In The Media - Precision Dental Clinic

In The Media

Doctors Playbook Series #4

Doctors Playbook Series #4
Doctors Playbook Series #4 | Priscilla Khambatta | Dr. Punit Thawani | Dr. Shweta Prabhu

Host: So a huge welcome to Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit a huge welcome from entrepreneur sparkplug hub – we are super truly excited to bring to all our viewers a play book series of doctors chat with doctors and this is our fourth edition we have had a general practitioner, we have had an ophthalmologist, we have had a home care doctor, we have had a working professional and today we have 2 dental doctors who have made it a great success in their careers, so today I would rely like to welcome Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit as orthodontists and who are a periodontist, who run their successful business . Welcome to you – a huge welcome to you Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit.

Dr. Shweta: Thank you so much Priscilla, thank you

Dr. Punit: Thanks for having us!

Host: So before we start and go ahead with the series I just want to tell all our viewers what it is that we are going to discuss today. First I am going to be introducing what actually Dr. Shweta and Dr Punit have done up until now and how they have made it as a successful career for them. The second – I will ask them a bunch of interesting questions by which is going to be a lot of value addition to doctors here if you are a practicing doctor, if you are a useful entrepreneur you have got to be – and you are still waiting for medical student and are waiting to get ignited on an entrepreneurship level, this is what I would suggest, that you stay right up until the end because this is one session that is going to give you a lot of real time free flowing  honest answers coming from doctors which we have had up to now, and second is I am also going to be giving you towards the end a battle tested, time tested system invitation for a webinar which is going to be exclusively for doctors, and how they can scale up their practice, so going forward with that, Dr. Shweta who has been a specialist periodontist which is a gum specialist which I didn’t know up until now, but she has been a successful gum specialist for the last 14 years in her career and she is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow UK, and her passion or her true purpose in life is to safeguard her patients from losing their teeth. We have Dr. Punit who has had a successful orthodontist career right up since 2005 and he is also a member of the faculty of Orthodontics – Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburg UK and his passion for orthodontics has started right from ever since he had a life changing experience as a child, and he also kept on upgrading his learning and skill set – he is an in cognitive provider, he is a certified Invisalign provider, he has also completed his phase clinical program in Occlusion and so many other things. Both Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit have great medical knowledge and information which is so important to be in the game today, so they are right on top of everything and when it comes to their knowledge and their logical thinking. So Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit have also been invited as guest speakers to rally good expert discussions and medical practitioners communities. So we are very honored to have such great doctors here today, so Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit once again a huge welcome today from us to you.

Dr. Shweta: thank you, thank you so much.

Dr. Punit: thank you, thank you!

Host: So now their clinic – Precision Dental which is there since 2016 has been a great clinic with now they have expanded it with the right solid team, which has the right team culture which is only focusing on giving excellent dental care through empathy, through listening to their patients goals and all the time up-skilling and excelling customer service at their clinic, so now we are going to look at one important question that I would really like to ask Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit are – do you think that- are doctors ready for entrepreneurship?

Dr. Punit: well if you look at it, doctors have been entrepreneurs for quite some time, if you try to think back to – you know long time ago, we have always had doctors in their individual clinics who have had their own practice and you always hear about people talking to doctors about starting a practice and having their own practice, so doctors have been entrepreneurs for a long time. I think the only difference is now because of all – or maybe it is because of the way things are things are that the landscape is changing a lot, and the demand from the patients are – I don’t want to say consumers but yes, consumers or patients however you want to say is also changing so with that, we as doctors need to upgrade ourselves in our entrepreneur skill s as well. So it is not enough to start a practice but how to take it forward, how to continue sustaining it over time – these are things that we need to learn and we need to incorporate.

Dr. Shweta: Right, so also another angle to that is the doctor to population ration right, that has also changed. That makes a lot of difference in the choice availed to the patients. earlier I had a local GP in my area to see another GP I would have to maybe travel to another suburb you know, but now so imagine if he was not very kind or he was not very great I would still go to him because I had no choice. Now my choices have increased tremendously – so if I don’t like you or the way that you treat me, or I don’t like the way that your staff treats me, I am going to get up and I am never going to see your face again right. So that is an important shift. And also the awareness with the Google Babar not the picture you know

Host: yeah

Dr. Shweta: A lot of people have made (laughs)

Host: Yeah people tend to do self-treatment ahead of time without knowing the consequences later date right?

Dr. Shweta: yeah

Host: so that is so important, and I think form what you said Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit, I think that doctors have got a good chance of entrepreneurship as long as they are upgraded, and upgraded to the needs of the patients and also if the ration to population to doctors is increasing then you have got to be present everywhere in the face of the patient os that they come to see you, I mean that is what I would take as a conclusion form these two questions right? Am I right on those parts?

Dr. Shweta: Right, that is right, there is another – a flip side to it right. We have always been entrepreneurs but have we been trained to be entrepreneurs? That is a whole different question.

Host: beautiful thing you have said Dr. Shweta, really.

Dr. Shweta: yeah so there are many angles to that also so.

Host: yeah and what do you mean when you say that – ‘are we being trained to be doctors’

Dr. Shweta: because we study a lot right, learn – especially even to get my general, the bachelor degree I have to study 5 years vs. a regular bachelors which would be 3 years. then if I am doing my masters which I have, then I study another 3 years additionally and the studying really never stops, but there is no subject where they even teach us patient skills, or you know communication skills with patients.

Host: Oh my god

Dr. Shweta: forget the business aspect of it and the finance aspect of it, you can just forget but they don’t even teach us how to talk you know, it is just like looking at the mouth and you know – for dental support.

Dr. Punit: it is very focused on education for dentistry. You study dentistry, you study dentistry but when you get out into the world when you are practicing and when you get into business there is so many other things to look at! So let’s look at for example – a doctor who is working for someone else. Ok, not an entrepreneur in the true sense, but a doctor who is working for someone else – he still has to deal with patients, he still has his team around him, who he has to deal with, he still has to sell okay because you can have the best training in the world but if a patient is not willing to get that treatment from you, all that training is useless.

Dr. Shweta: yeah

Dr. Punit: and these are things that we are not taught in traditional dental college and dental universities, these are essentially things that you need to come out and learn on your own, and apart from learning the technical side of being a dentist, these are other things that you have to learn – now this is if you are working for someone else. Now if you are working for yourself and if you have your own business, then you also have to think about how you get people to walk through the door and come into your clinic  okay – there are different ways of doing that, that is something we all learn, and then also the regularity aspects of it, in terms of what are your local laws and the regulations of the medical authority that you need to follow and there are HR issues, building g a team and hiring people – how do you select people, how do you get them to stay long term, how do you get them to perform while they are staying in a way that they are happy and you now they don’t run to the next clinic which is offering them a marginally higher salary – so there is I mean it is like a whole can of worms that we can open up regarding what else we need to learn after we finish studying dentistry so to speak.

Host:  Oh my God I really think it is a big – I mean you just sounded like a beauty salon as well.  There is no comparison whether it is a clinic or a salon, or a restraint or anything it is still the same challenge and you have not been taught how to do it. And you skills have absolutely gone, because all that you are doing for 9 years or 10 years is only studying! And I think when I was taking another interview one of the doctors said that ‘of me coming into this country, I didn’t know the loop holes of insurance companies I mean I had to learn and bend down or sometimes understand that not today but at that point in time, I didn’t know that insurance companies were thriving and they were sometimes let’s use the word corrupt and sometimes they wanted to tell us what I should charge and how much I should charge you know, so those aspects also have been far away from learning other than the people aspects and finance and all that – so it is a different ball game for doctors right.

Dr. Shweta: Very different, plus we come with the-

Dr. Punit: Let’s not forget that after all of this, we are still doctors – we still need to be up to date with our skills and with our profession as well.

Host: Having that mental balance basically.

Dr. Punit: We can’t forget that either.

Host: because the minute you forget that you become a business man and people will move away from you also (laughs)

Dr. Shweta: actually that was exactly what I was going to say – we come in with that already inbuilt guilt that you know this whole nobility angle of the profession of health care – is it a boon or is it a bane? Because we still – we have studies a lot and Indians, our parents have invested a lot in our education, so you know at some point they want to see us doing well, and well settled or whatever also ourselves – for our own selves when we work so hard and we do well in college we come out thinking you know you are going not do really well and anybody does. After that there is the angle of, should I really be selling? It comes from within because it is so ingrained in our society and our culture everywhere not only from an Indian background but anywhere in the world doctors are supposed to be very noble, so health care is not really looked at as a business industry.

Host: Yeah and today if it is looked at as a business industry it is driven by non-medical practitioners so who are actually getting the profits more because they have the money and they can have doctors played so my point is – how should really doctors think of, you know – scaling up? I mean I am not saying whether you have done it, or whether it is right or wrong but in the back of your mind you must be thinking that – what are the 5 ways if I have to ask you that doctors can really scale their business like something for a practice as already mentioned or maybe using a system or advertising – what do you think should be 5 things for scaling up?

Dr. Punit: So I would say number 1 – is it learn ethical sales, ok, because when I say ethical sales what I mean is to educate people about what is required and why it is required, and in a way that is balanced now when I say balanced it is means it should not be pushy because we don’t want to push things on people especially if they don’t need it ok, so that is out of the question, but in a way that is not pushy but is more informative and more sort of – let’s say encouraging the patient to do what is best for them – so that is what ethical sales is, and if you do ethical sales well, number 1 – you understand what a patient really wants and why a patient has come to you. They come for a reasons and it is not because you know that they jut are shopping around or, they have come to you for a particular reason so why are they there and how can you best help them – what is in their best interest, so that is ethical sales. Once you are able to understand that and once you are able to practice that and I say practice because you can constantly always keep it moving, but once you are able to practice that – you will have more people agreeing to get treatment and they will refer other people to get treatment – so that is one way of growing your practice wherever you are, even if you don’t have your own business if you are working for someone else – that is one way of scaling or increasing the number of patients that you have. Another thing that we have found very helpful is networking. It could be business networking what we do is, we are both part of a business networking group called BNI and we found that to be very helpful for us, it could be networking within social groups, it could be networking within even hobby groups I mean we just go out there and meet you, let people know, let people know that you are a genuinely nice person and you know the more people know you they would like you and then they will start trusting you and then they would like to buy from you or get treated. So these are a couple of things – building relationships that is of course an extension of networking to build relationships with people – build better relationships with your patients, get to know them better, get to know their – where they are working their family, their family background and then slowly that builds trust and they would be happy to refer people to you.

Dr. Shweta: Also personal branding and the brand of – if you own a practice these 2 are tied up right, so this is something very interesting because like you said in the beginning the patients may come to me and I want them to come to me also. It is not only that patients will come to me, I want them also to come, I want them to ask for Dr. Shweta and come – correct? So that gives me also a sort fo – you know as I am digressing a little bit but I think it is important to talk about because a lot of doctors in this which is the imposter syndrome, like a lot of us feel this – like really is this all happening to me? Am I good enough? Because you always know practitioner you keep reading research and you see somebody is doing some great surgery and somebody has done something you are always feeling short you know, so when good things re happening or when patients come asking to you itself sort of confidence booster for yourself, but at the same time that person brand infact we were discussing this, can be a bottle neck for scaling up, because as a person I have only so many hours in a day because I also have a life outside work – I cannot go on working 24 hours.

Host: absolutely

Dr. Shweta: if you are seriously looking at scaling up we have to sort of allow that personal brand to diffuse into the team and build a team that helps you scale up and you need to have a  vision which is very clear to your team, like this is what we are aiming for we are not into pushy sales you don’t want anybody on the team – you know constantly operations, you know why don’t you come, why don’t you come – you don’t want that because that is not the image you want to put out. So the practice brand and the doctors brand has to align and then grow together. I don’t want a particular practitioner to become a bottle neck, even myself to become a bottle neck in my practice, like everyone is coming only to me and if I am not there they don’t want to come to this clinic right.

Host: beautifully said – to conclude or the answer to this question for the benefit of our viewers the number 1 thing that you can scale up is to look at personal branding and that is to create an awareness  and educating your patients without really looking sales-y and second is to go towards ethical sales – ethical sales is really understanding the real thing what they have come of rather than putting them into different other tests which are not needed and so the patients really know what it is for them, and they keep coming back and third is to look at networking, networking is such an important aspect for doctors to build business which each other. So networking with other doctors through different networking solutions, 4th is to build relationships with your patients so that you keep them coming back to you – so it is a repeat order kind of a business. They are long term patients and clients for you and 5th is I would just like to say build a system of all this so that it gets automated. So having and also what Dr. Shweta said – 5th is not just having a block with only one person but you need to have a team, a team of dentists putting a brand where our services are like that – so that is scaling up, so maybe scaling up through a team of doctors or scaling up by having setting up clinics of your own they could be two levels of scaling up – so these are the points. So really that is a really god answer that we have given to the viewer’s here. The next one I really like to ask you is Dr. Shweta and Dr. Punit, when we spoke of systems do you think like these medical industries or the one medical doctors who really made it good in the UAE? I am not sure who has but how have they made it good – did they have a follower system of how people came to them, naturally or did they have these prompters, sms to people saying did they have their EHR technology there or did they have a- your last checkup was this now your check up is here – did they use certain things, what do you think? What was the system that they used to really scale it up? Because I am sorry, there is a reasons, you cannot grow unless you are aggressive in some way or the other at the initial period, so you have got to do something beyond what others are doing so what are your opinions on the system that you are using, I am not talking about software but a system in general for scaling up.

Dr. Punit: ok so yeah I was going to mention that – if you are talking about software or an overall way of doing things that they use to scale up, so obviously they have the bigger hospitals or the multiple medical centers they have obviously got  certain marketing system in place which helps in getting there, you know getting their name out – we all know that most businesses are depending heavily on online marketing now, and the reason is it is more targeted and can be more measured so they can generally measure the effectiveness of online marketing more than if you just put a pic holding up there and how many people have actually seen that. The bigger the center is, the more funds they have at their disposal – everybody does online, some of them do go into offline marketing like holdings and do spend on things like that, apart from that – there is a lot of them have this whole system of the customer journey or the customer experience, as in how to first acquire a patient. I am using customer and patient interchangeably when talking about the health care industry so how do you acquire a patient? How does that patient contact you? How is the contact treated? How are they sent reminders, confirmations of their appointments – how are they presented to a panel of doctors, how can they choose the doctors? So this whole thing is systemized in the bigger practices having it more and more systemized. The small practices have it best and you know the more efficient your systems work, obviously the faster you can grow so you can see this happening in a lot more successful practices, their patient acquisitions systems and the communication with their patients are very clear, the treatments that they offer, the choice of doctors that they offer that they have a panel of doctors that they have, then the journey of the patient within of the practice, going to the reception, going from point A to point B to point C – how are they guided along with you know is there a  nurse with them, are they just directed by the reception – please turn right, please turn left, or is there someone escorting the patient to the relevant department – so these are all things that need to be thought of. Then of course when the doctor sees them, are they you know – and they prescribe certain tests and they prescribe certain investigations  – are they availed in house or the patients need to go somewhere  else, how is the insurance approval you know obviously for medical that is dependent on insurance, so how is the insurance approval done, and the more organized these steps are – the more confident a patient gets in getting treated over there, and also yeah then of course comes the follow up systems which are them keeping in constant contact with the patient in terms of information educational, information newsletters etc. messages that go out once every year or 6 months taking that into consideration – those who have not had a checkup it is time for a checkup that is due, so what I was saying is the more organized the more clear cut and the more organized these are the more effective and the faster the better that these organizations can scale.

Dr. Shweta: right but some of them have also been stated long item back to they already have that advantage in this region I am saying of having been around for a long time and then that just builds right, there is a – it’s like that story, once you hit that mark you are growing exponentially because then you are an – but systemization obviously and as they grow bigger they are also more aggressive because they have a team dedicated to reaching out to people and you know if you go to the bigger hospitals, you will get calls after three months saying that we have this offer in the other department so you want to come, just introduce this laser thing – so do you  want to, you know we can give you 40% off or whatever. So there is a lot of I wouldn’t want to say cross selling but cross treating and up treating, that happens you know. It should happen also as long as it is needed and required. It is not that you are cooking things up just so you can treat them.

Host: Absolutely, and with the health industry today being at 97 billion dollars and reaching to 550 billion dollars by 2030 I think people have a lot of money and corporates have a lot of money to invest in people’s health because heath has become so imprint than ever before whether this for cosmetic purpose of for any ailments, so yes it has to be there – a system is needed, and now coming back to conclusion – the answers are that a system is needed and from what I have heard from Dr. Punit and Dr. Shweta is that first system you need is to have a system of digitalization in terms of online marketing or any kind of online stuff, awareness or education that you do to get a real time answer of how your prospects really react to whatever you are saying and the second is when they get converted and they come to you as a patient, how to get treated that is another system of a different level like doctor said whether you take the patient via nurse or you are treating them in-house in a different customer service care and then after they go – what else as a system is to be put as you said, so there are 3 phases of systems that are definitely needed for you to scale and I after having spoken to doctors I have realized that they all really are longing to see a system like that which is going to give them a flood of leads and then just getting the leads is not important because they would just slip too if you have so many leads, so a system to really get those needs to convention in a way that is automated which would really help and that is what I am going to be discussing in the webinar but I just thought of this, that this really helps and if that helps the doctors to scale up then that is what they should look at, how other businesses are automating their ways and so doctors can do that as well. Now the next one I want to say is for your precision dental clinic what is your vision really, what do you really want to do as a sense of purpose to impact more lives if it was – as your dream, or as your final destination, what is your vision for Precision Dental clinic?

Dr. Punit: So obviously we want to have a positive impact on people right, so we want people who come to our clinic who come and visit us they leave us better than when they came. I personally work with a lot of young people a lot of teenagers, a lot of young adults, and as an orthodontist we straighten their teeth and give them a good smile and if, and I feel if I can help them to develop their self-confidence, and being less conscious about the way they look and more confident and I think that has I would be able to help them in a positive way and that is what I have seen happening over the years and that is what I really enjoy doing.

Host: Nice

Dr. Shweta: but that is also something briefly that Priscilla mentioned in the beginning, that is the reason why Punit became an orthodontist acutely!

Host: Yeah we want to hear that, what happened! (Laughs)

Dr. Punit: Honestly I had braces myself as a kid and my teeth were quite protruding and crowded and it didn’t look very nice, and I had orthodontics and I had my teeth corrected and my smile improved and this was a long, long time back more than 25 years back and I still feel that it was a great decision that obviously at that time, my parents had taken to get it done, and I feel I really befitted from it, and I still benefit from it!

Host: See and smile is such an import thing!

Dr. Shweta: specially in today’s generation if you see the whole selfies phenomenon, children also are so conscious – my 8 year old is sometimes about the way she looks, even though it is such a neutral household or whatever in terms of vanity but still she feels it sometimes, so there is a lot of peer pressure on the way you look and every interview you go for, so many decisions of a life could change if you thought, and we know so many patients we can see the difference, you know we take pre-op photos and we take post op photos right, the smile – eyes are completely differently when they smile. It is beautiful actually.

Host: I can very well imagine, you are talking about children, as parents we are conscious. When my son was playing football this part of the tooth just chipped off and I went on to put on that cap, the permanent cap and all that stuff, so I am thinking ayah it is not just children but parents are also so conscious about how the children look and they are rooting for dental health.

Dr. Shweta: yeah a lot more

Dr. Punit: a lot more, and what you are saying is right, it is not just children it goes into young adults you know and adults of all ages that we are seeing a lot of patients in their 50s, 60s and recently even 70s who are coming in to get their smile improved – so it is not really something that is age specific, it is something that spreads to everyone.

Host: oh my God I am so excited to know that people are so – feeling to have their smile in a nice way it is so important. You know I have my business half a year here and half a year in the US so I was in the US and when I went there one of the coaches she said, my natural colour of my teeth or most Indians have got is as opaque and dull, not bright white teeth then she said, it is very important you have a bright white here it is – she gave me the trips and I was supposed to do that my teeth were glittering. So it is such a social thing as well, to have our teeth polished and looks so great and actually in the super markets I don’t know if we get it here but in there they do that but it’s so important, this part of dental hygiene and dental cosmetics experience is such an import thing, so I would like to ask you just that you have had – even during our discussions when we had our informal he’s and all I remember we found some of my friends who are long term coming back to US as patients, I want to know what is the real secret behind you guys that is so many people are – patients they come back as repeat patients for so many years, what I your secret why do they come to you what is ti that you are specializing in and what is it that they love auto you?

Dr. Shweta: I want to take this one!

Dr. Punit: yeah go ahead!

Dr. Shweta: so I always say this even to my team and this is what I believe in – you come in as a patient to Precision Dental you go out as a friend, you don’t go out as a patient, you know that is the key – most of my team is friendly most of us are friendly so you don’t feel that daunting, because it is already overwhelming and daunting to sit on the chair when you are – and you know the mouth is such a sensitive part of the body. Somebody peering in and using all these tools, of course every technology is improving tremendously – it is still not a pleasant feeling so the least we can look for our patients is make the rest of it, as comfortable and as comforting as possible – so that is what we focus on, and I think also we don’t focus on short term goals, so we don’t want anybody we don’t want a quick turnaround where we want to see 60 patients a day or 70 patients a day – so you are doing quick something and… So we spend time with the patients, we spend time and so I mean it is funny to say but I actually have my team sending out messages to my patients to remind them to floss. There are some patients every Monday, there is a message that goes out to my patients – because as a gum specialist it is very important for me for my patients that they maintain what they have gone through, because I do surgical procedures and honestly it is not fun for them, it is fun for me, but it is not fun for them – so I don’t want them to have to go through it again and again. So I always tell them that the treatment is like a partnership – so very informal but educational, like that is imrpaotn because knowledge is power and when you educate your patient and then they realize that you are educating them from a place of just sharing knowledge the that they will benefit from not with some ulterior motive that I will tell you this and then I will tell you auto 5 more treatments that you need, so and we tell our patients sometimes that I just need you to come in 4 moths I will not do anything if it’s not needed, but just come and show me your face and your mouth let me see if everything is fine, and when they have that security that you know she is not call-in me back or he is not calling me back just to get something out of me  and there have been times where they have said come I have done a checkup and you just say you are good, and you come in as a patient and you leave as a friend. We don’t have to look at patients only as a – you know don’t look at them as a dollar sign, and the other key thing that I think – we do a lot of also reading about the business aspect of dentistry now after we started, actually we were forced to do that after we started our practice we started reading about it – we were forced to do it! So the key thing to remember is that you are treating a patient not a mouth so you know that is implant!

Host: so well said

Dr. Shweta: and like you said, automation it helps – you have reminders going on as many things are not people depend and system depend it helps because when you have a – the minute I book the appointment for my appoint immediately he gets a SMS – and he’s like array doctor this is so great yar, and I just got a reminder and the get a reminder 3 days before and then they get you know – so little things that you can do.

Host: ok superb, so that is the reason that patients keep coming to you because of the friendly approach to them and not having a dollar sign in your eyeballs towards the patients so that is so nice to see that Precision Dental clinic has long standing patients and I am sure the team is trained really well and the follow ups that you do with your customers and yore patients and the treatment that you give them, has got a lot of human aspect to it and that is what people come for and really if you guys want to really go for any or your kids especially because that is their niche, their niche is treating young kids and diabetic patients and stuff like that.

Dr. Shweta: and older kids! I think older kids who are adults!

Host: young kids and older! Yeah so I mean yeah but that is their niche and you want to really look at it and we are going to add their contact details at the end of this video do not hesitate to call them even if it is – I have personally, I know them personally and they are a good set of doctors you must go and visit them so that is one of the things, and if you want to still get the learning on how to automate your leads or how to automate yoru conversion, how to automate your team functions or anything for medical practitioners, join in for my business builders masterclass webinar which is happening in the month of November the first week and you have the link below give us your description if you are a doctor, if you are a working professional as doctor, if you have your own private practice, we would be happy and delighted to see you there – with that note I really must say a good thank you, and before I say thank you I just want to ask both of you for a final message that you have for our doctor entrepreneurs who are budding to be entrepreneurs – what is the final message you want to give them so that they can take it with them?

Dr. Punit: well, to put it bluntly it I not for everyone, there are a lot of things that you have to deal with as an entrepreneur which you don’t have to deal with as an associate doctor in a clink, and it is not for everyone and if it’s not for you don’t push yourself into doing it but if you are interested in dogging it, try to start where you are right now, start learning about all the things that are involved, be it regulation be it HR, be it the communication I think of sales and also finance things like that, a lot of things that are involved in running a business, but yeah start where you are see if you can start practicing in improving your communication with your patients, because that communication skill will move on to your team and to everyone else involved in the business as well, also if you have an option of taking up a leadership role in anyway – try to do that, because again that experience will help you even if you are leading a small team of three people that experience is going to help you later on when you are going to start off your bigger team of yore practice, yeah I mean these are something’s that you can start with now, and just keep trying to learn keep an open mind. There are a lot of things to learn I know we are all geared to learning more about our industry about our specialty there is always new things coming up there are always conferences to go to there is also another side of it, the human side of it that we need to keep learning as well, whether it is communication, sales finance, just look at getting some idea about that as well, of course once you start there will be a whole lot of stuff that you didn’t even know that you didn’t know, that is going to come up but at least start getting some idea of it so that you are not completely bowled over when you start.

Host: beautiful I think that is the most important thing and that is what we are going to do in our webinar or even in our system just to make doctors aware that they need to learn even if you are a student because you very rightly said, because handling a team is a differently ball game and you sometimes get so angry for your team not coming on tie, someone just giving a last minute I am not coming today, or someone who is not pushing the patients who likely you could just loose it with but you have to learn that emotional intelligence to manage the team and building the leadership qualities – well said doctor really a big thank you to vision Dr. Punit and Dr. Shweta – I mean it has been fun and I hope you enjoyed it today we really enjoy and hope you guys enjoyed it!

Dr. Punit: Thank you so much yeah we really enjoyed it, looking forward to your doctor series webinar.

Dr. Shweta: Absolutely

Dr. Punit: Really interesting

Host: That’s really good! So thank you very much and see you again


Dr. Shweta - Speaks to Helen Farmer on Dubai eye 103.8

Dr. Shweta On The Radio
I’m Helen Farmer. It’s fantastic to have you with us on the Afternoons with Helen Farmer podcast and a real focus on health today with some incredible experts from here in Dubai and beyond as well.

Male voice: This is the Dubai Eye 103.8 podcast. This is Afternoons with Helen Farmer …

Female voice: … on the UAE’s number one talk radio station, Dubai Eye 103.8.

Helen: I’m Helen Farmer. It’s fantastic to have you with us on the Afternoons with Helen Farmer podcast and a real focus on health today with some incredible experts from here in Dubai and beyond as well. Dr. Harald Stossier was live in the studio. He is the man that A-listers go to, from pop stars to politicians for digestive reset, in conversation with Dr. Gavin Spence, pediatric orthopedic surgeon answering all of your questions. We are finding out how to prevent and treat gum disease with Dr. Shweta Prabhu. And I found out if yoga poses can really help with hair growth.

Male voice: Healthy Habits

Female voice: On Afternoons with Helen Farmer

Helen: This is your free clinic. Right now, it is all about your gums. Dr. Shweta is with us. She is a specialist periodontist from Precision Dental Clinic. We’re talking gum disease, what happens as we age, gum disease during pregnancy, and the doctor is very much here to help. Dr. Shweta, I was not shy, just got you to examine my wisdom tooth extraction.

Dr. Shweta: That was fun. I didn’t feel out of place at all.

Helen: Like, “Welcome to my office, if you could just do your normal job.” I’m healing well though?

Dr. Shweta: Yes, you are.

Helen: Thank you very much. I’d never heard the term dry socket until a week ago. And now it’s just hanging over me as the source of Tourette and pain, but no, pulled some teeth out last week, not too hamster like and seems to be doing all right. So thank you. Now we’re talking gum disease, but what exactly is it? What comes under that umbrella, and do we have any numbers on who it affects and how many people?

Dr. Shweta: Yeah, that’s a very interesting question because gum disease is the most prevalent oral disease that is present today in the world. Yes, it is even more than cavities. (Helen: Really?) Yes, it is. So, gum disease, you can broadly put it into two categories: One would be when it’s very superficial and it’s only sort of affecting your gums, which is the pink part. As we, you know, keep ignoring it because it’s painless unfortunately, I say unfortunate because that’s the reason why most people ignore it.

Helen: I’m presuming by the time it gets to be painful, things have developed and it can be, it’s gone.

Dr. Shweta: Exactly, so it goes into the supporting structure of your tooth, or not of your tooth. but of your jawbone, which is really the foundation of why your tooth is in the jaw in the first place, right? So that starts getting wobbly and most of my patients come around that time.

Helen: By then, presumably, it’s hard to reverse any damage the disease has done.

Dr. Shweta: We can, but it’s more difficult. So gingivitis would be the more superficial one and periodontitis, so ‘peri’ means around and ‘odont’ means tooth. So, that’s why the periodontist and the periodontitis

Helen: So, tell us, what are some of the things you should be looking out for, signs and symptoms of gum disease, Doctor.

Dr. Shweta: So, the simplest and the most common sign or symptom that a patient would feel would be bleeding gums, okay? I want to really stress on this because, just imagine if you are washing your hands and if you saw blood, wouldn’t that freak you out?

Helen: You wouldn’t ignore it.

Dr. Shweta: You wouldn’t ignore it. You’d go first thing, you know, you’d probably get into emergency. But when the same thing happens when we are brushing our teeth, 90 percent of us ignore it.

Helen: … which is gonna go. Okay. I was just a bit rough there, yeah.

Dr. Shweta: Exactly. So, it’s not normal for your gums to bleed when you brush or otherwise. That is the most common thing. You could have swelling in your gums, you know, and as the disease keeps progressing, of course bad breath is out there, but bad breath again can be caused by many other things. But it is one of the most important signs the patient could feel is also bad breath, but you could have then at the advanced stage, maybe loose teeth, or, you know, you had a very nice smile earlier, but now suddenly, your teeth have moved and there are spaces. So, these are all the complaints that I hear from my patients, so, yeah.

Helen: Doctor, I’m reading an awful lot at the moment about vaping and the negative impact it has on gum health. What do we need to know about this relationship?

Dr. Shweta: This is, I’m so glad you asked me this because, let’s go a little bit into the background of the disease, yeah? So periodontitis or gum disease is caused by plaque, which is the responsible criminal for all, almost all dental diseases commonly. So, now plaque has certain bacteria. And of course, there are certain things that put you at more risk to develop more dangerous plaque. If you want to put it very, you know, loosely now, smoking and diabetes. These are the two most established risk factors for developing gum disease. Now vaping is like the new solution where, you know, people think that they are cutting back and so they say, “You know what Doctor, now I started vaping, I am not smoking anymore.” So I’m like, yeah, but it has the exact same effect. In fact, there are a lot of studies now that are coming up, not long-term though because vaping is itself very new, but which are saying that vaping because of the liquid that they use, actually might be slightly more harmful than your regular cigarettes. This is, of course, for gum disease.

Helen: Yeah, it’s interesting about vaping as well, because when we think about, you know, I guess traditional smoking. It’s kind of, you know, going outside having a cigarette outside, whereas vaping, I mean, I’ve got friends who, it’s like they’ve got a dummy you just, you know, it’s at the desk, it’s in the mall, it’s you know, at the restaurant table and I guess it’s that frequency of all those contacting consumption, far more often than perhaps you would be going out for a cigarette. Does that make sense?

Dr. Shweta: Yeah, it does, that is one more contributing factor because if because you’re, it’s so much easy access to it, you know, plus the constituents that give you a little bit of a high that nicotine is still very much there, which is what causes the problem anyway.

Helen: So, when I asked you about my wisdom teeth, you said you don’t really need to worry about dry sockets unless you are a smoker because that can really increase the chance of infection and poor healing (Dr. Shweta: Yes) considerably. So what is it? Is it to do with blood vessels? (Dr. Shweta: Yes) What is it?

Dr. Shweta: Is this a smart teller? you are. So, blood flow is essentially, when we are a chronic smoker or a long-term smoker, what happens is the size of your blood vessels gradually goes on reducing. So when it, what is called scientifically as vasoconstriction, which means that the blood vessels get constricted, simple. Now when that happens, the flow of fresh blood is reducing, right? So the stuff that is going to carry your healing mediators are reaching at a much lower and a sluggish speed. So, it’s going to take that much longer for it to heal plus the negative pressure that it creates if it dislodges the clot because when I smoke, I need to purse my lips.

Helen: Yeah, you are kind of creating the vacuum in the mouth as well.

Dr. Shweta: Exactly. So, all of that.  

(break in program)

Male voice: Healthy Habits

Female voice: On Afternoons with Helen Farmer

Helen: Doctors in the house, Dr. Shweta Prabhu is with us, a specialist periodontist from Precision Dental Clinic and a specialist in gum disease and gum care. What are the stats around gum disease? Because it sounds like, I mean in judging by messages as well, this is something that seems to be affecting a lot of people in various ways.

Dr. Shweta: Yeah, so the stats actually are pretty startling. Although we have very limited stats for our country currently, but the CDC which is the most, you know, well-known authority, in 2021 released some very interesting facts. So five out of 10 adults in the age group between 30 to 60 years will have at least some form of gum disease that is one in every …So, if you know two people, one of them has gum disease.

Helen: And they will have it in that moment. They won’t just suffer from something at some time.

Dr. Shweta: No, they will have it. And by the time we turn 60, seven out of 10 will have established gum disease.

Helen: Can I ask you, because I haven’t talked about Covid for about an hour and a half, which is which is rough me, what impact has Covid had? Have you seen anything when it comes to people getting into the chair with long Covid, any impact on gun health, mouth health?

Dr. Shweta: That’s a very relevant question, and yes, Covid has taken a toll because I think it’s a pretty strong viral disease. So what any viral disease does is, it takes a toll on your immune system, you know. So, if you had a sort of maybe low-grade infection in the gum, which your body was able to sort of take care of it on its own, it’s now gone full-blown because the body had more important things to take care of, right? (Helen: Interesting) So, a lot of patients have come and they’ll be like, “I just, you know, one month back I finished, I had Covid or whatever and now I’ve got so much of bleeding, Doctor. I don’t know, I’ve never had bleeding in my life and suddenly now, I’m like just bleeding even without brushing kind of thing.” So, I have seen that, but this is of course anecdotal.

Helen: And in terms of recommending treatment plans in those situations, obviously you do on a case-by-case basis and depending on what you’re seeing. But what can generally be helpful?

Dr. Shweta: So, the general basic treatment for gum disease is always taking care of the gums by what you do at home, which is a very, very important part of gum health. And what we do on the chair, which is essentially professional cleaning as you call it, as patients call it, you know, “I had a clean and a check.” So a good cleaning regularly is a good thing to start with. This is a like sort of baseline treatment. Then anything, if you see and identify more problems, then there are treatments ranging from something, what I routinely call deep cleaning, which is where we go section by section and you know, we of course have to numb that area because we have to go slightly more inside and there are some cases unfortunately, where we have to open the gums and clean it, but essentially it is cleaning. But, you know, because the plaque and the bacteria have got access to much deeper areas, I need to access that area. So, that’s what it is. We have fantastic technology, you know, science has progressed so much. So we have many ways now that we can regrow the bone that you’ve lost. So, you have bone grafting and then many procedures that we do. We get, in fact, in a lot of the cases, even get back lost gums.

Helen: Well, that brings me to yes’s message 4001 if you do have any questions for Dr. Shweta, by the way. yes’s ‘Why do our gums recede as we age and is there anything you can do to slow down or reverse it?’

Dr. Shweta: Yeah, so this is a common misnomer, that, you know, getting long in the tooth, as they call it, right? They call it for aging, but unfortunately, it is not related to aging. It is related to the chronicity of the disease, meaning that the disease has been there in our mouth for that much longer. So, that is the real problem. Now the two most common reasons why we lose gum or why our gums recede; one is of course gum disease and the other is over-enthusiastic brushing.

Helen: Always done with the best of intentions.

Dr. Shweta: Yes, of course always, but the problem is that when we don’t know, you know, we brush hard, not right. So, that’s the problem. So these two, so if you’re seeing receding gums, a) we need to check if you’re brushing right and b) of course, we need to check if there’s any sort of gum infection.

Helen: Can you give us a little brushing 101? What’s the type of toothbrush we should be using in terms of hardness, flossing before or after, can you give us (Dr. Shweta: Yes, of course) some basics?

Dr. Shweta: So, brushing, always, always, always soft, the softest you can go, yeah? And brushing should be vertical not horizontal, or scrub, don’t think by putting too much pressure, you know, we’re going to do a better job. No, if you can, take 30 seconds longer to brush, you know. I know everybody is very busy. But 30 seconds won’t kill you, yeah. And flossing, if you are doing it, fantastic, I don’t really care if you do it before or after, just do it

Helen: Yeah, I’m just curious about the flossing. So I had a message saying, ‘Where do you stand on the water flosses?’

Dr. Shweta: I love water flosses. I just love them because they may improve my patient compliance so much, and they do the job so well and because they are not, you know, technically challenging, I have most of my patients using it and you’re inter-dentally cleaning. When we don’t clean in between the teeth, you’re missing out 35 percent of the surface of your teeth, right, where you’re allowing cavities to brew and gum disease to go on, and usually because it’s at the contact, it causes a problem because then you have direct access. So flossing is great. You can use interdental brushes if you have bigger spaces between your teeth, but don’t force anything. Toothpicks are a big no-no because you can end up damaging gums when you use it constantly in one area. And if you need to use a toothpick all the time in one particular area, then please book an appointment with a dentist. There’s something going on there.

Helen: Okay, we’re gonna go to the text line 4001. You’ve got a couple of minutes, if you’ve got any questions for our specialist periodontist this afternoon. Lina’s saying, ‘We grew up mixing turmeric oil and salt together and rubbing that on our gums whenever they hurt. It’s a very natural remedy for Indians. Do you recommend this or any other home remedies?’

Dr. Shweta: So, turmeric and salt together? Salt is very abrasive. So I really wouldn’t recommend that as a long-term solution to any problem because it does erode your teeth away over a period of time because every time your gum hurts, if you’re going to use that solution, turmeric, yes, it is known to be an antiseptic, antibacterial, all of that, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a solution to anything. Maybe if it helps you as a temporary relief thing, please go ahead but there’s no scientific, you know, backing to this.

Helen: We’re gonna squeeze in this message here saying, ‘My doctor told me, when my gums were bleeding, that I’ve got loose gums and big spaces between teeth. So it’s not a gum disease problem. I was given a cleaning. I was advised to brush and use mouthwash regularly. Is this loose gums a real problem and is there some kind of permanent solution?’

Dr. Shweta: So, loose gums are a kind of gum disease, unless, so when we say we have loose gums and big spaces, unless you have big spaces which because your teeth are smaller or you know, you have a bigger jaw and a tooth size and jaw discrepancy, you shouldn’t be having loose gums. Nobody should have loose gums. Your gums should always be like a nice tight collar around your tooth. So, if you have loose gums, you do need to see a periodontist. What is also important is, what is the medical history of the person, right? Because there are certain drugs that, certain medications that you might be on, the side effect of which is gum swelling.

Helen: Interesting and …

Dr. Shweta: I think hypertensive which are very, very common because blood pressure is, I mean pretty much all of us have it, right? Fast-paced life and all of that. So all of that needs to be ruled out, so definitely take a consultation with a periodontist wherever, but make sure that what we call a probing is done.

Helen: So you kind of go between the gum and the tooth to check the depth?

Dr. Shweta: Yes, yes, exactly.

Helen: Okay, really hope that helps. We’ve run out of time. We have run out of questions. So thank you for your time today, Doctor, really do appreciate it. And if you do want Dr. Shweta’s details, just message me, 4001 and I’d be happy to send over her details there at Precision Dental Clinic. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Shweta: Can I make a small …

Helen: Of course, I’ve got 50 seconds.

Dr. Shweta: Big shout-out to my team at Precision Dental who we love absolutely. I’ve got the best team in the world and I know they’re listening inside. This is for them.

Helen: There you go, go team. Thank you so much, really, really appreciate it.

End of program

Male voice: Healthy Habits

Female voice: On Afternoons with Helen Farmer


Connect with Lara and Yves

Connect with Lara and Yves
Dr. Thawani brings awareness to the importance of oral health and the Mouth Body connecting here at DIFC, Dubai and discusses how Oral Diseases are not always visible or felt and can possess silent symptoms that can only be detected on thorough inspection.

I’m a gum specialist by profession and I am here to talk about the Mouth Body connection.

So why should we talk about the mouth body connection? All of us here have experienced some kind of dental pain in our lives. Have you all ever gone to the dentist in pain? Yeah. Do we like going to the dentist? None of us including the dentist we don’t like going right but so why does this become important? So there are a lot of things that give you pain in your mouth and there are also a lot of things that are lurking without causing any pain and don’t show it Now CDC which is the center for disease control, came up with the latest statistics where it says that people in their 30s and 40s – 5 out of 10 people are suffering from gum disease or gum infections, which are a very silent form of infection. This is constantly brewing in our mouths and that number increase to 8 out of 10 by the time we reach our 60s.

Yeah now why is that important? Now why am I talking about it – like I said I am a gum specialist with over 15 years of experience and every single day I see people suffering from this disease and I have been in a position thankfully to help these people and make a positive impact in their life by changing their gum health, that by the way is my daughter.

So what are oral infections? Infections like any other infections, like any place


Connect with Lara and Yves Event, held Near In DIFC, Dubai
Connect with Lara and Yves Event, held Near In DIFC, Dubai

Connect with Lara and Yves Event, held Near In DIFC, Dubai
Connect with Lara and Yves Event, held Near In DIFC, Dubai
Connect with Lara and Yves Event, held Near In DIFC, Dubai
Connect with Lara and Yves Event, held Near In DIFC, Dubai

Alina P.

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Alina P.

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