Famous in the world of dentistry, we speak to Dr Alif Moosajee on how he changed his patients’ perception of the dentist
Studies have shown that nearly half the population dislike their smile yet a quarter of adults say they have avoided the dentist and have not visited in two years. The dentist is largely associated with feelings of anxiousness, fear, and pain, and most would assume these statistics reflect such emotional responses.
Oakdale Dental Principal Dentist Dr Alif Moosajee, named Best Young Dentist UK 2016, says there are two forms of dentistry; Fundamental and elective. Dr Moosajee has processes in place to put patients whom need both types of treatments at ease making them feel at home before, during and after their check-ups and procedures.
“I don’t want any of this nonsense where people come in and they’re not acknowledged or leave feeling unhappy or upset by anything. I want My patients to feel like they have had concierge style service,” he explained.
Although a fear of the dentist may be a rational reaction to what we might face in the chair, Dr Moosajee’s practice is set up for ultimate comfort to ensure patients feel at ease.
“I took over Oakdale three years ago after working as an associate. I got to a point where I thought I could do things better. Rather than just continue to moan about it I thought I would step up and prove it.
“There’s a journey a patient goes through but [as an associate] you’re limited with respect to how you can directly influence other team members; behaviors if you’re not the boss.”
When he took on Oakdale in 2014 Dr Moosajee made some changes starting with a complete renovation improving the waiting area. The multi-award-winning dentist added: “We wanted to improve the practice in terms of cleanliness and efficiency, just as any business would want to and actually a lot of the staff left because they didn’t like those changes. We now have a dynamic and refreshed team and the culture here is much better and far more patient focused.”
With five Dentists, a Therapist, a Clinical Dental Technician and eleven staff the practice was able to offer it’s patients so much more with top of the range treatments such as dental implants, Invisalign and teeth whitening.
“There has certainly been a shift towards patients requesting more treatment. Patients obviously need to have tooth decay removed, and their teeth cleaned, but we now have so many more patients electing to have work done because they want to improve their smile in some way.
“No one hugs you and cries because you’ve done a nice metal filling,” he laughed, “A smile makeover can be life changing. It’s a rewarding thing to be able to do.” Which is exactly what patient Leanne Baker is excited to pursue.
After a consultation with Dr Moosajee concerning a front tooth that appeared longer than the other, Leanne said: “I can’t believe the excitement I felt when I left. I thought my only option was to have my other front tooth extended to match and never thought that braces would be for me. I learnt so much just from one consultation and can’t wait to get my smile sorted.”
Dr Moosajee had recommended Invisalign braces; a series of clear, removable braces that are practically invisible. He said: “This happens so many times where a patient comes in thinking they have problem A but then realise if we want to treat this correctly we have to think about the different tools appropriate to them. There is an element of education that needs to happen so that we both end up on the same page.”
Once patients like Leanne understand what they’re going to go through and more importantly, why this is the best option for them, they are then equipped with confidence to go ahead.
Oakdale is also popular with dentists and practice managers around the country as Dr Moosajee set up the Leicester Dentinal Tubules Study Club to network and share experiences and knowledge with other like-minded professionals. In this way he helps to teach others with his lectures and other speakers to achieve best practice in all areas of the country.
Believing that dentists have a responsibility to educate their patients and their peers, the practice owner is also an author having written the eye-opening book ‘The Smiling Dentist’ 2014, which is acknowledged by the Queen and Prime Minister with all proceeds donated to the dental charity Bridge2Aid.
It’s safe to say that even with a rational fear-based reaction to the thought of the dentist, Oakdale’s patients are some of the most relaxed you’ll find.