How Other Cultures Can Influence Your Dentistry; a short interview with Dr Raj Nath

With a number of qualifications and years of experience to his name, you’d probably expect Dr Raj Nath to be satisfied with where he is in his career. However, far from staying within his comfort zone, Dr Nath is currently embarking upon an extended mission to advance his dentistry through the exploration of the industry in countries around the world. “Learning is never ending,” he says. “Each time one thing is learnt, something new presents itself.”

Having begun his travel journey a number of years ago, Raj has had the opportunity to explore countries in almost every continent, and has now visited more than 40 in total. Speaking about his continuous journey, he said: “Travel exposes you to new ideas and new people and new way of thinking, it opens ones mind and professionally it benefits to have exposure to pathways that wouldn’t have been considered otherwise.”

Although Dr Nath has gained experience and insight from every country he’s visited, he claims the most enlightening in terms of his career were Baku and Shanghai. According to Raj, both countries are drastically different, practising dentistry on a foundation of complex philosophies distinct to their cultures, but still in keeping with British concepts. Commenting on the benefits he gains through observing these alternative approaches, he added: “Travel provides life experiences which cannot be gained anywhere else. If travel and learning is united it is an unbeatable combination.”

Dr Nath also ensures he takes advantage of his experiences as soon as he can when he returns home. In fact, he often ensures he has patients lined up for his return to the UK after each trip to make sure he cements his most recent lessons before his memories are diluted. Once practiced in a familiar environment, he suggests that these new skills can quickly become part of his everyday dentistry, benefiting both patients and practice in the long run. “Ultimately, the experience and skills stay with you,” he said. “This will benefit you and the people around you.”

Unfortunately, not all dentists have the opportunity or time to travel while running a dental practice. To help bypass this problem, Dr Nath has put together a set of ten suggested improvements dentists can make in order to develop their dentistry without leaving the UK. These include:

  1. Open your mind – Make sure you’re open to new techniques and update equipment that could enhance your dentistry
  2. Get rid of dogma – Embrace different ways of thinking about the industry
  3. Ask questions – You may not always like the answers you receive, but it’s always beneficial to be aware and expand your knowledge
  4. Be kind – This applies to both your patients and other people within your industry
  5. Do charity work – Away from travelling, nothing provides an alternative view of the world quite like volunteering for charities
  6. Look after the elderly – Quality care for older people is vital to extending their lives, and should be a focus for any dental practice
  7. Relax – Dentistry shouldn’t just be about hard work, and finding ways to relax could boost your efficiency
  8. Do something different – Exploring different ways of doing things can help you ensure you always provide the best technique for each patient’s individual needs
  9. Love being you – Be proud of your achievements and ensure you don’t shy away from praise
  10. Remember that it’s ok to fail – Things don’t always go as planned in the dental profession, but remember to take the rough with the smooth, and always keep smiling