Award winning dentists Dr Zainab Al Mukhtar & Dr Ahmed Hussain open up to Celebrity Make Up Artist - Kaniz Ali in there sizzling interview with Grazia!
Grazia: What inspired you both to head into dentistry?
Dr Zainab: I grew up around dentists. My mum was a dentist and I saw the way she worked. I spent so much time around dental clinics as a child, it was a familiar environment. I loved how she touched so many lives, and created a fun environment, always smiling and singing at work, it was such an engaging place to be. Dentistry combined all the things I loved: artistry and creativity, human connection and science. I wanted nothing more than to pursue that path.
Dr Ahmed: It was always between dentistry and medicine for me. I chose dentistry, because it’s so specialised. I love the creativity that comes with it and that it has the potential to impact people.
Grazia: How did you both meet?
Dr Ahmed: I was in my 3rd year of dental school and met Zainab when she came in for her dental school interview. I was on the interview panel! The rest is history.
Dr Zainab: I noticed Ahmed that day but was extremely laser focussed at that interview. It was later, after many ‘coincidental’ encounters that he finally approached me.
Grazia: What inspired you both to open up a dental practice together?
Dr Ahmed: We both worked in the same practice as associates for a few years so we knew what we were buying into. We had similar visions and aspirations. Buying the practice allowed us to convert this vision into reality.
Dr Zainab: We wanted to be able to deliver something special. High quality care in a calm atmosphere with a very personalised approach and a strong ethos of safety and ethics.
Grazia: What services does Harrow on Hill Dental & Facial Aesthetics offer?
Dr Zainab & Dr Ahmed: We offer advanced non surgical facial aesthetic treatments, skin treatments and laser hair removal. And of course cosmetic dentistry, routine dentistry, as well as hygiene treatments. Our most sought after treatments in the clinic are invisalign, veneers, composite bonding, facial sculpting, and the non surgical rhinoplasty.
Grazia: What are the pros and cons of working together?
Dr Zainab & Dr Ahmed:
- We understand each other well.
- We help each other, it’s great when we can get a second opinion from each other.
- Sometimes it’s challenging to separate work and family time, although we don’t work on the same days, so that helps. We have made a point of not talking about work too much. We don’t discuss work when we are taking care of the kids – we learnt this during the lockdowns! We’ve found that it is vital to compartmentalise the different aspects of life.
Grazia: How do you both manage work-life balance especially with having two very young children?
Dr. Zainab & Dr. Ahmed: It’s challenging because we both work hard and sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day so being super organised is key. Working on different days allows us to spend time with the kids, each doing school runs, kids bed time etc, while the other is holding the fort in the clinic. “Sunday funday”, as the kids call it, is the family day when we are finally all together. Work doesn’t come into this day. We are still continuously learning and striving to maintain the right balance.
Grazia: What are the challenges of being a dentist?
Dr. Zainab & Dr. Ahmed: Dentistry requires a combination of demanding physical and mental skills that are often all at play at the same time: Manual precision, strong communication skills, time management, and patience, all while trying to limit poor posture and eye strain.
Plus dentists have to be consistent with all this, there is usually no space in the day when we can sit back, until all duties are done well.
We see patients not as mouths, but as whole human beings who come with sometimes complex needs, fears and expectations. There are days where dentists could be working without a lunch break because we needed to go the extra mile for a complex treatment.
We both love dentistry, feel grateful, and find it super rewarding. But it is well known that the high pressure can take its toll – so all dentists need to be mindful of taking good care of themselves and spotting potential signs of burnout. If we look after ourselves we can take better care of everyone else.
Grazia: What’s the best advice you would both give to someone thinking of pursuing a career in dentistry?
Dr. Zainab & Dr. Ahmed: Ensure that you have good manual dexterity, are a people’s person, and that you work well under pressure. Get some work experience in a busy practice to see if the day to day work appeals to you. If you like it, work hard and go for it, it can be a really fulfilling career.
Grazia: What are your interests outside of dentistry and facial aesthetics?
Dr. Ahmed: My hobbies are tennis and football. The gym is a regular part of my life. I enjoy travelling and love the sun!
Dr. Zainab: I love teaching outside of clinical work. My hobbies are sketching (of facial features!), reading broadly and swimming. I am really keen on personal development, and travelling everywhere!
Grazia: Tell us about two qualities that would make a good dentist
Dr Ahmed: Eye for detail and good communication skills.
Dr Zainab: Precision and empathy. Dentistry really needs the human touch.