…a conversation with Dr. Anuraag Sharma, Associate with dentalcorp
Today we shine the spotlight on Dr. Anuraag Sharma, who shares his passion for creating wonderful smiles and helping people live life to its fullest. Dr. Sharma currently practices at Toothworks Sterling Dental in Toronto, Ontario.
Tell me a bit about your background and how you got into dentistry?
What drew me to dentistry as a profession was the idea that I could create wonderful smiles and make a difference in people’s lives. I have a post-graduate degree in Prosthodontics from India, ran my own successful practice, while also teaching at a dental school. After moving to Canada, I obtained my Canadian equivalency through the NDEB and started practicing in January 2015.
What do you find most rewarding about practicing dentistry?
Specializing in Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial prosthetics gave me the opportunity to facilitate life-changing experiences for people. Simply put, we all come into this world with the right to enjoy eating good food. My goal overall is to help people appreciate and leverage what they have, motivating them to save their natural teeth so they can eat well and enjoy every meal well, even into their 90’s. If the mouth is healthy, it influences so much more health-wise. I see myself as being a key supporter and influencer in their journey to good health.
How has the dental industry changed since you started practicing?
In the greater Toronto area, the growing population of people living and working here means a big increase in the number of dentists. This drives a certain level of competitiveness that influences the quality of dentistry. Dental Service Organizations like dentalcorp have taken a strong foothold, changing the industry from what it was and evolving for the better.
Can you tell me a bit more about the changes you’ve experienced firsthand with dentalcorp?
My association with dentalcorp began in 2018 when the practice became part of the network. Initially, I had a lot of questions. I was unaware of what it might mean to join forces. I’m pleased to say that my journey with dentalcorp has been and continues to be a very positive one. They’re successful in making dentists feel at ease within the Practice network, showing that we are valued. Their approach is more about developing dentists to grow with and within the company. The programs they offer are amazing – they are trying to invest in people, in dentists, so they can have a long association – and that is commendable. I have been to as many of the meetings and learning opportunities as possible, and what I’ve noticed is the wonderful people. They approach you, ask if everything is ok, enquire what you need, and they listen. There’s no rushing or forcing. It’s just the best people in the industry forming a network for everyone’s benefit.
What does excellence in patient care mean to you?
When a patient leaves the practice, they should leave with a smile. I don’t want them to be dissatisfied, nor leave with unanswered questions. Before starting to work with a patient, it’s important to get into their minds. Make sure they relate to you, and you to them. Develop a relationship based on trust before moving on to drilling and filling.
What’s your 5-year plan?
I take it day by day – always trying to improve my expertise through continuing education. I like to learn what’s new and have an awareness of what’s coming. Almost 17 years in, and I still feel like I have lots to learn. My curiosity is what drives my continued interest in the dentalcorp Associate Development Program. I want to keep improving.
What advice do you have for emerging dentists?
Take it slow. Face every challenge presented to you and grow and evolve to meet those challenges. With general dentistry, you need to gain experience. Practice the basics you have learned in school, and over time you will learn more and become faster and better. Try not to compare yourself and judge yourself too harshly. Practice healthy self-awareness so that you can identify areas for improvement, but don’t let negative thought patterns take hold and get you down.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think there is a mindset to overcome when comparing private practice to those that are part of a corporate network. In either case, it comes down to trust. We should promote dentistry through what is possible, planning treatments with patients together rather than prescribing it. No one should “sell” dentistry. Building trust needs to be the top goal for corporate and private practices. Numbers are important, but when you have the trust, the numbers will follow. Also, it’s important that we, as practitioners, enjoy what we’re doing and remember why we’re in this profession. Part of that enjoyment is knowing how to strike a good work/life balance. Take breaks – it’s a physically demanding career so take care of yourself and stay active.