How long have you been working at Woodborough House?
I joined in July last year, so that makes it 16 months.
What is your area of specialism?
Aesthetic cosmetic dentistry. Restorative dentistry. Artistic dentistry. Essentially treatments for people with damaged or broken teeth, treatments such as veneers, composite bonding, white fillings – anything that involves sticking things to teeth really! I follow modern principles and techniques and only use the best materials in order to achieve high-end cosmetic dentistry.
I’m known for championing the use of the rubber dam and lecture around the world on it. The rubber dam solution, which you may have seen photos of on my Instagram page, is not a treatment in itself, it’s about setting up the working environment for the dentist and nurse, so that the treatment can be as successful as possible. The mouth is wet, with a moving tongue and moving lips. It’s the total opposite to the working environment you want to work in, for example, white filling material needs the tooth’s surface to be bone dry and the dam facilitates that. The rubber dam creates a controlled, dry and accessible environment that is incredibly beneficial for the materials that I work with. Using a rubber dam is also better for the patient as it protects their airway and provides a protective and dissociative barrier from ‘the dentistry’ itself. There are only a handful of us in the world who are considered to be top educators in rubber dams and with treatments such as composite bonding, white fillings and porcelain veneers being so commonplace these days, there is huge demand for our expertise.
What is your background and your journey to where you are now?
I qualified in 2016, graduating from the dental school at King’s College in London with Honours. Dentistry was a second degree for me, having already completed a degree in Architecture. This was very beneficial for me as, being a little older and more mature when I studied Dentistry, I was really driven to do well at it. I’m not so good at creating things from concept, which is why I decided that architecture wasn’t for me. However, I am good at copying an image and have artistic hands so aesthetic dentistry has been the perfect fit. If you want to be a decent dentist you also really need to know a lot about the latest techniques and principles, being a more recent graduate I trained with more up-to-date technology and materials which has set me up well for my career.
Through the connections I’ve made over the years and through social media I’ve managed to place myself on an amazing career trajectory. I’ve been very fortunate to have had extremely good mentors that made sure that I took the right career decisions and went on the right courses to focus my learning. Through my personal connections and through my social media activity I’ve managed to fast-track my career, especially the teaching and lecturing element.
I’ve used social media in a way that’s helped me beyond measure – that includes how I came to work for Woodborough House. After meeting Sarah, she asked me to put a job advert for Woodborough House on my social media due to my large dental following. The ad got a good number of applications, but then I thought to myself, I want this job!
What got you into dentistry?
After making the difficult decision that architecture wasn’t right for me, I had a crisis talk with my Dad and he suggested dentistry. At the time I thought he was mad! He reminded me that I’d always been fascinated by biology and the human body, that I was very good with people and that I was artistic and good with my hands. If you combine all of those things, you actually get dentistry! So I did a week of work experience to see how I felt about it as a possible career path and thought “Wow! I’ve found my calling”. I know that very few people find what they are meant to do in life like that. I owe a lot to my Dad.
What is it about your job that you enjoy the most?
For me, It’s the relationships that I develop with patients that I enjoy most. While I do get a great sense of artistic achievement from doing a four-hour cosmetic treatment and the transformation of the person’s smile afterwards, the biggest reward and enjoyment I get is from working with my patients. I see a lot of anxious patients and I really enjoy getting to know them. When I meet an anxious patient or in truth, any patient, I always remember one of my favourite quotes, ‘seek first to understand before being understood’. This is the biggest thing in healthcare that people seem to get wrong. Dentists shouldn’t be thinking “you need this”, they should be finding out what the patient wants, what their needs are and why the patient is upset and scared. If you are able to understand those things, you can build trust with someone, which enables you to do good work and get them smiling again – that’s the biggest reward on the planet.
Have you had any particularly memorable experiences in your career?
I’ve been looking after a severely autistic girl for years. When I first met her, she was only four years old and so scared of going to the dentist that she wouldn’t come into the building. On that first visit I got her to the point of coming into the surgery and sitting in the chair. She’s now nine years old and the transition from this most terrified little girl, to a child who now looks forward to coming to the dentist, is a real reward. There’s pure trust, I love seeing her and she loves seeing me. Seeing her progression is just one example of many.
Where would you like your career to go next?
I see myself working at Woodborough House for a really long time, the ethos is a like-for-like match with mine. At the moment I can fix broken teeth, whether cases are simple or complex, if they involve broken teeth then that’s right up my street, but if they’re missing teeth then I refer them to Nick for implants. I’m currently undertaking training so that I can also do treatments for people with missing teeth, treatments such as placing dental implants. Eventually I aim to treat some of the implant patients at Woodborough myself. Nick has taken me under his wing and I could not be learning from anyone better. It’s very exciting! Oh, and I’m currently writing a book, a roadmap for young ambitious dentists if you will.
What is it about the WH culture that you like?
I like everything. I live in London which is an hour and a half’s drive away and yet I chose to work at Woodborough when there are thousands of dental practices in London. The team is amazing – from the receptionists to the nurses and the other dentists. The infrastructure is designed with precision to make sure that patients have the best ever dental experience. There’s so much going on in the background to make sure the patient journey is as easy as possible. The standard of care is greater than anything I’ve ever come across in any dental practice I’ve experienced. An example of the exceptional level of care that Woodborough House offers is that every patient gets a TLC call the day after their treatment (no matter what it is) to see how they are doing. I could talk about how incredible Woodborough House is forever!
How would you describe WH in 3 words?
On Another Level
How do you unwind outside of work?
I ride motorbikes. I know they are dangerous, but I’ve been obsessed with them my whole life. I’ve always loved adrenaline, motorbikes have always been in my blood. I now mostly ride them on tracks rather than driving them around the streets. After the accident I had in 2016 I made a deal with my Dad that I would only ride for pleasure rather than for commuting, in other words I don’t ride them as much as I did, to reduce my exposure to the risk, but I can’t help my DNA!
What’s your favourite film or book?
I love any film where the score has been written by Hans Zimmer. But my all time favourite film has to be Gladiator. I just love everything about it. I love ancient civilisations, I’m a real geek about them. The soundtrack is the most beautiful soundtrack ever made. It makes me cry from start to finish – I really love a soppy, emotional storyline.
What’s your favourite meal?
It has to be sushi, I could eat Japanese food all day, everyday.
Who was your childhood hero/heroine?
It was my Mother. She was a formidable skier, adventure woman and motorbike rider. She was everything to me as a child. I am very much following in her footsteps, in behaviors and ways of life, I’m a carbon copy of her. She was an incredible role model for me in so many ways.
What was the last picture you took on your phone?
It is a photo of the x-ray of my last patient today at Woodborough. I told her that I’d send her an email from the airport (which is where I’m driving to now) about what treatment she needs. That’s another example of our dedication to patient care!
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