Raising the standards of dentistry
Headrow Dental won Best Patient Care – North East at The Dentistry Awards 2015. Dentistry finds out about their win.
Dentistry magazine (DM): How do you feel to have won the Best Patient Care – North East award?
Headrow Dental (HD): We are extremely proud to be recognised for this award. The whole team from reception and treatment coordinators through to the dentists and hygienists give 100% every day. I’m so happy that this came through in our entry and the judging team could see this. To be recognised for best patient care for our region is huge and it’s been very well received by our patients.
DM: Did you enjoy the evening?
HD: The evening was fantastic! Such a huge event with the opportunity to catch up with old friends from around the country. Unlike a conference, we are there purely to have a good time and to be a winner was just the icing on the cake. The evening was also a great opportunity to make new friends and connections.
DM: What do The Dentistry Awards mean to you?
HD: For me the awards are very important. It is a really useful tool to communicate to patients that you are different to the competition.
The general public do not understand the usual dental quality indicators. Winning an award shows to the general public that you are good at what you do and you have been recognised for it.
DM: What do you think The Dentistry Awards are doing to raise the standards of the profession?
HD: Dentistry has changed over the years. Gone are the days when a dental practice didn’t need to make an effort with marketing to stay ahead of the competition. The internet has made dentistry much more accessible and patients will shop around.
Having been through this process a few times now, year on year I see how practices are raising their standards to win an award. Entering the awards has raised the standards of my team and the care delivered as we feel it’s so important to be recognised as being at the top of our game. Forward thinking practices understand this and The Dentistry Awards are really helping to raise the standards of dentistry in the UK.
DM: What has been your patients’ reaction to your win?
HD: The patients have been very positive towards the award. It has given the patients a sense of pride knowing that they are getting the ‘best patient care’. New patient referrals have also increased. It has been huge for us.
DM: Who has inspired you in your career?
HD: My local dentist (now retired, Mr C S Dhaliwal) was the first person to introduce me to dentistry and I completed my foundation training in his practice.
My brother in law, Mohan Chawla, is a successful dentist with multiple clinics in west London. He has always been and continues to be a mentor for me.
I have had the opportunity to learn from many great dentists but the biggest inspiration has been Paul Tipton. His courses are a fantastic blend of hands on and theory and is very accessible for a busy GDP. He has always been on hand to help with treatment planning big cases and has even been a helping hand in difficult situations.
The fact that he ran such a successful practice in Manchester for many years, doing the dentistry that he was doing, changed my whole outlook on dentistry. He was the catalyst that moved me forward in my career.
DM: What is your favourite aspect of the job/profession?
HD: The best part of being a dentist is giving an individual the confidence to smile. We are guilty in this country of undervaluing ourselves as dentists and many of us do not realise the difference we make to our patients.
Whether it be simple composites to more complex cases, it is that patient who is able to smile with confidence when taking that post-op photo that gives me the greatest satisfaction.
DM: What is your secret to running a successful practice?
HD: You need people to run a successful practice – too many dentists try to do everything themselves and try to be a jack of all trades. Staff need to be adequately trained and the more team members that are involved in the patient journey, the more that patient is engaged and likely to recommend us to others.
It is also essential to keep updating your skills and knowledge as it is very easy to get into a comfort zone and start missing opportunities.
DM: How do you see the dental profession changing/evolving in the future?
HD: I unfortunately see a difficult future for dentistry in the UK. I see dentists now graduating with great knowledge but less clinical skills and there is more emphasis and pressure being put on dental foundation trainers. Dentistry within the NHS is become much more basic and overall, dentists are losing their skills. When I compare UK dentistry to North America and even Europe, we are lagging behind.
It’s not all doom and gloom though! There is booming private sector where patients are wanting better care and I see a greater opportunity for private practices going forward.
I also see a greater emphasis on digital dentistry from cosmetic imaging to CAD/CAM. We have invested in the new Cerec Omnicam and it is truly mind blowing! Implant dentistry will also be far more routine as it becomes increasingly accessible to GDP’s.
DM: Have you any advice you would pass onto newly qualified/aspiring dentists?
HD: Dentistry is an inspiring and rewarding profession. I’m sure that many young dentists are inspired to enter the profession from positive experiences like the one I had as a teenager.
I feel, unfortunately, many young dentists become disillusioned with the profession when they qualify as many of the skills you acquire in dental school are not always practiced within the NHS. By this I mean the use of facebows, articulators and the provision of more complex restorative work.
My advice would be to any young dentist to use the early years to gain as much clinical experience as possible as there is a shortage of this as an undergraduate. Work hard and make yourself employable. Go on as many courses as you can as patients are demanding ortho, implants etc and this is the future.
For information on The Dentistry Awards 2016, contact our awards team on 01923 851 779, email [email protected] or visit www.thedentistryawards.com.