Specialist Dental Group has launched an on-going series of blog posts by our individual dental specialists. All views provided are the dentist’s own opinions and are posted on this blog as part of our on-going efforts to educate the public about dental issues and other matters of interest relating to dentistry and healthcare.
I was born in the UK, in Liverpool and am of Chinese ethnic origin. My Father’s family have been in the UK for over 100 years, but my Mother came from China in the 1950’s. I am British, but also known as a BBC – not the public broadcasters, but British Born Chinese.
I was a partner in a dental practice in Central London and was also a part-time Clinical Lecturer at the Eastman Dental Hospital and was very happy with my work. However, we decided to move as a family to experience a new country/culture/lifestyle and to take on a new challenge, professionally.
We had been to Singapore 3 times to meet people and look at places to live etc and once we made the decision to emigrate, I sold my share of the business and resigned my academic position.
The move itself was a logistical problem in that there were a number of things we had to do to physically move. This was difficult, but we were organized and well-prepared. What was very difficult was leaving our families behind and not knowing when we would see them again. Skype is only a partial substitute for human contact.
After much deliberation and several meetings I settled on a group practice called Specialist Dental Group based at the prestigious Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. They were able to provide the support and environment to allow me to practice the type of dentistry I wanted to do and also to stretch my abilities to accept new challenges.
In my more than 20 years as a dentist I have worked in many practices and teaching hospitals in the UK and was not too apprehensive about working in a new country. The main difference I encountered was cultural. Although London is cosmopolitan and diverse there is a conservative attitude and patients take time to consider all the options and associated fees before deciding on a course of treatment. It is not uncommon for you to see a patient who returns after a year to finally say “ok let’s go ahead”.
Here at Specialist Dental Group, the concept of “dental tourism” is well established. Patients are often visiting from neighbouring countries and are attending for other medical problems at the same time and so their teeth are just one aspect of the purpose of their visit.
Patients are well informed and come armed with the knowledge to ask the right questions. Once presented with a treatment plan, acceptance is usually quickly decided and the fees, although important, are of secondary consideration. They not only want the best treatment, but also it must fit in with their travel plans and SDG are experts at providing this.
Luckily I am surrounded by a very capable team and the support and encouragement I have received has been very important in the settling in period. I am still learning the “local ways” and am relishing the challenge. Specialist Dental Group provides a “patient journey” that is second to none. I am fortunate to be a part of this and hope I can contribute to further their reputation.
Dr. Steven Soo is a Prosthodontist at Specialist Dental Group. He was formerly a Clinical Lecturer at the Eastman Dental Institute and Clinical Teacher at the GKT Dental Institute, both of which are affiliated with the University of London. Dr Soo has a special interest in prosthetic and implant restorative dentistry. For more information, visit www.specialistdentalgroup.com