Investing in yourself and maintaining the artistry in dentistry is what Ash Parmar believes makes a difference. We speak to the owner and practice principal at Chigwell-based Smile Design by Ash
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
AP: I came to the UK from Kenya when aged 11. I studied at a comprehensive school and went to Guy’s Hospital. I qualified in 1991, did vocational training, and then went into partnership. After running three practices over the years, with the support of my family we set up a new state-of-the-art private practice in Chigwell, Essex in January 2011 called Smile Design by Ash.
What or who made you choose a career in dentistry?
AP: I was interested in the science subjects and I remember my sixth-form head at school arranged for me to do some work experience at a new private dental practice. I spent three days there and felt comfortable that dentistry was the right career choice for me (in preference to medicine).
Can you tell us about your training?
AP: I have been fortunate over the years to have been trained by some of the best dentists in the world. Originally, I did many courses run by FMC in London over the years. I then did a lot of my advanced training in the USA, progressing with my skills in cosmetic dentistry and occlusion. Having invested about £250,000 over the two decades in my own training, I feel that I now have much to share with dentists who want to move to the next level (in a precise and fast way), so that they can help change peoples’ lives.
What are your current roles?
AP: My main role is private practice treating patients. I work four days a week doing clinical dentistry. I keep Wednesday and Friday mornings free to have meetings, do treatment planning, etc. I try and keep the weekend free to spend time with my family and have fun. I also do an eight-day hands-on aesthetic, restorative and occlusion course once a year, which typically commences in June and ends in November. This happens at our practice in Chigwell.
Can you tell us about Smile Design by Ash? How did you start up and what obstacles did you face along the way?
AP: This was a ‘squat’ private practice. It is a very special dental practice in terms of the ambience, set-up, the team, the equipment and technology and the reputation. A lot of hard work goes into creating a practice of this calibre. I am blessed to have the support of my father and wife in the business. I have been fortunate to have been busy from day one, and we have focused on building up a strong brand in the local area. I am now getting a lot of referrals from dentists, as well as dentists and their families being my patients.
Tell us about your interest in cosmetic dentistry.
AP: I feel I have a gift for creating the right smile for the individual. I see myself more as an artist rather than a dentist. I am passionate about creating beautiful and healthy smiles, and a perfectionist by nature. I feel patients appreciate the dedication I have doing what I enjoy. The gift of giving someone an amazing, life-changing smile and then seeing them blossom in so many ways such as in their relationship or career is very fulfilling. As dentists, we have the ability to truly impact the lives of our patients…
What do you think is the secret to your success?
AP: My faith in God, the tremendous love and support from my family, my strength as a leader and hard work. You also need a bit of luck along the journey.
What are your opinions on short-term orthodontics?
AP: Very good actually. There are a number of cases that dentists can treat to a very good standard as long as the treatment is done properly using good orthodontic principles. I have personally done the Six Month Smiles and Inman Aligner courses, and we also offer Invisalign. I recommend dentists seek out well recognised trainers in these areas.
How important is patient communication to you?
AP: Hugely important! There is an art of effective communication, co-discovery and ‘selling’. We aim for up to 90% percent case acceptance in our practice. This is because we have a very good new patient journey, and a unique two-hour dental assessment. Patients feel very comfortable and trust us due to the advice and care that we offer.
Describe your typical working week.
AP: Each day I wake up at 5am. I do some yoga and an hour of meditation and chanting. I then go to the health club nearby for a gym session or use the sauna, steam or jacuzzi. I start work at 9am. We have a morning meeting as a team, and I begin seeing patients at 9.30am. I love working with my nurse Jenny who is very caring and efficient. The day just seems to fly by – whether it’s restoring implants, doing a smile makeover, or chatting to a new patient. We try and finish at 5.30pm.
How do you stay abreast of modern techniques?
AP: To be honest, I am ‘coursed out’. I have been truly inspired by fantastic dentists and business coaches. I aim for excellence in clinical techniques in everything I do. Of course, if there is an interesting speaker, I will go to the lecture. I like to review Private Dentistry magazine which is always full of excellent, up to date articles.
Professionally, what are you most proud of?
AP: Setting up Smile Design By Ash. I am also humbled by the fact that dentists book on my course mainly by word of mouth, hearing of how life changing and inspirational the training I offer actually is.
Where do you get your motivation and drive from?
AP: From within I guess. I am a person that is focused on setting a clear vision and goals. I also entrust whatever happens to God and accept his blessings. I also love the concept of The Secret. This is all about the ‘Law Of Attraction’. Your positive thoughts can get you whatever you want!
How do you relax in your spare time? How do you balance work and family life?
AP: We have had the dental practice for five years now. It has been hard work. I have a great associate dentist that has settled in really well. I believe in a good work life balance. I am about to join a golf club, and I enjoy going on holidays too. As busy dentists, time is our most precious commodity. We have to choose what we do. For me, contribution and making a difference and serving others is also important.
Do you have any regrets? What has been your biggest mistake?
AP: To be honest, no big regrets. I believe everything happens for a reason. It is important to turn a negative situation in to a positive one, and learn from mistakes. It is mistakes that actually cost money. I value the opinions of my wife and my father and therefore feel ‘strong’ when deciding anything.
What are your plans for the future?
AP: I feel the next decade is important for me to work as a dentist, as well as help dentists that want to achieve success. I will offer a broader level of training and consulting to suit more dentists. I am content with one dental practice, rather than building an empire. Doing three days of clinical dentistry and being financially secure would be a good goal to have.
Qualifications: BDS (Lond)
Position: Principal dentist at Smile Design By Ash (www.smiledesignbyash.co.uk) and has teaching academy called The Academy By Ash (cwww.theacademybyash.co.uk).
Dental interests: Cosmetic dentistry, advanced restorative dentistry, implants, lasers and fibre/composite dentistry.
Interests out of dentistry: Golf, tennis, gym, swimming, spiritual development, socialising with family/friends.