Says, DR. Gaurav Dev, MDS, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, in conversation with Ekta Srivastava, Health Technology
Tell me a little bit about your background, especially what you did after dental school that led you to where you are today.
I have done my masters in oral and maxillofacial surgery, which involves training insurgical procedures exclusive to the head and neck region. This specialization allows me to handle complicated procedures like facial injuries, implant prosthesis,orthognathic& esthetic surgeries, tumor removal etc. After post graduation I kept my focus on performing procedures with utmost dedication and discipline in some of the largest health care centers in the city. Staying informed and catching onto every opportunity to learn helped me along my path of being a surgeon.
Where do you see the future of dentistry headed?
The future of dentistry is already here with specialists performing the most advanced procedures unlike the past where dentists were confined inside the mouth. I think and hope that soon dentistry will receive super specializations in fields like nanotechnology, robotics and bioengineering.
What advice would you give to someone opening up a practice today?
Think outside the box and do not let others tell you that you are any less special. Word hard and believe in yourself. Learning is a never-ending process so never stop. Profound moral grounds and ethics is the key to success.
When you first graduated from dental school, what was your vision for the dental career you wanted to have?
I always wanted to make my own mark in the field of dentistry and being a specialist seemed more of a duty to uplift the dental practice.If the patient is really scared initially e.g during the time of injection, and I am unable to make him or her comfortable, that means I am not giving my best or its more of a dissatisfaction for me. If I am able to convince my patient to understand the need for treatment and he/she is satisfied at the end of the ‘needle phobia’ phase,that would be my real satisfaction.So, its ‘satisfaction’ that is my vision as a surgeon.
Can you elaborate more on this ‘experience’ to which you refer?
I always make sure that my patients feel comfortable and safe while I explain the treatment process elevating their phobia and anxiety. Not only does this help to enlighten them towards oral health but provides a smooth transition throughout the treatment phase
What were some of the early successes and challenges in the fields of dentistry early on in your practice?
Initially when you enter this competitive world full of seniors and experts who are already so well versed with everything and every single advancement, you definitely get cold feet. Of course I was nervous initially if the whole thing works or not, or it’s all just a fairy tale to reach at such big levels. I don’t say that I have achieved what I wanted to.But yes, starting with the difficult cases first and being best at that would really boost up your confidence levels. So starting difficult and then doing easy would be a challenge for me to be a successful surgeon.
Do you feel that new dentists like you, are prepared enough to face the challenges upon graduation pertaining to patient’s demands, practice management and clinical readiness?
Preparation in your mind in addition to knowledge. If u keeps learning, confidence stays high which one way or the other helps in excelling. New dentists should also learn the ethics relating to the profession. Only knowledge is not enough, it’s how you apply it on a daily basis understanding fully the condition of the patient. Never degrade others work and try to help your juniors and respect your profession.That way you can deal with any challenge, small or big. But yes, this is in addition to doing the right treatment.
What is most rewarding?
During your college days you are only learning things and concentrate more on the treatment procedure that you are currently dealing with. But when you actually start dealing with patients in your clinic, you come across so many levels of your treatment. E.g what kind of a background patient is from, does he or she even understand the need for the treatment etc. So when I am finally done with the whole treatment, during follow ups patients tell me how happy they are and how the process changed their life. Finally it’s an immense happiness of patient that counts at the end which is most rewarding.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That I am just a dentist whose job is to fill cavities and do root canals. It is hard for a layman to conceive that dental specialists are fully capable of performing major and minor surgeries relating not even to the tooth or gums, but also to the pathologies and injuries involving head,face and neck region.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
I just want to be better than the best. Everyday is a new learning experience for me and each patient is a challenge and I can only be better if I keep myself updated with the advancements in my profession. I want to attend as many lectures as possible or even read old books so that I polish my skills and get a continued education with clinical experience. As I grow I can see myself opening up my own personal trauma center, which deals with the most advanced equipment and specialtystaff, which is my own personal ultimate dream as a surgeon.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
It is really important for a dental student to find a particular set of skills during graduation and keep working on it to achieve perfection .If he or she decides to go for higher studies, choose your field carefully and keep honing your skills, so that you are the best at what you do and no such procedure exists that can make you doubt your abilities .Aim towards being a perfectionist.