Meet our young dentist of the year 2016, Affan Saghir

How many dentists receive poetry from their happy patients?

affanMeet Affan - part of an emerging ultra-modern breed of dentists who are changing people’s perceptions of the dental health industry.

All of the great medical dramas we have known and loved over the years have featured a talented, charismatic, and handsome doctor in the leading role.

For ER it was George Clooney in the spotlight as Dr Doug Ross. For Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey stole the show as Dr Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd.

But if a medical drama were to be made about the world of dentistry, we think there is only one doctor who could take up the mantle.

Affan ticks all the boxes to be the star: a professional in his field, dazzling smile, scrubs up well (pun intended), beloved by everyone he treats, and goes above and beyond to prioritise his patients’ wellbeing. In fact, he has been quoted as saying that he would “happily see patients seven days a week” and that his job “has never been work for him” - now that’s someone who’s found their calling.

For the majority of us, our childhood dreams of “what we want to be when we grow up” will change a great deal, often to the point where we are doing something completely the opposite as an adult. But for Affan, he always knew that his future lay in dentistry.

“I always enjoyed art, and I found science fascinating. I was keen to decide between a career in medicine or dentistry. My friend’s parents are both dentists and I distinctly remember going to discuss my future in dentistry with Dr Mark and Liz Bishop, and their passion for it was clear. I instantly decided in that moment that I would love to become a dentist one day.”

And it’s safe to say that he has never faltered on the path to his dream job.

Affan graduated from the Dental Institute at the University of Leeds in 2013; a school that is renowned throughout the country for providing outstanding education in the fields of science and medicine. Since leaving higher education three years ago, Affan has completed his Foundation Training, and achieved a Diploma at The Royal College of Surgeons - always striving to become better in his field. He routinely attends courses and conferences to further his skills and provide the best quality care for patients.

His achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. At this year’s mydentist Clinical Conference, Affan was presented with the Young Dentist of the Year Award at the spectacular evening gala. As well as his incredible commitment to his profession and patients, Affan was nominated, by his district’s area manager Dave Mantle, for always striving to provide high quality patient care.



Where patient care comes first

affan2On graduating in June 2013, Affan started working at the Avondale Dental practice in Shipley, West Yorkshire, which has since been taken over by the UK’s largest dental provider mydentist. Since joining he has garnered a reputation for being smart, suave, and quite the charmer.

His patients love him. That much is clear. And to Affan, his job is about so much more than fixing teeth; he works hard to build a close and personal relationship with each patient as it is this which he believes is key to providing excellent care.

“I treat every patient with care and compassion,” Affan told us. “Every member of our team works together to provide patients with a great dental experience. I personally meet every patient from the waiting area; I greet them with a smile and a handshake and introduce them to our dental nurse. We spend time getting to know the patient, and all patients deserve to feel at ease and have a positive experience.”

affan3As we said, his patients love him. And it’s not surprising given the lengths that he will go to in order to ensure that every single one of his patients receive the best quality care

“I feel very privileged to be practicing dentistry,” Affan continued. “On a personal level, being able to build a good rapport and relationship with patients is genuinely the most enjoyable part of the profession. I treat my patients with the same level of care and passion as I would my family. Clinically, having a good relationship with patients definitely makes them feel at ease and allows for an enjoyable dental visit. I personally wish for all my patients to go home feeling well looked after and having a pleasant experience.”

And you don’t just have to take our word for it. Affan regularly takes to his Twitter account to share the touching tokens of appreciation that his patients offer him, whether it’s a thank you card or even a poem one time!

The social dentist

affan4Most people out there would believe that dentistry and Twitter don’t go hand-in-hand, but for Affan, social media is an important tool. Not only using it to showcase parts of his personality, he also uses it to connect with patients, and break down people’s pre-existing thoughts on the industry.

“Social media is increasingly becoming important,” Affan commented. “Although I am no expert, I try to add insightful simple messages to improve the general view of dentistry. There are excellent role models who have definitely improved the outlook of dentistry, such as ‘The Singing Dentist’ (Milad Shadrooh) through the power of social media.”

“It helps me to build a strong rapport with patients. Nowadays, many people attend their dental visit having checked online to learn about their dental team beforehand. Social media is a great way for patients to feel comfortable prior to entering with the fear of the unknown. I feel for some patients, being able to see how passionate we are within the dental profession helps to reassure them.”

A quick peek at Affan’s Twitter account reveals much about the young dentist. In fact, to quote the man himself: ‘Suits, Style, Cars, Art.’ It’s clear even from this small snippet into his life that Affan is a passionate individual, who likes to inspire, be inspired, and isn’t afraid to set goals and smash them.

But above all else, his social media brings his love and dedication to dentistry out of the office and into the real world. In addition to sharing posts that emphasis his suave sense of style, Affan’s Twitter is dotted with images and tweets showcasing his commitment to learning as much as he possibly can.

What would Affan say to those planning to follow in his footsteps?

affan6With his spark for dentistry so evident, we wanted Affan to share  a few pearls of wisdom to those who may be considering a similar career path.

“I would strongly recommend investing in your profession,” Affan advises first of all. “I have been on multiple courses improving my dental techniques and skill since graduating. Alongside this, I would invest in high-quality equipment, such as dental loupes and a DSLR Camera. But that’s not all.

“Being passionate and motivated is very important. I relish the opportunity to care for patients and am keen to volunteer to help patients where possible. Finally, I would advise taking every opportunity to learn from the dental team around you. I have learned lots from dentists over the years, many of whom I would describe as my mentors.”

What’s next for Affan?

The passion and obligation that Affan feels towards his profession are so profound that they come across in everything he says and does. With everything from his tailor-made scrubs to his commitment to continuing his education in his spare time, it’s clear that Affan wants to be at the forefront of his field as it continues to grow and develop with the times…

“I want to keep learning and improving the dentistry I provide. I want to make sure I always offer my patients excellent quality and comprehensive care every single time they visit me. And I aim to do this by working within a team who reflect similar values and enthusiasm to care for patients.”

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