Fawzia Walji has achieved her dream of opening her own dental practice – The Smile Suite in Nottingham. Here she explains how it all came together, with more than a little help from NSK along the way.
Since I graduated from Barts and The London Dental School in 2010, I’ve worked as a general practitioner in both NHS and private dentistry. This has allowed me to gain knowledge and experience at various practices from treating patients of different backgrounds to providing treatments in a range of disciplines.
In 2018, my husband and I started to look at the possibility of opening our own practice which finally came about with the setting up of a squat practice in Nottingham. We decided this would be a great opportunity to start from scratch and have complete control over the design of the practice and the setting up of the team to deliver really efficient and optimal dental care.
We opened The Smile Suite in September 2019 as a private practice offering general and restorative dentistry, looking to extend our services as the practice grew. However, just six months after opening, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, stopping everything in its tracks. When something has been in the pipeline for so long, not to mention all the planning and building work, this was a big setback. However, it was a challenge everyone was facing together and we adapted by offering advice and triage from home until services could resume. And on the positive side, we have retained a number of patients that we treated during the lockdown, which has been really good for us.
Opening a squat practice always brings challenges along the way. We spent a lot of time deciding on the treatments we wanted to offer, looking at the local demographics in terms of marketing and making ourselves familiar with the regulations in order to be compliant, something that dental school doesn’t teach you! And as we were starting from scratch, we really wanted the right team to be part of our project as well as have all the right equipment in place.
When you work as an associate, you have to work with the equipment the practice has, but with your own practice, you are free to choose what suits everyone best. We researched all types of equipment from different manufacturers, we also went to dental shows and asked colleagues for their advice. However, we soon found the equipment that NSK was offering. The technology, the innovation, the feel of the handpieces and the level of customer service we received from the start ensured that NSK was the way we wanted to go.
We have chosen to use a range of NSK handpieces including the Ti-Max Z900L air turbine, the small and slim Ti-Max nano 25LS contra-angle and both Ti-Max X65L and S-Max M65L straight handpieces. We also rely on the Ti-Max Z95L speed-increasing contra-angle with high precision cutting action for restorative work that provides a choice of a water/air mix or water jet only to provide optimum cooling with significantly reduced aerosols.
Now we have an oral surgeon working with us, we have purchased the NSK Surgic Pro for surgical extractions and to allow us to begin offering implant treatment. When we interviewed for this position a number of candidates mentioned the Surgic Pro, so we knew it was something that receives really good clinician feedback and made it an obvious choice.
To maintain our handpieces, all of our team have been happy with the NSK iCare. It automatically lubricates handpieces before sterilisation and integrates seamlessly into the decontamination cycle – an efficient piece of equipment that’s quick and easy to use.
When it came to choosing an autoclave, especially with our practice doing a lot of endodontic and surgical treatments, we wanted a vacuum autoclave to sterilise our equipment and handpieces in the best possible way to ensure everything is totally safe for use. The NSK iClave plus Class B vacuum autoclave fits the bill perfectly with a large chamber volume, fast cycles and effective drying, plus all our sterilisation cycles can be stored on a USB data logger for total traceability.
Great customer support
When you’re opening a practice and buying a lot of equipment, some of which you’re not so familiar with, customer service is key. With NSK, and especially our local product specialist Jo Dronfield, we have received excellent service from the start. Jo has also provided in-practice training for our associates on the Surgic Pro and our nurses in terms of cleaning and maintaining our equipment using the iCare and iClave. She is readily available and always happy to help.
When we opened as a squat practice, it was like having a blank canvas and it gave us so many options. We know that great service begins from the moment you answer the telephone or when a patient is greeted at the door, and as more new patients join the practice it’s so rewarding, not just for myself but for the team as well.
We have a lot of plans to expand the services we offer at The Smile Suite. We aim to deliver high-quality care and continue to be that facility within the community where patients can come to us and be happy with the care that they receive. We want to nurture and build on that as the team and the practice grow to reach their full potential – we have a lot to look forward to!
Fawzia Walji BDS Hons
Dr Fawzia Walji graduated from Barts and The London Dental School in 2010 and went on to establish The Smile Suite in 2019. Fawzia has specific interests in restorative as well as cosmetic dentistry, with a focus on Invisalign and teeth whitening treatments.
Dr Walji ensures a patient-centred approach and has always maintained a vision of providing the highest standards in oral health. She is dedicated and compassionate, working to continuously offer her patients the best care
The Smile Suite, 76 Pavior Road, Nottingham NG5 5UF