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In The Spotlight – Nav Aulakh

How long have you been working at Woodborough House?

I’ve been here now for about 6 and a half years. 

What is your area of specialism?

I am one of the general dentists, so I do a bit of everything. I like general practice because I  work on a variety of cases and I get to see my patients on a regular basis. I like the fact that I do general dentistry, children’s dentistry and some cosmetic dentistry. I know that I can refer my patients to the specialist dentists in the Woodborough House team if anyone needs any additional specialist treatment.

What is your background and your journey to where you are now?

After graduating from the University of Birmingham, I first started in a NHS practice, which every dentist has to do when they first qualify. I did that for a couple of years before moving to private practice. I knew from the outset that the NHS route ultimately wouldn’t allow me to do the kind of dentistry that I wanted to do. There are different kinds of pressures within the NHS and I wanted to be able to utilise all the skills that I’d learnt in my training, so I knew that private practice was right for me. I worked at one other private practice, before finding my home at Woodborough House. I had seen Nick give one of his implant talks, he talked about Woodborough House being at the forefront of adopting new technology and innovation and that’s what attracted me. So when the opportunity came up, I jumped on it! 

What got you into dentistry?

I definitely wanted to do something science based but also practical. Believe it or not, my ideal job would have been an A&E doctor, but I wanted to work more regular hours. You can’t really be an A&E doctor working 9-5! I also liked the idea that with dentistry you come out of your five-year degree and you’re qualified to actually perform procedures, which in medicine you’re not. 

What is it about your job that you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the relationships that I build with people over time. It’s really nice that I can go into the waiting room and I will see about three or four patients that I will know by their first name. Not only that, I might also know their sons, daughters and other halves! I love building up those long-lasting relationships. I have friends that work in London, where the population is more transient, they don’t get the same opportunity to work with their patients over the long term. I get to observe children growing up and going off to university and am also very privileged to see the difference my treatment has made to their appearance and confidence when they go out into the real world.

Have you had any particularly memorable experiences in your career?

One particular case springs to mind. I have a really lovely patient and she was very conscious of the overcrowding in her mouth. She knew she wanted to get her teeth straightened, but it was never the right time, until she knew she was getting married. Having finally been spurred into action, the covid lockdown happened! So we had a real job of trying to get her orthodontics all ready in time for her teeth to be fixed for her big day, which changed date every few months! Despite the covid hiccups, we managed to get her Invisalign treatment completed and the results really were life-changing. Now she smiles more confidently and carries herself differently. It’s been so nice to see.

Where would you like your career to go next?

I see myself staying at Woodborough House. There’s been so much investment here recently in new technology and also the new facilities within the practice. I want to continue to support the rest of the team and look after our patients. I still have a lot to learn as dentistry is constantly evolving, for example we’re seeing more requests for cosmetic dentistry nowadays due to the age of the ‘selfie’. So there’s lots I want to learn so that I can keep on top of the latest trends and follow the latest developments in modern dentistry. I enjoy the spice and variety of being a general dentist!

What is it about the WH culture that you like?

Woodborough House is such a nice place to work, Nick and Sarah are so warm and genuine.

I love being part of a practice that has such a caring environment. Everyone working here feels supported, everyone looks out for each other and in turn we really look after the patients. We will go the extra mile not to just meet their expectations, but to exceed their expectations. Patients see that and that’s why we’ve got such a strong brand in the community.

How would you describe WH in 3 words? 

The Extra Mile 

What dental advice would you give people?

Lemon honey tea is something to seriously avoid, it might seem benign and healthy, but it’s a dentist’s worst nightmare! You’ve got sticky sugar from the honey which stays stuck around the teeth for a long time. Then you’ve for the acid from the lemon. Plus there’s the heat, all of which creates a really destructive mixture. People tend to drink it first thing in the morning and then they brush their teeth which really ingrains it into their teeth. This quite often habits day after day, to the point where your teeth can get severely eroded as a result.

Energy drinks as well are also very bad for teeth. We are seeing some teenagers really damaging their teeth drinking those.

How do you unwind outside of work?

I’m a really keen gym-goer. During the day, I’m sitting down and not moving very much, so going to the gym finishes the day well. The health benefits are obvious but it also makes you feel good about yourself. I go a few times a week but I’ll also go running, play a bit of badminton or golf. 

What’s your favourite film or book?

My favourite film since I was a child has always has been Karate Kid. It’s a classic film with plenty of life lessons, some of which I am just understanding now! I did karate when I was young and got my black belt and was pretty dedicated to it for a while. 

What’s your favourite meal?

It’s something my Mum makes. It’s an Indian dish that’s a version of biryani, but with chicken wings! It’s really hot and spicy, which is my kind of thing. You can’t get it in shops and restaurants, it’s totally my Mum’s invention. I last had it a few weeks ago at my Mum’s house…delicious! That and sushi!

Who was your childhood hero/heroine?

My Dad. He has retired now but he has always been a hard-working, honest guy who gave me a lot of his time and guidance despite being busy himself. He wanted to give me the best start in life and particularly now with age, I really appreciate that. As you grow older you realise how valuable that time and those life lessons were. 

What was the last picture you took on your phone?

It was a picture of my niece at her sixth birthday party that I went to at the weekend. I have three nieces and three nephews so I have quite a lot of birthday parties to go to!