Dr Billal Arshad
It’s thriving already, but according to recent predictions, the global restorative dental market is set to continue to grow and reach £19.2bn by 2025. One man who knows all about its popularity is 30-year-old Dr Billal Arshad, a dentist with a special interest in restorative and aesthetic dentistry and one of the most exciting and talented young dentists in the field.
We discover his passion for changing the lives of patients and giving them something to really smile about, an unwavering work ethic and why patients will continue to be a driving force behind the growth in restorative dentistry.
Where it all began
Manchester born and bred Billal starts by sharing what inspired him to become a dentist. The son of an electrician, Billal learnt from his father at an early age the job satisfaction he gained from working with his hands.
“I learnt by the age of 12 years old how to repair a Walkman or radio from my dad. I used to spend a lot of time with him as he worked. But more than that I learnt that whatever career I decided to pursue I wanted to use my hands. It was my brother, who was studying medicine at university at the time, who suggested dentistry – he knew I had an interest in surgery, that I was creative and that I had a head for problem solving and being analytical. It was hard work studying to become a dentist but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
In 2013 Billal qualified and the hard work continued with long seven-day weeks that saw him working around the world. The pay-off was that he could save enough money to buy his first dental practice, AV Dental in Wakefield.
And it’s also where his interest in restorative and aesthetic dentistry developed as he acquired new skills and experience from dentists in Milan and Japan.
“On my travels I got to see some incredibly talented and innovative approaches to restorative and aesthetic dentistry and it made me question, why don’t we do that in the UK? The focus in the UK has always been on functionality over aesthetics – but the two can work side-by-side.”
Having completed a master’s degree and courses around the globe Billal has since built up an impressive reputation among both peers and patients.
Putting in the hours
Just as impressive as his reputation is Billal’s work ethic. He sees private and NHS patients at his practice in Wakefield and also works for some of the best practices in the North in Liverpool, Manchester and York sharing his restorative and aesthetic expertise.
And that’s not all, he teaches regularly, in fact he’s just finished off teaching at the University of Manchester when I interview him and he’s recently launched his own restorative dentistry training course with a friend.
“I wanted to create a course that could combine the clinical experience with the theoretical. So often I’ve seen courses offering theory with little of the practical and vice versa and that, for me, has always seemed lacking. Our idea is to give dentists the confidence to have a more innovative approach to restorative dentistry.”
Something to smile about
It’s clear that Billal likes to be busy and is driven by a passion for giving his patient a smile they want to show off.
“It’s so rewarding to see a patient who would previously cover their mouth when they spoke to be unable to wipe the smile from their face when they’ve finished their treatment. It’s more than just a physical change, for the vast majority of patients, it can also be a positive mental change to their self-esteem and confidence.”
He also tells me he prides himself on being able to work with patients who may have previously given up hope of ever changing their smiles.
“I thrive on a challenge. I seem to have a knack for seeing things from a different perspective and I think that’s really helped me in dentistry.
“Often I see patients who have pretty much given up hope. They may have spent years struggling with an issue and are unaware of all the options available to them. My job is to arm patients with all the options and information available, give them advice and guidance and help bridge that educational gap so they can achieve their goals and have something to smile about.”
A social revolution
Social media is a channel Billal uses to promote his talents, his Instagram page (Dr Billy Arshad) alone has more than 2,000 followers and showcases some of his proudest before and after pictures alongside posts of thanks from his patients.
But social media is also a contributor, according to Billal, to the rise in popularity for aesthetic dentistry.
“Technology, social media and our connected lives have made dentistry more accessible to patients. They’re becoming more aware of what treatment is available to them.
“It’s a real departure from when I carried out my first white filling and the patient was shocked to find that a white filling was even available. That wasn’t all that long ago either.
“Now patients are becoming savvy about the treatment they can have and that makes them more empowered.”
My time with Billal is almost up so I ask him what he thinks it takes to be a great dentist today.
“To be progressive. Nothing is standing still. Not technology, patient expectations or their needs so why would a dentist.”
It’s clear to me that, like the global restorative dental market, Billal’s career is only going one way – up.
For more information on Dr Arshad’s training course search ‘Academy For Dentists’ on Facebook.