In the 21st century, there have been some notable additions to the field of dentistry. It is no overstatement to say that Lagos-based frontline dentist, Dr Abiodun Oluwaseun Ogundeji, is to dentistry what Lebron James is to basketball. They both share the bar in the stratosphere in their respective professions. For the dentist, his career accolades are an extensive and growing list that reads like a Morgan Freeman filmography. With a debonair flair to go with his artistic talents, the dentist is helping change how dentistry is perceived. He stands out as a rarefied outlier in the dental community as he combines precision with personality. In a chat with Damilola Ogunnaike, he tells of how as a child the dental hand -piece inspired him to pursue a career in dentistry,
At what age did you know that you wanted to be a dentist, and what inspired you?
I never knew I would be a dentist but have always wanted to be a doctor with the aim of specialising in a field that would make me relevant to patients and the community as a whole. You wouldn’t believe it if I tell you that I once saw a dentist in 1997 and was fascinated with the “dental hand piece” and which turned out to be what inspired me to pursue a career in dentistry.
What can you tell us about Platinum Dental Surgery and how it all began?
It was formed out of the need to impact the lives of people, most especially the common man on the street who lacks adequate care on dental needs, as our mouth is the gateway to our body. On this note, came the propeller that made Platinum Dental Surgery to be formed. We started on the 27th of May 2013 with pioneer staff with goals in mind to build a team that will further affect lives of a common man, for the sole aim contributing its quota to the populace.
How much went into starting Platinum Dental Surgery and what is it worth today?
There is no financial implication that can be used to quantify how we started. But it’s worth the patience, time and efforts that we all see today.
Could you elaborate on your vision of the type of dental career you wanted to have when you were starting out?
To impact on the lives of the common man who can’t afford premium dental service and to help reduce the perception of not being able to partake in a qualitative dental care.
How are you able to balance a busy dental practice with an entrepreneurial pursuit such as a growing company like Platinum Dental Surgery?
Balancing a dental practice and the entrepreneurial pursuit came on with so many years of experience gathered when I worked with various dental clinics, and more also I have good hands who have been exposed in the industry over the years as part of my decision-making board.
What were some of the keys to the overall success of Platinum Dental Surgery?
Determination, consistence, painstaking perseverance, team spirit and transparency.
Over the years, is there one patient who stood out from others?
I can’t particularly say now because over these few years I have come to meet so many patients, and saying one who stood out is an understatement, because every one of them stood out and made a great impact in the development of my practice.
Who were some of your influences that you looked up to?
There are lots of them which include my parents, professors and consultants in the dental and medical field. Notable dental clinics and the internet were my strongest influence.
What advice do you have for the newer generation of dentists who aspire to be the next you?
My candid advice would be: explore and explore and explore, make every chance an opportunity and never forget to impact lives.
Where do you see the future of dentistry?
In the nearest future, I see dentistry to be a common name, where every household should be able to embrace dentistry as an important schedule to a healthy living in respective of your immediate background.
What advice would you give to someone opening up a practice today?
My simple advice is make sure you have the right hands, gather all necessary information and create more awareness in your desired field that will help drive your patronage.
What are some of the keys to growing a large and successful multi-specialty dental practice?
Accreditation, credibility, years of experience, accountability, sustainability, good managerial expertise and a clean environment.
When you reflect on your career, is there anything that you would change?
Yes, I would love to change the orientation of people about dentistry and help impact them in the area of adequate dental care for a better healthy life.
In your youth, was there a voice inside you that said ‘pursue dentistry and you will be extremely successful in it?’
Yes, I feel that with God’s backing, adequate skill set and experience, both clinically and administratively, one is bound for success in any chosen field.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Patients’ satisfaction and touching lives.
What are some career milestones still left for you to achieve?
Just watch as the story unfolds.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change about the future of dentistry?
To change the negative orientation of dentistry in Nigeria on the part of government in terms of policies, the national health insurance being more proactive, the teaching hospitals upgrading to the best international practice and not just mere consulting centres with inadequate facilities and improving the poor oral health seeking behaviour amongst the populace.
If you could change the smile of someone with a high profile, who would it be?
You are considered a front line dentist of repute, at least for your generation. What keeps you going?
Persistence, accountability, responsibility and selflessness.