Amit Patel on getting the chop for charity

Amit Patel, president of the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI), discusses the upcoming ADI conference and why he's going to be cutting his hair on stage.

‘I don’t know how girls do it!’: Amit Patel, president of the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI), discusses the upcoming ADI conference and why he will be cutting his 29-inch-long hair on stage.

Please introduce yourself

My name is Amit Patel. I’m a specialist in periodontics in Birmingham city centre, and I also place dental implants.

What’s happening at the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) conference this week?

At this point in time, I’m the president of the ADI and I’ll be finishing my two year role in November this year. I’m the first specialist in periodontics to be the president.

So, for me, my aim for the conference is for it to be more perio/implant-orientated. Perio is really the foundation of dentistry and implant dentistry.

The event is on the 4-6 May. And if you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll know ‘May the fourth be with you’. I was like, ‘Well, hang on, what can we do that’s different?’. So, we’re gonna have a Star Wars themed dinner party on 5 May. It will have stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and all of that sort of stuff. We’re also going to have a Star Wars type band.

And because there’s a Star Wars theme event, I wondered what I should do for the key note. So on 4 May, we’ve invited British astronaut Tim Peake as keynote to lecture. As a conference, we’ve never had someone who was non-medically orientated lecture.

Essentially, he’s going to be inspirational – talking about his journey into space and all this other stuff. Hopefully that will inspire all the other people in the audience about how we can do more with our training and try to be better.

You’ve decided to cut your hair on stage at the conference – what is the reason behind this?

So I grew my hair during lockdown. It’s really long now – 29 inches– so I thought that I should probably cut it. But then I thought, why don’t I cut it at the conference?

There will be a raffle and three people will get chosen to come up on stage and cut my hair on Saturday morning. I’ll just sit on the stage. I’ve been able to grow around 29 inches. My hair is going to go to the Little Princess Trust which is a charity that makes real wigs for children who have lost their hair through cancer. They will be able to make two wigs from my hair which is amazing.

The aim of cutting my hair is to raise £10,000 for Wells on Wheels, Shaz Memon’s charity. What’s amazing about that charity is they make wheelbarrows so that water can be carried easily by just one person taking their kids, their daughters, to do it.

So now the daughters have an opportunity to go and get educated instead of having to bring water back and forth which can take hours. I think that’s really important and it’s an incredible charity.

How are you feeling about saying goodbye to your hair?

I am really looking forward to cutting it! The reason I’m looking forward to it is when we’re cleaning the surgeries, my nurses always say, ‘Your hair is everywhere!’.

But also, I don’t know how girls do it! I can’t be bothered to be washing my hair, brushing it. It’s so knotty.

I’m really looking forward to going short.

Amit Patel, president of the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI), discusses the upcoming ADI conference and why he's going to be cutting his hair on stage.

What do you hope to achieve through this year’s ADI conference?

The aim is also to emphasise the importance of perio to implant dentistry.

I really want it to be successful because I’m trying to inspire young people that the ADI is a society that they should be part of. It will help them network and help them in their journey towards becoming a dentist because they’ll be able to meet the right kind of people who have got experience.

I would love young implant dentists to come and join the ADI and be part of the ADI family. That’s what I want my legacy to be. I want it to thrive. We need to change the whole ethos of it and that’s why I’m trying to make it fun.

As a consequence, one of the things that I’ve done is we have set up a young committee of implant dentists who will become the next generation ADI committee and they are amazing individuals. They are exceptional individuals and full of energy. Without a doubt, they are the future of the ADI. That’s really important to me.

Overall, the aim of this conference is to make it fun. Obviously it’s a serious event, but my aim is to make it memorable and fun.

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