Professor Dr. Philip Louis – Director of European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry, recently made some perceptive presentations and conducted a hands-on workshop during the IADSR International Conference held in Islamabad on 16 – 18th August 2013.
Dr. Louis was voted No. 7 among the Top 50 Dentists in the United Kingdom during 2012. He is also a Director at the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and an Editorial Board Member of “Private Dentistry” and “Aesthetic Dentistry Today”. He also represents the British Dental Association as their Media Spokesperson.
On the occasion of the IADSR Conference, Dr. Louis also shared his vast knowledge and experience during an interview with our publication. He gave his enlightened opinions about the various issues, growth potential and performance of the dental industry in Pakistan. Following are the extracts from this conversation.
DN: Do you foresee that modern technology will make dental treatment more affordable for the common man?
Dr. Louis: Yes certainly, as technology advances, more and more treatments become possible. As treatments become increasingly effective and simple, more patients demand relief from their ailments. As the common phenomenon dictates; we can see that, with the increase in demand for health-care services, the prices tend to go down. The cost of purchasing and installing advanced equipments are covered faster due to the increase in the number of patients.
DN: Are you satisfied with the pace of dental technology being adopted by the clinics in Pakistan?
Dr. Louis: Although, this is my first trip to Pakistan, and I have had the opportunity to visit only a few clinics in Pakistan and speak to some of the leading clinicians here. Based on my observation, I have to say that I am enormously impressed by the dedication to research, training and the thirst for knowledge I have seen among the dentists and the dental students in the country. The growth scenario appears to be quite overwhelming. I am sure the future of Dentistry in Pakistan will be very bright indeed.
DN: With the high cost of Dental Education, the qualified dentist incurs a high cost for providing dental treatment to his patients. Do you see any developments or initiatives that would make dental education cheaper in future?
Dr. Louis: Yes. The online study platforms, webinars and internet based education programmes promise a revolutionary change in the costs and methodology of dental education. That is where the future lies. These platforms offer fantastic visual presentations and graphic explanations of dental procedures for the students to learn from. Even now we have got the possibilities of multi- media conferencing. We can get inputs from experts. It is more useful for a country like Pakistan, which needs a large number of dentists, but has resource limitations to build large universities and academic institutions to provide health care training. The print media, journals and periodicals can also expand there role to create learning opportunities for specialized the dentists.
DN: Are the dental students in Pakistan getting enough hands-on training before they graduate from college and start practicing independently?
Dr. Louis: I am most impressed by their enthusiasm. They are so willing to learn. They are taking full advantage of all the training opportunities at the various institutions in the country. The institutions also deserve credit for this. I don’t think it is fair to expect them to have practical experience on graduation day. You can only gain hands-on experience once they start practicing. But I am sure that these students will have as much experience as they need once they start handling serious dental cases.
DN: So, it is not advisable for the fresh graduate to go out and open his own clinic, as his first professional venture?
Dr. Louis: It is always more appropriate for the fresh graduates to start their careers by working with teams of experienced dentists, and learn the physical skills, before trying to treat the patients independently. One year or more of vocational training with a senior dentist will surely enable the youngsters to master the physical techniques in dentistry and provide effective treatment to his patients.
DN: How did you like Pakistan as a country, the Pakistani people and the traditional food?
Dr. Louis: Well it is certainly a beautiful country. I wish I have a few more days to look around and take some trips to the most scenic regions in Pakistan. The people are really hospitable and we have received some very warm welcoming gestures from everyone we met so far. The food is delicious here. When I came here I was overweight, but now I feel that I have actually gained weight over the past few days, because I have been eating the traditional Pakistani dishes with a lot of fervor. I am sure that as the security situation improves in the country, people from all over the world will count Pakistan as one of their favorite tourist destinations.
In the end, Dr. Louis also expressed his hope that he will get more opportunities to visit Pakistan and share his knowledge and experiences with the dental community here, while he can also enjoy the exotic Pakistani cuisine, the fascinating resorts and the great hospitality of the people here.