How long have you been working at Woodborough House?
I’m in my fifth year at Woodborough House.
What is your area of specialism?
I’m one of the general dentists at the practice, but I have a particular interest in using partial and complete dentures to help patients with either loose, missing or damaged teeth. Prosthodontics is an area of interest of mine, partly because I had a really great teacher at University who inspired me in this field, and also because I enjoy how the relative simplicity of dentures can treat a lot of things and make big changes for patients. It’s an empowering treatment to be able to offer someone, because the outcome is so transformative.
What got you into dentistry?
I was always interested in science subjects at school, such as medicine. I decided to study dentistry because I like the fact that after completing your degree you know a lot about a little thing; whereas in medicine you have to know a little about a lot. You can narrow down even more in dentistry which is something I’m looking to do in the future.
It was actually my own dentist who really inspired me during my GCSEs. I had work experience with him which made me even more keen. I was very fortunate to get a place studying at King’s College London.
What is your background and your journey to where you are now?
I met Sarah at a conference during my training year after completing my degree. We got talking and kept in touch. Sarah invited me to work for Woodborough House initially because of my interest in paediatric dentistry, which is one of her areas of specialism. My joining Woodborough House worked out really well for me because of my other passion in dentistry, prosthodontics, which is what Nick is renowned for. I have learnt so much from both Sarah and Nick over the years.
What is it about your job that you enjoy the most?
The great thing about dentistry is that you get to combine science, engineering and creativity with working with people. I love working with my patients, but also get so much from working day-in-day-out with the Woodborough House team.
Working at Woodborough has enabled me to facilitate my passions. There are fantastic people around me so I can keep learning from them. I also feel very happy and secure in the work that I’m doing so I have the head space to be working other things, investing my time in myself through further training and also sharing my knowledge by providing training to other dentists.
I’m also enjoying some of my more personal career projects at the moment. I interview dentists from all over the country and all over the world for my podcast, ‘The Impression Club Live’. It started off being a podcast about dentures, but I cover all areas of dentistry, which I love. I’m a bit of a dental geek! I do one episode a week and it’s recorded live on Instagram, it’s a kind of unscripted chat show. My guest talks about a topic that is a particular area of interest for them. As it’s an instagram live, people watching can ask questions. It’s been a really fun way for me to connect with leaders in the profession and the wider dental community.
Have you had any particularly memorable experiences in your career?
I’ve had some amazing patients over the years. A particular person springs to mind, a patient called Martyn. He came to see me after his cancer treatment had caused his crowns to loosen and fall out. The loss of his teeth had floored his confidence and he was too embarrassed to smile. Martyn provides a different and very humbling perspective about the significance of dentistry. How something as simple as replacing some missing teeth, can be so important to someone when they’ve got so much bigger things on their mind. We shouldn’t take it for granted that we can really do life changing things. To be able to help someone in Martyn’s situation, and make that much different for them, is a privilege.
There was also another patient, a woman who came to see us after lockdown, who had been a victim of domestic abuse. What was significant for her was wanting to feel like herself again so that she had the ability to close that chapter of her life. She brought in pictures of how she’d looked 30 years ago and asked to look more like she had done before. We managed to do that for her using dentures. We gave her smile back to her for the next chapter in her life, and helped her feel like she could move forward.
Where would you like your career to go next?
I’m looking to specialise in prosthodontics which is implants, crowns, dentures and bridges. I really do enjoy general dentistry so I’d also like to keep that going, particularly paediatric dentistry. I’m hoping to do further training in the future to keep things exciting and new. For the sheer joy of the subject, I want to keep learning and further training is a way of facilitating that.
What is it about the WH culture that you like?
I love the ability and opportunity to surround myself with like-minded people that are all working towards the same goals for patients, but we’re all doing slightly different things. The fantastic team at Woodborough House means that we are always someone to lean on, whether it’s other specialists or other general dentists. There’s always someone to provide support or to be able to share with.
I thrive on other people’s passions, energy and excitement. It’s a running joke with Nick and Sarah that my email footer is a quote from Steve Waugh, the former Australian cricketer that says, ‘Attitudes are infectious, ask yourself is yours worth catching?’ We’re very fortunate at Woodborough House to have a team of people whose attitudes are all worth catching.
How would you describe WH in 3 words?
What dental advice would you give people?
The biggest thing that surprises my new patients, and is therefore my top tip, is that you shouldn’t rinse at all after brushing. No water or mouthwash. The residue from the ingredients in the toothpaste last for about 45 minutes afterwards, so if you rinse with water or mouthwash you are actually getting rid of that 45 minutes of benefit. People think that using mouthwash straight after brushing is great, but actually there is a much weaker amount of fluoride in mouthwash than in toothpaste. So you should use mouthwash at least 45 minutes after brushing or at another time during the day.
How do you unwind outside of work?
Photography is my big hobby. I’m still working though my backlog of photographs that I took on my second trip to Vietnam last summer. If I have any free time, I like to edit my photos or take new ones. I plan my holidays around photography, I enjoy doing that as well! We’re planning the next big trip at the moment, it might be to Mexico or South Korea.
What’s your favourite film or book?
I’m not much of a big reader, if I do, I tend to read history books. I’m not much of a serious film watcher either. I’d probably say, for my girlfriend and I, ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ is our go-to film. We know all the lines. It’s easy to watch and lifts the mood.
What’s your favourite meal?
Anything Vietnamese. The food was the main driver for me wanting to go back to Vietnam for a second trip last year, I just wanted to have the food again. A bun cha in Hanoi is impossible to beat. There’s a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant in Shoreditch in East London, we’ve been every year since we found it. It’s called Tay Do and we go whenever we can find any excuse for a social occasion.
Who was your childhood hero/heroine?
Both my parents. They’ve been so incredibly supportive in helping me get to where I am today. And they still are. On the course I gave last weekend, Dad insisted on coming all the way to Manchester and doing a lot of admin behind the scenes. Both my parents have done an awful lot to help me and my sister over the years.
What was the last picture you took on your phone?
It was from our Young International Team of Implantology (ITI) day last weekend. I am on the ITI committee and we had a speaking competition at one of the Everyman cinemas in London. It’s a picture of me and my two colleagues, including Dipesh who also works at Woodborough. So it’s a picture of the three of us after a hard day’s work inspiring young dentists.
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