In this section we focus on the different types of dentistry and speak to dentists who have chosen to follow alternative career paths. In this article we focus on periodontics and implant dentistry written by Mishal K Sachdev.
Mishal is currently working as a periodontist and implant dentist. If you would like to contact Mishal, his email address can be found at the bottom of the page.
Why did you go into dentistry?
I have always been interested in the close blend between the science, art and the business of dentistry. Dentistry as a field and vocation is so vast, which was in its own right appealing. Growing up I used to help in the practice frequently and getting a flavour for general dental practice and implant dentistry. The aspect that most drove me to periodontology was actually implant therapy, as at the time, osseo-integration was being taken as read but soft tissue and 'pink aesthetics' were developing concepts.
Where and why did you decide the advanced training that you undertook?
Eastman Dental Institute. Through my foundation training year and specialist training I truly became engrossed in gum care in its own right, and now have a 'passion for perio'. I wanted to stay in London and so would have been more than happy to go to Guys Hospital or Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry to do periodontology as their programme looked great too. However I wanted to be full-time and given I had been to Guys as an undergraduate I wanted a change of environment.
Why did you think you were accepted?
I think developing a strong CV was the key from my time as an undergraduate, to my post-graduate courses and hospital placements. Importantly I conveyed the desire and persona at the interview that the panel appreciated. I spent time and effort understanding the institutes, professors/ teachers and students prior to committing to the specialist programme.
What active steps did you take before applying for your post-graduate programme?
As mentioned above, I targeted any opportunity I had during undergraduate training and posts after qualification to become involved in orthodontics and increase my exposure to patients being treated orthodontically. In addition, I completed the desired post-graduate examinations (MJDF) and actively searched for the opportunity to undertake audit/projects within this field and present this work as posters/publications. I asked orthodontic trainees about their experience in the different training programmes and attended the London Deanery Open Day to gather more information about them.
What part of your training did you find most rewarding?
The vast amount of practical experience for surgery in periodontology and implant dentistry from some of the best academic and clinical tutors in Europe.
What part of your training did you find least rewarding?
I found the paperwork and bureaucracy of some of the hospital systems time consuming.
Where do you work now and can you run through your working week?
I currently work all over the place from central London, to North London(Finchley), a practice in Hertfordshire and I am based between two practices in South London (Croydon- Gentle Dental Care Group). I work 5.5 days a week. I am at my Croydon practices 2-2.5 days a week and do 1-2 days a week doing peripatetic work. I exclusively do periodontolgy in the form of primary disease control and root coverage procedures and implant dentistry along-with management of peri-implant diseases. A day of the week is also spent teaching on the Masters Periodontology (MClin Dent) programme at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry with Dr Wendy Turner, which is very rewarding!
What part of your work now do you find most and least rewarding?
I love the variety of working at many different sites and meeting new people from disparate backgrounds (including my referring dentists, hygienists and of course my patients). I find the traveling tough and keeping up with the timetable demands between different practices.
What equipment could you not do without?
My DSLR Camera (Canon) and Intra-oral Camera (Kodak) and UNC-15 probe (Hu-Friedy) more recently the Florida Probe (Clark Dental) for my hygienist.
Who has inspired you within dentistry?
There are so many but my stand out heroes are Paddi Lund for the non-clinical essentials, Omar Reed and Kenny James for preventive practice and Patrick Pallaci as a model for the perio-implant dentist. Other people that have influenced my practice significantly also include Pat Allen, Maurice Salama and Ashok Sethi.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Florence; I loved the atmosphere, the food and the art of this special city.
What makes you happy?
My family, friends and fiance, though in fact I am happy most of the time. I believe happiness is an attitude or choice not a product of circumstance.
If you were something else in the dental field what would you be?
A general dental practitioner.
If you weren't in the dental field what would you be?
Probably a medical surgeon.
What advice would you give young dentists going into your field?
Take lots of photos of your work and seek out those people that are willing and able to help you develop into what you want to be. Try to begin with the end in mind.
Who am I?
Qualifications: BDS HONS (Lond), MJDF RCS (Eng), MClin Dent Perio, MRD RCS (Eng), M (Rest Dent) RCPS (Glasg)
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article series edited by Dr Mishal Sachdev (Gentle Gum Care) and the team at Dental Protection.