Why listening to your patients is crucial

alimadadianDr Majid Alimadadian says listening to the patient and addressing their concerns are important factors in the treatment process and will ensure a positive outcome.


Dr Majid Alimadadian

Qualifications: BDS (Liverpool), MSc (Lond), FDS, M.Orth. RCS (Edin), FDS, D.Orth., M.Orth. RCS (Eng)

Position: Principal and specialist orthodontist at Orthosmile Group of orthodontic clinics

Dental interests: Orthodontics with a special interest in adult orthodontics.

Interest out of dentistry: Taking long walks with the family, architecture

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I qualified from Liverpool in 1989. After a period of training in oral and maxillofacial surgery, I joined the orthodontic department of King’s College Hospital. I received my postgraduate orthodontic training and qualified in 1994. I have a diploma of membership in orthodontics and fellowship in dental surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Edinburgh.

Also, I am a gold medal winner of the final FDS exam of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. I have had various hospital posts in the past and am now the principal of three orthodontic practices in Kensington, Earl’s Court and Hounslow, all in London.

What or who made you choose a career in dentistry and orthodontics?

Growing up, I always wanted to become an engineer. Deciding to do dentistry was almost a chance decision, having been convinced shortly before applying to university. When I was first exposed to orthodontics during my dental curriculum and, having been previously interested in engineering, it seemed like an ideal career that played to all my strengths and I did not look back.

Tell us more about your practice

We have multiple surgeries in each of the three practices. As well as myself there are five other orthodontists which rotate between the branches. Four orthodontic therapists give clinical support to the orthodontists.

Each practice has a manager, a treatment coordinator, a combination of nursing and administration staff. We also have a marketing manager to support all three branches with their marketing and promotional affairs.

What makes a good orthodontist?

First having a sound understanding of the sub-specialties within dentistry and knowing how they are interlinked with orthodontics. A good orthodontist listens carefully to the patient’s main wishes and will plan the treatment to address patients’ problems. Having good communication and problem-solving skills and an eye for detail also enables you to provide the most desirable treatment.

What is your management style?

I like to give complete clinical freedom to the clinicians in choosing their own materials and style of clinical work. I believe this will in turn result in a happier environment and better clinical outcome.

Also, I have a friendly relationship with the rest of the staff. Listen to their concerns and act upon them.

What are your views on accelerated orthodontics/short term ortho?

In my view some recent advertising on short term orthodontics is misleading. Such treatments will result in unwanted side effects such as root resorption. Orthodontic tooth movement is a science and depends on various factors such as patient’s age, health of the periodontium, factors related to the patient’s occlusion and increasing the level of forces in order to shorten the treatment time will result in permanent iatrogenic damage to the tissues.

How has digital dentistry changed the way you work?

I believe the extent in which digital dentistry has emerged in all specialties of dentistry, especially in the past decade, was previously unprecedented. Orthodontics is no exception. Intraoral scanning and new alignment technology with clear aligners and lingual appliances now form a huge aspect of my daily working life.

I would not have dreamt of providing some of the treatment that we are now able to provide when I first qualified.

How do you think dentistry has changed since you first started practising?

The advance in materials has also resulted in more patients taking up treatments like teeth whitening, facial aesthetics and bonded restorations with minimal preparations and CADCAM technology construction. The surge in demand for adult orthodontics is also undisputable. Not to mention the wide array of orthodontic options now available alongside traditional fixed metal braces – from lingual braces to Invisalign.

How important is patient communication to you?

Even in the presence of flawless treatment planning and delivery, without effective communication, one cannot be a well-rounded clinician. Patients are at the core of our profession, and must feel valued, at ease and in control. After all, it is the patient that is receiving treatment.

So, they must be on board at all stages of the journey to ensure a successful and happy outcome.

Are there any products that you couldn’t live without in your practice?

The intraoral scanner and 3M Unitek adhesive products

How have patient expectations changed over the years?

Patients are a lot more knowledgeable these days. They have read and researched details on Google before their initial consultation. Once they have decided to take up treatment, they want to start it as early as possible at a time convenient to them e.g. after school/ work hours.

With the number of adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment on the rise comes a new set of expectations. For example, having treatment at the shortest possible time or having to provide novel ‘invisible’ options such as lingual braces, ceramic braces and Invisalign. These are more discrete and better accepted amongst most adult patients.

Where do you get your motivation and drive from?

Seeing results and making patients happy after the long journey and the way that their beautiful smile affects their lives is massively rewarding. Orthodontics can offer a great boost in self-esteem and confidence as well as an aesthetic transformation and my grateful patients are often a testimony to this.

How do you relax in your spare time? How do you balance work and family life?

I enjoy taking long walks in the nature. I also enjoy reading architectural magazines and journals. Never discuss work-related issues at home. Family holidays twice a year is a must.

Do you have any regrets?

No. I think I am in the best profession that one can hope for. To see some of my earlier patients bring their own children to me for orthodontic treatment is so self-satisfying that it cannot be described in words.

What are your plans for the future?

Our success is built upon the trust that our referring practitioners and our patients have in us and in our clinical excellence. We go the extra mile in treatment, of every case, to make sure that our patients are happy with their treatment results. This has resulted in considerable number of friends and family referrals which has made our growth sustainable. We would like to continue to grow on the same principle.

This article first appeared in Orthodontic Practice magazine. You can read the latest issue here. 

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