in your 50s.

[01:23:20] Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

[01:23:21] I do refuse. Sometimes if someone is wanting that kind of appearance, it’s not something that I really want to want to go for it in my practise and career. Sure. And I understand it’s a big work and I might be missing a trick by not doing it. But, but, but no, I think that there are there are places in which people can have that done.

[01:23:41] I think we all have our own values in our own standards. And that’s not to say that your values and your standards are any better than anyone else’s or vice versa. Right. It’s just it’s just your philosophy and what you believe in.

[01:23:53] It’s also where you work and things as well, kind of how you marketed your practise. Have a lot of respect for a lot of these very good dentists. You know that we see these kind of celebrity dentists. They’re very good at what they do, and they have just marketed themselves so that that clientele. It’s just not the clientele that I you deal with. So it’s everyone’s different, really.

[01:24:11] Yeah. You serve a particular audience and they tend to want a particular thing that you do very well. And then there’s another group of patients who are probably better served by someone else because they’re not your audience, right?

[01:24:25] And I was gonna say, going back a little bit about the turkey teeth in terms of the prepping of them, yeah, that’s kind of where my ethics lie in terms of their age, how restored their teeth are. There’s so many factors at play that actually, it’s hard to answer that question in the sense that, yes, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t go, you know, just blindly in with the BR and prep the teeth. But there are some patients that have had very heavily restored teeth that do require that at the same time.

[01:24:49] So yeah, just this brings me on to you. Haven’t listened to this podcast? You don’t know what’s coming next. So if you think the questions have been a little bit tough so far, we’re going to finish off with a couple of sort of questions. But these are not not dentistry. You have another coffee. Not necessarily dentistry. So we always like to finish off the podcast with a couple of questions, and one of them is if it was your last day on the planet. She’s OK. And you were surrounded by your loved ones or your future loved ones, whoever they are. And you had to give them three pieces of life advice or wisdom.

[01:25:37] What would they be? Three. I was going to say I’m struggling to come up with one, but three as oppose. The first one would probably just be three others as you would like to treat yourself. And that comes from a personal or, you know, practising life as well as, you know, just the way that you would want to be treated. And that is that’s probably the first one, I would say. I don’t really know if this is advice, but I would say that it’s OK to make mistakes because we learn from mistakes. And I’m very kind of kinetic learner whereby if I listen to something in a lecture, I sometimes don’t pick up as much as I would like to. But if I’ve done it and I’m doing it hands on, I remember it. And so I would say, and if you make the mistakes you learn from them and you can critique yourself as well, embrace them so that that would be maybe my second bit of advice, I suppose, is, you know, just saying it’s okay to make the mistakes, learn from them, carry on. And and hopefully they haven’t been too hard hitting mistakes financially or anything else. But you move on from their third bit of advice just out of interest. What have others said for these questions?

[01:26:48] I think, you know, a lot of others just focus on that. Let’s, you know, and I guess it comes down to the way you live your lives. If you think about right, I’m Josh and this is how I go about my week. Yeah, well, my life is, you know, what is important to me, you know, children, this, that and the other, what would you what would you say to your son, your daughter? You know, when you’re passing on some knowledge and you saying, Listen, son, make sure you go out there and do X, Y and Z and don’t don’t be a knob because no one, you understand what I mean. It’s.

[01:27:24] I mean, just from what you’ve said there, actually, and in terms of where I am in my my life and career at the moment and having just bought a flats and and things, I would say, maybe my third bit of advice is just don’t don’t sweat the small stuff, you know, don’t let small things get to you. You know, there’s there’s a bigger picture, you know, petty things just let them go. Things like that that actually, I I would say in the past, I was maybe a little bit more, you know, and maybe take these things to heart or maybe think of an example. But yeah, it’s just life’s too short. So just don’t sweat the small stuff and any little things, whether it’s financially, whether it’s a little petty arguments, things like that, just just let it go. And just kind of, yeah, yeah. And again, you’re asking me some questions that are making me kind of think almost quite deep into my own subconscious feeling. So it might not be the best advice, but that might be the three.

[01:28:25] Oh, that’s cool. It’s absolutely cool and all make sense. And Josh, so. So if that if that was your last day and someone was to make a comment that, you know, Josh was dot dot dot. Mojo, Legazpi, how would you like to be remembered?

[01:28:45] Wow. Yeah, that’s a tough one. What would my obituary say,

[01:28:53] I feel I feel like I feel like you’re too young. I feel like you’re too young to even be answering this question. We always like to just get a bit of perspective from everyone.

[01:29:04] That’s a tough question, actually. I suppose going again back around, I’d like to think that people think I was I like to share things, you know, I was a giving person that whether it comes down to, you know, sharing knowledge sharing experience just in a way kind of helping. That’s what I’d like my obituary to see, actually. You know, almost shedding a tear here, getting emotional. I suppose that’s what I would like to be remembered for is not so much for an individual thing or but just being someone who was there to help others make their life easier or to help them through experiences, things like that. Maybe it’s sorry. It’s maybe not cancer

[01:29:53] Here, Josh. It’s absolutely spot on what you

[01:29:56] Like to be remembered. You know nothing. Nothing fancy. Just Yeah.

[01:30:01] And it doesn’t have to be. You’re racking your brain try to think of some of it. But actually, you’ve just said that Josh was a very giving individual who helps others. I was actually an all around nice guy that didn’t really fall out with people, pretty much.

[01:30:15] You summed it up,

[01:30:16] And that’s pretty much what you said. And you know, we’ve had some guests who said, Is it all right to say, I don’t care, I don’t care what anyone thinks because I’m comfortable the world, you know? And so there’s been a range of, you know, different. There’s no right or wrong answers to these questions. That’s true. And the final one, which I think you’ll probably find a little bit easier if you had 30 days left and you had your health, no financial drawbacks or anything like that and all your loved ones that you could tap into, what would you spend that time doing?

[01:30:49] I mean, I would definitely kind of get away from it all. I mean, work work life. No, not not people, I should say, but in terms of like work, we get away from it all. It’s almost the same question. Obviously, if you won the lottery, what would you do in the sense that you would take your your, your friends, you take your family as much as I could treat them, you know, I would, and you would get away and just, you know, enjoy the time together. I feel like sometimes career can get in the way of relationships and and you know, if if you didn’t have that as a barrier, then you would get to know people a little bit more and build stronger relationships and things that I guess 30 days, that’s the word I would probably try and do.

[01:31:31] You wouldn’t do that last veneer case or just finish off some edge bonding.

[01:31:39] I would like to think that I wouldn’t leave people in the lurch, so I would probably put a plan in place that I would make sure that everyone was looked after. But I come back and lift the drill if I had 30 days. I think there’s priorities in those 30 days that outweigh that. I would make sure that my that no one was left in the lurch. First of all, you know, I wouldn’t want to just run away like that, you know, but certainly I would want to get away and he would go and live on a desert island for that time with your closest friends and family, for sure. And yeah, just enjoy, you know, do extreme things. I’d probably take some more risks knowing that I only have 30 days left. I would go skydiving. I’d do things like that, you know, trying to make the most of it. Sorry to bring it into it, but I suppose it almost be the same if there was ever any terminal illnesses and things. You know you’d think, Well, if I’ve been given these five years or something like that, then you know, would I pick up the drill? I would probably make sure I would finish everyone off in that initial time while I was contemplating how to use the rest of the time. Yeah. And then and I would just try and, you know, just use that time as best I could.

[01:32:43] Yeah, brilliant. Josh, thank you so much today for sharing what you’ve shared with us is going

[01:32:49] To bring it up again at the end of that conversation. But I don’t

[01:32:54] Know. It’s been great, Josh. And it’s been really interesting learning a little bit more about you, your philosophy on treatment, but also for the first time, speaking to someone who is a ortho dentist. Is this hard to put behind you as a terminology? Because I don’t see it as a without any disrespect meant Josh. I don’t see you as an orthodontist. I see you as a as a guy that’s very, very good at moving teeth, but also an all round dentist. Cosmetic dentist that takes a very realistic view.

[01:33:28] It’s kind of the way I sometimes describe it. I hybrid or a bridge the gap, sometimes between the different specialities. But yeah, really? Niche.

[01:33:37] Thanks for your time today, Josh.

[01:33:39] Oh, Prav, it’s been a pleasure chatting. It’s helped me understand a little bit more actually about what I’ve done and where I’ve come from as well, so I have very much business experience. Thank you very much for that. And yeah, if you need me to to do anything else like this, or if anyone has any questions after listening to this, more than happy for anyone to get in touch with me if there’s any information that anyone wants for me as well, and I’m happy to share anything, whether it be the slideshow that I present to patients, the templates, things like that. Just ask and you shall receive.

[01:34:10] Brilliant. Brilliant. Thanks, Josh. Thanks for your time today.

[01:34:14] 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.

[01:34:30] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, 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’ve 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.


Prav and Payman are finally reunited this week to welcome Dr Slaine McGrath to the show.

Spending too much time in the dentist’s chair can be enough to put youngsters off dentistry for life. But the opposite is true for Slaine, who was inspired into the profession following a dental mishap early in life.

Slaine talks about the pros and cons of being one of Insta’s most prominent dentists, how she landed a job at a top Harley Street clinic just two years after graduating.

She also explains the magnetic pull of London and reveals her plans for a new clinic opening soon in Edinburgh.


In This Episode

01.50 – Backstory
04.53 – Women in dentistry
06.36 – Work-life balance – a day in the life
10.18 – Dental school
12.51 – Into practice
19.47 – Social marketing
29.06 – Engaging with followers
32.22 – Lessons from top clinics
34.53 – Slaine’s vision
39.37 – Thoughts on Edinburgh
41.40 – Dark days and black box thinking
49.03 – Slaine’s top tips
56.15 – Last days and legacy

About Slaine McGrath

Slaine McGrath qualified Trinity College Dublin and worked in the maxillofacial department of Galway University Hospital in Ireland before heading for the bright lights of London.

She spent time on Harley Street with Rüh dental, where she focused on Invisalign and cosmetic treatment.

Slaine sits on the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry committee and is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

She is currently embarked on setting up a brand new practice in Edinburgh.

[00:00:00] I think the people close to you are the people who are going to support you, and you always have to remember that, but you know you are. You have family and your friends who are going to support you in it. I think the harshest criticism comes from other dentists. And I think as long as I think you’re confident in what you have posting that you feel like you have done your best for that patient. And it’s very hard for somebody to criticise it. I mean, they can say, OK, that line angle is not perfect. But so what? Because it’s a learning curve for all of us. But I think as long as you know that you’re not posting a case where it was a young, an 18 year old who needed ortho and you put in 20 porcelain veneers, you know you’re posting your best work and you think you did right by that patient, then what? What’s the concern? Somebody can criticise that. It’s not perfect, but you know, nobody’s perfect.

[00:00:52] 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.

[00:01:10] Sometimes in life, you come across someone who you connect with straight away and then you get to know them a bit better and you realise everyone is connecting with this person straight away. Our next guest, Slaney, McGrath, Stephanie, that kind of person for me. I came across her maybe three or four years ago, really. When Instagram took off, Stephanie’s career was taking off at the same time, and since then, I’ve got to know her a lot better. Worked with her a few times, had her lecture at some of our events and always been really wonderfully surprised by the level of openness and telling the whole story which you don’t always get from teachers. Lovely to have you on the show, Slaney.

[00:01:48] Thank you very much. What an introduction.

[00:01:50] Yeah, and it’s and it’s lovely to do one with with Prav because it’s been a while since me and Prav have done gone together. But you know, we tend to start these by just getting to your backstory. Where were you born? What did your parents do? Why did you think of dentistry? What kind of kid were you?

[00:02:08] Well, I was born in London in 1990 and I was there for about a year. And then from my dad’s work, we moved to Bristol. My dad works in. He works for large breweries. I guess he was working in Bristol at the time and we lived there until I was about 10 years old.

[00:02:31] Both of my parents are Irish and they both always wanted to move back to Ireland. So when I was about 10, we packed up. The car was taken out of school one day on Easter holidays and said, You’re not going back.

[00:02:43] And we arrived in Galway in the west coast of Ireland, which is where I kind of spent all of my secondary

[00:02:49] Schooling years and is where I call home. So I then moved up to the finish school to to Dublin to study dentistry. And I guess what made me want to be a dentist, actually, I think deep down was due to a trauma when I was about nine years old and I was, Oh, I must have been less than nine. I was maybe about seven and I was climbing out of an outdoor swimming pool. My auntie had taken me out for the day to this leisure centre, and I slipped on the ladder and landed on my teeth, and I smashed lots of my front teeth and spent a lot, a lot of time in the dentist chair as a child and adolescent, having root canals, having Crohn’s, having a lot of treatment done to rehabilitate it. And I think that kind of stuck with me. And when I was choosing where I what I wanted to study in university, I remember going to see my dentist and talk to him, and he was actually a dual qualified medick and dentist. And at the time, I kind of was choosing between studying medicine or studying dentistry. So I spoke to my dentist on being duly qualified. He had done medicine after his dental degree, but I think then chose or decided that the hospital lifestyle wasn’t for

[00:03:58] Him and ended up going

[00:03:59] Back to dentistry. And that stuck with me. But also he made a comment which at the time I didn’t really understand and I thought was a slightly sexist comment. And he said that

[00:04:09] Dentistry is a really amazing career from a lifestyle perspective, in particular for a woman, and I have never really felt that up until the last two years, I kind of thought we were really,

[00:04:21] Really hard. It’s quite stressful. It’s quite intense. I didn’t think it was an amazing lifestyle job, but since having had a family myself, my eldest daughter Maggie is now one and a half

[00:04:32] Being able to go back to work part time and that being quite comfortable to do has really made me see the benefits of dentistry from a lifestyle perspective.

[00:04:43] Yeah, definitely. I mean, your life has changed very much, very quickly. You’re not to 60

[00:04:48] Years from now. From everything I do,

[00:04:53] From young, free and single to not young, then you’re so young but not free and two kids. You did that in a real hurry. And so you can see the difference between those two situations. And you know, we talk a lot on this podcast with ladies about is is Dental more difficult for ladies or not? But how do you feel? How do you feel about, you know, the differences between those two situations? Were you always going to have kids and you always knew this was the way

[00:05:21] It was going to be? Yeah, I always

[00:05:23] Wanted to have a family, and I wasn’t sure how that would fit in to my career. I think when I was young, I thought, great. I’ll, you know, have children and I’ll be a housewife for a while and enjoy that. And I think you feel

[00:05:36] And I think still a lot of my friends and siblings who don’t have children like, Oh, you have it so easy, you don’t have to go to work. Oh my god,

[00:05:43] I feel like my children is a much harder job than a day in a Dental clinic. But since having children, I knew that. I mean, I really do love my career, so I don’t I don’t want to be a stay at home parent all the time, but equally, I don’t want somebody else to be bringing up my children. So I think having that balance is really important and I think. Dentistry is is really open to that

[00:06:06] Being a male or a female, because I think we have the scope to work part time. We are lucky that we probably earn enough to allow us to work part time. And a lot of my peers who have children have ended up not going back to work because the cost of childcare is almost the same amount as what they would earn.

[00:06:23] So there’s no point in them working to spend all their money on childcare. So I think for

[00:06:28] Dentistry, we can get away with working part time, being able to have that balance

[00:06:32] Of spending time

[00:06:32] With your children and, you know, building your career

[00:06:36] Slate in-house dentistry changed for you since having kids in terms of what you do in terms of treatments, are you more selective with who you treat or what you treat and how is your work-life balance? Sort of. If you were to give us a day in the life or a week and the life of Slaney now, how is it compared to what it was like back in the day?

[00:06:59] I think the balance has changed drastically. Not necessarily since I’ve had children, but since kind of promoting myself via social media. Before I started doing any online marketing, I kind of found myself just treating whatever came in through the door and almost like competing with your colleagues for like the nice cases and the cosmetic cases since marketing myself and having patients come directly to me. They do come looking for the treatments that I marketing, which is generally composite bonding veneers, whitening or Invisalign. And really, that’s the only treatment that I do. I think because I worked much longer hours and more days prior to having my children. I was maybe taking in other stuff as well if it was there. But since having children, I mean, I collect my daughter from nursery when I work, so I finish work. I need to be gone by five o’clock and I drop it at nursery in the morning, so I’m not starting earlier than 8:30 or 9:00. But I also want to make my day worthwhile, so I need to fill it with, I guess, cases that are paying well, but cases that are not too stressful. And I’m quite I’m quite strict on my timings. If I have a patient that’s running late, I’m not going to see them because I’m then going to run late. So it has. It’s made me, I guess it’s made me, what’s the word I’m looking for? I just I don’t know how to describe what I’m trying to say I am. I take no prisoners. I get on really, really well with my patients, and I think most of my patients understand that. But I’m not willing to sit around

[00:08:35] And wait for people, and I’m not going to see time

[00:08:37] Wasters. And my time is precious to me and my time with my children is

[00:08:42] More precious than with my patients.

[00:08:44] You’ve recently moved up to Edinburgh Slaney and you know, it’s a massive difference being an associate and being a practise owner. And I guess it’s a squat practise, right? You didn’t buy a practise or do you

[00:08:55] Have more practise? No, it is. It’s not up and running yet.

[00:08:59] So you’re you’re treating patients up there.

[00:09:03] Are you? You are. I’m not. Oh, no, no. Ok. My daughter is only two months old, so I’m I’m on maternity leave. I am planning on treating patients up here in Edinburgh and in Dublin. Dublin will probably happen sooner than Edinburgh because of the build and all of the work behind setting up the practise. Whereas in Dublin I am working as an associate and I’m just travelling over once a month. I’m not due to start in January.

[00:09:28] So you’ve not done that yet either?

[00:09:30] Haven’t. No, that was actually due to start November 2019. No. Sorry, that’s not right. No. Jan Quinn. Since September 2020, 20 years ago, it was due to start in

[00:09:47] November 2020, and then because of COVID, there was all the restrictions on flights and everything. So then it was January 2021 and then I still couldn’t travel at the time. Then it kind of got closer and closer to me having my second baby and I thought, Well, it’s actually too close now. So I kind of put a hold on it with a view to pick it back

[00:10:06] Up when I kind of thought my daughter would be old enough to be left for, you know, a day or a couple of days, as the case may be. So it’s going to be January 2022. We are finally getting started in Dublin.

[00:10:18] Slaney, take me back to you arriving in Dublin as a Dental student. Yeah, as a I guess, a small town girl, Galway girl,

[00:10:29] I would never consider myself Galway, the city, albeit a very small one.

[00:10:35] I mean, I see Dublin is a small town, but but but you how were you when you came to Dublin? Was it like bright lights, big city. Have fun university or that? Or were you one of these like bookworms?

[00:10:50] No, absolutely not. I scraped by. I failed my my best friend Ruth, and I failed our first

[00:10:58] Year exam in Dental Anatomy. And honestly, the exam was a photograph of a tooth and you had to name the tooth. And we both got it wrong, and we had to come home from our holidays in August to reset the exam to rename the tooth. So no, I was I was not the studious type. I was in Dublin to party and I was actually having that conversation with my mum last night. We were laughing, but nightclubs are just about to start opening back up in Ireland and saying, who even goes to nightclubs with the exception of students. And we had a nightclub seven nights a week. There was a night Toby would have gone to on each night and we probably went to five or six of them a week well, and we would stumble into the clinic the next morning. So no, I definitely wasn’t the studious type. I feel like I really, really enjoyed my time at university and I would highly, highly recommend that to any students out there and people who I mean, I get lots of questions and Instagrams and Dental students like, you know, about what they should be studying and what they should be doing afterwards and what speciality they should be thinking about. Just enjoy your time as the student because it goes so quickly as much as you can party. As hard as you can worry about. The rest of their

[00:12:09] Five students these days are very, very focussed, aren’t they? Yeah, it’s surprising the ones who ask me questions, my goodness me afterwards surprise on the level of focus in the third year. Dental student, you know.

[00:12:22] Yeah, I mean, you still hear stuff that I don’t think I know now coming out of students minds and you’re like, What are you learning about and why? Because, you know, you stress about it so much when you’re a student about, you know, who gets a first class on her and who gets a second class on her and who passes. And like, once you walk out the door, you never, ever, ever get that. Ask that question again in your life. Do you have a degree and are you registered with the Dental Council?

[00:12:46] Yeah, yeah. So, you know, enjoy it.

[00:12:50] I think

[00:12:51] So. What about your first shop, what was the first thing you did after

[00:12:56] I came to sew? I actually really wanted to stay in Ireland, I wanted to stay in Dublin and I wanted to go straight to private

[00:13:03] Practise, which was quite hard. They used to have foundation training in Ireland, but they took it away due to lack of funding a couple of years before I graduated. So the only option if you wanted to stay in Ireland was to go to private practise. There is no health service dentistry in Ireland,

[00:13:20] So that’s what I wanted to do. But it’s quite hard to get a job when you zero experience. I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. And obviously you couldn’t apply for those positions until you’d actually qualified and got your degree. So when all of the foundation year one, training, interviews and everything were going on, I think we were about halfway through our final year, so I thought I’ll go over. It was in Bristol. Most of my class were going and I said I’d go just for the experience and, you know, try it out. So I ended up getting all through the Clinton Clinic in central London, and I didn’t think I was going to get offered one in London. I didn’t think the interview went particularly well, and I was like, Well, I would never consider going anywhere else other than London other than staying in Dublin. So when I got offered London, I thought, that’s probably going to be quite fun. Probably enjoy it. I’ll give it a go. So I was in a practise in central London, just off Great Portland Street. And I mean, I had an amazing time. It was so much fun. We really enjoyed ourselves, but I really didn’t like the dentistry. I actually have utmost respect for NHS dentists who do work to the best of their ability because it’s so hard to do that and you’re just not you’re not paid properly to do that. So I really didn’t like having spent five years in university being taught to do things to the gold standard and then ending up in a clinic where you’re given like five minutes to put an amalgam filling in, you know, shove it in and get the patient to buy it together and walk out. So I decided during the year that I didn’t

[00:14:53] Really want to complete the year, and

[00:14:55] I had been offered a position back in Galway, in the hospital on a exact team, which I guess the works slightly differently in Ireland. Or it did at the time because there was no training in the country. So you weren’t taken on as like, you know, an F1 or an F2 or an Saaho or any of that. You kind of just joined the medical team. So I arrived in and my badge was like,

[00:15:18] You know, Dr Slaney McGrath, oral and maxillofacial registrar, and I was one year out of uni and knew nothing about like five. But you know, you got paid as your title and I had a great time and I really, really loved it. So I thought after that year, this is actually what I want to do. I thought, I’ll go back and I’ll train, I’ll do medicine and I’ll get into my parts. And my sister is a doctor. And at the time she was on like, I think she was in her maybe foundation year two or something and

[00:15:51] Was doing a lot of night shifts and

[00:15:53] Was finding it really difficult. And she was like, You are mentor, like, don’t

[00:15:56] Go back and do this. It’s not a life. So between that and a flight over to London to meet one of my best friends on that year where I was flying over Hyde Park and I love Christmas more than more than what to call them an elf, Will Ferrell. We were

[00:16:15] Flying over winter

[00:16:17] Wonderland and I looked out of the plane and I saw all the lights and everything, and I was like, You know what? I just love London. I just want to live here again. So I thought, actually, I’m not going to go back and study medicine. I’m going to move back to London, but I’m going to get the job that I want. And I’m not going back to NHS and I didn’t have the option because I never completed my foundation year.

[00:16:37] I actually couldn’t get anywhere. So that’s how I ended up back there

[00:16:42] Was that was that the job with Mark and everyone on Harley Street?

[00:16:46] That was the one. Yeah, I am. I knew I would struggle to get into this job again with very little experience and especially in London. But I wasn’t in a rush to leave my job and Galway, so I was kind of happy to work there until

[00:17:01] I had the job I wanted. So I sent LinkedIn, which I’d never been on before, and I looked up a lot of private dental clinic owners in places that I wanted to work. I started messaging them and some of them got back to me. Some didn’t. Some were really helpful. Some weren’t. Mark was was really, really helpful, and I sent him my CV and he was asking, You know, do you have a portfolio? Do you have any qualifications other than your Dental degree? And it was like, No, I’ve actually got nothing and no experience. So he said, you know, no chance you can come and work in my clinic. But here is a list of things that you need to do over the next few years and tick these boxes and then come back to me. So I knew what I wanted to do. So within about six months, I think I’d done about 80 percent of the courses that he recommended and signed up to them.

[00:17:46] What was on that list to go through is what was on that list.

[00:17:50] Chris Orr’s yearlong course, the advanced Dental seminars, one in one, some fixed orthodontic training. What else was on there? There was certainly composite courses on there.

[00:18:04] He said he’s a pankey guy himself, did he?

[00:18:06] Did he ask you

[00:18:08] To do that

[00:18:09] Yet? No, he didn’t ask. Well, maybe he sent me some information about it. He didn’t ask me to do it initially before I started, but I certainly had done some stuff with them after I did start with him. Uh huh.. But yeah, so he sent me this big list and I worked my way through it. I got back to him a few months later and said, You know, I’ve done this and I’ve done this.

[00:18:26] And he said, OK, come over and meet me. So I flew over to London and met him, and he just kind of said, I like your attitude and I like that. You’ve, you know, put your heart into it and come aboard. So I started with him, and it really was an amazing, amazing experience. I learnt an awful lot from him and a lot of the other dentists that were there. It started off as a kind of training post. I was seeing general patients, but I was spending lots of time with the other dentists watching them do cosmetic works and what to then do implant work and that type of thing. And I used to go in on a Saturday and just pretty much do the oral surgery there because that was what my experience kind of was. So I did a lot of wisdom teeth and that type of stuff. So yeah, that was that was where it started. And I

[00:19:10] Don’t have imposter syndrome a little bit like working on in one of the highest profile practises in Harley Street two years out of

[00:19:18] If I think if it happened to me now, I would, but at the time didn’t even cross my mind like 24 on live in the time of my life, I was loving it like dress, not going to work and my dress and my heels pretending I was someone I wasn’t. And I loved it. I thought it was amazing, and I learnt a huge amount there and very, very grateful to mark for all of the team, for taking me in there. And it was it was a really great experience.

[00:19:47] And so Slaney, is that when you started your marketing and sort of generating your own patients or was that

[00:19:54] Know that was a little bit later? Yes, I started there in 2015. It was around 20 eighteen. Maybe that that I was working at. It was called an entry at the time. It’s now Ru Dental and I worked the whole time I was at Harley Street. I did three days there and then one or two days at the neem tree. Since Roots and the nurse who was working with me in room was Andy McLean’s nurse from Manchester, who moved down to London and she got a job at the neem tree. And she was working with me and she had pretty much started and these Instagram for him, and he was someone who was saying, You know, what is this Instagram thing? And she was pushing saying, You know, you’ve got to do this. It’s an amazing way of marketing. And his career just took off, and rightly so, because he’s an incredible dentist and he’s a lot of work to show for himself. But I think she helped grow that for him and with him. So she started saying it to me, You know, you’ve got to you’ve got to start Instagram. And I was I was just quite nervous about putting my work out there. At the time, I was very much doing general dentistry. I’d maybe done one or two cosmetic cases and looking back, you know, they’re not great. So I was quite nervous about the criticism, maybe, that I would get from posting pictures of teeth online and also the fact that a lot of my followers, the majority of my followers, were just my friends and they’d be like, What are you doing? Posting pictures of teeth?

[00:21:20] So she I caved eventually, and Kerry kind of helped me and we started building it and just it was just really, really quick the way it grew. I think at the time, there wasn’t a huge amount of people doing it. Now I think that space itself is is quite competitive because there’s an awful lot of people doing it. But at the time, there wasn’t so, so it was quite easy to build. And then the more you post, the more patients you get.

[00:21:46] So therefore the bigger the portfolio you can build, which is that was my struggle at the beginning was that I don’t really have enough cases to post. So I was like reposting the same stuff over and over and over. But yeah, the more you post, the more you get people coming in and then the more pictures you have to post. So it’s I

[00:22:02] Mean, we’ve got a credit Kerry publicly here because, yeah, as you say, she did. She did Andy. She did, she did yours. And then she did ours. She did enlightens Instagram at the beginning of when we were nowhere and it worked for us too. But what advice do you give because, you know, enlightens Instagram doesn’t have me all over it or my work all over it? Yeah, but we have these mini small makeover events, and we talk to the dentist there and say, Who’s got an Instagram for dentist account? Very few do. Still, yeah. What’s your advice to someone who’s worried about starting and what are the, you know, the things that I think people worry about is what’s number one my aren’t going to think and to no to the other other dentists going to think. That how did you get over that?

[00:22:52] I think the people close to you or the people who are going to support you? And you always have to remember that that you know you are. You have family in your friends who are going to support you in it. I think the harshest criticism come from other dentists. And I think you just as long as I think you’re confident in what you have posting that you feel like you have done your best for that patient. And it’s very hard for somebody to criticise it. I mean, they can say, OK, that line angle is not perfect. But so what? Because it’s a learning curve for all of us. But I think as long as you know that you’re not posting a case where you know, it was a young and 18 year old who needed ortho and you put in 20 porcelain veneers, you know you’re posting your best work and you think you did right by that patient, then what? What’s the concern? Somebody can criticise that. It’s not perfect, but you know, nobody’s perfect, you know?

[00:23:43] And I remember I remember when you when you when you spoke for us at the minimalist, I remember you. You addressed this point by showing photos of you showed other dentists work and you said, Look, I was seeing Dr. Duval’s work and Dr. APA’s work and thinking, I’m not anywhere near as good as then. But then you showed these other cases that were getting loads of love, and we could all tell they weren’t the best cases. And in a way, maybe that was the thing that you thought, Well, I can do this to you if these people are getting low, hopefully.

[00:24:14] Totally. And yeah, and those are the cases where

[00:24:17] The horribly

[00:24:19] Inflamed introvert calculus everywhere. And you know, they’ve they’ve extracted teeth to put veneers on rather than orthodontics. And yeah, and people are still like, this looks great.

[00:24:28] And we’re like, Well, whose eyes?

[00:24:31] So yeah, I mean, my advice is just start because I felt that exact same way when I was starting, I thought, I’m going to get so much criticism. But as long as you’re you’re posting your best work, you’ll be surprised at how little criticism you do get. And when you do get

[00:24:44] It, I guess it’s either totally ignoring it and not letting it affect you, or it’s managing it correctly and not starting an argument with somebody or, you know, just justify your point.

[00:24:54] Mm-hmm.

[00:24:55] You know, people are going to be out there to, you know, to troll you and to criticise you because they always are.

[00:25:01] So have you been trolled like in a way that that’s really affected? You ruined your ruined your day?

[00:25:08] Oh, once once.

[00:25:09] It was not, necessarily. Well, no, it was actually. It was. I was. I was talking a lot and I had been have

[00:25:15] Been recently about Dental tourism because I think it’s a really important subject that needs to be addressed to the general population in the UK

[00:25:23] And Ireland. And I was posting

[00:25:26] Some pictures and talking about them. That’s not in particular, but clinics abroad that were doing

[00:25:32] 20 zirconium crimes for everybody. And I had sent and a couple of my colleagues had done the same, sent in photos of our own teeth to them to say, What do you think I need? And I, you know, I have a couple of crowns and veneers on my

[00:25:44] Front teeth and root canals, and I know that I have work and I need some

[00:25:48] Work. But I send a photo of my teeth and I needed 20 zirconium crowns and I was like, No, I can

[00:25:53] Safely say, I need. Maybe I need three, but I don’t need 20 and there’s nothing wrong with my bottom teeth. So I was posting a lot about this, and a patient got back in touch with me, who was a girl from Ireland who had been to a clinic in Turkey and had her teeth done. And she basically was like, You’re only saying this because you don’t have the skill to get a result like this. I mean, they’re horrifying to me. I was like, I don’t even want a result like that. So it went back and forth, and I don’t even know why I was responding to her. But it just got inside my head and I spent most of the day like sending awful emails and texts back to her. And you’re like, I know I need to stay professional, but it really, really hard right now. And then I got home and I was like, I don’t even know why I responded in the first place. But aside from that, I mean, there’s the odd comment you get, but I do. I just ignore it because I think you start commenting and you start responding and you’re down a rabbit hole and it does. It starts to really annoy you for no reason and it will ruin your day. And so I just ignore it. But I am lucky that I don’t get a huge amount of it.

[00:26:56] So you get sucked into the the comments and things like that. So for example, does that take up much of your time? I know a lot of people have been on here and myself included right, that sometimes when you’re active on social and I go through bouts of being totally silent to being super, super active that you get a lot of questions, comments this, that and the other. And they can take over your whole day and be incredibly distracting. And especially when you’ve got kids, it’s even more distracting. You start feeling guilty, right? Do you have a way of switching off or does it impacts you where you’re always looking at your phone?

[00:27:34] It did when I initially started, I honestly think I spent most of my life on my phone responding to text, responding to

[00:27:41] Emails, I have gone the complete opposite way now, maybe to the detriment

[00:27:46] Of my social media that I mean it could take me a month to respond to a DM. But, you know, I think people understand that for me, it’s that I’m busy and I’ve got a new baby and I don’t have time to be sitting there responding to it constantly. And it’s also quite hard for me at the moment because I’m not actually doing any clinical work. So people are asking, when can I get an appointment? And like, Well, I don’t actually know right now. So if I think if I had a more definite answer for them, I’d be more inclined to be more active on it. But I do try to. Certainly, when I was before I left London, when I was working there, my train journey in the morning

[00:28:19] And the evening was my time to be on social media so that when I get home, I don’t have to do it because I find it too. It’s unfair. You come home to see your children and to be with your family, and then you end up sitting there on your phone and not, you know, you don’t even hear what’s going on in the background when you’re so sucked into the screen. So, yeah, I I’m not going to go back to that stage. I was at the beginning at any stage. And I think also when we have our own clinic that’s up and running, there will be somebody doing that for us and it won’t be me doing it myself. That being said, it’s quite nice to have a personal touch to it, though, and I do like that when patients contact me that I’ll send them a voice note back rather than kind of generic message. So I think sometimes we’ll have somebody responding as a kind of generic response, I think to everybody. But there does need to be a personal side to it, I think as well.

[00:29:06] Are there any tips or hints when you communicate and with patients lately, like you’ve just mentioned there, you’d send a voicemail back to a patient row, which a your voice is faster than your fingers, so it saves you a bit of time, but b, it’s a bit more personalised as well. Is there any sort of anything that you can share in terms of how you engage with your followers and to the point where obviously they see your work and the a lot of them probably decide, you know, they believe in the brand of you and your personal brand, and that’s why they’ve they’ve contacted you. But in terms of just engaging with them and I guess triggering a conversation and engagement, what would you advise?

[00:29:46] I think that really would depend on the type of social media page that you have for me on my. It’s predominantly based around work and the whole purpose behind it is just to bring patients into the chair. I have no interest in being an influencer. I have no interest in pictures of me or my family or anything else on there. But I am very aware that patients buy into you as a person, not just of tea.

[00:30:14] Now that obviously works differently for everybody because take Andy, for example, with Instagram, I don’t think of a single photo of him on it

[00:30:21] Or if it’s not, if it is, it’s him in the corner of the clinic somewhere. It’s very much just about teeth and before and after pictures are so amazing that that’s great and it works that way for him. For me, I think I have a slightly more personal page, so I do post pictures of my family and, you know, just because people engage with that and I think people almost bond with you over that. So for me, I think having that personal touch is quite important. If a patient contacts me, they usually aren’t just saying, Hi, I’d like to book in a few questions and and I think they just they’re buying into you as a person and not just your dentistry. So I respond to them. Sometimes it will be a typed message if you know, if it’s just a quick response, but it will always be from me and quite personal. If it’s a kind of longer, a more complex question, then I’ll send it as a video. Or, excuse me, as a voice note, I know Afan sends to a lot of what’s really still doing this. But when he was certainly starting his, he was sending all of his patients a video response because they just they know that you’ve taken the time to send that to them and you look slightly different if it’s not just that’s coming from their receptionist or that’s coming from their treatment coordinator.

[00:31:32] They know it is actually your advice and it’s come from you. I also I do also find that when if something has been like patients, you will say something to them on Instagram, like, you know, the consultation fee and when they can come in and then they’ll call or email reception to make an appointment. And sometimes it seems that it’s free and then it goes back and forth and back and forth and like, No, I would never say that it’s free. But I think that for people who think that that maybe they’re just talking to a receptionist or talking to somebody and they’re trying to get something out of you, almost. So I think having that voice note or a video or something like that where you say, you know, this is my consultation fee, this is what I’m available to see. This is what we’re going to do for you on the first visit. Then they know exactly what’s happening before they walk in the door. And there’s never any drama in the clinic.

[00:32:22] Solanki you’ve worked in some of the high profile clinics, clinics that have very strong social presences themselves. What have you learnt? You know you’re about to become principal. Say, I mean, you know, you’re going to have people working for you soon and all that. What have you learnt from the different clinics? Because we’ve had both Xaba and Mark Hughes and Adam Thorn on on this show? And I mean, all of them are extraordinary people. Do you think, you know, as well as you know, for actually for any of our listeners who who want the masterclass on what did what happened to Slaney? If you send me a DM, I’ll send you her her lecture from the minimalist. But what my point is on top of what you do? Or did the clinics do to help?

[00:33:09] I think the staff are the most important part, and that’s something that I’ve certainly taken away from me. From being through that I would like to replicate in my own clinic that the staff there build your clinic. I mean, the treatment coordinators in particular, having good treatment coordinators, having reliable nurses, having that friendly vibe in the clinic that your reception team are there to chat to your patients and make them feel welcome. It was that feeling of, I mean, it’s very difficult to to

[00:33:40] Not to criticise either clinic, actually,

[00:33:41] But they’re just both very, very different that the Harley Street clinic has the Harley Street vibe. You go in and everybody’s very well dressed and the classical music at reception and the patients sit silently in the waiting room. Whereas Rue, or like a more kind of social media friendly clinic, is more about young patients and it’s people coming in and it’s so friendly.

[00:34:00] The reception is so, you know, chatting away to the patients about just day to day life. And patients always say, like, I don’t

[00:34:06] Feel like I’m coming to the dentist. I just feel like I’m popping over to my friend’s house or I’m going to a spa or something like that. And that, I think, is really important. I really think that’s going to start. I mean, really, our job is just to do the dentistry, like everything else, can kind of be done by a good team and having a treatment coordinator who understands the treatment, but is also really, really good and caring for patients. Having nursing staff that know that they’re valued, that is a massive thing. I think in London in particular, the turnover of nursing staff and we’re just in and out, in and out because I think they often don’t feel valued, they feel overworked and underpaid. So I really want to find a good team and I want to treat them really, really well so that they stay with me. And I think that’s the primary thing that I’ve learnt from working in quite a few clinics over the years.

[00:34:53] And Slaney, your your clinic, you mentioned like you’ve got a the equivalent of the Harley Street classical music and all the rest of it. And then you’ve got the the Rue Dental social media ask, what if you were to sort of paint a picture of your vision for the practise? What would that be?

[00:35:11] My vision is aesthetically Harley Street, but emotionally rue Dental.

[00:35:20] And I think you can get the best of both worlds in Edinburgh because the buildings are just amazing. You try to go over the buildings, but

[00:35:28] Having that friendly, relaxed vibe once you walk inside the door.

[00:35:33] And in terms of the team, the set up of the team, obviously there’s going to be yourself at the forefront. Have you have you sort of got a team together who are going to support you in addition to?

[00:35:43] No, not yet, because I haven’t we haven’t got a fixed date to open, so I don’t want to start, you know, approaching that too early. I had about three or four people in mind who I was really, really hoping I could get involved. And over the last couple of months, I’ve been in touch with a few of them and I’ve just opened my own clinic. I’m like, Oh no.

[00:36:01] So there are there are people I have in mind and people who I would really, really love to come and

[00:36:07] Work with, but who knows they may or may not be available.

[00:36:12] I also think there’s a balance between having the people who have established themselves already and can help you grow it from where they are and having young, really enthusiastic dentists who can grow with you. And I think I’d like a combination of both.

[00:36:29] And have you got anxiety? Have you got anxiety about filling this clinic with patients?

[00:36:34] No. Maybe I should have. I, you know, I’m nervous about having my own. I say my own business, our own business. I Stuart, who is I call on my husband. We’re actually getting married on New Year’s Eve. So he was almost my husband.

[00:36:49] He’s an accountant by trade, but

[00:36:50] He’s going to be doing all the kind of running and the management and all that type of thing in the clinic. So we’re doing it together

[00:36:55] And the business side, and those worries are predominantly his and I’ll take concerns. But yeah, I mean, I’m nervous about putting everything we have into this. But at the same time, I’m quite confident that if we can provide a service that is actually not a huge amount of people doing in Scotland at the moment that that it will work.

[00:37:18] So I mean, you’re going to have to on day one or do you have a bunch of people already waiting? Is you?

[00:37:24] Yeah.

[00:37:25] Oh, I see. You know, that kind of helps. Would you say anxiety? A bit, I guess.

[00:37:36] Is there any ill knowns that you’re that you have anxiety about or anything like, I guess you’ve been in and out of, you know, Dental practises to see what’s going on right? But I guess when running a bit

[00:37:48] Different, being an associate, totally different being an associate than a principal.

[00:37:52] Yeah, yeah. And I think from a set up perspective, I mean, I’m lucky that I have been involved in the opening of a clinic before and from a secrecy perspective and all of that I’ve been involved

[00:38:01] In in interviews. And so I’m I mean, I know that’s a lot of work, but I’m, you know, I’m not otherwise working at the moment. So but my point,

[00:38:10] My point isn’t that my point is, you know, when you and Kerry working at Roux? Yeah, when you’re not the boss, there’s a different relationship with the staff and when you are the boss, right?

[00:38:22] Yeah, of course.

[00:38:23] And how that’s going to translate, what kind of boss are you going to be? What kind of boss do you think going to be?

[00:38:28] I think there’s a line between being too close friends with your colleagues because then it sorry, not with your colleagues, with your employees, because it

[00:38:35] Then becomes very, very difficult if somebody is not kind of working at the standard that you’d like them to be. So I want to be

[00:38:42] Very, very fair. I want to get on

[00:38:45] Very well with my employees, but I’m also not going to be going out with them on a Saturday night and partying every week or with anybody else for that matter. And I’ve got two children and I got, if I could, I might have that.

[00:39:00] We’re coming to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks on May four, and

[00:39:04] I have the babies that are in that. Neither party is

[00:39:08] Going to say Thursday the 11th. I hope you’ve got your baby sister sorted.

[00:39:12] I know I did actually have to message Susie because I have a babysitter for the Friday of I’m coming to see off the money talking on Friday, but I just don’t know if my

[00:39:22] Youngest will be able to stay on her own because she’s not great

[00:39:25] At reading the bottle. So I had to mess with Susie and was like, Can I take her? She was like, Actually, don’t care what anyone else says.

[00:39:31] I like babies become friends with the baby, but not on the Thursday night,

[00:39:37] The first day, Thursday, the 11th for any listeners as well. We’re having a big, enlightened party in Lulu in Edinburgh. So do do join us. How do you find Edinburgh as a town to live in? I mean, outside of OK, look, it’s so stunning. Every time I go there, it’s really surprises me. How beautiful it it. Yeah, but the people and how do you think the patients are going to translate or you don’t know?

[00:40:00] I mean, I can’t say for sure, but I have a relatively large network of people similar age to me here. And I guess the type of patients I was treating in London were young females. And what I was really trying to target were people at my age that young mums, because you’ve got something in common with them. So I have a relatively large network of those people here,

[00:40:25] And I feel like they will translate very similarly to the way my patients were in London.

[00:40:30] I don’t I don’t foresee a massive difference there. It’s obviously a much smaller place. A word of mouth is, I think, much bigger here. I actually saw I got my nails done last week by a lady that I was recommended to on Instagram, and she has a huge Instagram following. He had nothing to do with nails. She just was on maternity leave about two or three years ago and started, so I’ll just have some extra income and started getting some people over to her house to do their nails. And it’s such a good job that they recommended more and more people. And now she’s booked up for about four months in advance, and it’s all just through social media. But it’s happened really, really quickly for her because it’s just such a small place that everybody knows everybody. So word of mouth spreads really quickly. So I’m really hoping that that’s going to be the case for us, and I think that’s just down to people feeling really welcome and cared for. Obviously, I want the treatment to be the best treatment possible, be it done by me or one of the associates that are hopefully going to be working there. But I. I think as long as they feel really cared for and the relationship between the clinic and all of the staff on the patients are good, then I think a hope word of mouth will spread.

[00:41:40] Let’s get some darkness, so we’ve been very light up today. What’s been your darkest day? Workwise.

[00:41:53] So I

[00:41:54] I I was sued

[00:41:56] By a patient a year after I qualified. That’s not true. Actually, I was in private practise, so it was my first year in private

[00:42:03] Practise and I just come out of my next

[00:42:06] Year. So I was quite confident and I think competent in taking out impacted wisdom. And I was seeing a patient who was a gentleman who was about 30. I used to come to this appointment with his mom, which was slightly unusual because he was a 30 year old man.

[00:42:21] But I was extracting his lower right wisdom

[00:42:24] Tooth and the little drill bit in

[00:42:29] The Burr like the, you know, on the straight hand, this is like a little latch to clip in the bird. The latch was slightly wobbly, but I didn’t think very much of it.

[00:42:37] The birthing season and it was quite so patient was numb. I had a big retractor in his lip and I was tossing away bone and put away the bone. That was fine. Tooth came out, the assistant was holding, the lip retracted. The whole time tooth came out, stitched him all up, ready to go, took out the lip protractor and I caused this big burn, decided his lip where the bird wasn’t fully engaged in the hunting. So it was like slipping up and down. It was a huge friction burn. So it had to be on the side of his lip. And oh my god, I got the absolute fright of my life. So I just I stitched it back up and in a complete, complete panic to explain to the patient what had happened. And he was just, I mean, it wasn’t the easiest extraction in the world anyway. So I think he was just a bit like, I’m ready to just go home. So he left and I had a minor panic attack, major panic attack, maybe, you know, called Dental protection and everything else and thought, this is the end of my career. Oh my God. And you went away and I called him that evening and I called him the next day and he’d been fine. And then a couple of days later, I got

[00:43:39] Contacted by

[00:43:41] Cameron was on the phone. It was an email that by his mother and she was like, Oh, we’re just a bit worried about it. It’s a bit we maybe need to be or what are you learning to do about it? So I phoned back Dental protection and they said, offer them a referral to fax. But if you suit up the wound, what’s going to happen? You know, nothing else is going to happen. So luckily, I had quite a good relationship with Nick Cavazos, who’s a macrobiotics consultant in Harley Street and in Kings, and I sent some pictures to him and I contacted him and he said, Look, we’ve done everything we can do is going to heal, but it comes into us. We’re just going to tell him the same thing. So it kind of relayed that back to him and he was okay. He was fine. I reviewed him weekly and it had healed. And on the external surface, you couldn’t really see anything. You also always had a beard. It was like a tiny, tiny little line. And then on the internal surface, it was kind of a scar that went down, but it was on the inside. So you just disappeared for like two years. And I was like, Oh, he’s obviously fine. And then he came back out of nowhere, and it probably wasn’t two years. It was maybe six months. He came back on, originally rumoured to take out that wisdom teeth and then do some Invisalign and replace the front teeth in the new year. So we came back to music. I want the Invisalign, so we got started with the design and everything was fine. And then, like a couple of months into Invisalign, Monk came back in and she’s like, We want compensation for the issue with the lip. It was all just a bit awkward at the time because I was like, well, you know, it was quite a while ago, you come back to me for treatment. I’m now in the middle of a treatment plan with you, but what you want.

[00:45:13] So we’ve had a discussion about

[00:45:15] Reduction of the veneer or whatever it was for it, and they kind of went away to think about it. And we continued on with the Invisalign while this was going on and the correspondence was quite slow. And then eventually I got a letter from a lawyer that arrived to the clinic looking for all of the notes. I don’t I don’t think they fully understood that they were suing me personally and not the clinic because he was still coming to all his appointments. So then I had to sit down with them and say, Look, there’s a real conflict of interest here. You’re suing me for negligence, yet you’re attending all of your appointments with me and you want me to keep treating you. So in the end, I basically ended up referring him to a colleague because I was like, I can’t keep treating you. And it progressed with Dental protection. It went on for so long, and in the end, I think it got settled for £500. And think of all of that, I would have just given him £500 to save me the heartache at the beginning. And so I think that day when that happened was my darkest day in the clinic so far. I was so, so scared. What we got through it, and he’s still alive, and you can’t see the sign is lit from the outside.

[00:46:22] Would you say that’s also your biggest clinical error? Yes, I would.

[00:46:27] And well, yes, I would say there’s other you make other errors, don’t you, but that’s the only one.

[00:46:33] So what can we learn? What can we learn from that? You know, check your drill before you.

[00:46:37] Yes, absolutely.

[00:46:40] And I think jack the drill. And also,

[00:46:44] I mean, I think I did. I feel like I did from a communication perspective, handled as best I could because I was in constant contact with him. But then when he just kind of disappeared for six months, I had just assumed it had all healed. It was fine. I think the last time I’d seen him, it had pretty much healed and it was fine. And then we started proceeding with more treatment and then it came back to it afterwards. So that was all just kind of quite confusing. But yeah, I mean, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a red flag. I really apologise if anyone brings their mother with them to their appointments, but to somebody who’s over 30 and brings them over with them to appointments like maybe should have.

[00:47:25] I mean, when you’ve done something different, it sounds like it’s one of those ones where it’s just one of those, you know, freak situations, I can’t say

[00:47:32] I couldn’t have done anything differently. I mean, I could have checked the drill piece, but yet I mean, I am to blame and there’s nothing you can do about that, really. I did cut his lip and heals.

[00:47:47] I mean, I’m happy with that, although I kind of want your second biggest mistake now

[00:47:51] You ever pulled the wrong tooth out slowly.

[00:47:54] Haven’t, thankfully,

[00:47:58] Prav lives on. Then the reason why

[00:48:01] I love it. I have once I

[00:48:04] Have drilled, not taken out the wrong tooth, but I was

[00:48:07] Taking off an old veneer

[00:48:10] That had caries under it and a patient had six veneers and I was just replacing one and I started drilling

[00:48:16] Into the one on the wrong side. Oh yeah. And then I realised and I filled it with composite. And the other half

[00:48:26] You told the patient, No, you didn’t tell the patient how honest you did make that. How honest if you.

[00:48:34] I love that I have to be edited out.

[00:48:41] I love that you admitted that. Well, let’s go. Well, we’ll discuss this later on with you.

[00:48:47] Do you prepare?

[00:48:48] The veneer is we’re kind of coming to the end of their lifespan, so they were all going to need to be replaced, but it didn’t have caries under it. It wasn’t urgent.

[00:48:57] You would just you just doing half the job in advance. Were you to save yourself a bit of time later on?

[00:49:03] What about Slaney? Give us give us a top tip. Yeah, top clinical tip. You do so many align bleach bond cases. Yep. But you know there must be some, some little hack, something something that you know, something Slaney is going to add to this to this debate. Something something that would help someone who wants to get into that world or someone who is already in that world.

[00:49:26] These really hard questions off the cuff.

[00:49:27] You should have prepared me for this because I feel like anything I say is going to be the same as everyone else does.

[00:49:33] No, that’s not the case. That is not the case. No, no, no. It’s weird when I hear that from people, everyone does things differently.

[00:49:41] I think one thing for me, newish people into, I think the Invisalign

[00:49:46] System has changed with Invisalign go and the way they move now. But certainly for me, when I started with Invisalign, I found that a huge number of patients and cases at the very, very end were like, Oh, my vote doesn’t feel right, and I would end up in refinement after assignment, after assignment, trying to get these contact points in the right place. And it just still doesn’t feel right. And I think this just hit me when I had Invisalign myself that when I finished, I was like, Oh honey, I literally accrued on one tooth, and that’s it. But after about five weeks, she called together. Everything was perfect, and I have perfect in inverted commas class one occlusion, though, and all my teeth contact. So I think that is a big point that that took me a long time to realise. And I think had I not had it myself, I would still be doing refinement, refinement to try and figure that out. So I always explained that to my patients in the very first visit and also at every visit throughout that. When you finish the treatment, your bite is probably going to feel unusual. It is going to settle. And obviously, there’s case cases where you can see that bite not right, but where it looks right to you. But the patient is telling you it’s not working.

[00:50:57] What about what about with composite composite veneers?

[00:51:00] I think all all of composite is down to two things nine angles and polish. I think if your line angles are wrong, they look really wrong. And if you don’t have any line angle going, you see a lot of on the computer the computer holds up on Instagram. You know that they were certainly not true and not lifelike. And I think the the polish and the texture at the. The other thing for me, when I started doing composite, I spent 12 hours how long polishing with every desk under the sun and every borough you could find, you spent hours and hours at it. Now I applied for my composites with a lot of crystals. And I think that gives you pretty much finish to it anyway. I then use a coarse plastic soft disk to just kind of rush the thing of it. And then when that added in texture and everything, I just use that the A.S.A.P. needle points and polishing takes five minutes now. Quality used to take five minutes more. But I think it really, really gives. I guess it gives us kind of the perfect as the wrong word, but that lifelike end result. And I used to find taking pictures and always put some water on the piece to make them look shiny and looked like they were in real trouble. Whereas now I feel like I want to do the opposite. I want wanted to completely dry everything because the polish is there and the shine is there. So I think from getting your own angles correct, making the teeth really, really shiny are the two things that will set you apart from everybody else.

[00:52:41] Yeah, specifically, that means your line angle on the Centrals, right?

[00:52:45] I know if they’re not symmetrical that you gloss over

[00:52:49] The rest of it. People kind of ignore, but that one you can’t you can’t get that one wrong.

[00:52:53] Yeah, we get around one on a straight one. Oh, and then you actually get messages. Quite a lot of young dentists who are doing it and they’ll send a picture and say, What do you think I can change here? And that’s one of the things I see or comment on a lot is that things actually look really good, but they’re not symmetrical. One straight ones round. And that’s what throwing your eye off. And it’s really hard to think until you have some experience in doing that and knowing why they don’t look right because you put your callipers on you, like, well, they’re the same width. Why do one want to look wider than the other? So I think, yeah, just practises. I guess what gets you there? I put a picture I actually got caught out doing this, but I put a picture of a composite case I did about three or four years ago on Instagram compared to what I did at the moment. And it was a post aimed at young dentists who messaged me asking, You know, what courses should I do? And you know, and I always advise the courses that I think are really good, namely, my makeover and undies and monarchs is great, but you can do as many courses in the world unless you start practising doing it and so on. So I posted my one from four years ago and one from now, and I said, Look, I’ve done one or two courses between here and here, but actually it’s just doing lots of cases and the patient. I didn’t realise he followed me. The patient on the first case messaged me and is like, I’m so disappointed to see you using my case as a bad example of. He got rid of them.

[00:54:21] What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

[00:54:25] I think that’s nothing to do with clinical dentistry, and I think it is all to do with how you handle and manage your patients and how you speak to your patients. Because I think patients leave happy if they were treated well and they may come back to you and say, You know what? This truth isn’t exactly how I want it to be. I want you to change it. But as long as you’re really understanding and you’re empathetic towards them, you they’ll come back as many times they want to get their teeth to that perfect place. Whereas I think if there’s any kind of stand off business or, you know, hostility between you and your patient, they are much more inclined to make a complaint and it to be much more difficult for you than somebody that you got on with. So I think, I think have showing empathy is probably the best bit of advice I would’ve been given.

[00:55:14] Yeah. I mean, you know, since I’ve stopped practising 10 years ago and when I when I when I think back on my Dental career, I even though I used to love that piece, talking to patients and understanding who they are. I still think I could have done more from that perspective, you know? That really is even now, you know, friends and family having operations, the surgeon’s bedside manner is just as important as his reputation and, you know, in what he does. And with us, you know, it’s such a close relationship that that I absolutely agree with that slowly we end these things with Prav final questions. You’re not a fan of this podcast, but if you were, you’d be prepared for Prav final questions.

[00:56:05] I’m going to come out of it. So I’m just not a podcast listener in general.

[00:56:09] So that’s all right. That’s Prav. Go ahead.

[00:56:14] Slaney, imagine it was your last day on the planet and you were surrounded by your little ones, your loved ones who would not be so little anymore and you had to leave them with three pieces of wisdom. Or three pieces of life advice. What would they be?

[00:56:36] I was hoping for a desert island disc. I would have that one down.

[00:56:41] Let’s start with that. Let’s start with that while you think about this. What’s gone? Gone? What’s your foresee? What would be your desert island disc?

[00:56:48] Well, my my happy song is Clean Bandit rather be. Because I was one day in a really good place in my life and I was in Thailand with some pals and I just fed up with somebody I’ve been

[00:57:03] Trying to do for ages. I was really happy and I was walking down the beach and we had a good night the night before and I was a bit hung over and I had my earphones in and it was old school, pre ear plugs, wire hold holding my iPod and that song was on. I was like, God, life is great.

[00:57:19] Amazing.

[00:57:20] Plus my desert island disc. What are my three pieces of wisdom for my children and my loved ones? I think. Being. Confident in who they are, whoever they become. I’m not. I just think insecurity is one of the worst, most debilitating things that you can have. So I mean, I don’t know how you turn that into words of wisdom other than being confident, but that’s what I would wish for them.

[00:57:52] You’re one of the most confident people I know, Slaney. Do you think that was? That’s something that’s inherent in you? Or do you think it’s something your parents did

[00:58:00] To make you something inherent in me? I think when I was a child, I think my eldest daughter is quite like me as a child, but she’s just very outgoing, wants to chat to everybody. There is just no stop. I mean, it’s only one and a half. It doesn’t know, but I hope. I hope she’s always like that. I mean, me versus my sister, when my sister is much more introverted than I am was a much more timid, shy child and I wasn’t so. So I think I think that was just there all along.

[00:58:29] So be confident. Number two.

[00:58:32] Be kind, be kind. Yeah, I just think there are people out there who are just not coming because but I think, yeah, I just think you’re a happier person if you treat people well. I think having I fell out with a Payman, probably both of you probably know the story anyway. But I did pull out with an old clinical manager, I guess, in a clinic that I worked at a while ago and quite drastically fell out with him. And I remember thinking really horrible things about him afterwards, and I was like, I don’t know why I’m thinking this, because he’s obviously just so unhappy. It was actually, you know what I was doing. I was doing a meditation course randomly, and they were getting you to think nice things about people that you like and they think nice thoughts about people that you were indifferent about and then getting you to think nice thoughts about somebody that you really disliked and this person popped into my head. And I’ve always thought horrible thoughts about him, probably from the first day I met him. And then I just was like, I don’t know why I’m thinking, like, he’s a horrible person because you know me thinking horrible thoughts about him is not making him a nicer person. Me thinking my thoughts about him just makes me think that he’s just an unhappy little person. So I think being kind and thinking happy thoughts and not just not not disliking people because we’re all going to dislike people, but but I think limiting it. Yeah, this is a really, really hard question. Probably like I’m coming across like a total idiot. Exactly.

[01:00:10] I mean, exactly you’re talking about as well. We’ll just keep we’ll just leave it at that.

[01:00:19] And the third and even yourself, be kind.

[01:00:25] Party hard line, I think too short

[01:00:33] To take too seriously,

[01:00:35] Brilliant.

[01:00:36] Enjoy it.

[01:00:38] That’s lovely.

[01:00:39] And lady, how would you like to be remembered? Slaney was.

[01:00:46] You’re. You’re doing good, do you?

[01:00:51] How would you spell here, was it, Ari?

[01:00:55] Sorry. How would I like to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as somebody who worked hard but enjoyed themselves. And I think

[01:01:11] For me, certainly over the last couple of years, my outlook on life has changed quite a lot. And I think the family has changed that somebody really, really enjoyed their family and spending time with them. And I do. I mean, I find it really tough sometimes when the children are just screaming. But there are such good times where they just so much fun and so funny that I think I’d like to be remembered as a family person,

[01:01:40] Say on the working hard front. I mean, you flew in to Belfast and out within three hours. Heavily pregnant. I think when you must have been eight and a half months pregnant, when you did,

[01:01:54] That probably was around that. Yeah.

[01:01:57] To help me out for a marketing lecture, one hour lecture. You flew in and out of Belfast. Where? Where do you get your work ethic from? Is it? Do you put that down to your parents or.

[01:02:09] Oh, yes and no, I think I. I get a bit I get a bit addicted to doing things like when they start something and it’s

[01:02:18] Going well and doing it, I find it hard to just switch off and put it away. But then there’s the flip side of that where I’m going to say now or I’m not working well, I say I’m not working. I feel like I’m working really hard, but I’m not doing Dental, and I would find it quite hard to do something like that right now and said, fly over for a day and talk about dentistry. I kind of feel like I’m so switched off at the moment that it would be hard to switch it back on quickly. I need to build into that. And I think the things are going well and you’re enjoying it. I really enjoy it. That’s, I think, a big point of it or a big part of it that but it’s not. I mean, obviously, you wake up in the morning. It always feels like work when you’ve to get up to an alarm in the morning and leave your nice, comfy bed. But once I’m there, I really enjoy it. I enjoy talking to my patients. I enjoy treating my patients. I enjoy the difference it makes on their life. So, yeah, I think enjoying it makes you work hard.

[01:03:12] Very good point, very good point. And Prav, you got one, one final final.

[01:03:19] Yeah, which is.

[01:03:21] I mean, you’re going to enjoy this question slightly if you have 30 days left, but you had your health intact and everyone around you and all the money in the world. How would you spend those 30 days?

[01:03:36] I would get my closest friends and family, I would I was going to say yacht, I get seasick, so yacht maybe not the right idea,

[01:03:45] But I would want to go somewhere like really amazing.

[01:03:48] And no, you’re laughing at me there, Payman. It’s ridiculous, like scuba diving, one of my favourite hobbies that I get really seasick. I would want to go somewhere really, really amazing. I’m not quite sure where yet because I haven’t been to the place, but I find that place needs to have sunshine. It needs to have seaside and needs to have a really, really nice place to stay with a lot of good wine and music. And I would get my closest friends, my family,

[01:04:13] And we would just live there for the full 30 days, just everybody doing what they want to do,

[01:04:20] But preferably together. I don’t think there’s one specific thing I do. I also I’d like to do a

[01:04:24] Skydive and I haven’t, and I would. But if I only had 30 days left, I wouldn’t be that bothered about jumping out of plane on my own. I’d kind of just want to spend time with the people I care about.

[01:04:34] Yeah, you wouldn’t do that. One last composite veneers case

[01:04:41] For a souvenir that I shoved. Put me. Margaret Yeah, that makes sense. But years and years ago,

[01:04:52] It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you say the end. Thank you. I I feel like I feel like we didn’t make the most of you when you were down here in London, you know?

[01:05:01] But that isn’t

[01:05:02] Available out here. I’m very happy. Train or flight

[01:05:06] Is. Isn’t life strange that way? But I’m looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks time in Edinburgh. William, thank you so much for doing this.

[01:05:14] You’re very welcome. Thank you for having me. And it was lovely to chat to you both.

[01:05:18] Thanks, lady.

[01:05:19] Take care.

[01:05:21] 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.

[01:05:37] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, 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’ve got some value out of it.

[01:05:52] 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.

[01:06:02] And don’t forget our six star rating.


The Great Escape with Geoff Stone

“Follow your dreams,” says this week’s guest Geoff Stone – and no one could accuse him of failing to follow his own advice.

In a tale with more twists and turns than the best of Dickens, Geoff tells how he turned his back on a lucrative banking career to make a name as one of dentistry’s best latecomers.

There were highs, lows and more than a few crashes along the way.

Hit play to hear one of our most inspirational conversations yet and find out if it was all worth it for Geoff.

My grandfather always said: “We make our own prison walls. It’s up to us to break out.” I did, and it was hard.” – Geoff Stone

In This Episode

01.12 – Backstory and banking
07.19 – Bonuses and finding life balance
17.38 – From banking to bar work and back to school
22.00 – Dental school and VT
28.07 – Family orthodontics
32.30 – Finding your rhythm
36.27 – Six Sigma and dentistry
40.17 – Two-tier dentistry
42.01 – On teaching and speaking
48.37 – Black box thinking
53.17 – Direct to consumer orthodontics and Turkey teeth
56.24 – Last days and legacy

About Geoff Stone

Geoff Stone gave up a career in investment banking to complete his BDS at the University of Glasgow and went on to gain his MFDS from the Royal College of Surgeons in Glasgow.

He is an associate dentist working in a mixed practice in Stirling in rural Bannockshire. He is also a trainer and mentor with IAS Academy.

[00:00:00] The funny thing is I was six foot four, and for the first month they thought I was a teacher once they noticed that I was queuing outside a classroom and handing in my homework. They’d come up and say, Payman, you must be thick to be back in school and getting bullied by four foot. Nothing was crazy. I felt like Mr. Bean doing his exams in a gym hall and tables that were puny. But I just you just you become. I became humble and in what I was doing, I mean, I recycled to a restaurant and I leave a large tip. It is hard work being a waiter and it’s hard work being a lifeguard, just walking around in that heat and humidity for eight hours. It’s dull. So I do respect for other people have to do to make a living.

[00:00:55] 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.

[00:01:12] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Jeff Stone to the Dental Leaders podcast. What are you going to hear is an incredibly inspiring story about somebody who’s faced so many adversities, has taken a non-conventional route to dentistry and has gone on to teach, educate a mentor of the people. I’m not going to spoil it because this one is truly one of the most inspirational stories I’ve heard so far. Enjoy. Yes, we usually start these interviews off by just learning a little bit about your backstory where you grew up a little bit of your upbringing, and then how that ended up translating into you moving into the world of dentistry. So, Jeff, do you want to just give us a little bit about your backstory?

[00:01:59] Yes, I am just done, and I was born in Gibraltar and my dad was royal engineers from Disposer and from Manchester. I was posted out to the regiment to Gibraltar, where he met my mum and they got married and relocated back to the UK. My brother was born in Kent. Then we’re on Cyprus, Germany and then my dad decided he’d had enough. The job was too risky with a young family, so he bought himself out the army and moved to Gibraltar. And I grew up there Gibraltar. At the time, the border was closed. So it’s a very small community, three square miles and I did my education there and while I was doing my hires, I did my work experience in the hospital. I was wanting to be an optician, but the optician, the optician at the time had retired, so I got sent to the Dental department and absolutely loved it. And the smells, the acrylic, the interacting with patients and just having that familiarity with people and hands on was was just amazing. I remember one of my neighbours, Rosario, was her name and she was in her 30s and she came in and I said, Well, sorry, your teeth are amazing. And she went, took our dentures and said, Thank you, son, I’m glad you like them. I’d never seen pictures in my life.

[00:03:25] That was a shock to the system, so I did my A-levels in the sciences. But at the time, the government offered no support. My dad was a corporal and a family of six, so the wages were not great, so he couldn’t afford the four thousand six hundred annual university fees. So I decided he wanted me to be an officer in the army, and I’d seen the kitchen table fly too many times in in rage by my dad’s that I just didn’t want that for my life. So I. Went into banking finance, I started as a clerk and worked my way up. I left banking as the assistant vice president of the Bank of an American bank won’t be made redundant. Yeah, we were right into the nineteen ninety to two thousand. We’re right in that intimate bubble where the markets were all thriving. Internet vehicles were coming up left, right and centre. And what was not expected was all markets where markets crashed at the same time and they did Latin America, Russia, Europe will crash at the same time, so the bank made a huge loss and decided to fold. At that time, I decided I wanted to well, it that met Sandra, my wife, who’s from Scotland whilst working at Lloyds Bank, and I decided to relocate to Scotland.

[00:04:49] Where where were you at the time when you were working in the bank in the earlier days? Wherever, wherever you there

[00:04:57] In Gibraltar, a finance centre. So I worked for Lloyds Bank. Could some code switch to queens on bankers? I worked for Springform Bank, which was an American bank and latterly with Morgan Stanley. So I was in Gibraltar in banking for about 16 years and worked my way up the management bank. I mean, did all my banking exams and then relocated to Scotland for two reasons. One, I wanted to play the bagpipes and I used to play the back. That’s a story in itself. But when I was 19, I had a really nasty motorbike accident and I was on life support. Last rites switch off the machine and I survived by my lungs were pretty damaged due to an embolism. And the surgeon was Scottish, and he says, you need to take up a wind instrument. So I said what? And he said the bagpipes and I did those two pipelines in Gibraltar, so my lungs are really good as a result of it. But when when Springfield Bank decided to wind up, I decided to relocate to Scotland. So I joined Morgan Stanley as a senior manager and joined Mel Angove, a pipe band as well. I did it for years with Morgan Stanley, whereby I was a victim of my own success, so I don’t.

[00:06:15] I didn’t have a degree at the time. I had my banking exams and I had graduates with Masters PhDs in economics. The one thing they were lacking was just common sense. I found in a lot of cases, and that’s something I would come in. I dread quite a few books on Six Sigma, which is a system developed by Motorola to look at the workarounds and inefficiencies in systems and roll that out through Morgan Stanley managed to. I mean, the first year we saved about $11 million, just doing away with inefficiencies and slimming down departments, redeploying people. So we moved the operations from Canary Wharf in London, up to Scotland. The problem was the hours and I had a young family and the hours were brutal. Travelling all the time never saw my kids. And I broke my ankle playing basketball, and I had time to reflect what I wanted out of life, and I said to my wife at this pace, I don’t think I’ll see 50. The stress of Monday was four stone heavier. It was having a strain on my marriage and I decided to just call it a day.

[00:07:19] Jeff, can I take you back to those days because I think we can all learn a lot from being in a position of being in the zone where you just don’t see what’s important, right? Whether it’s your career or sport that you’re chasing or whatever that is, you become tunnel vision and you neglect, let’s say, your health, the loved ones around you and so on and so forth. And I’m assuming that the banking, you know, certainly from my friends and colleagues, I was at university where they financially they did really well, right?

[00:07:51] Oh, certainly the bonuses were amazing. I was a director of six emerging market funds and the bonuses while you riding that wave on the market are like six figures. It was amazing, but the hours and the stress takes its toll. But but you do become a victim of your own success, like. And it’s it’s it’s a bit of, I would say, a bit of brainwashing as well the way the management try and drive you to. Always improve on yourself. Always try and seek. The work, the overtime work, the weekends, I mean, I’ve been in a Boxing Day sending trades in the South Korean market, new vehicles. So we were training at my son and with me in the office. The only time I could see him, even on Christmas Day, I would be training and they work you with that vision at the end of the bonus, the bonus at the end of the year. And that’s going to make your life happy as that bonus and that promotion. But it doesn’t. You lose, you lose, you lose perspective on your work life balance.

[00:08:59] Jeff, so you talked about the hours. Just just give me give me an insight into, you know, you’d wake up at this time, have breakfast with the family. What would happen? Give me a day or a week in the life of Jeff, the banker Jeff.

[00:09:13] The banker would get up at 5:00 in the morning check. The markets have a coffee, no breakfast jump in the car, driving to the office. Work all day. Finish like maybe catch lunch between meetings and finish. Work nine 10 o’clock at night. Come home to find you’ve left the house and the kids are asleep and you come home and they’re asleep. The weekends you try and do family time, but you so exhausted that you spend a lot of time sleeping to recover for that Monday morning again. And and it’s it’s it’s a treadmill. It’s yeah, it’s day in, day out and that’s the only way you succeed within the finances. Committing to the the bank’s ethos and mission statement and I was successful at it and I made more money out of it and I did really well in my career. It just it’s a young man’s game and I was finding as the more times you get made redundant, the harder it is because any time the market crashes. Middle management gets thinned out and all the higher, higher wage earners get thinned out. And then it’s harder to find another job. The similar calibre, similar wage and I had enough of missing out on the kids. I left my wife eight months pregnant at the airport, flying to Bahamas to deal with a crisis on one of the funds. I was a director where the market had crashed and we had about $20 million invested in it. So I left my wife crying at the airport pregnant and I landed in London and my boss phoned me and says, Well, we ticket a London Gatwick.

[00:10:53] It was more like a TV show. I landed in Kakuma as you’ve got 60 Minutes to get to Heathrow. Your flight booked. Pay the taxi, anything. So I paid the taxi driver an extra £60 tip to get me to Heathrow in 50 minutes from Gatwick. So you’re breaking the speed limits all the way. Got there to hear my name being called as as gates about to close. Jumped on the British Airways flight business class to JFK limo waiting for me. Sat in the back, heated it, sat in the front who was a guy from Peru, and he is fluent in Spanish and so am I. So we were blaring in Spanish and he gave me a tour of New York, got to Newark and to the Marriott Hotel. Five hours sleep limo back to New York Airport, fly to Nassau, Bahamas, into the Radisson. A cable beach dropped my stuff off. The heat was unbearable. It was August in Bahamas and going to a 12 hour meeting where I survived on a few sandwiches, loads of coffee. Managed to recover $7.5 million because they found. And the thing is, I tend to, I don’t know, I have a knack about finding irregularities or things that just don’t make sense. And I’ll ask the question, and I notice in the prospectus that the investors or the the fund managers had said no investments in Russia. But I recognise the codes as Russian details, so we threatened to sue them or managed to recover eight million of our nice bonus out of that. And my boss says, you need to fly back.

[00:12:30] And I said, I am exhausted. I’ve been on my feet for 48 hours. So he said, stay in Bahamas and relax for two days at our expense, which I did on a jet ski and lot of fun. Just go back to Gibraltar. My daughter was born. And it was it was an amazing journey while every young man, but you lose perspective. I lost perspective on. I was missing out to my family. I spent nine months marketing and I saw my daughter as a baby and then came back and she was walking, but wouldn’t stay in the house on her own with me. So and my wife is my rock and I sat down and that’s when I was in my 30s and I said, You know? There’s only one life, no dress rehearsal. I don’t think a lasting finance this long. I always wanted to do something in medicine. I always wanted to to be a dentist. And she gave me the go ahead to look into it. So it’s funny. I was in the library studying for my securities exams, for the stock exchange, and there was a chap from India called Priyank, a good friend of mine, and he was a doctor from India and he was studying for his medical exams, but he was fidgeting. He’s a very, very nervous guy and the table was rocking at the library and I said, Do you mind I’m getting seasick? I can’t even to read my book. And we started talking and we swapped books because he was fascinated by the stock market.

[00:13:52] I was fighting a need to buy his book in medicine, and I could answer just by reading. I could answer the questions in his exam. And I just got me that just gave me a. The boost to really investigate, so I went to the open day at Dundee. They told me I was told in no uncertain terms. The professor there said, Why would we give a position to you when you probably maybe only give 20 years of service to the NHS when I can give a 20 year old and you’ll do double the time? And I thought that was a bit naive because most dentists retired 50 55, but I went to Glasgow. I was speaking to a chap called David Steele, who is an oral surgeon. And he was a lovely, lovely man. And he said, Yeah, love to have you. You. I think you’ll bring a lot of life experience to to the course, but you need to set your highs again. Your A-levels or your high Scottish highs have to be within two years or on a science degree. So I’m thinking, Wow, how do I do this? There’s no colleges that do the three sciences, so. So I went to the local school and Bray’s high school, spoke to the deputy headmaster and said, You would love to have you. So I quit my job, gave my three months notice on Morgan Stanley. Borrowed the standard grades, physics, biology and chemistry books, because when I did physics, biology, chemistry, elite level, there was no calculators. It was the soccer was tables, no electric boards. It was diodes.

[00:15:23] Yeah.

[00:15:24] So I had to teach myself standard grades. During the summer, while working three jobs, I decided to move away from finance and I worked as a lifeguard. I worked as a pub manager and I worked as a in a restaurant while my wife did two jobs, two to three jobs as well just to make ends meet. Sold the house on a nice big five bedroom house. I moved into a three bedroom council flat just to reduce the size of my mortgage.

[00:15:49] And I hope you don’t mind me asking, right? So you were sure you were in banking, which I’m assuming, as you mentioned, was incredibly lucrative. Yeah. So in my mind, you sat on the sat on a war chest at this time, right? You’ve given your job up. And now is it because your lifestyle was in line with what you were earning back then? And you just you’re

[00:16:13] You live to your means? I mean, and the thing is, I mean, I was 26 and getting £170000 bonuses every year and you leave live to your means. You know, I’d I’d had had a Porsche and a BMW. I wrote to one car off at a Ducati. I wrote that off, broke both my legs and you had to go to a restaurant and say, We’re talking. In the 90s, I’d spend £400 on a meal with my wife and invite my friends mommy I’d never seen before. I took my kids six times to EuroDisney, so the Three Tenors in Vienna. And it was amazing. When I moved to Scotland, I spent three months looking for work at my level that ate into a lot of my income and I’d saved. Plus, I had some investments where the bank crashed so that my investments as well in Latin America, so I lost a lot of equity. So but you live to your means? Sure. I mean, I change a car every nine months because I got bored of it because you can’t buy another one, because you could, because I was 26 and 27 earning a bundle and I left to those things. I never felt off being a bit more shrewd than my dad would say, Oh, you should invest, and I would, and I did. And then the stock market crashed and I lost it all because as soon as you sell, you realise your losses.

[00:17:38] Jeff, what was it like going from a high powered banking position to then working as a pub manager in a restaurant? How did you make that transition and and how did you feel like came from nothing?

[00:17:52] We were very, very poor. I mean, I used to go to school with cardboard in my shoes, hoping it didn’t rain. Otherwise I’d have soggy socks. My dad was at the time until he became such a major. He was a corporal feeding six males living in a one bedroom flat six of us. So, yeah, coming from nothing, then having a lot. I mean, I had a couple of properties which I sold that I lost because the market crashed in Gibraltar to then going back to going through changing room lockers and picking up pound coins. And that would pay for my lunch at university. And you used to adapt and you lived to your means. The beauty of it was at the time my kids were pretty young and they valued that money doesn’t grow on trees, so they respected the fact that they can’t have Adidas shoes and Primark has just as good. And so it was educational just not only for me, but for my kids as well. We worked really hard and we appreciated everything we had was still managed, and we managed to get to Portugal a couple of times on £200 budget for two weeks, not five star hotel with three staff. But it was great. I had a pool and just left to those and the funny. The strange thing is I went back to a high school and it was a really rough high school and the level of poverty in this day and age was shocking. Kids would come in in the same clothes they’d been wearing for four or five days, and the only hot meal was the one they had in school. The funny thing is I was six foot four, and for the first month they thought I was a teacher once they noticed that I was queuing outside classroom and handing in my homework. They’d come up and say, Payman, you must be thick to be back in school and getting bullied by four foot.

[00:19:42] Nothing was

[00:19:46] Crazy. I felt like Mr Bean doing his exams in a gym hall and tables that were puny. But I just you just you become. I became humble and in what I was doing, I mean, I recycled to a restaurant and I leave a large tip. It is hard work being a waiter and it’s hard work being a lifeguard, just walking around in that heat and humidity for eight hours. It’s dull. So I do respect for other people have to do to make a living.

[00:20:18] Jeff, you must have had a crazy amount of drive to then sort of say, OK, we’re going to meet my wife going to work maybe four or five jobs between us. I’ve got this vision of dentistry. I’m going to go back to school. Yeah. And it takes a certain individual to, especially at that age, to then say, Right, I’m going to go back and go to school. You know,

[00:20:46] I was 35 at the time and I sat down with my wife. My in-laws stop talking to me for two years because they their view was I failed my family by quitting. Mm-hmm. And even the teachers, their physics teacher, Mr Gove, his son was a dentist, and he he told me, there’s over 900 applications. There’s no chance you’ll get in. So I lied to give up my friend. Priyanka, who was a doctor, says it’s very difficult to get in. So I like a lot of hurdles, but I had a lot of self-belief that I could. Mm-hmm. I mean, I had a backup plan. If I didn’t get into dentistry, I would have done an accountancy degree and either got into accountancy or taught. Being a teacher, I enjoyed the year I was in school, but dentistry was was what I wanted, and my grandfather always said, You know, we make our own prison walls. It’s up to us to break out. And I did, and it was hard. I mean, the first year my it was a challenge. First, first year my mum passed away in the January, so I took a couple of weeks out and then fourth year because because we didn’t know we were surviving on £12000 a year to pay a small mortgage.

[00:22:00] So this is now. You’ve done it. You’ve done your, you’ve done your school. You’re in Dental school now, right?

[00:22:06] Yeah. Well, I’ll go back to school. I had to get forays and so my my wife would send me to the library and pick me up every every evening and then I’d go to work. And she says, No slacking, no playing Xbox with your son. Otherwise back into finance would be there with a rolling pin mechanism. You know, it’s the five highs was more of a challenge than five years of Dental school. And as soon as I got my grades in August, and it shows forays and a b and that’s what I needed, and I got the B because I was late to my matric maths exam. I sat paper one and I recognised one of the invigilators from the pub. I went, so I went to the staff room, had a coffee with him and we’re chatting away and 20 minutes in, he turns around and says, Geoff, if you’re not people to to sit. I said, John, you know, invigilators know I was only doing paper one. I run like a madman to that Jim Hall to, but I never finished the Part two, so I won’t be for it. But anyway, I needed for and to be. That’s what I did it and I phoned the university and they said, Yep, you’re in. And me and my wife were jumping on the bed like two weekends. I’ve been excitement. Amazing. There’s such a buzz.

[00:23:18] Yeah, it must have been one of the best feelings in the world, right? You have those memorable moments in your life.

[00:23:23] It was just fantastic because there was so many people saying, you’re too old, you’ll not get in. There’s too much competition. I mean, there was 784 people. I remember that I played for 68 70 places and I go in and it was incredible. But then was, how do we finance it? And that was the challenge as well. So my wife had three jobs, I had three jobs. I maxed out my credit cards, used all my savings. I bought a motorbike so that I could get to university and the cheap because it cost me £2000. But then in fifth year, I had a really nasty bike accident. I broke both my legs again and hit diesel on a roundabout, and I got run over by a car. So I had to spend three months away from university and I thought, I’m going to have to quit. We were financially broke, absolutely broke and went to uni because I couldn’t work. I went to university and they tried to help me, but I managed to get maybe £4500 to pay a mortgage and kids when I’m only like. It was only three months into the course, into fifth year. So it was a professor. I called me sitting somewhat sombre in the coffee shop and he was saying, Jeff, you’re OK. And I said, I think I’m going to have to drop out. I’m in a lot pain. I can’t. I can’t work. And he says, Well, what do you need? I said £500 to get me through the month. And. Sorry to talk. Ok, John. So you wrote me a cheque for £5000. Wow. Which to this day still resonates. And it was just such a. Heartfelt thing for somebody to do. And Hillary, you have a lot of faith in humanity when people do stuff like that.

[00:25:21] What was his name, Jess?

[00:25:23] Oh, Roger Stone, Mr Roger Stone, and he passed away with cancer, unfortunately, two years after. But it was a hell of a guy. So I’ve got my flu as well, so I’m a bit emotional, I’m feeling really unwell. And that 5000 just got me through university. I managed to get even though I missed three months of it, I doubled up my time and used to go to all the clinics like I’d be throughout the day, just seeing patients and going to clinics. And I walked away with three BS from university and straight into vet, and that was just amazing. Vti was an absolute challenge, I was suffering from PTSD after the accident, I was rejecting one of the plates in my hip and I ended up with a hospital acquired infection. But my vet trainers were were not very empathetic to my situation, so I ended up back in hospital getting an operation, getting the plates removed back into vet. Feet was a challenge. I mean, the nurse they gave me had the reputation she was called Scary Mary, and she lived up to our reputation. They had all the

[00:26:37] All these and not to work with.

[00:26:39] She was. She was a nightmare. But it was a challenge. I mean, even the practise principal drove his technician to depression. And I’d be standing there watching, observing like making a partial denture. And it got to do a fit and he’d chuck it across the room when it didn’t fit. And I was so unprofessional. So it was a challenge. And I just at one point I thought, I’m going to have to walk away from this as I can’t do this university. The way the analogy I use his university teaches how to drive a car. It’s only when you’re on your own, you know, in a car on the motorway that you actually learn how to drive. Sure, it does. It doesn’t teach you what dentistry general NHS dentistry is from day to day. I mean, I did 15 15 amalgams in the five years I was at university because at the time Glasgow Uni were of the opinion that amalgams were being phased out. The reality of it is the NHS can’t afford anything else but amalgams. Mm-hmm. So coming into practise dealing with patients and their patient load that I was given was patients at the two principles do not want to see so much. So I remember one of the patients, one of the principal told me that patients, they refused to see them because they were worried what they could catch of him because the guy didn’t have any personal hygiene and his mouth was just as bad.

[00:28:07] But that was a challenge, and I got through it and I moved into a practise in Bannockburn, where I’ve been there for the last 10 years. Wow. The principal was an amazing person, is an amazing person. She sold the practise and the new principal is a lovely guy. And and I have loved a lot of my patients, love what I do within the heart. I passed my vet and within the first year of starting as an associate in the practise I had, the inkling orthodontics was the way I wanted to go down. I had a Nanny McPhee tooth. So much so I checked. Actually, when I had my bike accident, I was lying on the ground. After dragging myself from under the car with two broken legs, a police officer comes up and says, Your legs broke and I said, no, both my legs are broken by my bloody tooth. I was concerned about my teeth and my legs, so I wanted to align my legs and my leg, my legs and my teeth and my legs and operations were facing east and west and me and the principal. Patricia did the online course for the Allina, which was TIFF Qureshi. Mm hmm. You introduced the Indian Allina to to the UK and we sat there, each with a glass of wine, and the online course passed the exam online and I was my first patient and I just got the bug for it.

[00:29:33] I just loved it and then went to straighten my own teeth. Couldn’t tolerate in Manilla because talking with patients for eight hours a day was a challenge. So I came in a mouth full of grapes, so I did a couple of courses. I did a German German online, a system which I strained in my own teeth, and I did that Allina System for about six months, then didn’t like how some of the instructions that were coming, they were saying, like, if you’ve got an Ontario by to drill baby, drill down all the posterior teeth, and I thought, now you can’t be damaging teeth like that. And by that time, the Ace Academy had started up. So I did that clear aligner course and it opened more opportunities with patients, but I still found that I was having to refer quite a bit. So I did the fixed braces through Anoop Mani, who was a lovely, lovely man, and I owe him a debt of gratitude for the way the patience and the compassion he showed towards how I. I went down the fixed braces course. I mean, my wife was my first case and I bonded up and I sent a loop through the ear. This my bond up. And he says, Jeff, give me your mobile number. I’m going to phone you, says Jeff. Good effort, Anoop here.

[00:31:01] Good, good effort on the braces. There’s a slight problem, though the brackets should sit in the centre of the teeth, not on the incisal edges. Whoops. And he says, take them on off you’ll be. It’ll be an amazing experience for you and learning how to take him off before you’ve even aligned them, and we’ll send you a whole new set for free. And so I learnt to properly. He was such a lovely man. Lazy Anoop was amazing. Excuse me? Absolutely. And so I straightened my wife’s and my daughter wanted our teeth straightened and she knew want breaks at the front. So I went on. The lingual course did her hard teeth, which I submitted as a case for the IRS to 19, 20 18 awards ceremony symposium in London. And I remember as case. Um, and then had to do the advance once I got enough cases of fixed braces under my belt, I applied to do the advance and spent 14 months with the under the watchful eye of Ross. Ross Hobson, Professor Ross Hobson. And that’s changed my practise on my outlook all together. I’m a mentor. I asked if I could, what would be the route in order to be a mentor because I wanted to impart the knowledge had gained. And TEF says, would love to have you on the Abby line bleach and bond. And I’ve been doing that ever since. I just love it.

[00:32:30] Jeff, if we just if we just step back a little bit and then we’ll we’ll. I want to. I want to ask you a lot more about the teaching and your practise philosophy. At what point during that whole journey did life get easier? Because it seems to me from the moment you left banking to go into school and then the struggle through university and you know your wife being your number one fan, your rock and your motivator, right? That some somebody who pushed you through that process made sure you went straight to the library didn’t give you time to play with the kids and whatnot because, you know, she had the same vision as you. Right? And then and then during that initial vote, you’ve obviously suffered during that time. And you know, the degree of suffering is all relative, right? At what point during that journey did life get? Easy.

[00:33:28] So, Patricia, the initial the the original principle to the practise told me it will take you five years to get your feet under the table and have enough experience for a patient walking through the door with a problem, and you’ll be able to say, I know how to deal with that. I know who to ask to be able to deal with that. And it took me about five years to gain enough experience, enough strings in my boat to feel comfortable in my own skin as a dentist. And as I became more comfortable and more relaxed, so did the patients and the referrals. And with that came revenue as well, because you were more comfortable in not selling because I don’t sell to my patient, I give them options. This is private. This is this is NHS. These are the benefit. These are the risks. This is a choice. And I saw the seat. So even with orthodontics, I get patients that I sought that seats six seven years ago, having their teeth strengthened now. And it took me about five years to be comfortable in that particular environment of being able because dentistry is quite lonely. It’s you, your nurse and your surgery. And it’s it’s tough.

[00:34:44] It’s tough to have that rapport. Find a common ground with your nurse as well. And it’s a stressful environment. It’s you’re not just the dentist, you’re a psychologist, you’re you’re a medick, you’re a mechanic of teeth. And patients come in with a whole host of problems to sit in your chair and they just dump it on you. And it’s been able to be empathetic to deal with and try and advise and sympathise with them. But get to the root cause of what is your Dental problem and how can we help you in that respect? And that takes time, takes takes time to to be true to to do that. Fortunately, a lot of my banking experience dealing with the public helped me because there’s a lot of my colleagues that came out of university and ended up in an academic situation because they couldn’t deal with the general public. They just did not know very good at passing exams. Very good at the skill set, but not very good at dealing with with the public. And that comes with experience, with age, I would say. So it took me about five years. I would say OK to be comfortable in my skin as a dentist.

[00:35:58] And you alluded earlier to, you know, doing Six Sigma and following the Motorola methodology, right? Efficiency and that whole. I think you can get different belts in Six Sigma as well, and I’m aware of. And so how do the principles of Motorola apply to dentistry? And have you applied them in your own practise?

[00:36:27] I’m I’m still an associate. Yeah, and I do offer help. I’m going back about five or six years. Patricia, the principal at the time, says, Jeff, can you help me? The cost of supplies per month was running into six £7000 a month. The practise was just barely breaking even. And she asked, Can you help me? So I literally did a spreadsheet of all the materials we did, and we used and looked and shopped around and started playing companies against each other for the best deals. I managed to bring that bill down to sixteen hundred pounds a month. Wow. And looking at efficiencies and we still use those materials, the materials are the same. It’s it’s I can use a top quality material. I can use an equivalent material. And all you’re paying for sometimes is a label. Because GI glass is glossy, onomah bibs are bibs. You know, disposables are disposable, so you manage to shop around. And if we found that bill creeping up, I’d go back and negotiate prices, and that’s in itself. And since then, I pass that on to their lead nurse and she’s she’s taken it over and we keep that philosophy going. The price, if we monthly bills creep up, we shop around and negotiate between the companies and say, Well, we’re getting a 25 percent discount from this company. What can you offer and take it from there? I mean, so NHS fees haven’t gone up by much since 2006, but cost of materials have gone up by 25 30 percent and more now since COVID. So you have to. But there is still some. Colleagues that are reluctant to move away from your labelled trade name materials, and it’s nuts, it’s getting that balance. They’ve been able to negotiate that. But at the end of the day, the practises are businesses. You know, you don’t make money, you can’t keep the lights on.

[00:38:40] Sure, sure. Not many are so sorry.

[00:38:44] You know, I was going to say, I’m having a bit of a battle at the moment with a few of my colleagues because at the moment we’re handed the Scottish COVID restrictions where we’re operating at maybe 20 percent. My colleagues are wanting to open the books up and the Scottish Government have given no indication as to when things are going to open or improve while in the near future. But our books? I mean, we’re working two or three days. I work three days a week instead of my usual five. Mm hmm. And it’s all on a on a Tuesday just to NHS Wednesday, Thursday do private, mostly orthodontics and restorative generated through the orthodontics. But my colleagues are wanting to open up the NHS book further. But we’re not getting paid anymore. And the more patients you see for exams, the more cost comes from materials, wages and stuff without reading. I just don’t see how the practise can, not under the funding the NHS is currently limiting practises to and that’s my business mind. We had a brief conversation about him. I focus I tend to move, and I know it’s a two tier system and it’s out of my hands, but I’m moving a lot of my patients to the private side of the business, better materials, quicker turnaround times and it’s keeping the lights on and paying wages, especially with with a fellow finishing at the end of this month, I believe.

[00:40:17] Yeah, that’s the wages, Jeff. Just touching on the two tiered system as a clinician, how do you switch between the two one day operating as an NHS dentist and then the following day providing private dentistry? I’m assuming different levels of service, different materials, different amount of time with the patient. How do you switch your philosophy between the two?

[00:40:42] It’s a work in progress, and my nurse is a good counsel. She’s ageless with what? She’s a bit older than me, very wise for age as well. We’re like brother, sister. The patients come in and they say, you’re like husband and wife because we bicker like like brothers and sisters, but they laugh at us as well. And we just discuss, you know, there are times that I will treat NHS patients like if there were private, if if I feel they physically cannot or financially cannot afford the treatment. But as a battle, I was getting very, very stressed about it about six months ago, and my principal and my nurse were saying, it’s out of my hands, it’s the Scottish Government. So I try with my patients to do the best I can under the difficult, very difficult situation we’re in at the moment. We’re then using NHS materials. I will do the best root canal I can. I’ll make the best venture that I can within the budgets we’ve been given. Find the NHS wants us to offer a a marks and Spencers service on an on an Aldi budget. It just doesn’t work. No, no. But it’s difficult and it’s a moral battle. It’s an emotional battle from day to day.

[00:42:01] Yeah. Geoff, moving onto your your teaching. So, you know, it seems to me that you got engrossed in the in the IRS academy system, so to speak,

[00:42:12] Totally Solanki

[00:42:14] So so-called recall states, and then went full circle in becoming a mentor. And you teach them some of the courses as well. Instruct, I guess I’ve definitely seen some social media posts where you’re at least teaching alongside TIFF, for sure. Just tell us about that and how you got into the teaching side of things and actually standing up in front of people and teaching is that does that come naturally to you?

[00:42:42] No, I’m super nervous for a couple of days to the build up to it. I mean, I used to stand in front of a board of directors and throw up before I used to have to walk in and discuss. Mm hmm. With with with teaching within the is the you’ve got big, big shoes to fill with the likes of TIFF and Andy Wallace. Amazing, amazing wealth of knowledge behind them. And I feel very, very privileged to be alongside them, and every day is a school day. My vote, my knowledge from day to day I spend in their presence is vertical. It’s the learning experiences vertical, the the wealth of knowledge, and it’s incredible. And I just do my best to have myself fully prepared. There’s over 2000 slides for the AB weekend course and I’ve learnt them all off, by heart, by rote, and I’ve done background research on the Dow principle on the edge bonding that TIFF developed called a reverse triangle technique. And I just make myself the best I can be and be able to impart that knowledge without. Feeling that I’m watering down what Jeff and Andy have developed as a teaching principle. I hate to do do it. No service. That would be for me. It would be a failure and I, to be honest, if they turn their answers. Jeff, unfortunately, you know, good enough, I would put my hand and walk away. Thankfully, they haven’t said that yet.

[00:44:22] No, I think certainly the feedback I get from, you know, people who’ve been mentored by you, certainly on the board and the platform and stuff is that they tend to comment on on your speed of getting back to people and also the quality of information they receive. So, you know, passing on your knowledge and teaching and stuff like that, is that something you’re going to explore more in terms of progression of your career? Is that something you want to do more of it?

[00:44:52] Definitely. I’m 53 now, and dentistry takes a huge toll on your back and your ability. I, as I get older, I don’t know if I could do five days a week, and teaching just offers that opportunity to give you another career pathway to be able to learn from be able to pass on the knowledge you’ve gained and the tips and pitfalls of like from my own mistakes. Being able to educate and impart that knowledge to other other upcoming coming dentist for me is an amazing journey to be able to, to offer and to be part of. I feel very privileged, very honoured to have been given the opportunity. Being quite young in my Dental career myself, I’m 10 11 years out of university and it has just been. There’s been an amazing journey.

[00:45:55] Jeff, you talk about being absolutely petrified of getting up in front of people and speaking and think it’s something we all face. Certainly for me, when I’ve had to stand up on the stage and speak to people, the, you know, the adrenaline kicks in, the heart rate goes through the roof. And for many of us, it’s a normal feeling right. And for some people who do it day in, day out, like this, it’s just like another day in the office.

[00:46:21] Well, after after COVID and you had to do his first one, he needed a few beta blockers to calm him down. So just don’t tell him, well, actually, he’ll find out.

[00:46:31] We all know that now a secret is out, but yeah, it’s it’s one of those feelings that you go through. And I think anyone who thinks about teaching getting up in front of people, it’s not easy. You know, it’s it’s incredibly tough and I find personally the first five to seven minutes. And then once you’re in the flow, you’re like, What the hell was I worrying about? Did you experience something similar, Jeff?

[00:47:01] Exactly as soon as I, I’m worrying for two days. I’m reading through those presentations and all the notes that go through it weeks ahead. I’m on the I’m at the gate, at the airport, still going through the presentations. And as soon as I stand there, I’m thinking, I’m going, Am I going to forget? Am I going to forget as soon as you start talking? It just rolls off the tongue? Yeah, it’s I mean, I think the nervousness comes as well from the fact that you teaching a group of very well-educated, very knowledgeable individuals from different walks of life from different aspects of dentistry. I mean, the last one I was in Birmingham, we had an implant surgeon from Scotland who was very academically high in our skill set with a wealth of knowledge beyond what I have, certainly in implants. But the beauty of it is myself, Andy and Kelly Jackson, who was on the course what we imparted. She managed to take some value out of it. That and I and I got a nice message from her saying it’s it’s actually hasn’t answered a whole lot of questions that I didn’t have before on why a screw screws snap on an implant on the abutment. And it’s to do with occlusion and stuff, you know, and it’s things you don’t know what you don’t know. And that for me, it was amazing. But however smart you think you are or however knowledge you accumulate, you never stop learning throughout life.

[00:48:37] Yeah. So and learning, you know, I’m a big believer in learning from your own mistakes, Jeff, and something that we ask a lot of the guests on this show is about clinical mistakes. If you could sit back and reflect over the last decade or so that you’ve been a practising dentist 10 11 years, what would you consider to? Your biggest clinical mistake? Am.

[00:49:06] Trying to please everyone, trying to please principals, trying to please colleagues, trying to be my please. All the nurses you can’t, trying to please patients you can’t. It’s it’s impossible. You just got to do the best you can listen to to yourself and yourself and work to the best of your abilities. You can’t please everybody every day. And that’s for the in that first five years of trying to be comfortable in my abilities as a dentist. That was a big challenge because you listen to different people on how they operate. User Topham use users equivalent. Report this to child services. Don’t report this. You can’t use go to find what works for you, what works for your patients ethically, morally and as as long as you get to bed at night and sleep with a clean conscience. You’ve done your day’s work the best as you can. I think that that was the biggest struggle I had initially.

[00:50:10] So that Jeff, that’s almost like a philosophy, isn’t it, that you sort of mature? And then you begin to understand that when dealing with the general public or multiple different people, you can’t keep everyone happy.

[00:50:23] And if you do make a mistake, yeah, own up to it. I mean, you just because we’re all humans, and if you’ve got a nice report like a really good, I treat patients like I would be treating a member of family. So I’ve got a good rapport. I had a patient about four or five years ago. I was supposed to extract the upper left to and make a denture. In addition to the I was supposed to make a partial denture for the upper left to the lab came back. I never checked a partial denture, took the upper left to out, went to fit it in. The denture was for the upper right, too. I held my hand up to that patient, said I do apologise. Labs sent me the tooth on the wrong side. I should have checked it before taking your tooth out. You’re going to spend the next week with a tooth missing at the front. Is there anything I can do? I’ll do this. I’ll put it this way. I’ll make this tension for free and not charge you. How you feel. And she was super appreciative and said laughed about the fact that she’d be spitting peace through that gap for a week and it caught on up and be there. Our patients wouldn’t and take it to the cleaners. But if you’re honest and and admit to your mistakes and make make recompense for it, that’s the best you can do. And to this day, I think I’ve had one complaint in my whole career, and I think it’s down to how I treat patients and how I communicate with them.

[00:51:49] And that was what I was getting at. When I ask you the question, what was your biggest clinical mistake? It was something like that, right? And what we often tried to learn from when we speak to people about this is not really what the mistake was, but how you handled it. And what’s clear is that the world revolves around the communication, owning up honesty and doing whatever you can to put it, right?

[00:52:15] Yeah, totally. I mean, you went, it’s like you win some or you lose some. There’s there’s there’s a patient. I aligned their teeth about a year ago. He’s they’re not happy about their bites and I’m not going to quibble about it. The bite looks fine, and all I’m going to do is bond up again, back into elastics and try and get that back to socking better. Mm hmm. And you take the hit. I’d much rather that then he goes through a lawyer and looks six recompense at all. It’s going to cost the set of metal brackets three £540 and my time to have a happy patient who I’ve been dealing with and seeing for the last six, seven years. So that’s that’s my philosophy. I just have to always find a common ground with the patient. I can’t just say that’s it. We can’t do any better. You have to accept it. That’s just a recipe for disaster.

[00:53:17] You’re in terms of you doing a lot of orthodontics. Do you have any patients to come and speak to you or you have conversations with patients around direct to consumer orthodontic, so you order your aligners online or whatever, and then off you go treat yourself sort of thing. You ever had any of those sort of conversations with patients who said, Actually, I can get it cheaper by doing this, that and the other. Do you ever have any of those?

[00:53:41] I do, and I do a lot with Turkey veneers. And it seems to be the fad now. I have honest, honest conversation with patients who are actually treating two patients that have had direct to consumer aligners and ended up with the material combines in one case and the other one. It’s still as crowded as when they started, and they’ve spent £4500. Which is still a lot of money. I mean, I would charge as much as an orthodontist for four orthodontics. I try and keep it. I mean, I work in a village in rural Scotland, so I keep it competitive to my market. So I’m not much more expensive than what direct to consumer aligners are offering. And I do have these conversations saying to the fact that you wouldn’t have your appendix taken out by a surgeon who’s reading a book or by by somebody who’s not even a surgeon. Just by reading a book. Why would you have your teeth straightened by somebody who’s not no dentist as a technician? If things go wrong, if no, come back. And the same with direct consumer like turkey veneers. Yeah, turkey teeth. You go out there and if you get them done, I won’t touch because if I touch those crowns or those veneers, they you end up owning them.

[00:55:02] And I show them photos of the damage, the prep’s heavy preps on crowded teeth. I also show them the before and after photos of a particular celebrity, which will remain anonymous, where she had all our teeth crowned within a week, a couple of the crowns fell out and had to go back and they just pointy stumps. So I keep those quotas in insurgencies. This is what they’ll do to your teeth. You’ll not get much change. What I would be charging and you don’t get there’s not much difference from what. Yeah, and what they’ll charge you and what they’ll charge you. Why would you do that? Why would you? And sometimes they hear. Sometimes they don’t. But at the end of the day, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Mm-hmm. And the fat. Now I’m finding in his hedge bonding. I get tons of teenagers and early 20s coming in asking for hedge bonding on severely crowded teeth with the restricted envelope of functions. And I’ll say, yeah, I can age bond, but there’s no warranty on it because he’ll break with a bite you have. So we end up lining whitening and maybe, maybe, sometimes it doesn’t even age bonding. It’s their own natural teeth, and they’re happier that way.

[00:56:20] Sure.

[00:56:21] So how did that conversation?

[00:56:24] Sure. And just moving away from dentistry, Jeff. Definitely, I’m getting the feeling you’re a very wise man and you’ve been through a lot in your life, so tell us a little bit about your family and I’d like some advice. Tell us a bit about your kids.

[00:56:40] My kids, they’re amazing. Cameron’s 26, and he’s an accountant. He he wanted to be a dentist, but he preferred zbox to studying and going back to my own childhood. My dad was a sergeant major in the army. Very, very strict. Yeah, quite violent and a lot of times, and I didn’t want that for my kids. So that’s why I didn’t join the army. And I never I never forced my kids to do anything. I would just offer my advice. So my son learnt to lesson in himself when he didn’t get his great like his colleagues did his friends. His friends became dentists. He didn’t. His friends are now driving like Porsches and A3s and stuff. He he he can’t because he didn’t get the grades. So many hunkered down in his accountancy and did a masters as well because he didn’t do very well in his accountancy degree in either. But he got a first in his master’s, and it’s just about having the charts with them and saying, you know, it’s up to you. You can mess about now, but then you won’t have the wage all the job that you want. You won’t have the security for the house that you want. And the the one thing is when they were at university. The one thing I did is rather than pay rent, I thankfully dentistry gave me that opportunity to buy a flat and rather than pay rent, I paid their mortgage.

[00:58:09] And what I did as like with Cameron and I did with Rhona was, I say, spend the summer saving up what you save up a match and as a deposit on the flat at the end of university, you keep that flat and that’s your starting life. You sell it. Whatever equity you make from it, it’s your profit. And I did the same for my daughter as well. My daughter is a lawyer and she did really well, but she struggled. She wanted to be a vet and did all the sciences, but then went to the open day and spent time with a vet. Local vet and the local vet gave my daughter, who’s a young, impressionable, tall blonde, blue eyed girl, and gave the book about vasectomies on dogs. And they gave the I actually laughed my head off. I said to my, well, actually castrated the dog and gave my daughter his crown jewels and a pair of blunt scissors and told her to dissect the testicles and look in the book and see what anatomy features. You can see a division of adult looking back and say,

[00:59:15] I pulled back

[00:59:20] Myself laughing, but I put her off there being a poor soul. So then she decided she wants to be a lawyer. So trying to do a personal statement with sciences because she got five A’s in her sciences, maths and another advanced higher to to a law degree was a challenge. And then she struggled. She went to Glasgow Uni, and she struggled the first two years to the point she was thinking, Oh, I want to quit, and tomorrow I sat down with her. So if you want to quit, what would you want to do? Of course. Would you want to swap into or do you want to go to work? And she didn’t know. So I said, Well, stick it out. And she she stuck it out and got a two one in her degree and got a first in in the bar. She passed the bar. Currently works as a paralegal because due to COVID, there’s no very few law graduate jobs. The beauty about working as a paralegal is she’s learning from the other side of the table how hard paralegals work for lawyers to pursue. You do find lawyers don’t respect paralegals as much as they should because they they’re looked upon as the lesser of the academics or worker that they like the worker bees. Yeah. So she’s learning from the other side that it’s hard work being a paralegal. So when she does get her law graduate job, she’ll be able to understand more and respect and value more paralegals do so. So yeah, that’s that’s my kids. Rona is 22 and Cummins, 26. They’re both working from home, so we’re always competing for bandwidth. It’s a bit of a challenge, but yeah, it’s good. There are lovely kids, right?

[01:01:07] I’m Jeff. So we always end these interviews with you, putting on a little bit of a bit of advice for your loved ones. So, Jeff, imagine it was your last day on the planet, okay? And you had your loved ones around. You naturally, family kids. What’s three pieces of wisdom for life would you leave them with?

[01:01:33] I have no regrets. Follow your dreams. And treat everybody like you would be wants, like you would want people to treat you with respect. I think those those are the three things I live by.

[01:01:48] Yeah, totally. And if? I’ll rephrase this in a different way. How would you like to be remembered? So finish the sentence Jeff was.

[01:02:06] I don’t know, I’ve never thought of that. Jeff was. Nuts. People would say it was nuts. The things I’ve done and increase, I know nothing.

[01:02:23] I think what you’ve shared today, maybe a little bit and not, but for me, incredibly inspiring me. Having listened to your journey right from the beginning, from from childhood, right through to every single adversity that you challenged and the story that really hit my heart. I must admit, is the journey that you and your wife have been on together to for you to be who you want to be, right? I think that’s that’s really powerful and a really positive message for us all.

[01:02:58] Yeah. If you find your soulmate and just respect each other, support each other and and we’ve done that to see how it was our 30th wedding anniversary and where’s 30 years gone? I was a couple of months ago, and that’s. That’s just I mean, my wife’s been my rock, and she supported me throughout, and so are my kids. Yeah, and it’s been an amazing journey and life still goes on and I look forward to what life throws ahead of us.

[01:03:29] Yeah, it’s been great, Jeff. And one more question. Sure. You have 30 days left. Yeah, yeah. How would you spend it?

[01:03:38] Wow. I’d say golf and my wife would have other ideas. 30 days. I would spend it with my wife and kids

[01:03:50] With you, wife and kids. Yeah, definitely. No NHS crowns.

[01:03:55] No, no, no. No wife and kids. I just spend every moment with my wife and kids, and I try as much now because I know both of them have their own homes. That’s my son’s getting a house built. My daughter’s refurbishing an old or getting an old house. So they’ll be moving, moving out soon, and it’ll just be me and my wife again. And so I’m I spend as much time with him as I can now because I know they’ll have their own lives to deal with. So 30 days, yeah, I’d spend them with them. Beautiful. That’s a lot of whisky. Yeah.

[01:04:33] Jeff, thank you so much for your time today and absolute pleasure. I just thank you so much for your openness and sharing everything that you’ve been through, because certainly for me, I found it incredibly inspirational and I’m sure others will too.

[01:04:46] Thank you very much, and thanks for inviting me onto your show. I appreciate it.

[01:04:51] 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.

[01:05:07] 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’ve 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.


For Shazia Ahmed, the fight for justice runs in the blood. In this week’s episode, she tells how values of fairness were instilled from an early age and how that led to taking on a former employer at a tribunal.

It also saw Shazia providing support on Facebook for thousands of dental professionals who were shortchanged during the COVID crisis. 

Shazia explains how the British Dental Action Group quickly grew far beyond its original scope, sets out her thoughts on NHS funding, contracts, reform and much more.


“We’ve got to say, ‘look for God’s sake, give us some respect’, and I don’t think anybody is going to give it to us. We have to demand it. We have to come together and demand the contract that we want because, without us, there is no NHS contract at all.”  – Shazia Ahmed

In This Episode

00.40 – Backstory
05.23 – University
07.20 – An injustice
15.02 – BDAG and COVID
31.55 – NHS – contracts, funding and reform
43.55 – Why NHS dentistry?
45.20 – Being a woman in dentistry
50.22 – Regrets and darkest days
53.05 – Family life and setting an example
55.04 – Plans and predictions
57.20 – BDA elections
01.00.02 – NHS contract reform
01.04.29 – Last days and legacy

About Shazia Ahmed

Dr Shazia Ahmed qualified from the University of Birmingham in 2002. She is an NHS associate in practice in the midlands.

During the COVID lockdown, Shazia set up a Facebook support group for dental professionals affected by contract changes, withheld payments and other disputes.

The group became the British Dental Action Group which campaigns to improve how NHS practice owners manage funding in relation to employees and associates.

[00:00:00] I worked hard, I never cut any corners. I have done nothing wrong. And what’s happened to me is simply a greedy act to protect a business or make a profit basically profiteer. And I just felt like obviously, you know, I had to stand up for myself and clear my name. 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.

[00:00:40] The pandemic’s been responsible for highlighting some of the best parts of our profession and some of the worst divides as well. Many advice been exposed. I mean, things between private and NHS dentists. There’s been the divide between management and staff. Corporate and independent practise seems to come to mind. Crucially, the divide between practise principles and practise associates and out of out of that divide. During the pandemic, there was the payment dispute between some principals and associates, particularly in the NHS system and one of the many groups that actually did come out of the pandemic. I mean, there’s been lots of different groups of different subjects has been the British Dental Action Group, headed by Shazia Kalsoume, who actually it’s known mainly on on on the internet as Shazia Ahmed, but her her real name is Shazia Kelsie. It’s a pleasure to have you on the show, Shazia. We tend to start these things with sort of. Where were you born? How did you grow up kind of question?

[00:01:50] Oh, OK. Well, Payman, thank you for inviting me. First of all, I know you’ve been asking me for a few weeks and I just feel ready denied. I didn’t think I had much to talk about. But anyway, now we’re here. So a bit about my history. I was born in Birmingham. I was the third child in the family and the first child born in born in England. My father came here as a 15 year old and my mother married and came here and and then I was born. And so Birmingham working class family. And what else is there to say? Yeah. Born and bred Brummie University, what was

[00:02:34] What was childhood like? I mean, what kind of a kid were you studious?

[00:02:39] Yes, playful, quite playful. Not very ambitious as a child in a city playing outside, enjoying the outdoors, you know, it was a different time then. Yes, just played with your friends and it came in when it was dark, you know, carefree and went to a girls school because very traditional family wasn’t allowed to, you know, free mix with boys had to go to a single sex school. And at the age of 16 was meant to just like, you know, conform and stay at home. But my mother had a lot of ambitions for me and my sister. So obviously, you know, when they come from abroad, they scared their daughters might do the wrong thing. So you know, you got to protect them and keep the family name. And my grandfather was a headmaster in in India back in the day in Calcutta, but we’re actually from Pakistan. And he was very ambitious for us, children, grandchildren. So he kept encouraging us to get further education, especially as my father left his parents behind in Pakistan and came here worked. And my grandfather wanted us as children to get a good education in England. And so growing up, my mum wanted me to enter the medical field and she was very she really wanted me to become a doctor, but I couldn’t see myself doing on calls. I loved my sleep too much, so I said, Mum, OK, I’ll do dentistry because I was very practical and artistic. And although I loved art, you know, parents in an Asian family, arts is not your favourite subject in medicine, dentistry or law. So my sister was meant to do law and I was meant to do something in the medical field, so I chose dentistry.

[00:04:35] So then was that protective thing? Did that extend to university as well? Was it did it go without saying that you were going to go study in Birmingham or did you have ambitions of leaving?

[00:04:46] No, no, no, no. That said, no, that said no to university.

[00:04:50] You know, obviously

[00:04:51] That single girl girls not going to university really said mum said, No, my daughters will get a degree. Don’t worry about anything else. I guarantee you. You know, they’ll make you proud. And so based on that, my dad put his trust in me and my sister and both of us graduated. My sister’s got two degrees. The girls, my whole family, all the girls are very, very studious.

[00:05:17] So did you study in Birmingham?

[00:05:19] Yes. University of Birmingham all the way from Leeds to Masters.

[00:05:23] What was it? What was it like going from that relatively sheltered existence to being in Dental school? Did you? Did you? Did you? Did you take to it well or did you not?

[00:05:34] Very shy. I think I was very I was an introvert all the way through, not confident in speaking speeches and but obviously, you know, all the levers we have, we have to just get over that and get on with it. So it took a year or so just to be normal, but it was a new environment. It was scary, but it was it was really good. We had a bunch of friends, my my friends from university, we’re all still friends, we’re still in touch. And they had left Manchester, Liverpool and all these other places. So because I was a Brummie, I was the one looking after them and their parents were entrusting my family to take care of them as well. So we became good friends. So I was really good. Actually, I was glad I stayed in, but. Did you qualify?

[00:06:26] 2002 2002 OK. And then your first job?

[00:06:32] So this job, so it was very hard and competitive to actually get a place. There was a lot of favouritism in those days. The favourite students got all the vet places close by. And a lot of them wouldn’t get in place until the February scheme. And I was lucky enough to get in the first cohort. But I ended up in Stoke on Trent all the way in Stoke on Trent. But that was good as well, actually.

[00:06:59] And were you living, still living at home and commuting?

[00:07:01] No, no, no. My dad was. My dad was fine. You know, he knew. I think he was just a fear of, you know, first daughter in the UK, the first girl in the family going to university and no one was staying in Stoke on Trent with another friend of mine. So, yeah, no.

[00:07:20] So that was really the first time you’d lived out, right? Yes. Yes. Interesting, interesting. And so you’ve obviously still an associate, is that right? Must be right? Yeah. Doing this? Yeah. So did you never have any any ambitions to open your own practise?

[00:07:37] Oh, many ambitions to open my own practise. First, I kept putting it off up until 2006, when I got married. I kept putting it off thinking, Oh, I don’t know where I’ll end up in which city, and what’s the point of buying a practise when I don’t know where I’ll end up? Because for me, marriage and children and family were very important, so that was a first stage and then second stage would be practise. And then 2006 new contract happened and I was actually in a very good contract with my boss. I didn’t see the need to open a practise at that moment in time, because had he kept me on after my maternity leave, I was on a very good package because I worked extremely hard in the in the in the what was it called the testier when they were doing the figures for everybody. And I made sure I took no holidays. I just worked so that I can get a good package. And then I got married.

[00:08:36] Yeah. So you got married and then and then the kids come along and then that was the end of it.

[00:08:41] And I got married. I had my first child, went on maternity leave, was about to come back, and the boss said, Sorry, Shazia, there’s no job for you.

[00:08:51] Oh yes, he

[00:08:53] Took the lovely contract that I had to work hard on to create for myself. I took it, put it in a practise based contract from my individual contract and decided to say goodbye to me.

[00:09:07] So was this was this the original seed that started this idea of fighting against injustice, which I kind of every every word you write on that on that group just has that for me, resonating with sort of unfairness and injustice being the your driving force in the profession, was that the first time where you felt hard?

[00:09:30] That was the first episode of an unfair treatment where I’d worked extremely hard to make myself a good working career lifestyle as an associate, only for someone else to push me out. And and it was done by a person who was very high up. That was the worst thing for me. And to

[00:09:58] Be someone you were someone

[00:09:59] I highly respected and was highly respected by by the leadership in Birmingham and somebody who was looking after hundreds of young associates to I had because of his position, and when it happened to me, I was just in total shock and I wasn’t going to let it be because I felt if it happened, if it’s happened to me, it will happen to all these hundreds of people going through this person every year. So I did, I did pick. I did end up in tribunal employment. I did. And well, I was a first person to put a test case through to determine our status, whether we’re employees or, oh, really? Yeah, whether we are employees. Because the way we were being treated in the new contract, we were being treated like employees, but there was no precedent. So my case was used to create the worker status for associates. It was found that although we’re self-employed, the way we are treated, we are not employees. Although the judge said to me, If you today, if you were an employee, you were treated very unfairly and you would have won this case outright. But because you’re not an employee, you are a worker. Your case is not thrown out. It’s carrying on under discrimination. So now you’ve got to prove that this was discrimination. And then the judge also turned around and said to my boss, And all you have to do is bring some of your members, some of your employees, and say that you were given the impression that you should get rid of it. And based on what you were told, you terminated the contract. It was nothing to do with basically discrimination, so it’s very difficult for me to now prove that I was being discriminated against.

[00:12:02] Tell me, tell me the pressures that you were going through at that time, it must have been, I mean, if you’ve got someone who’s who’s very respected in the profession and you were a young associate at the end of the day and you decide to take that person on. At some point, did you think, you know, what the hell am I doing here?

[00:12:20] No, this was a case of I was very much confident that there was nothing wrong with my work. The only fear anybody in my situation would have that they’re a poor performer and GDC should be the only fear. And I knew I worked hard. I never got any corners. I have done nothing wrong. And what’s happened to me is simply a greedy business act, an act to protect a business or make a profit, basically profiteer. And I just felt like obviously, you know, I had to stand up for myself and clear my name because I needed a job. I was I was young. I had many years ahead of me. And how can I just let this person terminate my contract and carry on? I couldn’t pick myself up after that. I’ve just had a baby and so

[00:13:20] Many other people, many other people, would have just moved on from it. But you decided to take it on. Yeah, what is it about you? What is it about you that makes you that cat?

[00:13:32] I can’t take injustice if somebody’s done somebody unfairly. I feel like I had. Maybe my father’s the same. Maybe stems from my father, my father. He was my grandfather as well. They all stood up for justice from Pakistan to England. My father was the first independent councillor in Birmingham, really, who took on the Labour Party. Wow. Yeah. So so you feel

[00:14:01] Like you feel like in your upbringing, that idea of justice and fairness was something that was something they actually talked about, something that was actually instilled,

[00:14:10] Instilled as a child, I think. I always just saw people knocking on the door. I never saw my father. All I heard was people asking for his help all the time. I never saw my father until my mother passed away in that year when he, my boss, did that to me. My mother got cancer and I was all I was. I had a child, my mother was terminal, and this was going on so. It was a battle that I unfortunately, you know, because of my status, I couldn’t fight, but I wanted to protect others and I wanted to clear my name and I wanted to move on with my head held high because I wasn’t going to let a guy at the top tell people, lies about me.

[00:15:02] Hmm. So then when, when, when we were all there during the pandemic, when the initial stories started coming out about principals who weren’t giving the what was it one twelfth of the contract value to their associates? Did this suddenly sort of bring back sort of flashback to your previous experience? And you said, I’m going to stand up for this. I mean, you know, why is it? Why is it that you were doing that and I was barbecuing? I mean, you know what I mean was it was that what it was?

[00:15:34] No. So basically, I mean, the group initially started off. I mean, I hadn’t been on my Facebook for years, years, really. Honestly, I have not been on my Facebook for years and my my husband’s an ICU consultant, and he was looking after COVID patients while I was still treating patients with no mask. I mean, surgical mask, no PPE. So when he was coming home and I was unprotected and he was coming home exhausted with all those marks on his nose and exhausted from PPE. And yet he was incubating people that were asleep who can’t even cough. But yeah, he was saying to me, How come you are creating aerosols on 30 patients a day plus and you’re just wearing a surgical mask? I mean, what’s the point of me going to work full PPE? I mean, they were ahead of the curve they were and this is March. This is February, Jan, February 2020. We closed down in March, April. Yeah. And he’s coming home and he’s saying, What is this? I’m dying at work. Know in this PPE and you’re bringing these viruses home? Yeah. And what is the point? And I’m looking after patients in intensive care. Can you find out what’s going on because this is not right? So then BDA, no information. Facebook So you know, DeFodi, they must have something. Nothing. Couldn’t see anything on PPE. I was the first person to mention that there’s something called an FFP3 mask and we’ve got to get fit tested. And weeks later, these things started emerging for us after lockdown. So and so. So that’s how my group started because people were asking these questions on the other groups. And there’s a habit of on other groups. People get shot down for asking questions and they get humiliated. And I’m like, I don’t like being humiliated, especially in public.

[00:17:39] So I’m not going to go there just to be shut down. So I said to my colleague, I said, Do you think I should separate group for exchanging information because we all don’t know what’s going on? And she said to me, Shazia, if anybody can do it, you can because I’m always trying to organise things and I’m always trying to read up on subjects and in the practise. And so I thought, you know, why not? What have I got to lose? So I started off the page for that really information and just asking questions in a safe environment. Lo and behold, query started coming in. And I think the case that really put me into action was a young dentist. Well, probably middle age because she’s she came along and she said, Shazia, my practise hasn’t paid me. They’re not even answering my phone calls. And I’m a single mother and I’ve got my daughters, my daughter’s university loan. I’ve asked her to take a loan so that I can pay the rent. You know, and that I just couldn’t. For me, that was a case that made me feel like what is going on. So then more people started coming through and then I started saying to them, Why don’t you go to the LDC? Ldc would say, Well, you need to talk to your principal or go to the BDA. Bda would say, Well, you need to be a member. But initially, although media did actually give free advice to non-members as well. But in order to get actual face to face advice, they’d have to upgrade to the thousand pound membership. And remember, these guys can’t even afford to pay their rent. How can they afford to pay the BDA that kind of money?

[00:19:22] And did you have a grasp on how big a problem it was?

[00:19:26] No, I had no idea. All I saw was people going around in circles like headless chickens. Yeah. At that point, and this was a couple of months in now at that point. Lots of stories coming in. My boss is only paying me 30 percent of my one twelfth. My boss is only paying me 40 percent. My boss has got to me to sign a new contract. And my boss has shot down the practise. They’re not even answering the phone calls. There were so many stories, and at that point I felt like right. I need to do something here. And because, you know, my dad was a chemist as well. He said, This is not right. You’ve got to go. This is a legal thing. You’ve got to go to solicitors and barristers, but I’m the type know we need to speak to the authorities first. So then I started writing these. Well, first I thought, What do I do? So I wrote, I did. I did a petition. First, I thought, I do. I don’t know who to contact, which door to knock for these people. So let’s do a petition. Let’s get about 1000 people to sign the petition, and then I’ll just send it to any email I can find. So then I contacted the BDA and I said, Could you give me some emails I need to send this petition to? They gave me some emails and I think one was a CDO. One was the NHS, one was the NHS leadership anywhere and everywhere. And then luckily, Jason Wong picked up this email and was able to draught a new letter to send out to the providers, outlining their obligation towards as contract holders towards associates.

[00:21:06] So let me just understand this correctly is is it in law that they had to give this or is it not? Because my understanding in law was that it was a kind of advice from the BDA as opposed to.

[00:21:21] That’s correct. It was that the police, it was advised and it wasn’t a law because, you know, anything that has that requires contractual change. So that’s that’s too long winded. So it’s an obligation, but it’s a condition and a condition still must be respected because if it’s not, it’s a breach.

[00:21:44] Yeah, yeah. So so when I say, did you have a grasp of the numbers? Do you have a grasp of the numbers now? I mean, what percentage? Because, you know, obviously I’d say the vast majority did pay, didn’t they? Oh yeah, tiny minority. But how many are we talking?

[00:22:00] Well, well, the thing is, initially, from what I’m told, there was about a thousand people that filled out the complex this new survey. But then they closed the compost pages survey and they asked people to do it again with second time round. Many people didn’t because, you know, it’s it’s a traumatic experience to write out what’s happened to you over and over again. And a lot of the times people felt that they couldn’t, even because some of them are still working for the same. Yeah, yeah.

[00:22:36] So so then on your website, you did it like a complaint forum log in thing.

[00:22:44] So what happened was, I did. I did one first and then I asked the NHS to do one, and I said, Look, I can do it, but shouldn’t you be doing this? Yeah. And then they did it.

[00:22:58] Because so you think you think at least a thousand disputes on pay?

[00:23:05] I think there was definitely at least at least, yes, but remember, a lot of people will just stay quiet. They will not rattle the cage because they don’t pay their bills.

[00:23:19] And do you do you in any way understand. The practise owner’s position. In this. Or not, do you think it’s just pure profiteering? I mean,

[00:23:32] I don’t think it’s pure profiteering. No, not in all the cases. There are some people going through hard times. Look, the NHS contract, we all know that it’s not fit for purpose, right? We all know that. Yeah, a lot of people have taken out huge loans to have the security of a contract, to pay their outgoings to run a business. So I totally understand that some of these people have taken a huge risk, and for them to pay out what is required without activity would mean the loss of the business. I totally understand that. Yeah, and some people have got very small contracts and they actually earn their living or, you know, the overheads by the other activity, the non NHS activity and when that’s down. Surely these people can’t afford to pass on this money, this contractual pay for to somebody who hasn’t actually done any work. So I totally understand that. And no one, I don’t believe it’s total it was profiteering on behalf of the on the expense of the associate, but I can understand that there were reasons behind some of these cases. But then there was corporates. There was big, many corporates as well. We were doing it, so there was a definite profiteering aspect to it.

[00:24:57] So tell me, tell me some of the worst stories. I mean, you said that one.

[00:25:01] And so that was one of the worst ones. And I mean, to be honest, you know, it’s been a whirlwind for me since all of this. Every day is my brain is saturated. To be honest, I can’t.

[00:25:14] I mean, I read one on on on your group. Maybe, maybe it wasn’t right at that time, but later than the with foreign dentists getting really nasty deals with their paying people to work in their practise. Is that. I mean, did I read that right?

[00:25:29] No. Well, sorry.

[00:25:30] The paying to work in a practise.

[00:25:33] Some associates, you mean the I live on? Yeah, the PLV e ones. I think in London and some places like that. In order for these guys to get a performer. No, yeah, they they work for free.

[00:25:46] I’ve heard work for free, but also pay, pay, pay a thousand pounds a month for mentoring fees. Yes, I can believe yes.

[00:25:54] Yes, yes. The mentorship. Yes, the mentorship means that these guys have to find a private tutor to to watch over them, and they’ve got to pay these mentors. That’s right. Yeah.

[00:26:09] And what about what about non dentists disputes, staff hygienists, receptionists? Are you saying BDG is also representing those people too?

[00:26:19] Yeah, we had many enquiries from hygienists as well, and we also have cleaners and all of these people. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Money was just not being passed on and and it was sad because these people couldn’t be furloughed. These people still had bills to pay and nurses were going to food banks at that time. I remember many nurses saying that and even associates were going to food banks at that time. So that’s what made me feel like I needed to start writing some letters, and so once the Jason Wong letter was picked up, then I was writing weekly monthly letters to the NHS saying This is still happening and this is what’s going on. Could you do this? We’re doing this on the blog. Could you do this instead? And so I hope I helped. I mean, there’s many stories, many people who are pointing out the many, many people have said that, you know, so I’ve had a few handful of emails to say that, you know, BDD saved their life.

[00:27:22] Really? Yeah. And and so now it’s it’s sort of moved on from that, that basic COVID pay dispute, yes, to anything and everything where it’s kind of principle versus it’s a little bit adversarial and not that I’ve got a problem with it because, you know, the way I think of it is the associate nurses, hygienists, receptionists, they probably form my staff 90 might be too much. 70 percent of the Dental workforce. Yeah, or more. Eight, Let’s call it 80 percent of the Dental workforce didn’t have or don’t don’t have kind of a place to talk and represent themselves. And you know, there are groups for practise owners, right? There’s this code and all of that. You know, the BDA in many ways represents NHS practise owners. It’s the way I think of it.

[00:28:24] Well, a lot of people see it.

[00:28:26] And yeah, and if you think about it, it’s actually quite a small number of people. Nhs practise owners? Yeah. Yeah, could be, I don’t know, 15 percent of the workforce. And it’s so clear looking at the Buddha’s moves that they are the priority. You know, and so this group that you’ve now I see questions coming up where people say, Oh, I’ve just got a I’m looking to get a job with so-and-so corporate who has anyone else worked there? And what are the problems? And suddenly, 42 responses on that subject. I saw some sort of naming and shaming going on on the group. Yeah, what what do you think about that?

[00:29:10] Well, I don’t advocate using the use of any particular name on the group because we don’t want to get involved in any vicarious liability. However, we’ve had several people. I mean, there was one situation where Robert Jamison on the group has helped many people get money out of a particular small corporate quite successfully. These people thought they had lost thousands of pounds and there were ever so grateful to him, and this person who was doing this to these people was actually very, very bad to the point that he made these young associates feel like they were incapable of being dentists.

[00:29:55] Yeah. So talk me through the

[00:29:57] Mental health psychological.

[00:30:00] Yeah, it was to do with sort of sort of, first of all, obviously withholding pay. And then when they were going after their pay, he was sort of threatening GDC.

[00:30:09] Mm hmm. Oh, that’s a common tactic used by, isn’t it many? Many, I mean, when? Now, I had to do a presentation for the Kdo. I had to run a workshop and remember the all the stakeholders BDA, GDC, NHS University Deans, everyone sits at that meeting. And I did tell them that GDC is being used as a weapon to get associates to keep their mouth shut and move on. And then they did produce a statement to say that if we find any provider doing that, they will be in more trouble than the associates, so they better, they better watch out.

[00:30:52] But so you know of examples where it’s actually happened, where they’ve they have been reported to the CDC or is it the threat of the threat of it is?

[00:31:00] No, no, no. The people have. And there are a couple of cases where the associate has been reported to the NHS and then the NHS is bound to report it to the GDC. And whether the case is kept on or thrown out because of causes, all this pain and agony to disassociate. And there are several cases like that

[00:31:26] Has the opposite also happened. It must have, right? So we’re associates have referred the principle to the NHS or the GDC. Well, retaliatory.

[00:31:36] I am not sure of that, I think. I think associates are very careful to rattle the cage. I’m not I don’t know of any cases, but several lots have actually reported on the pay to the NHS on campus on pay dispute, for sure.

[00:31:55] I mean, look, Sasha, we’ve got this sort of face sad state of affairs then, isn’t it? There’s I mean, we know about it, right? There’s massive disunity in the profession. And every time we try and change something, what tends to happen is there’s so many little factions that break out. But we never sort of can do something with one voice at the same time. How long did it take for your group to get up to 3000 4000? How many members?

[00:32:26] We reach the 3000 mark within within six months, I’d say.

[00:32:30] Yeah. So it’s at the same time as that general. You know, that disunity that we see every time we try and do something, you do sometimes see things like BDG, or maybe, you know, the the private group that started as well quickly gaining ground because there’s that there is a need for, you know, there’s a vacuum of representation and so forth. So what are some of your ideas around fixing this issue? I mean, we can fight and fight amongst ourselves, but how do we how do we become more unified profession so that, you know, you must have act your brains about how do we make this NHS system work? Well, how do we, first of all, get together to play this game?

[00:33:12] I think it’s taken me a long time to figure out that how the NHS works. Firstly, I mean, I was a normal associate not bothered about Dental politics before all of this, and when I was thrust into this position, I had to quickly learn. I had to join my LDC. I had to stand up for the PEC election I had to. I was then made a stakeholder for the CD monthly meetings. Every month I learnt from them. I learnt so much. I’m also on Contract Reform Committee as at an advisory level, representing associates and of course, providers to when I can. And I’ve learnt, I’ve learnt a lot. I mean, you know, all of these groups are trying to improve the working conditions and improve dentistry. What the big elephant in the room is that the NHS contract, I mean, NHS dentistry is a luxury in the NHS and we are taking up money that they want to use in other services such as cancer etc. Yeah. When they know that dentistry is a preventable disease, I get the feeling that they don’t really want to.

[00:34:29] You know, they’d rather put this money elsewhere, so the more of the more of us that understand the figures, I mean, because I mean, OK, on contract reform, we’ve given some guidelines as to OK, you guys have got to sit in this room and every month and we’ve got to talk about improving our health outcomes. We’ve got to improve access, we’ve got to do X, Y and Z, but there’s no increase in funding. You’ve got to see more people, you’ve got to produce better work, you’ve got to do all these things. But by the way, there’s no extra funding. Yeah. Now on a contract which has been prototyped since 20 2009, I believe and apparently all the prototypes have not been able to improve outcomes. Dental health outcomes. How are we supposed to on this NHS in this new contract reform, supposed to improve outcomes and increase access with the same old money? I just don’t understand how I can physically happen. So are you saying that it should become a core service? Because that’s the only way I see numbers increasing and access increasing?

[00:35:45] And are you cool with that?

[00:35:46] Am I call me that? Not really, because I know that there are people that do need the NHS beyond a call service. I’m not cool with it. But on the other hand, if principals are going to do over associates because they’re not in the right contract because the NHS is not paying them properly, if it’s going to sort out all the headache, I’m getting on the BDG for free on a voluntary basis. And if people are not, leadership is not going to take responsibility for all of these associates and treat the workforce properly. Then, you know, just be honest, just be honest with us. Tell us what’s on the table, tell us this is it. This is all you’ve got and get on with it. Then associates can decide whether they’re going private or whether they’re staying on in community and specialisation or whatever. It’s about time we had honesty.

[00:36:40] When you say when you say honesty, do you mean honesty to the public?

[00:36:44] Well, both the workforce, the the associates are in limbo. Yeah. None of us knew. I mean, BDG members of the BDG are learning about the NHS system and the funding and the money and the pot we’re learning now. Prior to the pandemic, most of us just had our heads buried in people’s mouths, getting on with our nine to five. That was it.

[00:37:11] So look, you’re probably more privy to these numbers than I am. Yeah, but my understanding is two and a half three percent of health care spending goes on dentistry. Yeah. Is that right? Something like that’s about, yeah, I think so. Let’s imagine that that that that is fixed, that’s not going to increase because as you said, there’s cancer treatments and all the, you know, the cost of health care is, you know, mushrooming anyway. So let’s imagine no more money is going to go into it. So Shahzia, Health Secretary, what are you going to do with that two and a half, three percent differently to what we are doing right now? Because I think your idea with the core service, I think that’s a great idea. Well, you know, I know it wasn’t your idea, but but

[00:38:00] But my idea,

[00:38:01] I think, I think it’s

[00:38:02] Workable. Firstly, look, firstly, there’s two or three percent that’s invested in dentistry doesn’t even cover 50 percent of the population of the UK. Like, if all of us decided every single one of us decided to go and have a dental check-up and treatment, we would run out half of the population or less, obviously would would not get the treatment right.

[00:38:27] Yeah, we get less. Yeah.

[00:38:29] So I mean, on the news, all I hear at the moment is we need access. Patients want to get in. They can’t find an NHS dentist now as NHS providers and performers. How can we take on more new patients when we haven’t been given extra funding? How do they expect us? I mean, it’s logical, isn’t it? We either we start seeing urgent cases and treating them on our existing contracts and make the numbers add up. Oh, we carry on with routine dentistry with our existing cohort of patients. How can we be asked to increase access with the same amount of money? So what’s the solution? What’s the solution? What is the solution? The solution? I mean, these contract reform meetings are going on. I think they’re carrying on until January. There are supposed to be some quick wins at the moment. So there was some talk about keeping like 20 percent of the contract for other activities of the practise, 20 percent of the contract, which won’t won’t be UDAS. You can do other things with it so you can choose what you want to do with that. Whether you want to see new patients or go to care homes or I don’t know. I don’t know. So definitely reshuffling there is some reshuffling taking place. I don’t think anybody’s come up with a solution, but I think it’s time that the workhorse, the performers providers all got together instead of being so disunited decided that, look, this is they keep on the 11th hour. They give us these targets and we say, yes, you know, they say jump, we say how high. You know, we’ve got to say, look for God’s sake, give us some respect, give us some respect and let. And I don’t think anybody is going to give it to us. We have to demand it. Yeah, we have to come together and we’ve got to demand the contract that we want because without us, there is no NHS contract with all. If we go on strike for two weeks, the public will be telling the governments to sort us out. And that’s well,

[00:40:50] That’s not always how it works, right? That’s always how it works. That’s not always how it works. Sometimes, you know, people go on strike, train drivers go on strike, five minutes go on strike and the public go against them sometimes. But look, look for me,

[00:41:05] The lorry drivers at the

[00:41:06] Moment, lorry drivers them. For me, it’s a funny thing. Look, I did. I did. Yeah, and I hated this. By the way, this was nineteen ninety six when it was. Everyone thought how wonderful the NHS was 50 per item and all of that. You hated it. I hated the fact that I had to think about what the government’s position is before I can do whatever I want to do on this patient. The idea that I could only do what the government would let me do was so disgusting to me that I decided I was never going to work in the NHS. Come with me. Whatever happened? Yeah, OK, so, so so. I went in 1996 and made an offer to an associate to a principle he couldn’t refuse. I said, I’ll take 40 percent, not 50 percent. Back then it was 50 percent right and I got out of it. Yeah. Now it’s not feasible for everyone, all of us to get out of it. Yeah. But one thing that I’ve noticed and one of the sort of for me, one of the nicer things that’s happened through the pandemic is that patients who could afford to take care of their own Dental treatment, but we’re still being seen on the NHS, are now moving over to private because they can’t be seen on the NHS.

[00:42:19] And for me, that’s a good outcome of the pandemic because these guys, they could afford it. They had enough money to see a private dentist, but they were still stuck to their NHS. And so you know, what should happen going forward should be that we need to, you know, it’s a bit sad that every time you talk to an NHS dentist, you the complete experts at the sort of the the money side of it and how much they can do for what and the regulations. And this sort of red tape, for me, really sad that. Much of the workforce specialised on this aspect of dentistry, which doesn’t exist in lots of other countries at all. And rather than going ahead and learning about endo or going ahead and learning about whatever bit of dentistry interests you, we’ve got to do almost have to be an accountant and a lawyer first. Yeah, before you can even. And then and then when I talk to my indemnity friends, they say, Oh, much more legal problems happen with NHS patients than with private ones, which is a double whammy. You’ve got loads of patients, not enough money. And now this GDC thing, you know the indemnity problem as well. No wonder people are demoralised right now. One.

[00:43:42] Their hands are tied. Hands are tied limited. A limited time, limited

[00:43:49] Materials,

[00:43:50] Materials, you know, and we’re supposed to produce the best, best outcomes.

[00:43:55] Yeah, so, so, so personally for you. What made you stick at NHS dentistry? I mean, did you not think, Hey,

[00:44:04] I’ll go private? For me, I’ve actually worked in high needs areas most of my life, and

[00:44:13] It’s even harder, right?

[00:44:15] Very, very difficult. Yeah, very difficult. And you know, when you’re a woman and you’ve got young children, yeah, sometimes you have to take on a bad deal just to be there for your kids. Yeah. And I was one of them. I took on the hard jobs just so that I could finish work at three o’clock and pick my kids up myself. And the beauty of that is that you do become a very good dentist. You learn, you learn techniques, you become the best dentist you can be.

[00:44:53] Under the circumstances,

[00:44:55] Yeah, under the circumstances, and of course, if you’re willing to learn and I’ve continued, I’ve done a masters as well, you know, advanced general dentistry, I’ve done all the courses under the Sun, I’ve done a certificate in implant ology, I’ve done all the Botox and the fillers and the

[00:45:10] Has.

[00:45:13] My CV is brilliant. I have never been declined a job and my next ambition is to have my own place.

[00:45:20] Tell me, tell me, tell me about being a woman and then being, You’re wearing hijab, being sort of a minority woman in dentistry, is it? Do you find that, you know, it’s problematic? Do you not find it’s problematic? Tell me about it.

[00:45:38] Patient wise, it’s absolutely no problems. Never had an issue with patient touch. What patients judge you by your skills, your kindness, your care? Yeah. And I’ve had people follow me from practise to practise and people. Patients begging me never to leave so patient was never a problem.

[00:45:57] Getting a job wise, if you have people sort of, you know, judge you or your

[00:46:01] Wise again, I think I do get the how does she fit the part? Will she fit in? But I’m quite a warm person and sociable person. I think open minded people straight away, they see beyond they look at my skills, my CV and the way I am as a person, my characteristics. So so far I think I do. It’s harder and I’ve never thought of leadership, never, ever thought to put myself in leadership. I’ve been thrown into that. Never thought I would be. In fact, now I people contact me because they need my opinion. I it seems

[00:46:43] Like you’re thriving, though, in the leadership role. It seems like you like it.

[00:46:48] I enjoy it, I do enjoy it. I was I was before I was frustrated in why are things not happening? Why are we in such a situation? But now I feel like people are listening to us. I feel like people are taking me quite seriously and people are listening to what I have to say. And often my contribution is take welcomed and it’s almost people tell me at leadership level that you’re the breath of fresh air that we we had been waiting for. So that’s given me the confidence to forget about my job and forget that I’m a Muslim woman. It’s actually all the gremlins. I had all the barriers I had put up. They’ve all gone.

[00:47:33] When I’ve spoken, I’ve spoken to Sophina Ahmed, who I know you, you know to. I’ve spoken. I’ve spoken to several ladies who say to me that one of their drivers is the idea that people think this, this this lady with a hijab, it’s just not going to have anything of value to to contribute. You know, they’ve got that sort of basic idea in their head that someone who’s downtrodden or whatever it is and the driver,

[00:48:04] You know, the media portrays the image of a hijabi woman as an oppressed,

[00:48:09] Oppressed, oppressed. Exactly.

[00:48:10] And we are not oppressed, for sure. Well, the liberated women we are, you know, our husbands, you know, they what they earn is ours, and what we earn is ours to part with a penny of our money. If we do, it is, you know, if are religious Islamically, if we part with a penny of our money, it’s written down as a charitable cause. So it’s a double whammy for us. We are. I’m so glad I’m a Muslim woman because I have got, you know, I’ve got I’m liberated because, you know, my husband has to take care of me. I don’t even have to work if I want to. I work with because I want to. I love my job and

[00:48:56] What I’m saying about a driver, it’s like the drive, the deep drive to make a difference. And these ladies, for me, was something that and they said it themselves as well was was to do with the fact that, Oh, you think I’m an oppressed, silent person, but actually, I’m going to show you. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Do you have that within your zone?

[00:49:18] Oh, yeah, absolutely. Driving the air, we need to show people that please, for God’s sake, media is the media is out there to put their own stunts and to brainwash you. We are very happy, liberated women.

[00:49:34] And interestingly, you said it was your mum who who had all the ambitions for you, right? Yeah, even one generation back that was still

[00:49:43] My mom was a businesswoman in her own right. I mean, she was a she. She was a property entrepreneur. She had encouraged my father to buy properties. And, you know, he’d just want to work and go and do his politics. He was so engrossed in his political world and she’d expect him to invest in property. So, yeah, yeah, no, no, no women. Muslim women are definitely liberated, not oppressed.

[00:50:10] Tell me this during this little journey that you’ve been on, and it hasn’t been long as it’s this part of your journey. It’s been about 18 months now. Yeah. What’s been the darkest day?

[00:50:22] Well, darkest days, darkest day, darkest day. Ok, you shall I don’t want this one.

[00:50:28] Yes.

[00:50:35] Ok, I lost a job, I lost the job because my boss was told that I’m rattling cages.

[00:50:43] She lost a job that you had one that you were going through,

[00:50:46] Just started helping out at one that I had lost. So I’ve got my main job and I have a couple of days to help other people and I normally go by word of mouth and I help friends or friends. And locally in Birmingham, I had helped somebody before. And he had asked me to come and help him again. And whilst I was helping him, he got a phone call from these top boys in Birmingham and to say that you know, your associate is rattling cages. They thought I wouldn’t find out, but the manager told me.

[00:51:27] And that’s that scared him enough for that. What are you saying?

[00:51:30] Yeah, that scared him to think so. So these people are talking about. Yeah. Trying to say that. Look, you need to like scare. I think they were trying to scare me to stop doing what I’m doing because I won’t have a job. But that won’t again, if I’m not worried about my work. Nothing’s going to scare me.

[00:51:50] But but you are casting that as your darkest day right now, a

[00:51:53] Dark time for me because I was I felt scared. I felt scared and then I thought, OK, so you’re going to do this, I’m going to come and join you. So I joined them as well. Mm hmm. So I got elected and I joined them too.

[00:52:06] And what about if you regret sort of mistakes, but you think you’ve made along this journey, what would you’ve done differently?

[00:52:16] At the moment, at the moment, I have no regrets, perhaps one regret I have is I think I’ve been too engrossed in this, and I’ve kind of my kids have to get on with things like, you know, I’ve neglected my time with my children a bit. I prioritise my group and some like we’ll go out with family on family occasions and I’m sort of on my phone checking who sent me an anonymous post or if I can help somebody and a went on a walk with me and we’ve got her across the road and I’ll quickly check my messages and start replying. So my regret is not really a regret, but I feel like I was just too engrossed in. I was on a family holiday last year in Turkey and I was still on my phone. I just can’t let go of the group. It’s like a baby.

[00:53:05] It’s a labour of love love. But you know, I’ve talked to other people about this, and again, I don’t want to bring up the woman thing again. But women are the ones who seem to have guilt on this subject more than men in my in my experience. And in a way, if you want, it is what’s your kid learning when they see you working and engaged? And, you know, as passionate as you are, the kids learning that the kids are just just like, just like you when you saw your mum, tell your dad, buy these properties and take these risks. And you know, at the moment at the time when your mom was looking at those property leaflets or whatever, she wasn’t playing games with you. But but you learn loads from that. Yeah. And I tell you something else that the one thing that I hear from some people is that, you know, as a mother, I’ve got to look after myself first before I can give. By the way, I know loads of mothers who don’t do that right. Only, you know, they become the master of the situation. But, but but that bit of advice of, hey, only I can only look after my family once they’ve looked after myself is actually quite beautiful to take the guilt out of motherhood. Yeah. You know, and and your kid says once they how old are they now?

[00:54:31] 14, 12 and seven

[00:54:34] Are three kids? Well, then you know they’re old enough to understand now. Yeah. So definitely your 14 year old is old enough to understand, you know what my mom is, you know, helping people with their careers right and and and helping people with their health and all that. That’s a great thing. You’re setting a great standard. You’re setting for your kid. You know, a good example you’re setting for your kids. It’s. Don’t feel guilty about it. That’s that’s all I’m saying. All right. Going forward, what do you think is going to happen to the group number one? What’s going to happen to the contract? Do we know anything? You seem to be privy to these meetings?

[00:55:14] Yeah. Number two. Ok, so number one, the group, the group, the group will carry on, the Facebook group is there every day. Anybody can come and post their query anonymously. The group has definitely got its own niche and if anything, the best thing the any, any big group they can do is take it on officially.

[00:55:38] And by the way, does anyone help you? How many have you got? People you know, who also help on the group are the dentists.

[00:55:44] I thought, I’ve got to. I’ve got a website team, so the it side, they help me, but they dentists, no non dentists. I’ve got somebody helping me, my website and membership. So there’s a free membership website on WW British Dental, so

[00:56:04] Paid for all of that that the group pay or did you pay what

[00:56:07] I pay for that I’ve paid for it. And if I want from my pocket because I felt like if people are going to take me seriously, I need to. I need to look the part because remember, the group was actually initially just called associates. Yeah, I remember it was Charles Yeomans, Associate, Facebook Facebook page. And then when I was put into fifth gear with all the letters, I thought, Oh gosh, we need a name, we need a name. And then we came up with British Dental Action Group, and I’ve been privileged to have some advisors in the background that I can turn to ministerial level who can guide me slightly. And that’s really helped. And then I’ve got some little helpers on the group that will send me the odd motivational post for associates. And I’ve got Nayar who helps me with the queries that come through. So I’ve got people who are very passionate about what’s going on in NHS dentistry, at different levels and non dentists that are very keen to know what’s happened and. People that are following my journey who couldn’t believe what had happened.

[00:57:20] I’m certainly following your journey. Tell me about the BDA elections and your thinking around. You almost got it. Didn’t you almost got elected?

[00:57:32] Well, I was a third or fourth place, wasn’t I? It was really good result for somebody who was like five months ago. And that was again, I mean, when I when I started the associate group, I was very, very pro BDA. You know, we need to help the beat. We need to reform. The BDA and BDA has got to become a better group and the all encompassing umbrella body for us. And when I started to get the posts about the queries about that, we’re being asked to upgrade and I can’t afford it. And the media was really trying. They were trying. I can’t knock them for that. They weren’t really working hard in the pandemic, but I think they thought they had too many, too many, too many people to look after, and I think it must have been a difficult time for them. Let’s just put it that way. Yeah. So people were saying to me, Look, you guys are all just ranting on this Facebook group, you know, put your money where your mouth is. Come and join up the Valdez’s and join the PDP and join all these organisations. You know, don’t just shout. So I thought, You know what I mean, business? I will. I will do this. I really want change and and people at leadership level were saying, Shazia, please stand. We need people like you in there. We need people like you for change. The same old people are there, which is why we’re not seeing any change. And in order for you to make a change, you need to be inside, not outside. So I thought, you know what? I will give it a shot. I will. So I did. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of apathy out there, isn’t there, if it doesn’t work to you. It doesn’t matter. So lots of people did vote for me, but many couldn’t be bothered to post their postal votes. Many didn’t. I mean, out of four thousand one hundred odd votes I got.

[00:59:35] I mean, listen to this Shazier. We’ve done 102 episodes of this podcast and the the one that was listened to the least. Or maybe the other thing was the least it was be the second or third worst listen to one was the one about the BDA recollections.

[00:59:53] You know, it wouldn’t have completely detached themselves from media. And that’s such a shame because I think politics in general are union

[01:00:02] Politics in general. Yeah, is is is a difficulty when it comes to dentists because, you know, dentists feel so powerless. And so let’s get onto that previous question that I asked. You’re on these in these high level meetings. What’s what’s your view on where the contract’s going? And will it be a contract worth having for anyone?

[01:00:24] I think a huge, huge reform is required if the funding is not going to increase, a huge transformation is required.

[01:00:33] I mean, are you talking each performer having their own contract? Are you talking that

[01:00:38] Kind of move? I don’t. I don’t think they can afford to give each performer a contract. Well, I tell you something. If they came every single person or performer and it just performer a small contract, say a hundred grand. Right. One hundred and fifty grand and said to them, Go just do your emergencies with this. Every single person, every single person with a performer, no get 100 or 200 grand contract. Yeah. Right. Go, go. Increase access. I tell you something. The access problem will finish because people will invest their savings on the high street, set up a practise, see NHS patients, take them out of pain and say, Right now you need X, Y and Z. I can do that for a small charge. It’s that if that’s the deal, that this is all there is, then doesn’t it make sense? Well, of course we don’t want that. We want everything and everything on the energies.

[01:01:38] Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s a difficult one man because, you know, you’d imagine someone in my position. I saw teeth whitening systems, right? You’d imagine someone in my position wouldn’t be affected too much by the NHS. But but I’m not silly enough to think that. I mean, I know many of my biggest users got to where they got to by initially having an NHS contract and the security that that gives you. Like you said, the borrowing you can do on the back of that set up set up their practises and now they’re doing teeth whitening and now they’re talking to me. So you know this, this two point five percent that’s going into our profession, it’s got to keep going. But, but but at the

[01:02:24] Same time, how is it distributed? Is a question.

[01:02:27] Yeah. At the same time, I’d like to know, I mean, I don’t know this. Maybe you’ve got a clearer idea in Canada, in Australia, in New Zealand, in America, how much per capita goes into Dental and what are the other systems? Are they are any of them better than ours in that sense, you know, per capita that

[01:02:48] We did, we actually do something on the BTG about this, and many people did their research and sent in all the different systems in many, many countries, and I passed them all onto the NHS. I passed them all on and they asked me, Shazia, could you find out and send them? And I did, and I’m not sure what they’ve done with it. But they they will see that there are lots of systems, and I think some of the successful systems are whereby there is actually everybody gets this voucher scheme whereby they here you go. You can have this amount on the NHS. Anything extra, you’ll have to top it up yourself.

[01:03:27] Yeah, yeah. And my uncle works in Canada or worked in Canada, and there was a similar thing, although it was sort of via the insurance company. So, you know, there wasn’t proper NHS, but the government would pay up to X amount for Dental insurance and anything above that. You know, it’s an interesting idea, right, that if you take that 2.5 percent split it by the number of people in the country means test it. So if you earn over a certain amount, you don’t get it kits and so forth. Everyone comes in with their three hundred pound voucher. Do what you like with the 300 pound voucher as long as you spend it at a dentist.

[01:04:07] Yeah, interesting.

[01:04:09] Yeah.

[01:04:10] Well, that requires huge reform, doesn’t it? Because don’t forget these people who are holding massive contracts and these corporates. Can you imagine redistributing their contracts? They’ll be up in arms. I mean, yeah,

[01:04:22] They’ll get down. Some of them will go down.

[01:04:24] Yeah. So it’s a difficult one. Very difficult one.

[01:04:29] Definitely. Well, it’s been a massive pleasure. Speaking to you shows you and you know what was in my head. The question I had in my head is kind of been answered nicely, you know, like y y you, you know, this combination that you’ve explained to me, if your dad the sort of the idealist he’s, you know, a politician as well, you know, you know, for me, I always think I’m never going to change anything in this, you know, I’ve always like scared of it. And on the other hand, oh, I think I’ll change the world of toothpaste. Yeah, so so, you know, I think I can change something. But when it comes to these sort of thing or or sitting around a table, listening to everyone, talking and the agenda and all that just drives me crazy. But but obviously, you know, you’re good at that. So the combination of your dad and everything that he stood for and your mum and the ambition and all of that, it’s answered my questions nicely about why, you know, Shazia from Birmingham is the one who decided to stand up and and do this. We always end this show with the same questions to Prav famous final questions. I do apologise because they’re a little bit dark. Some people think of them as dark, but I don’t. You’re on your deathbed. Oh yeah. You’ve got all your nearest and dearest with you. What are three pieces of advice you want to leave?

[01:05:59] Oh. Be kind. Be honest. And I’ll work hard.

[01:06:12] Nice. Nice. The second question. It’s also dark. You’ve got a month to live. You’ve got your health. But, you know, you’ve got a month to live. What do you do in that month?

[01:06:30] Spend it with my family. Yeah, spend it with my family. Blow some cash on handbags.

[01:06:42] No holidays.

[01:06:45] The best shroud going. Choose a nicer plot. No, no. Just make sure you know, spend some quality time in the family. Make sure the kids are all, you know, sorted. All my financial affairs are in order. Yeah. Okay. So close friends. Close family.

[01:07:13] It’s not a great question, really, but you know, privately will admit it. But looking back on, you know, places you’ve been times you’ve been with the family where it’s been your happiest times. When when was that? Where was that? How was that like?

[01:07:27] The happiest times. Oh, God, there’s been several happy times on holidays, holidays.

[01:07:33] Where’s your favourite place for holiday? All Disney. Oh, really? Florida best. I hated it.

[01:07:41] Know coasters are amazing.

[01:07:43] What can I tell you? Well, I didn’t realise you could jump the queues by buying this other ticket. Yes.

[01:07:48] The children’s yeah. With your kids, you can skip all the queues.

[01:07:50] I didn’t know that.

[01:07:53] Do you like roller coasters?

[01:07:54] Not really. Not really.

[01:07:56] Well, that’s why you like the final.

[01:07:59] The final, final question. Perhaps final, final question. How would you like to be remembered?

[01:08:05] Shazia was Shazia Shazia, the woman from the pandemic who helped to change dentistry, NHS dentistry. She just changed the whole of NHS dentistry.

[01:08:18] Lovely. Well, it’s been a real, real pleasure having you.

[01:08:22] Thank you very much for inviting me. 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. Thanks for listening, guys.

[01:08:43] If you got this far, 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’ve 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.


In This Episode

This week, Payman welcomes his first boss, an early mentor and friend of 30 years, Dr Nick Mohindra.

Nick recounts his early years at Edinburgh University, which preceded a career full of industry-changing firsts.

Nick was one of the first dentists to computerise his practice. He was also the first clinician to realise how inter-dental brushing trumps flossing in the fight against gum disease. But perhaps his most famous first was the realisation that the textbooks were wrong about denture patients.

Nick lifts the lid on how it felt waiting for science to catch up with his razor-sharp intuition, discusses his Oralift invention, and more.


“Changing the profession is a big task, and if you’ve got the money, they listen more. ” – Nick Mohindra

In This Episode

01.00 – Backstory
08.02 – Into dentistry
12.49 – Student life
15.01 – Into practice
19.32 – Changing the profession
32.17 – On optimism
36.06 – Oralift
46.11 – Rehab, rejuvenation, research
52.03 – Blackbox thinking & darkest moments
57.51 – The future of Oralift
01.05.07 – Last days and legacy

About Nick Mohindra

Nick qualified from Edinburgh University and went on to practice in South Wales and Kent, where he spent ten years as a VT trainer.

An interest in facial pain led to a theory that facial height in denture patients could be increased by much more than was advised at the time and resulted in unexpected but profound rejuvenating effects.

Following his first research paper on the subject with Dr David Davis, Nick moved away from general practice to focus on rejuvenation through dentistry.

Nick established Added Dimension Dentistry on Wimpole Street in 1999, where he perfected his DentalFaceLift technique.

He also developed the Oralift appliance, which appears to reverse the signs of facial ageing.

Nick is a prolific lecturer who has spoken at the World Aesthetic Conference, the London Anti-Ageing Conference and the University of Florence.

[00:00:00] Why am I so optimistic? We have this discussion sometimes, you know, my son nowadays and we discuss and and I think if you look at the world as it is now, sometimes media likes to portray doom and gloom, you know, and says, Oh, look as a shortage where there won’t be any food in the stores and there won’t be any petrol because the shortage of this and this doom and gloom. But when you look at the civilisation as such, we have moved so far forward, look at the good things that have happened. You know, there’s so many good things happening all the time.

[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.

[00:01:00] Too many people I speak to their careers have been sort of shaped intellectually by their first boss and, you know, I’m no different. My first boss is to that is today’s guest on the show, my first boss in practise. I mean, I had I did. I did the house show. But my first proper boss is our guest today, Nick Mahindra, who I’ve seen. I’ve watched his career from near and from afar go through NHS practise, mixed practise, high end private practise innovating, which will get to new ideas, new thoughts. And you know, if I if I had to think about it, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Nick, that sort of free thinker. And I’m not only thinking about dentistry of a free thinker in general, there’s a massive pleasure to have you on the show, Nick. We start these things generally with the back story childhood.

[00:01:58] Well, I was. I saw it with my grandfather. My grandfather was born in India, and when he was in his twenties, Kenya was just being colonised and the British were building their railway down there, you know, just starting building the railway. And he was an engineer student and he went over to Kenya. He was employed by the British Railway people, and he went over to Kenya to. And he was the head of the building, the station master, as the railway was going into the mainland. And that really is the start of the innovative nature of our family. He wanted to explore things. He wanted to go forward. And I think that has carried on throughout our family’s history. He went back to India and then returned back to Kenya. My parents all lived in Kenya, but I was born in India. All my other brothers and sisters were born in Kenya. But for some reason my dad wanted to go back to India for a while and I was born there, and then it ate. At the age of five, I think I was six. He decided to come back to Kenya, and I always thought of myself as a Kenyan for when I first came to this country to study. Anyone would ask me, where are you from? And my answer was, I’m from Kenya. And over the years, that has changed. What am I now? It’s difficult to say. People say, Oh, of course you are British now. I’ve got British citizenship. But do I feel British? I don’t know. I don’t know.

[00:03:52] I mean, Nick, we’ve talked about this before about the influence of of one’s past. And I’ve always been impressed by African Indians in one sense and that they keep managed to keep their culture so intact. Throughout that move and then the same African Indians turn up here and again have to make it yet yet another sort of cultural move. And you know, we talked about this before you married a Scottish girl. That’s right back in the sixties, was it?

[00:04:27] That’s right. It was 1970, 71. I think it was married, you know, but we met in the 60s when I was at university at Edinburgh.

[00:04:37] Yeah, and quite a big step at that point. I’m sure. I’m sure it was. It was very rare and interesting thing is still quite rare. Not that common for Indians to marry out of Indian families,

[00:04:51] But that is true. That is true. You know, when I married your friend and we had our children, I said, this generation is going to see a very multicultural society. Yeah. And I think although we are going towards that path, but it takes a lot longer to eventually call the world as multicultural, still to stuck up and being British or Indian or American or Australian or whatever it is. But we have to, at some point of the other, realise we all belong together in the serve. Yeah, and the Earth is a very small part of the universe, you know?

[00:05:38] And what would you put you put it to, I mean, what’s your position on why more Indians don’t marry out of Indian culture?

[00:05:48] I think that’s a difficult one, that’s a difficult one.

[00:05:52] I mean, it’s not we’re not saying one is better than the other, right? But you’re right, in the amount of years the Indian subpoena, you’d expect more integration.

[00:06:00] Yeah, I think it probably is that. I don’t know. I think integration seems to be. You know, sometimes when you come to a new country, you tend to relate to people that you know from your past and therefore you get not segregated, but you get isolated into little bubbles. Yeah. And it’s very difficult to break out of these little bubbles, although you are living in a different country and you’re meeting lots of different people. But when you go home, you go back into that little bubble and it seems that, well, this Brexit thing just shows you that that bubble of being British is very difficult to sort of broaden yourself and say, No, we are Europeans. No. You know, so I think it just takes a lot longer than I thought. And this is why we are finding that it’s it’s not happening as fast as we think it should.

[00:07:10] What about when when you were a child in Kenya where you weren’t, you weren’t like the other Africans you were, you were an Indian. Did you feel part of that country or did you feel separate to it? Did you have any sort of barriers?

[00:07:23] I think we were there were barriers there as well, because although I thought of myself as a kid, Indian. But the way society was organised in Kenya in those days, there were schools for Asians, for Indians. There were schools for the white Europeans who had gone there and there were schools for the Africans. So you were segregated and you were in your own little bubble, you know? So when I came over here, I thought of myself as a Kenyan. But really, when I look back now, that was just a word because I didn’t feel like an African. Yeah, I really still felt like an Indian. You know,

[00:08:02] So tell me about the decision to leave Kenya and to come to Edinburgh to study. And you know, when was the first time you thought, I want to be a dentist and what was the influence that made you do that?

[00:08:16] Interesting, yes. It was my sister, actually. She went to London to study. She’s much older than me. She’s probably about eight years older than me, and she’d come to London to study optometry. And when she came back to Kenya, I was still at high school doing my A-levels. And she said to me, What do you want to do? And in those times, there were many choices given to you. You were either. Schools were divided into three main groups, so you went into the arts side or the science side. And then the science got divided into two biology and physics and chemistry, you know, so depending on which part you were in, so if you were in the arts, you had to become a lawyer. So if you were in the physics and chemistry side, you had to become an engineer. And if you’re in the biology side, you had to become a doctor and that’s how it was, you know? So my path was destined. I was going to become a doctor. And why Edinburgh? Well, my sister said to me, look, she knew a dentist in Edinburgh, in Scotland. And she said, Look, dead medicine is a very, you know, you really got to be devoted to medicine in those days to want to do medicine. She says, Have you ever thought about dentistry? I said, No, I haven’t. And she said, Well, why don’t you do dentistry? And after your first year, if you decide you don’t like it, you can change. And why Edinburgh? Well, in those days, the three top schools were guys Edinburgh, and I think there was a third one. Cardiff, obviously. Not quite, but I think it is God. There was a third one anyway, so I applied to all of those three colleges universities. I got rejected by guys, but Edinburgh was my next one that accepted me and I said, Yes, I go to Edinburgh. And that’s how I ended up studying it.

[00:10:33] Were you parents quite well-to-do to be able to afford to send both kids to the UK from Kenya to study?

[00:10:42] That’s right, that’s right, parents had to be quite wealthy to do to send children to in fact, what happened in our family was my sister, the eldest. She came to Britain to study, yeah, the second in the family. He came to study and did engineering and the two other. There are five of us in our family and the two others. My dad could afford to send them to university here, and they studied in Kenya. And then it came to my turn. And by that time, my sister had qualified. My other brother, who was an engineer, he was qualified, they were all working and they said to my dad, Look, our youngest, we’re going to send him to Britain to study, and if you can’t afford it, will chip in and pay the fees, you know, because all the fees had to be paid. And dentistry fees are quite high. And so the whole family then pulled in to let me study.

[00:11:43] How did it feel getting off that plane? Was it the first time you’d been to Britain? That’s right. How did that feel? That must have been a massive shock, right? Was it Nairobi to at home?

[00:11:56] I think the excitement of coming to a new country and whatnot really didn’t feel like a shock. I go back now and think back about the time when I was in Edinburgh, and I can remember going from the halls of residence to the university and the tears pouring out of my eyes because of the cold wind that used to be blowing, you know? But at that time, no, I didn’t think two hoots about it, you know, just got on with life. And once you start university life, you start to enjoy. So much are so many clubs to go through so many things to do the best

[00:12:30] Years of your life, best if you like. Did you manage in that? Was it. It was a four year course, wasn’t it? In that four years? Did you manage to get back to Kenya at all or did you just hear the whole time? No.

[00:12:40] My dad had eventually decided to leave Kenya, and he was living in London. I used to just go back to London, not to Kenya.

[00:12:49] I see how. How were you as a Dental student when you were? You like a good one or more like me?

[00:12:58] Well, the first two years I remember. No, the first year, actually.

[00:13:03] Which year did you meet Fran? Let’s start with that.

[00:13:06] I met her when I was in the dentist course was five years in Edinburgh. It was. It was, yeah. So I skipped first year because I’d got good grades in A-level. So they said, you can skip the first year and join in the second year. And I met Fran when I was in the fourth year. Oh God. But in the second year, because I’d come from a different country. Work ethic was you had to study a lot and I really worked very hard and I think I got a distinction in biochemistry or something like that. And my second year or the third year in the Dental school, by that time, I’d started enjoying life too much.

[00:13:54] Well, they say, they say, if you can remember it, you weren’t there right about the late sixties. That’s right. So that’s

[00:14:04] What happened. You know, that was the year of the psychedelic drugs and whatnot going on, you know, so.

[00:14:12] So then you I guess you qualified. And then did you? Was there a thought of staying on in Edinburgh?

[00:14:20] No, no, no, no. Because my parents had all supported my parents and family had supported me, so I knew I had to come back and sort of repay my debt to my family, you know? So when I came back, I bought my dad. We all bought a house in London and he lived there. Then while I worked in London for a couple of years, and then I went to South Wales to buy a practise there. Oh, and my parents then kept on living in their house. So in a way, I felt it was a debt that I owed my family and I felt relieved that I’d been able to do it.

[00:15:01] So that practise were the first one in South Wales that was like a proper full on NHS in the good old days of separate.

[00:15:11] That’s right. What happened was I wanted to really buy a practise in London because London was someplace I knew when I was looking for practises in London. They just weren’t many practises coming up. Most of the associates who were working in the practise would usually buy the practise if the owner was retiring. So the practise that came up were very rundown. So Fran and I decided, Look, we’re going to move out of London and let’s see what we can find. And the first practise we went to was this practise in South Wales, and the dentists there was very persuasive. And he just ended up buying this practise in Aberdare. Now you probably know everything. It’s one of the mining towns, you know? And but really, that practise is where I learnt a lot of things. One of the things that the alert down there was making dentures because dentures were never not taught. They were not that fashionable in the dental school. You know, if you wanted to do anything, you had to become an oral surgeon or something else, you know, dentures or something. But in South Wales, we used to make about, Oh, I don’t know, I forget now about 20 30 sets of dentures every week.

[00:16:34] Yeah, it was definitely high needs for dentures down there. They used to teach us a lot. Well, it’s difficult for me to to know whether they taught it more to us in carpets than than other studio other places. So, you know, you’re saying that practise taught you the beginnings of business. I remember you telling me, or maybe it was Fran telling me that, you know, even within the NHS system, you were really into doing your very best, giving the very best to that patient and making sure everything was right.

[00:17:05] Well, yes, because, you know, I mean, I started doing multi rooted route treatments on molars. Yeah. And I remember one of the chaps who used to work for me on a Saturday he used to teach in the hospital in Cardiff. I forget his name now anyway, and he was really quite impressed that I was even trying to do roux treatments on molars, you know? So I really wanted to, yes, keep up to whatever was the nearest. And in fact, that’s what happened. Well, what happened in South Wales was that our first son was born there in 1975, and after 18 months he got very ill. He developed a kidney problem, kidney disease, and he was treated at Great Ormond Street. And they said to me that, look, you have to move into the catchment area of Great Ormond Street for him to be able to have a transplant at the age of five because they wouldn’t do a transplant before the age of five in those days. So that’s why I moved from South Wales to Kent because Kent was in the catchment area of guys and Great Ormond Street. And even when I moved to well, one of the things that happened was when we did move, my son went into remission and then he didn’t need a transplant. So my aim in practise then became solely, What else can I do that I can, you know, they have pushed the boundaries to make my son better? He used to go to Great Ormond Street every five days to have a transfusion, a plasma transfusion because he was leaking so much protein. And so there really pushed the boundaries to keep him going. And now he’s gone into remission. What should I be doing? And my aim from that day onwards was whatever I’m going to do in my practise, let me try and do the best that I can, you know? And as you remember, I think I was, I’d already started increasing the vertical dimension.

[00:19:18] And yeah, the first time I met you, you were already doing that. But but this is to remind me, what year did you go to Kent?

[00:19:27] Right? Ok, so that must have been nineteen eighty nineteen eighty.

[00:19:32] Right? Yeah. So I met you. I happen to know in nineteen ninety six. So yeah, so you were in that practise for 16 years before I met you? Yes. Wow. And I remember on that first time I met you, you showed me a denture and you said you could. I think it was you were going to increase vertical by 20 millimetres on the right. And I just stood my finals right and the rule was two mm was the maximum. Yeah. And I thought, Oh my God, like, what’s he talking about? And but then you showed me this picture, this x. A photograph of this face pre and post, and just by looking at that picture, you could tell that it was, it was, it was a goer, you know, something something was up there and. And then of course, we found out years later. And today it’s a fully accepted that you can increase vertical by those amounts. That’s right. And that’s and often our discussion, mine and yours have been around this subject of, if you know, something to be true, do you need to prove it to the academic establishment and you’ve always thought of the academic establishment as your kind of target? And for me, it’s a similar story, but it’s kind of the commercial environment. You know, I know a certain gel to be better than another. You know, some some someone might come to me and say, Hey, prove it. Yeah. And I haven’t got a paper on it, but our discussion minded yours has always been around this subject. If you know something to be true, who should you prove that to?

[00:21:13] I wish I’d followed your advice

[00:21:15] Some years ago, because changing

[00:21:20] The profession is a much, much bigger task. And if you’ve got the money, they listen more. Yeah.

[00:21:28] To be fair, one of the things about you that really impressed the hell out of me and someone like TIFF Qureshi is a perfect example of this is someone from a single Dental practise making a change to the way we think about something you know and someone from a single Dental practise hasn’t got the same leverage as if, if, if your idea was thought of by the head of restorative dentistry at Eastman Buy. Now that it would be all over the world, it would be in conferences and so forth. Yeah, exactly. And so, you know, but if managed it somehow, yeah, he did manage to get his idea out of that practise.

[00:22:10] Well, that is the difficult bit, you know, when you’re in general practise and you’ve come out with a revolutionary idea. I remember when you came, you know, and you saw me increasing the vertical 20 mm and whatnot, and you said to me, Oh, I went back to my professor in prosthetics and told him, I’m going to work for this like man like Mahindra. And he said to you, Are you going to work for that mad

[00:22:33] Man, you know?

[00:22:35] And I still at times, unfortunately, I still feel like a mad man because I’m saying in these COVID days, you know, this relief could be helping people so much

[00:22:48] And we say, OK, let’s start from the beginning of this for someone. I mean, you’re talking about it like everyone knows what we’re talking about. But but it started with increasing vertical dimension on four full cases.

[00:23:01] Well, actually, if you really want to go back to the square one, it was, you know, the first thing I did in practise and Kant was looked at my peril cases, and that’s when I first developed the idea of zero bleeding index. Yeah. And because we were being taught to use floors and I used to get hygienists coming in and they’d start using floss. And I discovered that no flossing wasn’t the right answer. The incidental brushing is the one that will give you zero bleeding index, you know? Yeah, but having achieved that in my own mind, then I said, What’s the next thing? And the next thing was occlusion, because occlusion was a big thing in those days, it still is. And I remember my quiz was the one whose books we used to read, and I read all those books and I would practise occlusion, study occlusion on articulated and everything. And then came Brandon Stack with his ideas on the TMJ. And he said without dealing with a joint first, all this occlusion thing is rubbish. You know, you really got to treat the joint first. And I started treating the TMJ joint, and that’s when I started to use the pivot appliance. And the idea came to me that look, unless we increase the vertical dimension, we will not solve the TMJ problem cases. And that’s when I also started to think that perhaps in evolutionary term, we are losing lower facial height and by losing lower facial height. The only way we are going to get this TMJ joint in a stable position is restore that low facial height. So that’s where the low friction height ideas came. You know, it’s a progression of a period occlusion TMJ and then lower facial height. Yeah, yeah. And the lower fish, right? The easiest way to increase it was on adventurous patients.

[00:25:04] Yeah, yeah, that’s where that’s why it started with that. And I remember we had a we gave it a name and we added dimension. Ventures, I remember being the original, the original brand. Yeah, I remember Nick. In fact, it’s funny you say all of this because it all resonates with me. So I remember when I got there. Your son Kieran had medical problems and, you know, maybe they weren’t as acute as you first. You know, we’re worried that it would be, but it’s still there. And I remember maybe he was maybe 50 and ninety six, but that makes sense.

[00:25:42] Uh, yes. Yeah, that’s right. He’d be about that, yeah, yeah.

[00:25:48] And I remember this conversation about the dentures. And I remember you saying that, you know, if if the establishment won’t listen to me, I’m going to take it to the press and you’d hired a PR person and maybe, I don’t know, maybe six months or nine months into me being there or maybe whatever it is, something came out in the Daily Mail. That’s right. And you got flooded with patients. I’m completely flooded. And it was very instrumental in my thinking of, you know, wow, you know, it’s possible for a single man to make a difference. And then for that difference to go out into some area and it exploded. The number of people wanting to come and see you.

[00:26:40] That’s right. That’s when we then decided to move from Kent to London because I remember it was Sheila Scott who was working with us, converting us into Dental at that time. And she said, Nick, with this amount of publicity you have achieved, you don’t want to be staying here and can you ought to be in London and the centre of that so people can come and see you. And that’s when we decided to open the practise in Wimpole Street. But you’re right, when that article appeared in Daily Mail, and that’s the power of the press. I mean, the phone didn’t stop ringing for at least six months. The receptionist would put the phone down and it would ring again. Put the phone down, ring again, you know? Oh, it was just mad, but just mad. And that,

[00:27:29] You know, Nick, even when I got there, you were computerising. This NHS practise back in 96 and you know, you’ve got this sort of you’re putting it back down to your grandfather, right? Sort of the innovator who wanted to always improve things and all that. But it takes a certain amount of confidence to to do this, to say, Look, no one else has done this before, but I’m going to. And not to doubt yourself and say, Well, why has no one else done it before? And these sort of thing, I mean, this confidence that you’ve got? Were you always like that or are you confident as a kid, confident, you know, like.

[00:28:09] I think probably very focussed. And to make a decision like that, I had to keep rationalising in my mind why I wanted to do something. I didn’t think of it as being extraordinary or anything like that. It just in my own thinking, the curiosity that was right. So if that was right, I had to prove to myself that my thinking was right, and therefore it was more a question of proving to myself that my thinking was right rather than proving to anyone else or anything else. So it was just more me rather than anything else, you know, with computers and whatnot. And remember, we started having our first. My other passion was art and the art gallery. In the practise,

[00:29:03] I was going to mention how how did that come about?

[00:29:07] Well, I think it must have been a lull between my Dental technique or perhaps just before, and I was thinking, what else can I do, you know? And my passion for art was always there. You know, Fran and I would go into an exhibition. We’d walk around it, and both of us would pick up a three favourite paintings and they were always the same. The three of the two of us used to think so much alike as far as art is concerned. And then I heard that someone in Glasgow had started showing paintings in the surgery, and I said, Well, why not here? And Fran said to me, No, no, no, that was a private practise. This is a working class and it’s just practise. You can’t do that here. And I said, why not? And that’s sort of a challenge to me is something that, you know, I love challenges.

[00:30:03] Yeah, you’re the why not go in my world? You definitely. Yeah. Where did the art come from? I mean, okay, you were. You were. You were students in Edinburgh. Were you going to art things back then? Or when did that start?

[00:30:17] No, I don’t know. I think it is. When I was in primary school in India, I remember I used to I’m told I used to love our theatre, and I suppose that passion for art is sort of inbuilt in Fran and me and art architecture. We just love that. You know why? Difficult to say, but

[00:30:43] Because yeah, I, you know, I like a nice painting or whatever, but but but you had this converted barn or you saw, I guess you saw that this converted barn in Canterbury ish outside Canterbury, where it’s every single millimetre of the walls of this gigantic building had art on it. And I remember looking at it, just just besotted by the whole idea that that’s possible. A house like that size with those many paintings on it. And then I noticed the last place I came to yours. There wasn’t any art.

[00:31:20] No, because this place.

[00:31:23] What happened? Yeah. Well.

[00:31:26] This place we’re in, it’s it’s it’s like living in a glass house, you know, so all the outside walls are windows. Yeah. And therefore, to put our tenet, the art has to compete with what you’re seeing outside the windows. And that is very difficult combination to achieve in a room. You can put all that you like and you can combine things there to

[00:31:54] Complement each other so

[00:31:56] That true. But when you’re competing with nature and that nature is changing, the colours are changing. Winter colours, you get summer colours. Do you change your art to suit what’s happening outside? And that I’ve not been able to solve that. That’s a challenge for the future. How have you? How have you

[00:32:17] Managed to be so optimistic with the challenges you’ve been through? You know, with with Kiera and with all that’s happened to you in your life? You’re one of the more optimistic people that I know. You really believe in the human spirit. And you know, is it innate or did it come from experience? Are you not that person that’s got you wrong? No, you’re right.

[00:32:46] You’re right. You know, why am I so optimistic? We have this discussion sometimes. You know my my son nowadays and we discuss and and I think if you look at the world as it is now, sometimes there’s the media likes to portray doom and gloom, you know, and says, Oh, look, there’s a shortage. We are there won’t be any food in the stores and there won’t be any petrol because the shortage of this and this doom and gloom. But when you look at the civilisation as as such, we have moved so far forward, look at the good things that have happened. You know, there’s so many good things happening all the time. And although, OK, my latest challenge, I think I’ve still got another twenty five years to make. What I’m doing now is successful, you know? But it is getting tougher. But I think it will happen because as human beings, we can’t be held back. We have to move forward. That is the whole nature of civilisation as we move forward, you know, and as human beings, I think we’re at the top of our civilisation, at the top of the pyramid, and it’s sort of taking the downward slope. I think we’ll keep on moving forward and upwards that I’m happy, too optimistic to think that. And like every other civilisation, will eventually come down. I don’t think so. I think we are on the up.

[00:34:20] I feel like it’s in you, though it’s not. It’s not. It’s not like a logical thought out thing. It’s just a part of you. Maybe Fran is got her legs on the ground and you’ve got your head in the in the clouds and she keeps you grounded or whatever. But but then she’s also quite a quite an out there thinker, too. You know, it’s it’s it’s remarkable

[00:34:40] The combination of the two of us, you know, one of the things sometimes we ask is, you know, what are the important things in your life? And Mary Fran is probably being probably one of the most important things. And I think the combination of the two of us, you’re right, she does pull me down, not pull me down in the sense that she’s more grounded than me, but between the two of us, we are not afraid of taking challenges. Yeah, definitely. But it’s nice to have someone like Fran who can be more grounded. And just when you think you’re going too far ahead, you know you got pulled back a little and say, No, no, no, just a minute. Yeah, for instance, we might have to move again now, you know, we’ve moved so many times and we’ll probably have to move once again. Yeah, well, not once, but quite a few more times, I think in the next 20 years, but in the short term, we might have to move again now, you know? And Fran is the one who’s saying, Look, if that’s got to be done, you’ve got to be prepared for it, you know, and she’s well, grounded. She brings me down and I said, No, no, no, no, this is going to be huge and this is going to be bigger, you know? But no, you’ve got to be realistic as well. And Fran is the realist in our relationship.

[00:36:06] Yeah, I have. I have. I have Carla and in on the work side, Sanjeet, who does that job for me, for me. But Nick, talk me through the evolution of or lift from you said from the from the pivot appliance, we went to the full denture part. Then you went to London and then for a while, there you. You are picking a full mouth rehabs at new increased dementia, a vertical dimension. That’s right.

[00:36:32] That’s right.

[00:36:33] And then it went to this appliance. Yeah, yeah. Just talk me through that, that sort of evidence.

[00:36:39] So when we move to Whimpered Street and it was basically going to be a dental practise, you know? And eventually the denture patients fizzle down, it’s slowed down a bit. And the PR company I was working with, they said, Can’t you do this for people with their own teeth? And I said, Well, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do it. It just means it’ll be very invasive. And so I thought to myself, I said, if people have already got a lot of missing teeth, they could make partials at an increased vertical and crown the existing ones. So I said, Yeah, yeah, we can do it, you know? So he got an article published saying that Dr Nick Mahindra can do this Dental facelift technique now for people with their own teeth if if they’ve got more than, I think the press wanted a number, you know, and more than 10 missing teeth or something like that, you know? So that was my road onto full mouth reconstruction. And then I said, Look, if I’m doing this now for people who’ve got their own teeth, why can’t we do a full mouth reconstruction too? So the next stage was people. I had a patient who was a severe class to his class, too. And when you increase their vertical with the pivot of plants, the jaw tends to come forward. So it’s sort of being a class to you now they become class one.

[00:38:11] And then if you could crown those teeth and restore them, they’d remain in class one. So this young girl, she must have been in her 30s. She wanted me to do a full mouth reconstruction at that new vertical, so she wouldn’t have that to the chin anymore. And I said to her, Look, you can do orthodontics and whatnot, you know? And she said, No, I want you to do this. And I was very keen at that time to show that this could be done, you know? So I went ahead and did it. But one of the problems that occurs is that to restore the occlusion to the balance occlusion with canine guidance or something like that is not always possible because sometimes the teeth are half unit, so you can’t get accustomed to foster relationship. So I had to think very hard, should I be doing this? And I said, why not look at if you can teach the patient not to pair a function and look at the number of people that you see in daily life in dentistry who have not got the perfect occlusion and then manage life perfectly normally? And having restored a person to an attractive face from a class two to a class one, I said if I made sure that it didn’t pair a function, it didn’t really matter whether I’ve got the perfect conclusion or not for these people.

[00:39:40] But how did you come across the red lines? You know, because we know that the occlusion is an adaptive thing. We know after Ortho Invisalign, you take these two things out of the mouth and it all jiggles together, right? So we accept that. But there are red lines you can’t cross. How did you? Did you just cross some of those red lines and find out the hard way?

[00:40:01] Yep. Because in those days, you know, this is one of the things about innovation is you can’t go read in a book. No, what’s the next thing to do? So you have to play each moment as it comes and face the challenges. One of the biggest challenge was trying to get technicians to do what I wanted them to do. They were used to doing balance occlusion. And I remember I had a German technician. She was working on a full case for me. And halfway through the case, she says, Nick, your work is giving me so much headaches. I can’t go for it. And in the middle of the case, she stopped and said, I’m not doing anymore. So I had to find another technician who could carry on from there. It was hell. But eventually, what I started noticing was that why am I restoring these people, giving them full mouth reconstruction to improve their looks? And I found that using the pivot appliance alone before doing anything to the teeth was doing that as well. I had a girl come in again in her 30s.

[00:41:12] What do you put that down to? Do you put that down to the muscle fibres, changing direction and and reprogramming reprogramming?

[00:41:22] Now this particular girl, she was a. Suitcases, well, very refrigerated case, and when she came into the surgery, she says, I know what you’re doing, Dr. Mahendra. And I said, What is that? And she says, I always not let my teeth touch. I keep a very big freeway space so that my profile looks better. So I said, Well, if you know that, what do you want me to do? You know, you have achieved what I do. She says, No, no, no, I want you to go ahead. So I said, OK, what I’ll do is this was when I was doing or left. So I said, I’ll give you the little plants and we’ll see what it does for you. And it made her profile look even better. Her features started to look better as well. And then she said to me, No, now I want you to do me full mouth reconstruction of this vertical height. And I realised that this wasn’t quite the right thing to do because of even when you restore them to that height, they forget what they looked like. Then they start functioning and then you get all sorts of problems, you know? So I said to her, No. And for a year, we kept on arguing. I’d say no, and she’d say, no, I understand everything. Just please do it. And after a year, I said to her, OK, I’ll do this for you. But luckily for me, she was great and a mum got ill and she had to go back to Greece. I didn’t have to do that, you know? Yeah, and that was the last full mouth reconstruction that I ever did. After that, it was just a relief because.

[00:43:03] Describe describe for someone who’s never seen it before. What is your lift appliance look like? What’s the process for the patient or for the user now? We’re talking users more than patients. What’s the process? How long does it take or do they go through and what are the benefits?

[00:43:18] All right. The only appliance is really basically the pivot appliance. But remember the pivot appliance? You had to take impressions of the mouth. Send them to the technician. He’d give you a blank plate to fit on the bottom plate. And then you had to build up the pivot hard and then grind down, so you got just one contact.

[00:43:42] It’s quite what a pivot is, as all

[00:43:44] The pivots are two blocks on the side of the pliers added an increased vertical. And we used to use the swallowing technique to determine the vertical height. And so eventually, when the pivot appliance is in the mouth, the only contact that occurs is between the upper molar and the top of the pivot. So you just got one contact on each side. Yeah. There’s no other contact at all. And eventually, we replaced the technicians bit by making the fitting side in a thermoplastic material like, Oh my god.

[00:44:25] So you boil them bite kind of thing.

[00:44:27] Yeah, yeah. So at the moment.

[00:44:30] So how would they work for?

[00:44:32] Well, again, this was a remember for the Dental facelift technique. I used to establish the vertical height. I used to get the patients to wear the pivot applied for 16 hours, 17 hours, even twenty four hours on the densification, the patients because we built the pivot on the dentures and then restore them to that height. So initially I thought, Oh, they must have to wear it for a very long period to be able to get these improvements to the face. And then I had a husband and wife who were having the relief treatment, and the husband was getting a very good result, wearing it for 16 hours or something like that. And the wife wore the plans for one night and then wouldn’t wear it again, she said. It gave me the most severe headache I’ve ever had. You know, I’m not going to be this appliance at all, you know? Yeah. And at that time, my thinking was starting to change because as light with exercise, you know, you don’t have to do too much exercise to get the benefit. So I said to her, how much are you prepared to wear the plants? And she said at the most half an hour a day. And I said, OK, really it half an hour a day and let’s see what results you get. And she got even a better result than her husband. So then I said, if half an hour a day can do it, what is the minimum that a person has to wear it to get these rejuvenating effect? And the conclusion I came to that you only had to wear it every third day, and that is the regime now.

[00:46:11] And we were seeing Nic, we were seeing. I remember looking, I remember having dinner with you and you telling me I’m seeing more than just the facial lines and angles being corrected. I’m seeing just brighter patients, brighter eyes, better skin and all of this. And I remember being sceptical to tell you the truth when you when you first mentioned it. But then I remember running through with you some of your photos of patients, and one thing that you did very, very well was to document with, you know, that everything the same in the right position, the right lighting or everything standardised it was that you were definitely a pioneer in the photography part of it. But I remember I remember reviewing some of the photos with you, some of your longer term patients and literally seeing their skin improve. That’s right. And I remember you saying something about circulation or something, but in a way the way I the way I thought about it, even though I don’t understand this is, you know, in yoga, they talk about gee and energy cycles within a body and so forth. And how in that collapsing facial situation, how that can affect more than just a bone to bone contact and the way the way we’ve talked to think about it, that’s where are you? Where are you now with that? Wait, wait. Well, now we’ve had the third

[00:47:34] Leaders thinking we got I started working with Innovate UK and one of the guys down there put me in touch with the company, a multinational company, and they said they will do the research for me into this clients. And they were going to look at anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory biomarkers that circulate. And I think wearing this appliance for these very short periods will improve your immune system, your anti inflammatory biomarkers, anti ageing biomarkers. All these will improve. What’s the end result of it? Well, there’s more circulation. There’s more growth factors that are repairing the damage done by the ageing process. But not only that, but the posture is improving. The hat goes back on the shoulders, the shoulders go back, tummy gets flatter, so you get a much more vertical posture, which means increased circulation to the head and neck. But all this again needs to be put into to my own way of thinking in the scientific proof.

[00:48:47] Yeah, my my key question is, is it because you want to convince others or is it that you want to find out for yourself? Is it both?

[00:48:55] Well, when you open a new door, right, you go into this through, you find so many more new doors appearing. Yeah. You know, and that is my oh has been my ambition. But I realised that perhaps to achieve that, the commercial side of life has to come into effect as well. You can’t, as a single person, I can’t do the research. Well, what happened with the Innovate UK? Although they, this multinational, said they’ll do the research for me, but the research was going to cost so much that Innovate UK said, Oh no, no, no, we don’t fund research that is done outside the UK. Now this multinational has offices in the UK as well. So that was just an excuse, you know? So I realise now perhaps a little bit late that perhaps this opening up of new doors is too ideological and it’ll happen, but perhaps not in my lifetime. But what I can do in my lifetime is try to make it the if successful and hopefully by making it successful, those those can be opened faster.

[00:50:16] Yeah, yeah. Agreed. I mean, look, Nick, in my world, there’s there’s people selling teeth, whitening lights with non peroxide gels and selling loads of them selling loads and loads of them. Now those those guys I used to, I used to laugh at them and think, you know what, charlatans, but that those guys turned over $100 million last year. Yeah. So now if they if they turn their hundred million dollars in the right direction, yeah, they they might they might actually improve. Like, innovate, actually innovate something. I’m not telling you to do that. I know you would never do that right. But but the two do go hand-in-hand even in universities next year. Funding funding is a massive part of professors lives.

[00:51:06] This is what I’m finding, what I’m finding. This is true nowadays. Research costs so much. Yeah, I said this was the multinational. I mean, I eventually got Oxford University and there was someone in Birmingham University, and she said she’d support me with research grants. So we applied for another research grant. But again then the competition from people looking for research funding is so great that to give that funding to one individual is just a coup in Britain. We are not good at innovation or at least making a very good at innovating, but not making it into a commercial success. It’s the Americans who take the risks. Yeah, and move forward, you know, and wish I’d been in America and I think this would have.

[00:52:03] You’re right. You’re right. In America, there is that culture. In Israel, there is that culture of commercialising breakthroughs. If you like Nick, we ask everyone on this podcast this question, what would you say is your biggest clinical error?

[00:52:21] Biggest critical error, I don’t think. You know, there’s a question of in hindsight, you can go back and say, I wish I had done something differently. Yeah, but I don’t think at the time when I took those decisions, there’s anything that I regret.

[00:52:41] I don’t mean by regret. But you know, you know, you learn a lot by your mistakes in life. And and so, you know, where this question comes from is from a book called Black Box Thinking, which is about plane crashes when a plane crashes, that everyone opens up everything and says, what happened? Not not whose fault was it, but how do we stop this ever happening again? Whereas in medicine, if a mistake happens, everyone covers it up. In essence, because in medicine, we end up pointing the finger at one person or one one thing. And so you don’t learn by my mistakes and I don’t learn by your mistakes because we’re so busy hiding our mistakes. So, so what? The reason for the question is, can we share some errors? We’ve all make their errors.

[00:53:33] Yeah, I think, yeah, this is a difficult one, really. As I say, I hope dentistry is full of errors. You know, I was looking at a case on some forum and they had this 62 year old who had a lateral that was very crooked, you know, it was overcrowded and pushed out of the way. And at 62 years, she comes and looks to have this corrected. Oh, and the discussion was should be veneer. It should be granted. It should be

[00:54:11] Also

[00:54:12] On what should be do orthodontics and everyone saying that. And then so perhaps that is the regret that I do have that instead of just treating the tooth. Why is this 62 year rule at her age suddenly got concerned about this tooth

[00:54:31] Psychologically because he’s got a new boyfriend?

[00:54:34] Yeah. What’s happened to her is she suddenly divorced. Her husband died so she come into money. Oh, what is the reason behind it? And I think I wish I treated people as people rather than looking in their mouths.

[00:54:53] Oh, well, you were very good at that, I seem to remember.

[00:54:56] Well, I think Fran helped me to do that. Know I was a dentist looking in the mouth and was the

[00:55:03] One who was right. That’s right, because she worked with me because often you just by its very nature, you’d attract patients who, I mean, let’s say their problem was as much psychological as it was clinical sometimes. That’s right, the nature of TMJ work tends to be that the nature of West End tends to be that, doesn’t it? You tend to. It tends to funnel the difficult patients into that area. But I remember a huge part of your work was just a psychological part of managing these patients and friends.

[00:55:39] I wish I paid more attention to that, even in the days when I was first had my first practise in South Wales. You know, we must treat people, not the yeah, people as people and not as modes, you know, all over.

[00:55:57] What was your darkest moment?

[00:55:59] Darkest moment?

[00:56:01] No. Difficult to ask an optimist this question?

[00:56:04] Yeah, there’s quite a few that have been. And one was when Ken was about, Oh, he must have been about two and a half, and he was being treated in Great Ormond Street and they were going to get his blood potassium up and they were doing everything they could and they just the pedestrian level would not go up. And you knew by the morning if they had not managed to receive it, you know, then that was even live in the next day. And at about four o’clock in the morning, I remember walking down in the streets of London and saying, Oh, what shall we do now, you know? And I came back at about six and I was waiting in the waiting room. There used to be a little waiting room and suddenly a big. Her, I think, came out of here and surgery. And all the doctors had got his latest reading and finally, they’d managed to get the blood chemistry right. You know, that was probably my one of the darkest moments because I yeah, yeah, probably was.

[00:57:15] Was there more going on in your life that made it dark? You know, obviously sick child on that sort of level would be a dark moment for anyone. But what was happening outside of Kieren during that period where you running around practise and running then?

[00:57:32] Yeah, yeah, I think so. There were lots of things going on in my mind at that time, you know, but probably that was the darkest moment, but they’re always in life. There are times when you think, you know. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:57:51] It’s difficult, difficult asking an optimist about his darkest moment, so. So going forwards, Nick? Yeah. If you had to make a bet. On how? People are going to think about the way they look and feel, because much of what you do is kind of opposite to injections and botox and, you know, obviously facelifts themselves actual surgical procedures. You’re more on this sort of, I would say, contemporary way of thinking about overall health and and balance as opposed to, you know, the way the facial aesthetics is at the moment is, you know, I feel like I would never stick a needle in my face with poison in it. I would never do it. I mean, but but your thing, I might do that. I might. If it’s realigning me, you know, realigning my face, I might do that.

[00:58:48] And I think what I’d like to be able to show is that this can happen so quickly. Yeah. You know, within minutes of wearing the plants, changes start to happen. The posture starts to improves. Growth factors are released. Blood circulation is

[00:59:13] Faces look younger, though, right?

[00:59:15] Yeah, well, we’ve got, you know, we’ve got the 16 year case histories now, Frances, that she’s been using it for, I think, 15 or 16 years. Well. And look at when you look at them now and you look at their age and you say, well, there’s something happening, you know, for that age, for them to be looking so good. Yeah. And I put it down to using this sort of lift, you know, and I think the more we have people using it on a long term basis, not only will they look better, but I think they will also feel better, you know? Did I tell you, perhaps this is something you may not want to include, but recently when I fell down and fractured my skull?

[01:00:06] Yeah, yeah, you did.

[01:00:07] I used the list for its anti-inflammatory effect. If in the end, the healing occurred so fast by me using lower left, but I had to use it for very, very short periods, you know, for about a minute or two at the most, because after that, the increased circulation would make the wound healing more difficult. But I use it, and I’m sure that helped me to recover from that fractured skull within about, I don’t know, a few weeks I was back at work working on the computer again. You know,

[01:00:45] You were so you. I remember when you guys were going to get a stand at the Dental show in Cologne. The ideas? Yeah, I remember the the cold mess people saying, No, this isn’t dentistry. So we can’t we can’t put this into the show. That’s right. And then on the other hand, you must have people in the skincare world and the and whatever Botox while saying, this is dentistry.

[01:01:12] Exactly, exactly.

[01:01:13] Tell me about that. Tell me about the, you know, that tension and and that and now I think, you know, the most interesting idea is you’re going to go direct to consumer with this, right? You don’t have to put it, pigeonhole it into whether it’s skincare, Dental or anything, you’re going for that, right?

[01:01:32] Yeah, I think that is the way. But what’s happened in going direct to the public is we are working on a subscription model, which will be that people have to pay a very minimal amount, but we’ll monitor them over the years. So if they subscribe to us, we will make sure that we look after them for the next year or two years or three years, or however long they want to keep the subscription because this is a long term result that they’re looking for, not just a very quick fix, mind you. Having said that, I’ve seen results after 10 minutes or even after two weeks, which are quite dramatic. So I think commercialising it with a subscription model may prove to be the better way forward. Recently, a lot of appliances have come on the scene, which are supposed to be like exercising appliances. You know, the

[01:02:34] Face angel or something?

[01:02:36] Yeah, yeah. But these can be so dangerous because if your practise and your muscles are already exhausted, the last thing you ought to be doing is making them even worse by chewing on gum or chewing on one of these jaw sizes or the other things. But they have in the public’s eye. They think of the oral gift as another one of these exercise

[01:03:04] Exercise machine

[01:03:05] Appliances, you know? And this is why by making this subscription model, we can educate them as we go along.

[01:03:14] You know, Nick, one thing I’ve noticed is that in the same way as a podcast, find its own audience. Yeah, like me, and you don’t have to sit here and worry about who’s going to listen to this. Yeah, the podcast will find its own audience. It’s just the way it works, you know, but in the same way, a product tends to find its own classification. So and sometimes that classification is different to the one that you put put on it. So, you know, as an example, I could bring out a toothpaste that’s nano hydroxy appetite sensitivity toothpaste. Yeah, that’s that’s what it is in my head. It’s it’s a sensitivity toothpaste. But when it goes into the market, depending on what the market’s, you know, the trends of the market, the people buying it, thinking of it as an enamel regenerator.

[01:04:08] And okay,

[01:04:09] Now I can hit my head on the wall and say, look, on the microscopic level, it doesn’t regenerate enamel. But because there’s this other toothpaste, you know, it’s called regenerate, right? This is not the same ingredient. Same everything. They’re actually saying the market’s now thinking that way. Yeah, right. So now what do I do? Do I do? I switch my marketing towards that because that’s the the current trend? Or do I carry on saying what I’m saying? My point is it doesn’t. I wouldn’t get yourself over bothered with whether or not someone calls this thing an exercise machine or an anti-aging machine or whatever, because the results will speak to the to the individual in their own way.

[01:04:54] That’s right.

[01:04:55] That’s right. For someone who’s never seen these results, you should have a look. Is it or live dot com or is it or Instagram? Where is it? Where can someone see results

[01:05:05] Or live dot com

[01:05:07] Or left? Because we’ve been talking about it because I’ve known Nick for 30. Years or something, 25 years. You know, it just goes without saying for me, but you have to look at some of the before and after the results of the faces and and it’s just very obvious that this is something that we need to look at further. Nick, we tend to end these things with the same question every time. And the question is, you’re on your deathbed. You’ve got your loved ones around you. You only give them three pieces of advice.

[01:05:44] I think the most important advice is follow your gut instinct, you know, follow what you believe in. Usually it is right. It may not be right in this commercial world that we live in, but I don’t think as a human being, you is very difficult to Payman, very difficult. My basic instinct would be to say to anyone is to follow your own instinct and believe in yourself. You know, you are the most important person to you. There’s no one more important than you to you, and therefore you have to believe in yourself and you’ve got to think it out. Be logical, but believe in yourself. That’s one. You don’t have to believe in yourself. Ok, let me put on France head on and be realistic as well. Don’t become too. You know,

[01:06:48] This doesn’t sound like you at Solanki. No, but I think

[01:06:52] You have to. You live in a real world, so you can’t ignore it, you know, and therefore you need to have a friend beside you if you haven’t got a friend besides you, you know.

[01:07:08] Ok? And the third one? The third one. The third one. Follow your heart. Get a Fran. Yeah.

[01:07:15] And the third one is enjoy life.

[01:07:19] Mm-hmm. You know,

[01:07:21] Don’t have regrets. Just enjoy life.

[01:07:24] You know, it’s surprising how few people say that one. I mean, a lot do, but a lot don’t. I think that one for granted. And then these are Prav final questions. He’s not with us, but I would just to just to give him the the bigger. You’ve got one month to go. You’ve got your health, but you know, you’ve got one month to go. What do you do in that month?

[01:07:46] I don’t think I’d do anything different.

[01:07:48] Come off it. I’ll do it. Go, go, go. You got an answer answer.

[01:07:58] I really do. I think if you followed your philosophy of believing in yourself, being a realist and whatnot, I don’t think enjoying your life in one month, you’re not going to change the world but enjoy what you’re doing in that month, you know?

[01:08:17] Yeah. And his final final question is, how would you like to be remembered? What would you like people to say about Nick Mahindra, what was he like? Well, he was what?

[01:08:30] What do I want my grandchildren to think of?

[01:08:34] Well, the well,

[01:08:35] Yeah, obviously it’s got to be on the left

[01:08:42] Side. It’s going to be on the left. I like that, nick that shows some commitment to the to the product. Yeah. Well, it’s been absolutely lovely having you. Yeah. And I’m I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other soon. Hopefully, this lockdown calms down. It’s been a real pleasure. Thank you so much. Bye, Payman.

[01:09:12] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry.

[01:09:23] Your hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[01:09:28] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, 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’ve 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.


Fix Up, Look Sharp! With Shiraz Khan

This week’s guest is winner of the Fast Track 4 award for future leaders in dentistry. But this conversation proves that dentistry’s best-dressed Shiraz Khan is leading the way in so many ways right now.   

Dentist, lecturer and trainer Shiraz reveals how he went into a high profile role almost fresh from dentistry school and talks life on the lecture circuit (and the nerves that go with it).

Shiraz also weighs in on the porcelain vs composites debate.  


“On my composite courses, I show the first-ever composite I ever photographed. And the reason I love doing that is that it brings me back to level pegs.” – Shiraz Khan

In This Episode

01.06 – Backstory
09.26 – On dancing
15.13 – First job & inspirational mentor
16.41 – Lecturing & training
28.48 – Documenting cases
33.31 – Blackbox thinking
39.18 – Working with Koray Feran
47.00 – Composite Vs porcelain Vs edge bonding
57.53 – Putting training into practice
01.03.20 – The patient journey
01.08.34 – Consumer ortho, AI and Turkey Teeth
01.15.15 – Last days and legacy

About Shiraz Khan

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

He is a prolific lecturer whose achievements include speaking at EXCIDA’s 75th national congress in Tehran.

In 2017, Shiraz was named Best Young Dentist at the Dentistry Awards and took the Rising European Star in Dentistry title in 2018. In 2019, Shiraz won the best restorative category at the Aesthetic Dentistry Awards. He is also winner of the Fast Track 4 award, which recognises potential future leaders in dentistry.

Shiraz is director of the Young Dentist Academy and a trainer with IAS Academy. He practices at Devonshire Place clinic in Chelsea and Fulham.

[00:00:00] Here’s the thing. Not once, not once did I ever think, nor do I think, no, actually that would be fortunate enough to be working where I was. I had no dream of. I want to be working on Wimpole Street at one point in my life. I want to share a podium with X. I didn’t even really know about lecturing very much. I didn’t know about awards very much. All I said to myself was, write the best version of yourself, whatever it takes, drive to that. Just drive to that. Don’t worry about what other people keep an eye on on the sphere of the industry. What people are doing. Give yourself some inspiration to try and achieve certain things. Absolutely. But focus on the inner. The best version of you that you can be.

[00:00:48] 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.

[00:01:06] It gives me great pleasure to introduce probably someone who I’d consider to be the best dressed man in dentistry, always standing out when he’s lecturing on the street and puts most of us blokes to shame. Dr Shiraz Khan, who’s also an instructor and an incredibly talented dentist. Shiraz We normally start these podcasts by just asking a little bit about your backstory where you grew up. What school was like and generally your upbringing. So do you want to just give us a bit a bit of background information about yourself? Sure.

[00:01:41] Hi, guys, hope you. Well, thank you for inviting me along to do this lovely webinar podcast. Yeah, so my name’s Shiraz Khan. I qualified in dentistry in 2013, but I’m from the west of London. So bitter backstory. My father worked at Heathrow and he has done for his whole life and we’ve lived pretty close to Heathrow, which incidentally later on in life turned out to be a fantastic thing anyway. But I went to school local the areas known as Hounslow or Felten, where I went to school. And yeah, from very, very a working class family, humble beginnings. My parents worked as hard as they could to get me and my brother and my sister through education, but education was really important to them. So I went to school in Elsworth and Zone, and that was a boy school, which is basically slightly towards huge, costly type area. That’s fantastic school. Probably quite a challenging school because while there were people that were very, very high achievers, there were also people that weren’t. And the paradigm of those two in the same place can be sometimes a bit challenging. And then, yeah, then I went off to University of Birmingham to study medical sciences first because I knew something medical was what I wanted to do, but wasn’t quite sure where I would go with it. So I did three years. Medical science worked out the dentistry, what I wanted to do and build 2021. A few pandemics later. We’re here.

[00:03:08] Sure, I just just take take you back to growing up. Really? What was your childhood like you mentioned? Obviously, you came back came from humble beginnings. Education obviously featured quite heavily in terms of your influence from your from your folks. What was that like was it was the pressure on you to to sort of perform well at school? And what type of a student were you? Were you in that camp that was a natural high achiever? Or were you someone who had to really work hard to pursue exams?

[00:03:37] Yeah, definitely the latter. I mean, I think with my parents so quite openly, you know, my father works as a cargo supervisor for for Kuwait Airways at Heathrow, and he wanted to study to be an architect in his early years. But his familial situation didn’t actually allow for further education to be a prospect. So he had to get work, and he had to provide income for the house to keep the house running. In essence, obviously got married to my mum and just continued on working since so a lot of doors were closed for my parents in the sense of this was what was required at the time. I never really have been a natural high achiever or naturally gifted or naturally intelligent in any way, shape or form. One thing that I’ve certainly learnt from my parents, particularly my father as well, is the work ethic and hard work, you know, grinding hours in putting time in putting effort energy in to achieve something. And you know, my father, having worked nights, full days, double shifts over time, all of the above really put into place a mindset mindset or a mind frame where you want to try and emulate that whatever it is that you’re doing, if that makes sense. So yeah, definitely pushed it to work hard, but not in a not in a inflammatory way, if that makes sense.

[00:05:01] No, totally. Totally. Get it, mate. And just so I mean, some things resonate with me there. I mean, my my dad, you know, when we were younger, did everything from working in the factory to drive in taxis to, you know, running a corner shop. And one of the messages that I got from him was that the reason I’m working so hard is I don’t want you to do what I’m doing, right? You know, an education was a huge thing and always gave us the freedom and the space to study. And I feel very grateful for that. And was it similar for you in the sense that, you know, your dad saw what he was doing and he wanted something better for you, wanted you to progress? And was it the same for you? I know you’ve got a brother if you’ve got any other siblings you’re at. Yeah, I’ve got a

[00:05:51] Brother and a sister.

[00:05:53] We were all pushed in in the sort of direction of towards education. I don’t mean pushed. Like you said in the inflammatory way. That was a big sort of core family value in that sense.

[00:06:06] Yeah, it was. It was, and I wouldn’t say that I was given ultimate freedom as to exactly what I’d want to achieve. That wasn’t exactly what it was what. As long as it was something professional based, my parents were happy. But there was an ultimate driving force that was, you need to achieve X. And to do that, you need to do this. And the reason that we’re working so hard is that you don’t have to live this life. And, you know, an incredible background to who you are as a person because you don’t forget things like not being able to, you know, maybe have not so new clothes or trainers as kids do in schools. And well, now it would be the latest iPhone or whatever. But that wasn’t something that I ever aspired to have, either, you know, so.

[00:06:57] Mm hmm. And those so, so fast forward. You went on to do do medical sciences and then dentistry. What was your Dental inspiration? Was that was there a moment or someone you went to do some work experience with where you thought, You know what? This is what I want to do? Or was it part of this whole journey of becoming a professional individual?

[00:07:22] No. So once I finished medical sciences, my parents were quite quite keen for me to do medicine because it seems like the logical step, obviously. And that’s something that I feel that if you’re going to commit your life to, you need to give your your life to it. You need to be committed to it. You know, if you’re if you’re protecting people’s lives, you need to want to be there for sure. And I must admit that my my aspiration for for life wasn’t necessarily drawn to that. If I was fortunate enough to to have done it, I think I I’d apply myself as best I can, but that’s not where my heart was. So as part of me being who I am, I decided right only I know health care science is where I want to go. The only way I’m really going to tell is by doing all of the work experiences. So I did optometry. Physio Pharmacy did my medical work experience again. I worked in a lab to see if a PhD is something that I wanted to do, so I did all these things compared to back to back and dentistry. Just dentistry was the one because you were establishing relationships with people for years to come. You were able to be manually dextrous and creative with your hands. The job was what it felt like was a nine to eight where I used to work anyway. But it was you finished work, pretty much. You go and all of a sudden and there was all these multiple facets within dentistry. So if you really like surgery, that door can open up if you really like aesthetic. Dentistry wasn’t necessarily a big push in 2007, but if that was something you were into, you could push down that road. And it was the sheer variability, the sheer ability to establish relationships over a long period of time and there being a manually created part that stood out to me was like, Whoa, this is this answers all the boxes in a way. And so then so then I applied 2007 2008. I started and fortunately made it through with quite a lot of work.

[00:09:17] So where did you where did you go to Dental school?

[00:09:21] Birmingham as well, incidentally, University Birmingham. Ok.

[00:09:26] Cool. What was what was university life like for you, because obviously just checking out your Instagram and stuff, you’re always throwing shapes and moves and dancing and mixing that up with with your thing. And I’m just envious of how you can balance on on one hand and hold your body in that position, right? But is that something was that was that like a childhood thing that you just grew up with? And I’m assuming it was with your brother as well? Right? Because he’s he’s he’s quite quite a mover as well, right?

[00:09:57] Yes, he is. He’s quite a competitive chap as well. No. So putting it putting it in perspective, I hadn’t ever danced, ever moves around, never done any form of shows or anything until about 2007. So I went to university or just before university muscle, some local guys doing some doing some stuff, and I was like, Oh man, I mean, you know, it was, it was. It was purely the curiosity of it all. It was like, Sure, how where do you learn to do that? It’s not like, it’s not like you’ll go to like, you know, this syllabus or a curriculum or, you know, like what we’re used to is that this is this is really out there. And the physical element was really amazing. And I thought, not, what would you? So then I started researching locally in Birmingham. At the time, I found the classes went to a couple of classes and then just got immersed and I loved it. I loved it from the beginning. And having had no experience in dance or anything like that before, I mean, it just it just opened your eyes to a whole new side of the world because where we’re, as you can hear from, actually, I was always into sport. So, you know, it’s cricket quite a lot. Football. Basketball. Reasonably competitive. Local club type level. And then you go to university. And yeah, patterns probably change a little bit, don’t they? And I don’t really want to compete at the level because it’s quite serious at university level. But I was still in search of something and then this came along and I thought, Wow. And I just entered as deep as I could. I was like, Yeah, let’s go for it. Let’s let’s learn this craft and then you make it your own, don’t you? Then it’s a form of expression. And for someone who’s doing work science, medical type related life, it’s a really nice getaway. You know, it’s a completely parallel universe to to to the medical world.

[00:11:58] So, you know, I see it seems like when I was about to ask you the question like, you know, some people when they want to switch off from the stress of work, they go, meditate or go for a run or whatever. Is that your thing to just escape? And yeah. Do your own thing, and it seems like, you know, when you’re posting your videos and stuff of just little snippets of what you do, right? It almost seems like you are escaping and you just getting yourself into another world, right? You know, you know, I see that, you know, if I go while ago, go, Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, really. And so do you compete now in in that arena dancing? And how did your brother get involved? Was it around the same time or a little bit later?

[00:12:46] Yeah. So me and my brother are, I mean, we’re pretty much joined at the hip. Anything that I’ve done, he’s done anything. He’s done, I’ve done. We’ve all kind of stayed on the same vibe for many, many years. We basically just carbon copies of each other. I mean, he’s infinitely more handsome and probably in better shape than I am. But other than that, where I was the test dummy, he’s the two point, oh, isn’t it? So. That’s right. But when we started, we started. We started together, we started together and he was training. When I was at university, we were training together and competition was was where where it was at. This sort of two ways you can take dance, really start either performing and, you know, pretty little talent or that type of style of thing or theatre performance type stuff, which we’ve actually done as well, funnily enough. Or it’s the competitive side, and it was always the competitive side. Maybe. Driven by my nature as a person. That was what I was really, really attracted to. I like the idea of bringing your straight stripes to the table and just seeing how you fare. I love that side. Obviously, last year and a half, two years, it’s probably gone, gone down a lot because travel has been significantly inhibited. All these other things. But at the same time, I think it’s been a it’s been an incredibly, incredibly eye opening opportunity. And you know, this is the thing that I said before was all someone else Prav that if when you stand up on the line, your name gets called or whatever, you could be standing opposite a painter, a barber, a policeman, a teacher. A student, a kid, and it’s nothing to do with your CD. It’s about in that moment on the moment who had more stripes, and that thing is a thing that takes me away from this very insular profession that we’re in, actually, isn’t it? And sure, it gives you a bit of humility as well.

[00:14:46] So, yeah, it’s brilliant. Was brilliant. And so do you still compete?

[00:14:52] I haven’t recently, but me and my brother actually just talked about one that’s coming up in October. So I’ve still been training reasonably, reasonably, regularly, probably not as bad shape as I’ve been in my, in my career or my life, but definitely want. I think the competition side keeps you pushing to to want to stay in shape as well. So, yeah, I’m going to we’re going to be entering that, hopefully in October.

[00:15:13] Wicked, wicked. Let’s move. Let’s move back to dentistry. So you you qualified from Birmingham? And then what was your first job? What where did you work and who

[00:15:24] Did you work? Qualified in 2013. I was very fortunate to work for. A colleague was akin to Corrie in Gravesend, which is in Kent. So I live on the west of London and I got a job in the east of England almost, and it was a bit of a commute. But the person I work for was so, you know, you talked at the beginning with the people who inspired you or people who have been considerable to your career. This individual ActionScript was an absolute gem. He saw what I wanted to do. He saw what aspirations I had, and you really tried to allow me to be as free as possible. He realised that, you know, I’m not someone who’s just going to throw, you know, throw myself around and do inappropriate type things. But we did sit there and say to himself, Actually, look, do you know what? Yes, you want to try this? Go for it. You want to do this. Go for it. You want to learn this through it and really gave me. I suppose freedom is not the right word autonomy to make my own decisions and referred to when I need advice. And that was a fantastic year. Really, that was a fantastic year for us. He he still keeps in touch. We still speak. And he was a great man. He’s a great. He’s a great individual, really helped me during my foundation year as well.

[00:16:41] And so how did you how did your career progressed from there? Sure. So, you know, you qualify for Birmingham, you do your first year and your foundation year. And then, you know, fast forward a few years later, you’re speaking on the international stage, you’re passing on your skills and you know, you’ve recently started teaching, you know, a range of courses, but you know, alongside the likes of Tift Qureshi as well, you know, on composite dentistry, how do you get from there to there? And you know, also, you know, you’ve managed to secure some pretty cool jobs as well, working in some pretty prestigious practises with some with some high flying dentists or some well-respected dentists in the industry. So how do you do that? How do you go from like qualifying to say, did you have an ambition and say, Look, I want to work for Kerry or I want I want to be mentored or, you know, work alongside these individuals. What was your journey and what was your thought process along that journey?

[00:17:43] You know, no one’s really ever asked it to me like that actually Prav. So thanks for the question. It’s quite insightful because you don’t even think about yourself. Sometimes you just always looking forwards, and sometimes you don’t really get the chance to look back. So when I finished, I ended a year in hospital because I wanted to have more exposure to surgical side of the industry and very specialisms. I got offered the next year to do DK2, which was it was called at the time, which basically meant another year in hospital. I decided to get married that year and the thought of staying in dorms with my my lady probably wasn’t what I was aspiring for. So it was a purely social reason why I decided not to pursue further hospital engagement and and training, really. So then I got a job in London. And here’s here’s here’s the thing. Not once, not once did I ever think. Nor do I think, no, actually, that would be fortunate enough to be working where I was. I had no dream of. I want to be working on Wimpole Street at one point in my life. I want to share a podium with X. I didn’t even really know about lecturing very much. I didn’t know about awards very much. All I said to myself was write the best version of yourself, the best version of yourself, whatever it takes. Drive to that. Just drive to that. Don’t worry about what other people keep an eye on on the sphere of the industry. What people are doing. Give yourself some inspiration to try and achieve certain things.

[00:19:10] Absolutely. But focus on the inner the best version of you that you can be. And I can promise that I never thought about working. I never even knew that like teaching was a thing. I never knew that. You know, choro would be looking for an associate. I never even I never even thought about those things. Teaching opened up when the first opportunity for that was my educational supervisor, what they call training programme director. So there are people that run your scheme in foundation training. Sure. He said. I’d love for you to come back and share with the colleagues, your your juniors from your year as being a foundation trainee in camp and tell them what you did. And you know, I think they’ll learn a lot from you. Was that his name should be a fantastic, wonderful head of white hair. Very charming man, but also is able to identify those who want to achieve anything specific, just achieve as a blanket point. Sure. So he’s the first person who gave me my first opportunity to speak, and it went down really, really well. The people got the feedback. They were like, That’s the best thing we’ve had and edited it or whatever. And I don’t often like referring to myself in that context, but whatever. And he then said, Right, so everyone enjoyed it so much. I think we should get you back to the whole scheme, not just our group. So it went from 12 DFIs, then the next one was, I think, 90 FTEs. And they were like, Share, just like that you’re doing at the moment.

[00:20:52] Let me ask you a quick question there, you know, standing up in front of, let’s say. A hundred people and lecturing, talking, sharing your story, whatever it is, did you at any point find that nerve wracking or did it just come naturally to you because you were used to performing and all the rest of it that actually getting up there and speaking and sharing your story was? Was it easy

[00:21:19] At that point? It was still OK? I mean, this probably comes down to underlying personality traits of you as who you are as a young kid. But even when you do, you know, assemblies at school, you know, when you, you know, you act basically do a theatre show for school. I was always the narrator, but I didn’t realise that I wanted to do that. I just always was naturally the narrator. So there was always this natural ability to be able to share or learn or speak or whatever. But you didn’t really have a chance to put it into practise, I guess, right? Because where are you going to do that? And then the doorway opens and you realise, Oh, I’m actually really relatively comfortable. It did get nerve wracking, though, because after that I got the call for the BDA. So there was a few things on on the way. And then I got the call for the BDA to do it. The BDA conference in Manchester. Twenty. There I was that and I was like, OK, this is like national scale and clinical work is going to go up and there’s going to be people that are junior to. They’re going to be people that are senior to you. And it’s all out there. And it was it was lovely. It was. It was a pleasure, and not one part of me ever felt like that was ever owed to me. It was always a privilege. It was always a privilege to share. And to be able to talk and to inspire those that really want to chase what they want to do. I didn’t realise there were so many people that were like me that really wanted to do something, but really struggled because they didn’t have the energy or effort or whatever. And yeah, that was nerve wracking, but there’s been nerve wracking steps along the way as well since.

[00:22:53] Sure. And I guess as you progressed to different levels, the intensity steps up, I guess. But you know, it’s interesting because they’re a big team, the narrator right at school because, you know, when I first stepped in front of however many people it was and gave my first talk, I absolute inside. I was shaking like a like a dog, go into the toilet, mate. I was really nervous, right? And if I compare that to my daughter who who would get up in front of all the kids at assembly and wax lyrical and not even bat an eyelid? Yeah, it’s almost like that that getting up in front of people, there’s no fear ingrained in it because she’s used to doing that now. As a kid, I never did that as a kid, and I think that probably stands. You in good stead should just have that, just that confidence. You know, there’s several elements to public speaking. Part of it is, you know, people are going to look at my stuff and think it’s shit, right? Or people are going to fall asleep or some people not going to listen to me. And there’s all these different, you know, conversations you have with yourself. But in addition to that, there’s there’s there’s the fear of just getting up there and presenting yourself, right? That’s that’s the other thing. And I guess you don’t have that because you’ve done that as a kid, right?

[00:24:12] But I think there’s another facet to that, actually Prav. I think the other facet is if definitely if you have, you have certain genetic traits that are just predisposed for you to be the way you’re going to be. My daughter is two years old and she will get angry in a second. She has not learnt that from someone that is just ingrained to. She is going to be for the rest of her life, you know? But the other the other side of that is if you’re just working honestly for bettering yourself at all stages, not trying to cut corners, not trying to expose yourself, not trying to overly market yourself. If you’re just trying to be the best version of yourself, what do you really have to be scared about? Because immediately, if you if you’re trying to be the best person of your version of yourself, you’re doing that for yourself. And if you’re up there, once you’re sharing to others, you’re doing it for you. So actually, it’s not really about necessarily wanting to impress anyone else. It’s just about sharing your journey. And I think provided you’re not doing anything hugely incompetent or whatever or pretending to be someone you’re not, and I think that’s another important thing. I think there’s nothing to be scared about. It’s just you’re sharing your journey, and some people might really enjoy it. Some people might really not. And it’s just being okay with that flavour of the month, I think.

[00:25:34] Sure, sure. So having the opportunity to get up and teach and share your work, does that make you up your game in the clinic? I mean, knowing that you’re going to be sharing that with other dentists, does does that help you take things up a notch? You kind of like, you know, when you surround yourself in an environment with with high performers, you naturally elevate or levitate towards that level, right? Because you’re surrounding yourself, by those people, by getting up there and sharing your work is, you know, when you get in the clinic, are you doing work where you think I want this? To share with my colleagues, and so I’m going to raise my standards or does that just happen anyway because you want the best for your patients, because I’ve spoken to some lecturers and funnily enough, some will say I’m doing a portfolio piece for my lecture. Yeah. And some people just show everything right and it’s funny. So I’ve had numerous conversations with TIFF and whether TIFF’s going to photograph a piece for a lecture he’s giving or whether he’s just doing that in clinic and he’s in, he’s never going to see the light of day. The standard of work is always the same. Yeah, there’s no sort of two standards or whatever, whereas some lecturers, they create the piece to show to others. What’s your take on that?

[00:27:02] I’m going to turn again. I’m going to send the hourglass upside down. And I’ll say, rather than it being you wanting to showcase your work, it’s the fact that you’re documenting it to a certain standard. That means that you get to reflect on the work and then drive your standard up. So it’s kind of an it’s tomato tomato a little bit, but it’s kind of like because you’re taking the time to document on that level. Yeah, you’re seeing all of your imperfections and you sit there and say, Alright, for the next one, I’m going to make sure I don’t do that and I can, you know, on my composite courses and whatever I show the first ever composite I did, I show it. Because what? No, no, that’s not. That’s not strictly true. The first composite I ever photographed. Okay. Sure. And the reason I love doing that because it brings me back to level pegs, but also it’s like, Okay, whether you think the work is a good stand or a bad standard, there’s no denying that there’s progress along the way. And it’s the fact that there’s progress that allows you to share more openly. Personally, I’m very much against the idea of trying to create showcase pieces for lectures. If you’re doing it for an award or a publication or something like that, maybe slightly different, maybe slightly different. But I want this general standard of my work to be at a level that you see on the screen, and I’m quite happy to share ideas. I’m quite happy to share. If things didn’t quite work out why they didn’t work out, what did I do wrong? What did I do to correct them? Because rather than just showing a portfolio of your holiday snaps that show the day to day, you know of how it works, I’m I’m in complete agreement with you should push your standards up so that anything you photographed you could share.

[00:28:48] Brilliant. And so what are your top tips to somebody who is, you know, because I speak to a lot of dentists and in the marketing arena, documenting your work is really important as well, not just so that you can learn and progress from it, but so that you can demonstrate to patients. This is what I’m capable of, even if it’s just during a consultation and you’ve closed that central diastole for a patient and someone walks in for a central day with a central to when you say, Look at this, I did this two weeks ago, two months ago, whatever. I’m confident and you can give that patient that confidence, right? There’s several reasons for documents and but dentists on the whole, in my experience, are very poor at documenting their work. Yeah. What are your sort of top tips on on advising dentists on how to get started on, on on documented their work?

[00:29:46] I mean, I think, you know, I probably agree with you, Prav, because fortunately, we may only have access to three percent of the profession. There’s 97 percent that are generally not doing it or not document on a regular basis. I think not everyone wants to lecture, so you don’t take photos for that. Everyone does want patients to see that they can help them. So my advice would be get yourself a get yourself on a course, right? So get yourself on a course that teaches you the bread and butter basics of this is a camera. This is how you change aperture. This is the mirrors that you need. This is the equipment that you need and just start taking photos. There’s lots of online versions of that. You can do it online, one to start with just so that you know the brief idea. Then get yourself a hands on one where you actually just taking photos and most of the day, because what that will do is then it will translate everything you know, theoretically. And if there’s a the greatest thing that I find about hands on stuff is if there’s a problem that you get, you troubleshoot it on the spot, you’re going to find yourself being a lot more successful in that discipline or practise because you’ve worked out what the issue was going to be already.

[00:31:00] So having hands on support and troubleshooting and taking shots and small things like where you stand with the patient, which positions you hold your mirror, how is your assistant going to help you and getting the photos? All those little nuances, once they’re tapped in, you know, you’ll start doing a full set of clinical photographs for orthodontic or restorative records three minutes, four minutes Max. Wow. Yes, there might need to be some post-processing to straighten the images and all this other stuff. But if you can get into the habit of doing that for most patients, you’ll be you’ll be laughing. And I think the key is I understand that there’s going to be limitations within certain health care systems and so on. But I think the key is to be photographing as regularly as possible to make it so part of your day to day that you won’t ever not pick up your camera. So that makes sense. And then it becomes second nature.

[00:31:52] I’m going to give you a little plug here because you’ve been so humble about this, but you have got an online photography course and this is hosted by the IS Academy. But I know several dentists who have given so much positive feedback about that course because they can jump on pay fifty nine quid, which is an absolute bargain and get access to everything that you’ve just said there. How the settings on your camera, how to hold it, the angle, where to put the mirror and all of that. And I always say to my clients, you know, the best piece of education that you can get if you haven’t already had it, it’s just learn how to hold this camera and show your work off, even if it’s just for reflecting back and saying, Oh, I did this case before, but this is how I’m going to do it better, I think.

[00:32:45] Yeah, thank you. Thank you for suggesting that Prav. I mean, you know, I’m I’m quite open and I think there’s lots of people that do let us do great work so you can find whatever suits you, whatever suits you. But at the same time, I think there’s an opportunity for things to be broken down in a relatively simplistic way. You know, and in a way that’s digestible, and it’s not not trying to show that, oh, guess what, you can do this. It’s more just like, look, guys, take photos or make your practising life a lot easier. And ultimately, everyone wants pictures for their cases, for their website. You know, it’s something that patients go to. Instagram is on such a rise. It’s a photographic social media platform. So it just it just seems to make so much sense for a lot of people.

[00:33:31] Sure. And we spoke about mistakes, right, so you say you can look back at your photography and see your work and stuff like that. And one of the questions we ask and is, you know, what was your biggest clinical mistake if you reflect back on your on your what is a short career, what would you say your biggest clinical mistake was?

[00:33:56] That’s an interesting question. Probably have an answer that in a while, probably my biggest clinical mistake is OK. So I had a patient who had some crowns on their front teeth. And one of them had chipped. I think one of them are chipped and we’d gone through the process, and it seemed like replacement of the crowns was the ideal method to do so. Please, the crowns made contemporaries and this is relatively early in my career, and I hadn’t really quite estimated how much preparation would be required because they had crowns before and I hadn’t done a wax up his. Here’s the key I hadn’t done a wax up and so I took the cards off, used this index to make the new crowns, and the cement I used was temp bond, which is yellow in Q OK. So then I polished them as best as I could. Similarly, the one and they were these big circular yellow spots on the front of this patient’s crowns like massive. I mean, it was like you saw two in a big yellow because obviously I’m prepared enough or whatever and patient sat up and he’s like, Oh, is that what crowns? Yeah, the crowns. We’ve got some more work to do and is that but these are these look really bad and when you’re when someone’s facing you saying that? You sit them really question whether what you’re doing is the right thing or the wrong thing, you just question it all, don’t you like, do I know? Do I know? What’s the right thing? Is this the best thing to do anyway? So it turned out that I was getting lab made provisionals meat, which ended up looking much better.

[00:35:43] We cemented them two weeks later. But that moment in my life, that moment in my life, I was like, Okay, so what? What went wrong here? You thought you knew what you were doing, but you didn’t. You didn’t have a lab man made wakes up, you didn’t have a guy to know how much preparation was needed. The patient set up and could see it wasn’t what they were hoping for. Did I manage the expectations correctly on the discussions beforehand? Listen, you’re going to have some temporaries. They’re not going to look great. But the idea for them is to build you to the next phase so that we can get the trial made, sheepmeat cetera. Had I had that conversation and it’s moments like that where I was like, Wow, well, you know, you really get put on the spot as a clinician. Sure. And I vowed to myself, look right. So the standard that I’m going to push for the Stanley I’m going to push for is going to be beyond what most patients will be able to see. Necessarily standard I’m going to go for is to the standard that I would want them done. And then that just changed. That changed my career. That was that was a pretty big moment, a hairy moment where I was like, Oh, no, no, no.

[00:36:46] And more importantly, how did you handle that conversation with the patient? Because there’s that moment of embarrassment, right, where the patient says, Geez, what the hell have you done to me, right? I don’t like this. You kind of know what the hell have I done to you? I didn’t know what I was doing or it was. I went beyond my knowledge or whatever, right? And from that point on, you decided to get educated or whatever and take things to the next level. But there was that moment where you kind of just step a little bit beyond your capabilities. But more importantly, how do you handle that conversation with the patient? Because I think personally put the mistake to one side. The more important thing is that communication with the patient now, right? You know,

[00:37:34] It’s kind of like you need your head, your eyes in the headlights before you really see if that makes sense. And you need to be put into that position to say to yourself, I really wouldn’t like to be in that position again. During the conversation, it was more of a discussion about actually, we all know that this is a temporary phase. The temporaries are often not as realistic or mimic the nature that we’re going to do because I’m going to make you love me temporaries, which I had thought about that will give you an open opportunity or open arms to allow us to trial the new shape of the teeth. So whilst it looks like this now, I’m very, very confident it will look better in a couple of weeks time. And lo and behold, the new technologies go on and it’s like, Oh my God, you’ve changed me, you know? So I think it’s just about being quite clear and quite quite open and saying, Well, actually, these aren’t. This isn’t exactly how I would have wanted the temporary look as well. And if I thought about it a bit more, I would have used unclear, which is a clear cement, not a yellow basement, which wouldn’t have made it look as bad. You reflect on these things as you, as you, as you grow. But just knowing that you’ve got certain things, I think we’re in a day and age of, you know, patients are very aware. Social media has made patients extremely aware and potentially, you know, there’s there’s opportunities for people to see you down a path or patients to you down a path. And actually, I think it’s about remaining confident in your skill set. And if there’s things that you want to do, appropriate training and education and support and mentoring and from whatever to get yourself up to that position, don’t feel compelled to provide that earlier outset. That makes sense.

[00:39:18] So then how did you get the job, Cory’s place? How did that come about? You know, probably one of the most prestigious practises in the country, but more importantly, we’ve we’ve had him on this show. And my God, you know, if after listening to it, if I wanted a check-up and if I wanted to know what was going on in my mouth, there is no way of the dentist that I would go to because I know he would look at absolutely every little detail. Yeah. And you know, it blew me away, just just listening to the process he went through, right? So he must be pretty picky. In terms of, you know, who he allows to comment and, you know, see his patients, so to speak or patients under his umbrella, right? How did that opportunity come about?

[00:40:11] So, so this is I’m not sure how many people know about this, but this would be really insightful for a lot of people on a number of levels. So 2017 Corey Farran puts up a job up job advertisement in Facebook and in typical Quora fashion, you know, it’s it’s like a 5000 word job description.

[00:40:30] Of course,

[00:40:32] Of of the things that you need to have what you what you need to do, how you need to aspire and whatever all these things. So the type of person I am is like, I’m definitely not getting this, but I’m just going to throw it in anyway, way I’ll throw my CV in. I think he was asking at the time he’s asking for five years experience, at least one teaching master’s degree, copious employment experience. I mean, the list went on and on and on, and I submitted my CV and I think quite a few people did in that in that ring. And I got called in for an interview and I was like, Oh, yeah, OK, great, let’s just go along to the interview. So I went along to the interview and the first stage, by the way, first stage is that you meet each other, you talk about things and you need to present some cases to him. And I was like, Oh, well, I’m sort of presenting quite regularly. I think especially go, all right. Like, yeah, obviously not compared to some of the other people that are probably applying, but let’s go for it. Did it go along like a house on fire myself, his practise manager at the time and cry, and he was blown away by some of the case and documentation, which for me was the biggest comeback from that was getting approval from someone who is so incredibly well known in that way. And then I went to the second stage. So let’s go. Let’s let’s take the journey back to the beginning.

[00:41:58] Sure. I’m going to throw in my CV because I’m blatantly not going to get this job. Oh my God, I got an interview. Oh my God, I’m into the last three. That’s the that’s the journey. Anyway, so there were two other individuals that were that were shortlisted with me to be the final stage. I went through a planning exercise. That’s when I knew I was out of my depth because the level of intensity of planning and occlusion and all that stuff was knowledge I didn’t have. So I fell short at that stage and knew at that point, probably I was too junior for the role. So at that point, I was three years qualified. Right? Mm hmm. And that was on the Monday night, Friday night. I get a call. I sure as hope you well. I didn’t want my PA to call you and I didn’t want you to get any. I wanted to speak to you in person. And by the tone, I was like, Oh, it’s not. I didn’t. I didn’t get it right. And he was like, The reason I wanted to call you is because I think you’re a fantastic young man with an incredible future, and I’m not going to offer you the job yet. That was his words. Uh huh.. And you know, you know, like, it’s a funny, emotional, emotional cauldron, isn’t it? It went from I’m not bothered to then when you get to the final stage, you’re almost starting to plan your route to work kind of change. Your human mind is unable to remain an emotionally engaged, right?

[00:43:26] You know?

[00:43:28] And all of that then dropped as as a heavy weight on your chest. And I was like, Oh, and he’s like, I’m following everything you’re doing. I just want you to know you impressed me. Incredibly so golf. I was extremely distraught because despite knowing it probably wasn’t right for me, you’d really hoped it. You could, because I know the sort of person I would make whatever I could to learn as much as I could, so I wasn’t concerned about not knowing it. I was concerned about having the opportunity to grow and learn. And you know, when someone tells you bad news, the best way to do it is sugarcoat it at times, right? So I thought, Oh, you’re saying all of this just because he’s not giving me the job and all this stuff. And afterwards, so all being that, I was like, I’d love to come in shadow. You want to see how you do things. I’ve not got the job. Yeah, and I’ve gone into shadow. It stayed there for a day and I was like, Wow, the level that he’s working to or the patients and the demands and the expectations on you, I probably would not be able to do okay. Fast forward two years to 2019 December, we exchanged a few messages. I was like, Can I call you on a Sunday morning? I was like, Yeah, go for it.

[00:44:41] So I’d love for you to come work with me. Was that what is that? If you remember, if you remember the call? I said, I’m not offering you the job yet. And I was like, You did say that to me. And he’d been following everything that I was publishing and presentations. I was. He was keeping an eye on the sorts of work I was doing. And yeah, he decided to give me the job, which was incredible. I didn’t expect it. I hoped for it, I suppose, but I finished my masters at that point in 2019 as well. And yeah, it just seemed to gel as a perfect match. And having worked there for the last coming up, it’s nearly two years, really, you know, at the end of 2021, just coming up to two years. I very much agree and stand by the process that he puts in place because I understand the fallback if they’re not done, if that makes sense. And I’m the sort of person who wants to learn all of the rules to start with to know when it’s appropriate to not have to follow every single step of the rules, not just no rules one, five and seven, no one to 10 and then know that you need to only choose one, five and seven. That makes sense.

[00:45:49] Absolutely. Was there any communication between 2017 and 2019? We are in touch or was just silently stalking you or just seeing what you were up to? Yeah, we.

[00:46:03] Well, he probably was certainly stalking me, to be fair. But we did go. We would go for dinner once in a while because me, him and Dr. Nassif chat to another fantastic gentleman who’s also part of that is can be what an absolutely the most charming gentleman I have ever met in my life and myself. Life and career would go to dinner once every so often to just catch up, talk, you know, have a chat about the world, everything really sure. And I made that thing. He would say that let’s go, let’s go for dinner together. And you know, it wasn’t me trying to impose myself into his world. I was very much of the vein of I’d love to spend time with you if it suits you, not please meet me, you know? Yeah. And I think eventually over time that you can tell that, can’t you? Really? Yeah.

[00:46:54] Brilliant. Lovely story. Lovely story.

[00:46:57] Yeah. So despite not getting the job, you all of a sudden did.

[00:47:00] Yeah. Yeah, it’s brilliant. It’s brilliant. I want to. I want to dig more into sort of your overall philosophy in dentistry, your teaching and stuff like that. And I just want to start off with, you know, you run, you run a composite veneer course, nail a composite course, not a composite veneer course. That’s a whole different topic altogether. And actually, let’s go there. Ok? What are your thoughts on composite veneers versus porcelain and then composite veneers versus edge bonding? What your your overall thought on that on that piece?

[00:47:37] So for me, composites an incredible material. It has come along leaps and bounds over the last decade, particularly maybe two decades, and the ability to mimic nature is incredible. It’s unreal. It is still a far inferior material compared in terms of biomechanical properties, structural rigidity, strength aesthetics compared to porcelain. Okay. The disadvantage with porcelain is in thin section. Invariably it’s going to fracture. So you can do this veneers and they last very well. If they’re bonded very well, but extremely thin section they can, they can fracture. Okay, so there needs to be some form of margin. Sometimes you have to do some form preparation. So my point here is is okay with composite veneers, you’re still araby the service. You still etch the surface. Okay, you’re probably air the surface with porcelain. Maybe you need to have a bit more thickness of porcelain material, but the outcomes long term of the porcelain veneer are going to be far better than the composite veneer. So when it comes to post composite hand on heart, porcelain will win every time over the longer period. The conversation about edge bonding versus composite veneers is a very, very close one tomorrow. And as you know, I’m sure it’s got a very strong point on this. We haven’t spoken about it actually in too much detail, but I’m pretty sure I know what his view is on it. At the end of the day, if you are going to volumetric it and adhere to the whole surface of the tooth to mask your ability. I don’t think that’s the right thing. I think there is a place and I do composite veneers, by the way I do them. I think there is a place for composite veneers. There is certainly a place, but every case does not need to be a composite veneer case if you have good bonding protocols, if you have strong material, if you have measured the occlusion appropriately, if you’re not creating large overhangs, if your error of reading the surface pre treating, if you’re doing all of these things.

[00:49:44] Edge bonding can last an incredibly long time, and I think we are taught in dental school that not one size fits all. So not everyone needs be there. In fact, more people than not will need aligning their teeth to a certain degree, get the constricted envelope of function improved. So there’s a more harmonious sliding sliding pathway create cani guidance and edge bond. And all of a sudden you have got a case that you’ve done what’s in the best interest of the patient. They’re delighted because they think it looks great. And guess what? Adding to it is so simple. I’m sure you haven’t. But if anyone has tried to remove a composite veneer in the past, it is an absolute travesty. It’s so stressful that last layer that you’re removing, you’re like, OK, stop, let me have a look. Change your view. Look at with your light. Turn your light off. Comes it light on? I’ve tried to it. Yeah, there’s a little bit there. Correct stop. It is so complicated, Prav. And you know, if you’re if you’re truly trying to do what’s best for the patient, obviously, you know, if everyone can just take a know, fattest big Bertha, you take it all off. Loads of all got sucker as well. I’m not a fan of that. So my view on edge bonding is, when appropriate, age bonding should always be used as a first line of defence if that doesn’t quite get to composite. If that doesn’t quite make it porcelain for this. That’s my view.

[00:51:16] So I’ve spoke to quite a few dentists to do a lot of composite veneers, and some of them who are on the main teaching circuit as well will tell me that it is a disaster waiting to happen. Right. That three years to five years from when all these composite veneers would be in place. And look, I’m not a dentist, so I can’t pass any judgement here or I’m just going off what have been conversations I’ve had that all of this work is going to come back somewhere. To be replaced either with the porcelain or go through the go through the pain that you’ve just described there of removing composite, which is sounds like it’s bloody hard work, right? And a lot of people say it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. Maybe I’m over exaggerating the conversation that I’ve had, right? What’s your take on that that, you know, if we’re unnecessarily, as you’ve said, to mask their ability right or whatever, that whatever that thing is that do you think we’re going to be going to end up with this huge surge or wave of patients just coming into the clinic saying, What do I do with these now? They looked great the day they were put on. They look great for 12 months, but now I’ve got three teeth knackered. Yeah, against these other eight. Can you? Can you match these up? What? What’s your take on that?

[00:52:41] I mean, inherently, I think there’s the problem Prav. I think it’s I don’t think it’s going to be a disaster. I don’t think it’s going to be a disaster because we’ve always got something that we can do. But is it going to require more work? Yes. Is it going to invade more to structure? Yes. Is it going to mean the patient will always be on a cycle? Yes. And. You know, working with Kheri, for example. He’s got a guarantee process for all of the work that’s done. Now, if you’re compromising that actually you start having to pay for it yourself. Quite frankly, the practise and it’s not justifiable to say to a patient, I mean, personally, I don’t think it’s a person I wouldn’t feel right after three years being like, right, here’s another bill for another eight combativeness. Again, that’s just not right, because by that point, they could have paid for porcelain. They could have after one replacement sets. That’s it. You’re already opposing it anyway. I think it offers to those that would suit the needs. In general, it offers a fantastic, cost effective medium term measure to be able to provide the patient with something that will make them more confident, that will give them the ability to smile and be happy. I think there is a very, very good place for it. I think everyone needing commitment is eight to eight is not appropriate. I don’t think it’s appropriate and the replacement event is going to come to talks about that a lot. The replacement event is going to come and it’s going to be incredibly challenging. And the trouble is, no one will really know about it because we’ll just put composite over it again. The only point is when someone else will have to deal with it, and then you go back to the original to structure and you know how much has been evaded because it’s like putting a plaster, take the plaster, put another blast from the past, put another plaster on, and you’ve never really seen the skull underneath.

[00:54:47] Quick question about that plaster. If one composite veneer gets knackered, right? Two years later, how hard is it to match that composite veneer to the exact quite a straightforward process?

[00:55:01] Incredibly difficult. I mean, so there’s studies that prove that the same shade of composite in the same syringe from a different batch can have up to 12 to 15 percent variation in chroma value. And the same manufacturer are the same people the same batch. They’ve got quality control. Of course, yes, you can have variation, even in the same thing. So. I suppose what I think it’s going to be incredibly difficult. I suppose what it comes down to is how close you can match. It is sufficient enough for the social distance for it not to be, you know, visible. Yeah. But of course, it’s of course, it’s particularly Prav. If you’ve done a really delicate layering protocol where you’ve used a few shades, a few tints, you’ve used a few things to enhance the size of it. When it gets to that level, that that’s almost impossible to recreate. But yeah, yeah, we’ll find out if it’s probably next year.

[00:56:00] So talk to me about the replacement event. Do you have conversations with your patients about this? Do you do you talk to them about how long they’re going to last and when they should expect to replace them, for example? And then I’m interested to hear about your guarantee. How do you guarantee your work and how long do you guarantee it for? And do the patients have to play by certain rules in order to exercise that guarantee?

[00:56:25] Yeah, yeah. So so the replacement event is something that needs to be talked about from the get go. Despite using gold standard protocols and procedures, nothing’s going to last forever. Nothing’s going to last forever. And I think the most important thing from my perspective as a clinician is making it clear that I’m going to do the best that are in my hands and the technology we have now. But it’s going to be, you know, require replacement and regarding, and that falls into discussions with the guarantee in the service. So we’ve all got a car. We’ve had it a hundred times before. I’m sure you take that to get service right. You change the all, you change the filters, whatever it is that needs to be done on the car. And that’s to keep it going and performing highly. Well, actually, for us that seeing the hygienist to come and see us once a year or once every six months so we can see things if things are starting to look like, they might becoming a problem. Is there a way that we can do a chair side repair or a polishing of that restoration just to make sure it stays in perfect shape? Of course, that doesn’t always apply. People move. People have families. They’ll move to different countries. Life takes over. Not everyone can make it all the time. But our our guarantee process is placed on stipulations that we’ve done baseline records for you. We’ve done baseline end of treatment records for you. You’re seeing our hygienists every three to six months, according to your risk profile, and you’re coming in for your check-up and provided that’s followed. We will go into your restorations.

[00:57:53] Cool. Cool. Talk to me about your course, your anterior posterior composite, cos there’s so many composite courses out there. If I was a dentist, I would literally be confused as to which course I should take, right? And and I think some of it may be based on the individual right. So I may resonate or, you know, towards you more than one of the other speakers, stroke lecturers and so on and so forth. And sometimes, you know, you look at some of the stuff that some dentists are doing anything. How the hell am I going to take that back to my clinic and do that on Monday morning? Like it was great and inspiring watching how you flick that thing, that tool and that and that paintbrush and whatever it is you, do you expect me to do that on Monday morning? You’re having enough sunshine, right? And so a bit of ice cream, a bit of training, right is, do you know what trains a day practise tomorrow? You know, I’m a big believer in, you know, you need to be able to replicate what the guy is is teaching you. So tell me a little bit about your course, how you teach. Is it replicated all? Yeah.

[00:59:09] Firstly, I want to be very, very clear about this. I think there are some incredibly talented clinicians in this country. We have some world leading clinicians that are are sharing their expertise and knowledge, and a lot of them have already been on. Funnily enough, I’ve supported all of these individuals because I I think the point at which you think, you know, all is the point at which you’ll always decline, you know, and supporting your fellow peers and colleagues is important. So there are a number of choices that you can make, all of which will probably be fantastic. So that’s the first thing I want to say about our course. Fantastic thing is, I’ve been teaching A.P. Stories for at least about four or five years now, and I’ve done I’ve done tests. You know, dentists is course, reverse triangle technique and all this stuff. And you know, I think I guess for me, my course is made in a way of what I would want to know if I was because I’ve done probably Prav no exaggeration I’ve probably done about. Maybe 15 comes in courses, 15 after the first five. You’re probably not learning anything new, you’re just getting a chance to practise. Mm hmm. But here’s one thing that I’ll give everyone for free. Any course that you go on, you’ll probably be on a Friday or a weekend that Monday morning. That first patient you’re going to book in on that day is to do the thing you practise on the weekend.

[01:00:36] So you’ve got absolutely no choice but to put those habits into practise. Totally agree. So that’s the first thing I’ll say. Just do it. Plan the course and your patient. Move people around if you have to get that person in. You’re doing an to a composite course. Get that to your competition for the Monday. Do it. No questions. The fantastic thing I personally feel about. Yeah. Yeah. The fantastic thing I feel about my the thing that we’ve been able to do is I’ve taken lots of information, lots of knowledge from lots of companies, from lots of individuals and have been able to synthesise it into a relatively pragmatic and realistic pathway that most people will be able to apply on Monday. So having done style Italian and having done various things in the UK and having done stuff in the US and having done stuff in Japan, I basically what I’ve tried to do is left that altogether irrelevant or system irrelevant or material irrelevant or instruments and give a dogmatic type pathway for clinicians to be able to reproducibly predictably bond layer, restore, create anatomy polish without having to. You know, how many courses do you go on Prav that you see if that, oh, we can use this material and this is the result you’re going to get today? Everyone takes it, puts on the Instagram hashtag, blah blah blah. And it’s like, Yeah, to get that, you need to buy this kit and you need to buy this kit.

[01:02:02] You buy this and it’s like, Yeah, yeah, but I’ve spent, you know, one half thousand pounds on. Of course, I’ve got to spend another two to get all the stuff. Just to do it for Monday is what I want to try and show is, I mean, of course, we support it, of course, is supported by the company because I work quite closely with them anyway. And in fact, with drugs, I’ve been responsible and part of the design of the material, actually, some I believe in it quite a lot, but hopefully what I’m going to be showing you is principles irrelevant of the system, and I’m driven by principles as such as opposed to materials or companies. And I think that’s really, really key. I’m fortunate enough to have learnt from quite a few people. I’m fortunate to have been got a lot of feedback, positive and negative, and I’ve incorporated that over the years, so I hope it’s for everyone. Honestly, for me, the biggest honour was to be invited to do it alongside you guys is because I’ve looked up to it since I qualified. You know, I’ve looked up to TIFF Qureshi, particularly since I qualified, and to be able to share for him to open up that that opportunity for me to share on on. In essence, his and his team’s academy is a very big privilege. So I’m really honoured, really, really honoured.

[01:03:20] Really, really, it’s great to have you just talk to me about your checkered process and know we’ve been through it with Cary Wright and what he goes through and stuff. So if I am the patient, let’s let’s forget check-up consultation, whatever, right? What’s your style? So I come in as a patient and say, Hey, Shiraz, I want, I want. I want to improve my smile. Right? What is that process I come in? I have a consultation. Is that a paid assessment? Have I seen a treatment coordinator beforehand? Take me through your journey.

[01:03:55] So my journey is slowly become Khurais journey because I really believe in the process. I really believe in the process for a new patient. You’ll be sent a pre-medical questionnaire and you will come in for a 90 minute appointment. Okay. Well, that 90 minutes. We’re going to do a full assessment. We’re going to check your glands, your jaw, joints, your muscles. We’re going to tick the teeth, how they meet together, occlusion. We’re going to check the soft tissues. We’re going to do an aesthetic assessment which really forms part of everything as opposed to it being an individual thing. We’ll take four for four radiographs. We can take a full set of photographs. I’m going to get all of the information I need, and I’m going to say show probably a few things and say I’ll reserve to make any judgements on what we’re going to do after this data collection appointment. So that is a data collection point with all the information that I need to start creating an understanding of what the patient’s aspirations are and how we can parallel a plan to suit those aspirations. And we’ll spend two or three hours, maybe going through the photos, going through the X-rays, writing a letter, creating a presentation for the patient. As you know, from from Kuris, it’s basically exactly the same, and they will get a very detailed letter and set of their own photos and X-rays and explain to this needs to be done because of this what the options are, what the, you know, sometimes it’s a bit more complicated.

[01:05:19] So we have, you know, multiple options which ways we could go down. And the principal of the clinic is it is a comprehensive assessment. Nothing is left. No stone is left unturned. If we need to do a sectional CT scan or a CT scan to perform, part of our treatment planning will get that done before we make a plan for the next phase. So they’ll be given an interim treatment letter. But we’ll probably know where we’re going. Given that we’re asking for that scan so we can start creating a rough estimate and if, as all things, if treatment plan changes, we’ll send them an interim report or an updated report explaining that the following needs to be done because of X, Y, Z, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So there’s a lot to it. But the idea is that every possible outcome issue problem is assessed, sometimes run through by colleagues. Had a discussion about with colleagues, then an appropriate plan is given. And incidentally, I’ve stopped working at certain places because they didn’t allow for that process to exist because of time. It was just impossible. If you’ve got eight new patients in a day, you cannot spend twenty four hours writing letters and doing photos. It’s incredible. It’s difficult. It’s too difficult. So I’m in a situation where I’m trying to build that plan as being my base and then modify accordingly as and when it’s needed.

[01:06:45] How would you? You mentioned you send letters out to the patient, is there a point in time where you invite the patient in and actually present that plan to them and explain it to them? Or do they do they call and speak to a TKO about that? What’s what’s the process? Because I’ve come in and met you? You’ve done the full works, you know, a whole sort of assessment on me. And now I get this letter, which, you know, if it’s anything like some, you know, job advert, it’s there’s going to be quite a bit of information in there for me to absorb. Intense. Yeah. Yeah. How is how is that distilled back to me as a patient?

[01:07:25] So, so a part of the so treatment coordinate is key because the letter is talked through with the treatment coordinator. So the treatment coordinators on side with what’s going on, what are we proposing for this patient? They’ve got the treatment. Coordinating certainly always worked with us. At some point they’ll come in and watch procedures that are so they know what’s informed. They will then have in-depth discussions and we will invite them if they wish to, to have a Zoom chat, to cover certain things or come in to cover certain things, to have a discussion if something wasn’t made clear or or whatever. I had a patient coming in for a second opinion about something, and we had about a 30 minute phone call about all of the different aspects or nuances within the letter. So by and large, it goes to the treatment coordinator. They will discuss and see why and what and what is the options and so on. And then the next stage is either coming to meet us, doing Zoom or doing a phone call, whichever suits the patient. And by and large people that we treat the practise are really quite busy. So it’s almost like they’re trying to minimise the number of points they’re having anyway. But often we will we will exchange directly. But the treatment coordinator is key. It’s key in the smooth process.

[01:08:34] Yeah, I’ve got a couple of questions. I want to ask you around sort of a couple of topics that come up a lot when I when I speak to dentists currently now, anyway, very topical. And one of them is direct to consumer orthodontics. Your thoughts and opinions, which are which you can probably guess. But how do you handle that patient who comes in and says, Hey, I’ve been told I can go and get my teeth straightened in the supermarket or whatever, right? And then there’s a follow up question after that, but I just want to hear your thoughts. First of all,

[01:09:08] You know, I think it’s incredibly difficult, isn’t it, to not slap people down when they come with this? Yeah, with this outcome, you know, it’s like, Oh, what was that your your plumber can also be a plumber, can also do heart surgery a wicked go for it, you know, like that kind of principle. It’s like, Oh yeah, I don’t know. I’ve had patients who have come to me specifically because they’re like, I’ve heard, you know, how to do X, but relatively well. And those like, yeah, they’re like, Oh, I’m doing ortho with with X, a company that you can see on, on and out of it. All right, that’s fine. I’m just making it clear that any problems that have happened because of your orthodontics, I’m going to pick up and whether you do something about them or make an impact on whether we can continue treatment or not. Yeah, sure. Do you think like any type of 3D printing or scanning material is going to check for your constricted envelope function is going to check your excursions, make sure you’ve got balance protrusion, posterior dissolution on A. Gut, it’s not checking any of that.

[01:10:06] It’s not checking any of that. So anyone that tries to see to me that there’s a system that can do all of that great whatever. Moving on. When I write to them, I will say. No indication responsibility or long term maintenance is taking any responsibility for when it comes to this position. And if it turns out that your position movements that have happened are going to compromise my outcome if I’m not going to treat X. So I think when people come in, these guys have got an incredible marketing machine, you know, they’ve gone direct to consumer. A lot of people are trying to do that model anyway. Good on them for being able to crack the market, but unfortunately it needs to be regulated. And if it’s not being regulated, just like the, you know, the catastrophe event, that’s going to happen seven, eight years, 10 years down the line. Are you going to go to Ghostbusters? Probably that’s as realistic as it gets. There’s no one else is going to help. So, yeah, that’s my view on that. See a professional. You pay for what you get for, isn’t it?

[01:11:12] Sure. Do you think the AI technology will ever get to a point where they can just stick a scanner in your mouth and it can just handle everything? You’re in your protrusion, you’re constricted envelope of function, blah blah blah, the whole shebang?

[01:11:27] I don’t dispute at one point that we’ll be able to happen, you know, if you can create an artificial articulator. Yeah. If you get a reproducible CONDOLA guidance angle into the distance and and no scanning tiff knows about this very, very well. You can record video record protrusion excursions. If you can record those things, you can record how they change when the teeth change in space. So I don’t think it’s not something that you can’t do. I think at the end of the day, that’s health driven, not business model driven, and that’s why it won’t be invested in by a bunch of people who only see numbers. Do you know what I mean? So, yeah,

[01:12:06] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then the other thing that’s very topical at the moment, Shiraz is turkey teeth. Yeah, go into Turkey to get your teeth done. I can. I can get these done, you know, and get a holiday and some change and all the rest of it and a lot of my clients and dentists, I speak to come up against this all the time. Ok, the you know, what are your thoughts on me getting my teeth done abroad? And I spoke to Ian Buckle about this at length, and he gave me a really interesting, interesting and very direct answer to this question. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think about dentistry abroad and what would you advise a patient if they were considering to get their teeth done in Turkey, for example? I mean,

[01:12:58] I think it really, really simply. Ok, so let’s start with the first point, which is I’ve got some colleagues at work in Turkey as an example. They’re incredibly talented, gifted and skilled individuals that will lecture worldwide and probably wouldn’t do this sort of treatment, frankly. And so, you know, going abroad, there are still some incredible conditions abroad firstly. Secondly, it’s quite clear that if you’re going to have every tooth in your mouth drilled down right and you get it crowd stuck on them, they might look great. They might look fantastic if they’re going to fall off on the plane on the way back. Where are you going to go? You can go for another holiday just after you’ve had a holiday. I know for a fact I’m not going to touch anyone’s work unless it’s to replace all of it, which has significant financial impacts, right? And whilst some of these people may be incredibly skilled, I’ve seen I’ve seen immediate posts Prav have come in to me that, you know, the teeth arrived before they do kind of scenario, and there’s no such thing as prototyping. There’s no such time as provisional. There’s no such time as trial smiles, occlusion. And now they’re getting TMJ issues because the posterior occlusion has been managed properly.

[01:14:12] There’s no on working side interferences everywhere, postage chipping off just three weeks of being in there. You’re paying what you get, you’re paying for what you’re getting. So I very, very much disagree with it. But again, I think people have already met when people make a decision like this, they’ve already kind of made their mind up, haven’t they? And I’m not in the business of requiring to have to justify why I am going to do what I can do. I’m going to give you my options. It’s up to you if you’d like to find second opinion. I think that’s very healthy. But if you want to try to achieve X, this is what I think I can do. By all means, seek further opinions if you need. And you know, we’re really fortunate to not be in a situation where we need to treat people. We’re quite fortunate, extremely fortunate to be busy anyway. So if someone would like to continue on with us, we’re more than happy to treat them. If they want to go and find an alternative that probably is much more economical and cost efficient. Go for it. But as soon as you start skimping on things, you start skimping on quality. So, yeah, that’s my view. Very clear.

[01:15:15] Sure, sure. I’ve just got a couple of final question. I’ve got about so many questions loaded up Shiraz, but I know we’re I know we’re running short on time, and so we’ll probably have to invite you back.

[01:15:28] Maybe I’ll be more than happy to be more than happy to.

[01:15:31] So a couple of questions that we always end these podcasts. So one question is Shiraz. If it was your if it was your final day on the planet and you were surrounded by your loved ones, namely family, because you know you’ve already spoke about your close relationship with your family. And if they were with you on your final day, what three pieces of advice would you leave them with?

[01:16:02] So family is incredibly important to me, really had the chance to mention, but I’ve got a fantastic daughter who’s two years old, I’ve got a wonderful wife who’s supporting all of my aspirations within dentistry, and that’s incredibly difficult when your time is limited. Invariably, she’s been an incredible support. Three pieces of information that I’d say is always remain honest and humble. You never know what who you may be speaking to. You never know their story. You never know why they might be lashing out at someone who always try and remain honest, humble and considerate to others. Because we’re in a day and age where psychological complex has become incredibly, incredibly tender and uncomplicated. It’s not as as black and white. And if you think someone’s being an idiot and you say you’re an idiot, that’s almost frowned upon now. So just always be considerate to others. So having that as your core being. I think the other thing would be live every moment as if it’s your last and be grateful for any extra time that you get. You know, we’re incredibly fortunate to be part of this fantastic profession.

[01:17:12] To have family around the health can health can sort of evade us tomorrow. So if every moment like it’s your last and. I suppose the third thing would, and it probably sort of stays on the same theme is always spend time looking after your family and your loved ones, so you know and shout out goes to all of the mothers in the world because you know you carry this human being inside you for nine months. You get lethargic, you become sick, you lose. I mean, your organs are moving out the way for someone else to grow. You know, where else does that happen? And you know, mum’s really go through a lot through through the birthing experience, but also the years to follow. And also things like changing of careers and how you have to manage those sorts of things. So always, I mean, always be there for both parents because they’ll all but always provide. But mums, mums are the ones. Mums are the ones. So look after you, look after your parents and always give back.

[01:18:21] And how would you like to be remembered? Shiraz was finish the sentence.

[01:18:27] And. Himself. Shiraz was himself

[01:18:32] Short and sweet,

[01:18:32] Beautiful. Yeah, I do not try to appear as if I am someone or someone. I definitely don’t try to dress to impress anyone else. It’s some people’s taste, not to others. I am working hard to be the best version of himself and the time energy effort I give to those around me, those that are friends or colleagues, those at my family, all because it’s key to who I am as a human being. So I just want to be the best version of myself and not try and necessarily imitate and imitate anyone, but also be inspired by those around you. So, yeah, brilliant.

[01:19:11] And if you have 30 days left, Nate, what would you do with it?

[01:19:15] From 30 days left, I’ll probably fast to try and try and get into that leadership. I’ve always been. I’d I’d I’d go and help. This is really, really close to my heart. I try and do charity project. As you know, I lost my hair because I had such shaped cystic fibrosis trust. I’d probably dedicate a lot of that time to trying to help the refugees that are suffering in Afghanistan right now. If that was the next 30 days that I’d give a significant portion of my time, and on a self-indulgent note, I’d go and do motor racing and take my family around for the ride. So there are three things that I’d do.

[01:19:54] Beautiful, Shiraz, thank you so much for your time today. It’s been an absolute pleasure and we will have to get you back.

[01:20:01] Thanks again, Prav and keep up your great work and you’re doing you’re doing great stuff within the profession. So you know, we in the profession certainly appreciate your honesty, integrity and helping us grow as clinicians. So thank you as well. Very much.

[01:20:14] I appreciate that. Thank you.

[01:20:18] 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.

[01:20:34] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, 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’ve got some value out of it. If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing

[01:20:51] And if you would

[01:20:53] 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.