Everyday I get asked the same pervading questions from an amalgamation of people.:
‘Why dentistry’ , ‘What made you want to look in people’s mouths all day, ‘Don’t you hate what you do’
I always answer these questions with a complete sense of calm and confidence. Dentistry for me is at center of my happiness. Truly if in an ideal world if I could pick any other profession I would struggle. I am doing what I love all day everyday.
My journey started when I was just a tiny tot visiting my aunt in America. Working along side her in her dental clinic fascinated me on so many levels. The ability to form strong relationships with people and see them on a regular basis. Indeed Drs see patients when they are sick but dentists see people for check ups biannually. So there I was goal in sight at 11. What do I need to do. Well firstly smash my GCSEs. Then smash my A levels. Philosophy and English literature complemented my scientific vocation. Then there were harrowing interviews. Years later there I was Leeds university. Fresh. Ready. New. So I embarked on my northern journey. Five gruelling years later-blood, sweat and tears, finally I made it, I was Dr Rhona Eskander. That was a title no one could take from me. Every part of my journey was worth it.
It is true dentistry has one of the highest suicide rates of any other profession. The demanding nature of the profession certainly has taken its turn on many of my colleagues. What is behind the psychology of such a profession.The continual learning, the demand to perform procedures with your hands day in day out. The paper work. Cross infection control. Pain managment. Time managment. Being told you’re hated constantly, inflicting pain. The relentless pursuit of perfection and permanence. You name it; we have to do it. The list goes on but ultimately for me this is a drop in the ocean. Amongst the grief there is ultimate happiness. People trust you. You can change someone’s life. You can exceed expectations and really change someone’s life. Ok sure you can be the drill, fill, pay the bill type of dentist but ultimately the only one in charge of your destiny is yourself .
I have always maintained that within any profession whether it’s being a lawyer, a cook, a waiter- whatever it may be if it is not your passion-if you do not do what you love you will never perform to your best ability. This is turn means poor results and poor reciprocation from your audience whoever they maybe.
Being gifted is one thing however it is not everything. Indeed at school I was mocked for my poor artistic schools and lack of manual dexterity. The latter is a necessity to be demonstrated during the application process for dental school. So I was determined to improve. I went to late night jewellery making classes and drove my self to insanity perfecting those intricacies involved in carving, cutting, gluing- you name it. Certainly we know that several successful individuals are not just gifted.
If you want it enough, you can get it. I soon realised three years into my career that I can control my dental destiny.
Well there it was the question that was staring me in the face: What kind of dentist do I want to become and how do I get there?
After much deliberation I attended a lucrative and life changing course at The Perfect Smile Academy. One of the most prestigious UK dentists was in charge of the course. His practice was a world that I never entered. It was not just a practice it was an experience. Patients were made to feel like superstars. Throughout the days I was taught all the technicalities of veneer preparations and smile design. However what really harnessed my passion for cosmetic dentistry was the fact that all his patients lives had changed in some way when they acquired the smile they deserved. Jobs changed, relationships formed, social lives flourished. Okay teeth aren’t the be all end all. But the confidence a smile created was paramount to the ability of these patients to go beyond their boundaries. I still remember the words of my mentor; ‘Be a master of your own trade, not a jack of all trades’ There it was. I have been flooded with information since the day I graduated. The skills and knowledge acquired were immense. Surgicals, implants, fillings, braces. How would I ever be expectational?
Ok I can’t deny that I had been very coquettish with the idea of cosmetic dentistry. But how would I make those dreams reality? After all I was not in a practice geared to provide me with the patients. The skills, tools, team, patients. The foundations for a world of aesthetics were simply not there.There it was suddenly I realised in the midst of my ramblings that the only person stopping me from what I really wanted to do was me. Like many others across several other professions I become reactive and not proactive.So instead of victimising myself I decided to use my resources and create the kind of environment that I want to work in. My valued patients although had been attending regularly were never given the cosmetic options available to them.Many dentists perhaps find the subject quite disconcerting and having been labelled as health professionals; medical duties are always at the forefront of ones mind. However I came to recognise that when the foundation has been built strong and durable why can’t you make things ornate. Indeed no cosmetic dentistry will be done on a poor foundation. Form follows function. So once I was satisfied with the health of the patient I open their eyes to a world that they never thought would be possible. My compulsive attention to details and my extreme conscientiousness are now being harnessed in the world I have created.