We speak to Rhona Eskander, winner of Best Young Dentist, London at The Private Dentistry Awards 2016 and winner of Facial Aesthetics, Botulinum Toxin, at the Aesthetic Dentistry Awards 2017.

What does winning this award mean to you?

Rhona Eskander (RE): It means the world to me – I’ve worked hard all year to achieve this moment. I’ve recognised the hard work and commitment it takes to obtain this level of recognition. I honestly cannot express how happy I feel. I am on cloud nine.

Do you think it’s important to recognise talent in dentistry? 

RE: It’s funny you ask me this. I believe that nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. ‘Talent’ implies that someone is somehow born with a gift. This definitely does not apply to me. I have had to work very hard to get where I want to be. However, not using talent means nothing. It’s been my persistence and dedication to becoming a better dentist that has made the difference. This, I think, is essential to be recognised. The young dentists of the future need to fight to make our dental climate a better place. If this can be embraced it will encourage bigger and better change. Indeed, not winning last year pushed me harder to become a better dentist – so yes, it is very important.

How might it help you in the future?

RE: Human beings by nature seek affirmation and I think if you have the recognition behind you the public and your patients will trust you even more. I want to reach out to people to create the best environment for patients. By gaining this recognition more people can be reached. Winning an award allows you to distinguish yourself from competitors and ensure that as many potential patients as possible are aware of your titles. Being shortlisted or wining an award serves as testament to a one’s work ethic, dedication and unique specialty. The award attracts people who will be more likely to consider an individual. It also serves to reinforcing the loyalty of existing patients. It has created further opportunities within the industry to make a difference.

What do you see are the main challenges faced by young dentists?

RE: Unfortunately we are living in an extremely litigious society and this is not getting any better. We have to stand strong as a profession and recognise that what we do for our patients is worth its weight in gold. Professionally we are being challenged by the media – this means that we are more in the spotlight everyday so we need to use this to our advantage.

Use the media to change the face of dentistry for the better. More and more dentists are being scrutinised for not going down a specialist route and carrying out complex dentistry – you must invest correctly and do not take any short cuts. Also, I think socially we are putting ourselves out there more with social media. This can have pros and cons, however, we are also making ourselves more vulnerable to criticism.

What advice would you give to any young dentists following in your footsteps?

RE: Always work from your heart – if you love what you do, then do everything in your power to be a better clinician. Spend money on courses and invest in your future. Do not be afraid to make mistakes and if you fail at anything be it a poor endo, failed composite, do not let it scare you. Embrace this as a learning opportunity. Mistakes are a part of our career. Be decisive about your career. Do not put off by making decisions. Why do we put off making decisions? The biggest reason is fear. We often avoid decisions because we’re afraid of failing, of making the wrong decision. If you are enjoying a certain part of dentistry then invest time and money learning more about it. Even if you want to be an amazing GDP – nourish those skills. I think if one ever feels lost then ask yourself questions:

  1. Ask yourself specifically what do you want. Describe exactly what you want, both to yourself and to someone else. How much? Do you want to be a specialist? A GDP? Think about it
  2. Ask someone who can help you. Mentors, colleagues, anyone has the skills you want, ask them for advice, experience is invaluable and they can always guide you
  3. Ask questions all the time and with focused, congruent belief. If you aren’t convinced about what you’re asking for, how can anyone else be? Demonstrate that you’re sure of what you want and you’ll get that much closer to your goals. Mentors and people who have achieved a lot can help guide you.

For more information visit www.theprivatedentistryawards.com and www.aestheticdentistryawards.com.