– Time for a Paradigm Shift!
‘Dr. Farjad Zafar BDS MSc Implantology, 27 years of age, ICOI Fellow.
He graduated from Baqai Dental College- BMU with a Bachelors in Dental Surgery, in the year 2012. Completed his one year house job tenure from his Alma mater. He went on to obtain his Masters from Cardiff University, Wales, UK in Implantology, in the year 2017.
Dr. Farjad is currently appointed as a Senior Lecturer and Out Patient Department In charge, Department Of Periodontology, BDC; and as an Associate Dental Implantologist at IQ Clinic, Karachi. He recently got honored by International Congress Of Implantology’s esteemed Fellowship, making him Pakistan’s youngest fellow.’
What inspired you to pursue a career in dentistry?
It actually is a funny story. When I was a kid, I once fell and faced an injury resulting in a damaged anterior tooth. The dentist I went to restored and changed the appearance of my tooth, and that whole procedure intrigued me a lot. That’s where the appeal began from. Well, I also always had exceptional interest in science subjects. That was a plus.
Subjects that you were fond of while enrolled in BDS?
While pursuing dentistry, I formed interest in both Surgical and Restorative aspects of dentistry; which clearly explains my fondness of Implantology, that is merely a combination of both skills.
Why Implantology? What made you steadfast at this decision?
Right after my house job, I got lucky enough to work with a great teacher and known Implantologist, Prof. Dr. Kashif Ikram, whose practice majorly focused upon implants. I saw his dedication towards this aspect of dentistry and that really inspired me to pursue it. Also, seeing Dr. Irfan Qureshi’s skillful clinical work and attending his comprehensive lectures, really made the whole idea more enticing.
Do you think foreign professional education is important in this field to make a name for one’s self?
No! Not at all.
Opting for an educational program abroad, further defines your journey which you can’t possibly attain while living in Pakistan, because of the technological shortcomings.
In terms of clinical expertise, there is no such difference, as we have Pakistani trained practitioners who are competent and equally good at their jobs.
I just have a view that, it’s harder for doctors who come from abroad, as they at times face hardships in terms of adjusting to the available resources and technologies.
Give us a macro view of your clinical and learning experiences, both in Pakistan and UK; What differences did you come across?
Well, I was fortunate enough to have worked with a foreign trained dental professional, so the rationale of the dental treatments was not hard to get accustomed to in my training abroad. Moving on to learning, I realized that we rely too much on literature and tend to believe everything that gets published. However, the teachers and students abroad, challenge and critically appraise it.
What do you think is the status of patient awareness and expectations regarding implants in Pakistan?
Not every patient that we cater has knowledge regarding implants. Most perceive them just as an expensive treatment option, and expect it to be a painful procedure with less chances of success. We have to instill awareness in our general population’s minds, regarding basics and advancements of our fields.
What in your eyes is the key to a successful case?
Good Planning and Excellent Patient Compliance. Anybody can drill a hole in the bone and place an implant but, appropriate planning with anatomical knowledge and focusing on prognostic values of the case, by considering patient’s overall health and oral hygiene status is what decreases the chances of failure. And of course, using quality products.
What are your opinions on malpractices and dentists inserting implants without any formal training?
This is unfortunately a dilemma in Pakistan. Sadly, there is no concept of referrals in our part of the world, and everyone wants to perform all the dental procedures without knowing their limitations and skill set, which actually violates our profession’s piousness. Not only that but, dental and implant representatives play an equal part in promoting such malpractices. The lack of basic ethics of implant sellers is such that they are only business oriented, not caring as to who is doing what. Everyone should be well aware of where they stand and what they are capable of. It is always better to pursue formal training; and for that our country has various options.
Can you tell us about the innovations in Implantology?
Well, let’s start with basics and work our way up. CAD/CAM technology is a part of every dental laboratory in the world, abroad. It is not just specified to Implantology but, every other field of dentistry. It not only customizes implant restorative components as per the case requirement but, also famously design customized 3D titanium mesh for certain cases of bone augmentation. Concept of Osseo densification and advancements in sinus elevating procedures have also been duly noted. Everything is digitalized now, impressions, radiographs, analysis. 3D positioning and guiding of the implant at the time of surgery by computer interface will change the face of Implant Dentistry in the near future. Surprisingly, all these innovations are just the tip of an iceberg.
Why didn’t you pursue your FCPS and opted for Masters instead?
I did want to enroll myself for Periodontology’s FCPS Program, you never know, I still might. However, going abroad to broaden my horizon was always a dream. It reprogrammed my approach towards dentistry, on a whole.
You are currently associated with multiple job descriptions. How do you sustain such productivity?
I always had a passion for teaching and availed the opportunity to teach at my alma mater. I haven’t taken a single day off since I graduated, and have set my goals straight. I always had a clear image in my mind as to how I want to live my life, and did not waste time or opportunities, in order to move closer to my purpose.
How do you plan on benefitting the upcoming dental graduates?
I hope to share my experiences and training with all the young and driven dentists, who would like to pursue Implantology. I’d like to cater to their expectations and open new avenues for them. Whereas, the GDP should take guidance from trained Implantologists to enhance their skills and provide better patient care.
Message for young enthusiasts, looking forward to make a name in your field of expertise. Also for the ones who are thinking about exploring Implantology?
I would say the typical things like, be sincere to your profession and work hard, as it always pays off. Of course! However, those who want to explore Implantology as their career, it is a great field. My sincere suggestion would be to look for a mentor, who they can observe and learn basics from, eventually enrolling into an Implantology program, as that will give them a head start, leading them in the right direction. After getting basic training through educational courses and workshops, perform self-analysis to evaluate your clinical capabilities.
Who guided you with your ‘study abroad’ plans; and would you recommend others to seek their services?
Like most of the graduates, even after having the mentors to push me in the right direction for my future, I was still unaware about what programs I could pursue abroad.
I went to meet Mr. Hashim Hassan who introduced me to Mrs. Afreen Haider of AusPak. That was the day all my worries came to an end, as I was comprehensively briefed about all the possible courses i could enroll in, and till the time i got admitted into the desired program AusPak helped me through every step. I would highly recommend AusPak for everyone planning to study abroad, that will definitely save them a lot of time and effort.