Digital Dentistry And Regenerative Biomaterials Are The Future Of Dentistry : Prof Zahid Iqbal

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Dr. Zahid Iqbal, graduated from Karachi University with a Bachelors in Dental Surgery (BDS), in the year 2002.

After the completion of his House job, he went on to acquire the FCPS fellowship from College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan, and was awarded with the fellowship in the specialty of Operative Dentistry in year 2010.

Dr. Zahid Iqbal served as a Consultant and Specialist in Restorative and Endodontic Dentistry and Assistant Professor at Ziauddin Hospital and Ziauddin College of Dentistry, Karachi. He then took the opportunity of teaching at Qassim University College of Dentistry in KSA, continued for a couple of years and enhanced his teaching skills and got first hand international experience.

Upon returning to Pakistan, he joined Isra University/College of Dentistry, Hyderabad as an Associate Professor and Head of department of Operative Dentistry.

Dr. Zahid Iqbal, is the Vice Principal and Associate Dean and also head of department of Operative Dentistry at Isra University, College of Dentistry in Hyderabad, alongside being CPSP’s Postgraduate Supervisor for FCPS, MDS and MSc trainees. 


Question: What inspired you to pursue a career in dentistry?

Answer:  Actually, I wanted to become an MBBS doctor upon my personal and family’s wish, but due to some political decision by Sindh Government, related to reduction of seats in Government medical college at that time, I couldn’t get into MBBS. After that, I appeared in KMDC IBA admission test and secured an admission in BDS program

Question: Is lack of postgraduate programs in Pakistan the reason behind opting for FCPS, or is it something else?

Answer: Well, it is lack of postgraduate options for sure. Once I graduated in 2002, there was no post-graduation program offered by any local university and FCPS from CPSP was the only option and had high acceptance as consultant or academicians in Pakistan and Middle East countries.

Question: How important is it to acquire post graduate qualification?

Answer: By acquiring postgraduate education, a BDS graduate gets an opportunity of training in their chosen field, which enhances their knowledge, clinical skills, research understanding, communication skills, patient management and leadership qualities.

Question: Why particularly Operative Dentistry? Would you like to share some innovations in your chosen field?

Answer: Operative Dentistry is a good clinical field comprising of Endodontics, Restorative Dentistry, Pedodontics, Implantology and Fixed Prosthodontics.

Most of our patients in Pakistan suffer from dental diseases due to caries or periodontal issues, that lead to dental infections or even loss of teeth. This specialty has a major share of clinical practice, which means more patients, hence, more chances to practice and get exposure of variety of cases.

Moving onto the innovations, Regenerative procedures are new within our specialty, like pulpotomy procedure in carious exposed permanent teeth with irreversible pulpitis, application of Platelet rich Fibrin in Revascularization endodontic procedures, application of biomaterial in endodontics, Auto transplantation and new restorative prosthesis like e max, Zirconia crowns and bridges. We have been doing postgraduate research projects on all the above-mentioned procedures.

Question: Walk us through your journey of teaching and how has your experience changed over the course of time?

Answer: I started my journey of teaching from Ziauddin University as a Senior lecturer Operative Dentistry in 2009. Just after my FCPS residency, I got promoted to the post of an Assistant Professor in 2011. During my service in Ziauddin, I got the job offer from Qassim University in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and served for two and half years and got international experience in teaching as well.

During my stay in KSA, I delivered lectures in all tertiary care hospital symposiums and also got the opportunity of being a Speaker at AEEDC 2013, Dubai.

On sad demise of our respectable teacher, Prof .Rafique Ahmed Memon, Dean of Isra Dental College and due to the acute shortage of experienced teacher for undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Isra Dental College, I decided to quit my highly paid job in KSA and came back to Pakistan in 2014, to support and deliver my knowledge to our Pakistani students.

I was appointed Assistant Professor/ Head of Operative Dentistry and Postgraduate Supervisor of university based MDS/MSc and FCPS /MCPS programs of CPSP. Now I have been promoted as the Vice Principal of Isra Dental and a permanent supervisor and examiner for CPSP conducted trained programs. I also recently presented at an International conference held in Madrid.

Question: What are your views on the current teaching curriculum in Pakistan’s Medical and Dental universities?

Answer: Current teaching curriculum in Pakistan’s Medical and Dental universities is good and fulfilling the international standards, but needs to be reviewed more often, by the HEC.

Recently I have been nominated as a subject expert from university for HEC curriculum review committee, so I will utilize my international experience to further improve the curriculum.

Question: How would you compare the standards of dental education in Pakistan, both under and post graduate level, as compared to the other countries?

Answer: Standards of dental education in Pakistan, both under and post graduate level are good but there is need of strong monitoring system from PMDC and CPSP, for both government and private sector universities, in order to avoid any loop holes of substandard training.

Question: What do you have to say about the scope of Research in Pakistan and how to enhance it to benefit our medical and dental fraternity?

Answer: University ranking is normally based on the Research Output of any university. This is the universal standard all over the world. Research trends in Pakistan are improving but haven’t reached that standard, quite yet. Research component should be part of the curriculum in every undergraduate and postgraduate program. Faculty members should get grant for research from university and HEC, linking their benefits and promotions to their research activities.

Question: How was your experience as a postgraduate supervisor?

Answer: It was my wish to become a Postgraduate supervisor in Pakistan to deliver my knowledge, skills and research experience to our country’s postgraduates, and to introduce high standards in our institution and clinical practice.

Once I arrived in Pakistan, the university nominated me as a postgraduate supervisor for MDS/MSc/MPhil programs and I also became a provisional supervisor for FCPS/MCPS programs from CPSP.

On completion of requirements, I am now a permanent supervisor by CPSP. Under my supervisor ship till date, 3 postgraduate got MSc Operative Dentistry, 1 got MDS and 2 got MPhil in Dental Material Sciences. On the other hand, 2 FCPS trainees completed training, cleared their IMM Exam and got acceptance of research work/Dissertation from CPSP and now appearing in FCPS Part II, similarly 2 MCPS trainees have completed their training and now appearing in MCPS exam.

Question: What are the key points leading to a perfect diagnosis and treatment plan?

Answer: By taking patient’s dental and medical history, thorough examination and investigations, a student or dentist can reach to an accurate diagnosis and create good treatment plans. They should be updated with current knowledge/diagnostic tools/ recent treatment modalities by reading latest edition books and journals, and must attend educational seminars, symposium, local and international conferences to update their learning.

Question: What in your view leads to a successful endodontic case?

Answer: Accurate diagnosis, application of strict treatment protocol and advanced instruments and materials from diagnosis to endodontic procedure, lead to a successful endodontic case.

Dental operating microscope, rotary endo motor/rotary files, apex locator, irrigation devices, warm obturation system like obtura/system B and last but not least, advance endodontic biomaterial increases the success rate of endodontic cases up to 98 – 100%.

Question: Inform our readers about the different types of clinical presentations and treatment modalities in the field of Operative Dentistry.

Answer: Contemporary treatment modalities for non-vital immature teeth, like revascularization or MTA mono-block, regenerative pulpotomy for vital mature teeth, application of PRF, Auto transplantation, microscopic non-surgical and surgical endodontic, esthetic inlay/onlay, esthetic crown/veneer and recent treatment modalities for post and core, Ribbond, Lumineers, Componeers, Dental Traumatology and Implantology.

Question: Keeping in mind, our learning resources, do you think our upcoming graduates are practice ready?

Answer: Yes, they are ready to practice but, further improvements in our resources should be implemented to meet international standards.

Question: As an Associate Professor and acting Dean of a prestigious university, given a chance what changes would you like to bring about in our educational system?

Answer: I would like to upgrade our department, as well as the entire college with further new dental gadgets like CBCT, CAD CAM and patient management software. I want to incorporate mandatory research component and further enhance training facilities in undergraduate and postgraduate programs at the university, by implementing a good monitoring system.

Question: Looking back on your career, who influenced you the most?

Answer: All my previous teachers are role models for us, especially my primary supervisor, mentor and great teacher, Late Prof. Rafique Ahmed Memon.

Prof. Tasleem Hossein, Prof. Saqib Rashid, Prof. Mahmood Haider, Prof. Khero, Prof. Yawar Ali and Prof. Arshad Hassan are admirable figures in my life.

Question: Where do you see the future of dentistry headed?

Answer: Digital Dentistry and regenerative biomaterials are the future!

Application of CBCT, CAD CAM, Digital smile design, Computer aided surgical endodontics, Implantology procedures and application of restorative and endodontic biomaterial are the new chapters of the world of dentistry.

Question: Message for young readers of Dental News, looking forward to make career in dentistry?

Answer: Dentistry is a good profession and by opting, one can serve the patients and make a good career either as a general dentist or consultant; or become a part of the academic world, locally or internationally.

August 17, 2018

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