Five Minutes with Dr Mehwish Mansoor, Dentist
1. Where did you start your dentistry career?
My journey as a dentist started when I graduated in the city of Lahore in Pakistan from the oldest and most prestigious dental school there. We had a wide variety of patients coming in from all parts of the country. I did my first clinical internship in the public hospital associated with our dental school. It was a very exciting opportunity for a young graduate like me, albeit one that carried an enormous responsibility. After twelve months of working in all the different disciples of dentistry, I started working in a private clinic that was owned by one of our teachers.
Fast forward many years and I moved to Ireland where a whole new world opened to me, regarding not only dentistry but also in the form of a very inviting and inclusive culture and people. It has been a very happening journey and sometimes I am surprised myself when I think of the young and clueless teenage girl roaming in huge corridors of the age old building of Demontmorency Institute of Dental Sciences after clearing all the requisite exams to be there.
2. What do you enjoy most about dentistry and how do you spend your spare time?
I enjoy all aspects of general routine dentistry but there are certainly a few things about my profession that I particularly enjoy. There is a sense of accomplishment in helping people and I am very fortunate that dentistry is one of the few professions where rewards go beyond monetary, you get to connect with people on their level and help remove their pain or discomfort. At the end of each day, nothing satisfies you more completely than being of use to another human being.
Secondly, I particularly enjoy the emphasis on prevention and disease control that has been put on oral health in the recent years. In the 80s and 90s, dentistry was more about treating the disease after it has occurred. Now we have evolved into professionals who can prevent a vast majority of oral and dental health issues by preventative measures. This saves a huge amount of time, money and discomfort in the later years. I love educating people about their oral health so they can see dentists as allies who will work with them to avoid most of the dental health problems, and treat the ones that are remaining in the most minimally invasive manner possible.
Regarding my spare time, I have been an avid reader all my life. Nothing is as relaxing at the end of a long day as a book. I also have two young boys and most of my time is spent tearing them away from their gadgets so we can read, draw, play, walk and cook together. Growing up, my favorite sport was badminton and I still love any chance I can get to take the rackets out, weather permitting, of course.
3. What is that last thing you have done to improve your skills/knowledge?
Like all professional fields, it is vital that we keep learning in dentistry too so our knowledge and skills are up to date. I very regularly attend Royal College Intensive Revision Courses that gathers all the professors and masters in the different fields of dentistry to get on one forum and teach the current best practices in their field of expertise.
I have also attended hands on refresher courses in the Dublin Dental Hospital to improve my clinical skills. The feedback that you get from the teachers and seniors there plays a big role in improving your work.
4. How do you suggest for a nervous patent who needs to see a dentist but is too nervous?
I understand that a lot of people have the nagging feeling that they need to see a dentist but they may have some fears, for example of pain, judgement or a horrible diagnosis. What I would suggest them firstly is that there is nothing unusual about it. It is perfectly normal to be afraid of dentists, sometimes our previous experiences also factor in to our fears. However, you need to visualise your first appointment as just the knowing process, both of the dentist and and his opinion about your teeth and discussion and planning of all the available treatment options.
Dentistry has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years and patients are explained each and every step of their treatment plan. We want your treatment to be as painless as possible and for you to be as comfortable as possible so your appointments are happy, pleasant and productive for both of us. We also prefer minimally invasive treatments and maximum preservation of your teeth and supporting structures. There is no judgement in a dental clinic, just friendly professionals who would love to see you and your family smile their best.
5. What makes Pembroke dental a great place to work?
Pembroke Dental has to be one of the best dental practices in this country to work in. The sense of camaraderie and teamwork makes everything easier. Everyone looks out for their colleagues and take pride and joy in each other’s accomplishments. Dentistry itself can be somewhat of a lonely experience in some workplaces, but not Pembroke. This place is bustling with life and activity and there is always a friendly ear around if you need it. Also, the presence of so many specialists and general dental practitioners under one roof makes the brain storming of ideas and continual learning a daily part of our professional lives.
6. How can I get my kids to brush their teeth?
As a mother I can fully appreciate how hard it can be to get our children into these small daily habits. There is a lot of patience and consistency needed to get them to brush their teeth thoroughly and regularly. Up until the age of 7 years, you need to be helping them do it properly, especially regarding cleaning the back teeth well. Kids don’t really have enough manual dexterity to reach all the nook and crannies of their mouth where most of the sweet and sticky stuff is quite possibly lurking around.
From seven, you can gradually hand them over the responsibility of brushing their teeth, and you can invest in their favorite cartoon character brush, a timer and pleasant tasting toothpaste to make the process more fun of them. However, you may still need to remind them or ask if they have done it. You can also round them up and do your own flossing and brushing in their presence so you can keep an eye on the way they are doing it. And very importantly, keep on bringing them to the dental clinic every 6 or 12 months as advised by the dentist according to your child’s dental health. Being reminded by the dentist and shown proper brushing technique in the clinic can really help them understand and form good dental hygiene habits.