We sat down with specialist orthodontist and founder of The London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic, Dr Asif Chatoo, to discuss his passion for lingual orthodontics and the story behind starting his own clinic.
Why did you choose to be an orthodontist?
While training to be a dentist, there were two areas which interested me most: oral surgery and orthodontics. I decided in favour of orthodontics because I enjoyed the interaction with patients, especially seeing how children grow in confidence as their smiles improve.
Why did you decide to focus on lingual braces?
In my third and final year of specialist training, I was invited to a lecture given by Dr Didier Fillion. It was the first time I discovered lingual braces and I was amazed. After the lecture, I went to speak to Dr Fillion and asked him how I could learn more. As soon as I completed my specialist training, I enrolled on his course – and the rest is history!
Tell us about owning your first practice.
It was a big decision to open my own practice, but in hindsight it was the right move at the right time. Shortly after completing my course in Lingual Orthodontics in Paris, I was approached by Dr Fillion, who was looking to open a clinic in London and wanted a partner.
We decided to call it The London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic and it opened in April 2005 in its current location in Wimpole Street. It was the first clinic in UK to be dedicated to lingual braces. I now provide all forms of aesthetic orthodontic treatment with aligners and fixed lingual braces.
How would you describe the way you work?
I like to think I have a holistic approach to treatment; I take great pride in the fact that I work with an excellent hygienist, cosmetic dentist, nutritionist and speech therapist to provide care for all my clients.
I want to give my patients the kind of service I would want to receive. I also want the clinic to provide my patients with an escape from their busy day. It is not unusual for many of them to remain in the clinic after their appointment to have a cup of coffee and read the paper or magazines and just take a short break from everything else.
What do you like most about your work?
The relationship I have with my patients is very important to me and I enjoy getting to know people from all walks of life, all ages and nationalities, whilst the perfectionist in me has enjoyed developing skills in digital dentistry. The SureSmile software that I use allows me to be more precise about finishing the treatment for my patients. It also helps to satisfy the requirements of some of the excellent colleagues that I work with, even if they require movements to a fraction of a millimetre. This pleases me! Outside of work I enjoy being with my two young daughters, who never cease to amaze and entertain me.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
There aren’t many jobs where you are almost guaranteed a big smile from your client when they see what you have done for them. The other day I got an email from a patient after her wedding. She said she had just seen her photographs and realised just how lovely her smile had become and wanted to say thank you. How lovely is that?